The Marangu Route is popularly known as the ‘Coca Cola’ route and this has led potential climbers to think that it is an easy route to the summit. This is far from the truth, to be honest! The fact that it requires a minimum of 5 days to complete it does not mean that it is easier than any other route. The only reason that people say it is easier is that it is the only route up Kilimanjaro where you sleep in huts as opposed to tents. An optional acclimatization day at Horombo Huts is highly recommended for those with no prior trekking in altitude experience under their belt. Advance booking of hut accommodation is required to avoid any inconveniences. The route starts from the park headquarters in the village of Marangu and heads straight westwards towards Kibo. The trail goes through lush rainforest, heath, and moorland to alpine desert and ultimately the arctic zone at the peak and the same route down.
Day 1, Marangu Gate (1980m) – Mandara Hut (2700m) Hiking time: 3-4 hours Distance: Approximately 12 kilometers Habitat: Montane forest After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will be picked up from Arusha (1400m) and driven to the Marangu Gate (1980m). At the gate, the porters will organize and pack the belongings for the hike while you and your guide register with the Tanzania National Park (TANAPA). You will then begin your ascent into the rainforest. During this section of the hike, you should expect rain, mud, and fog. Also, be on the look out for wildlife, including Colobus monkeys! After 3-4 hours of ascending, you will reach the Mandara Hut (2700m). Each hut has 6-8 sleeping bunks (sleeps 60 hikers total) with solar generated lighting. Next to the central hut there are flush toilets. The porters, who arrive at the campsite before the clients, will boil water for drinking and washing. The chef will prepare a snack then dinner for the clients. At nighttime, mountain temperatures may drop to freezing so be prepared!
Day 2, Mandara Hut (2700m) – Horombo Hut (3720m) Hiking time: 6 hours Distance: Approximately 15 kilometers Habitat: Moorland Following breakfast, hikers will begin their ascent out of the rainforest and into the heathen moorland. Hikers will pass the Maundi Crater and are able to climb up to its rim for a spectacular view of the Kibo Crater. In the moorland, you will spot exotic plants, including giant lobelia and groundsel. After 6 hours of hiking, you will reach Horombo Hut (3720m). Horombo Hut sleeps 120 hikers and is located on a small plateau. Similar to the first night, the porters will prepare drinking and washing water for you. You will enjoy evening snacks then dinner prepared by our chef. Be prepared for a cold night as temperatures drop below freezing at this site.
Day 3, Horombo Hut (3720m) – acclimatization day Hiking time: 6 hours Distance: Approximately 15 kilometers Habitat: Alpine desert At Horombo Hut, you will spend the day allowing your body to acclimate to high altitude. You will have the option of doing a day hike to Mawenzi Hut (4600m) for further acclimatization with your guide. Breakfast and dinner will be at the hut and lunch will either be packed or at the hut depending on your preference for the day.
Day 4, Horombo hut (3720m)- kibo hut (4200m) Hiking time: 6 hours Distance: Approximately 15 kilometers Habitat: Alpine desert Following an early morning breakfast, you will continue your ascent into the alpine desert habitat. Hikers have the option of 2 trails that lead to Kibo Hut (4700m). The upper route (located to the right of the fork) is the same trail used the previous day for the day hike to Mawenzi Hut. The lower route (located to the left of the fork) is the more popular route because it is a shorter hiking distance (1 hour shorter). Kibo Hut is located in the “Saddle,” which refers to the area located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo in an alpine desert. There is no water at this camp, but hikers can buy mineral water and soft drinks at the camp office. An early dinner will be served so hikers can rest before attempting the summit the same night. Your guide will brief you in detail on how to prepare for summit night. Get to sleep by 19:00!
Day 5 summit attempt-Horombo hut Kibo hut (4700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo Hut (3720m) Hiking time: 8 hours to Uhuru and 6 hours to Horombo Distance: Approximately 6 kilometers ascent and 21 kilometers descent Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit Your guide will wake you around 23:30 for tea and biscuits. You will then begin your summit attempt. The trail is rocky up to Hans Meyer Cave (5150m). You continue your ascent to Gillman’s point (5681m). Reaching this section is an impressive achievement as the trail is steep, rocky, and at high altitudes. Gillman’s is located on the crater rim. From this point, you will usually experience a snow-covered trail until you reach the summit, Uhuru Peak (5895m). Reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is a lifetime accomplishment! You will be able to spend a short time on the summit taking photographs and drinking tea before the descent to Barafu begins. The hike down to Kibo Hut takes about 3 hours. At Kibo Hut, you will rest and enjoy a hot lunch in the sun. After eating, you will continue descending down to Horombo Hut (3720m). You will have dinner, wash, and rest soundly at the hut after a strenuous day.
Day 6. Horombo hut-Marangu gate-Arusha Hiking time: 6 hours Distance: Approximately 27 kilometers Following a well-deserved breakfast, your staff will have a big celebration full of dancing and singing. It is here on the mountain that you will present your tips to the guide, assistant guides, chef(s), and porters. After celebrating, you will descend for 6 hours back to Marangu Gate (1980m). The National Park requires all hikers to sign their names to receive certificates of completion. Hikers who reached Gillman’s Point (5681m) receive green certificates and hikers who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. After receiving certificates, you will drive back to Arusha for long overdue showers and more celebrations.
- Overnight stays in mountain Huts
- Professional, experienced, mountain guides
- All Park fees
- Rescue fees
- All meals while on the Mountain
- Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
- Large portions of fresh, healthy nutritious food
- Clean, purified drinking water
- Crisis management and safety procedures
- International flights
- Visa for Tanzania
- All optional activities
- Tips and personal expenses such as laundry and communication
Duration: 6 days, 5 nights