The 5-day climbing Kilimanjaro via Marangu route is one of the most popular routes to the summit of the famous Mount Kilimanjaro. The route enables the climber to reach the summit one day earlier as compared to the Machame route. This route does, however, offer you the option of spending an extra acclimatisation day on the mountain if needed.
This route offers the relative luxury of being able to sleep in shared huts along the entire route. Mineral water, soft drinks, chocolates and beer are also sold at all the camps on this route. All your equipment and supplies are portered and a cook prepares all your meals.
- Challenge yourself on this 5-day trek, widely regarded as the most beautiful route
- Reach the summit at 5,895M and savor the unique feeling of standing on the roof of Africa
- Climb through rich rain forest into a snowy wonderland
- Enjoy thrilling and safe scrambles on the very edge of Africa's highest mountain
Distance: Approximately 8.1 km
Habitat: Montane forest
The drive from Moshi or Arusha to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate, takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Marangu, which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. Once you reach the park gate, all hikers are requested to sign in at the park office and make their final preparations for the climb. Porters will be seen arranging and loading their packs, containing the food, water, cooking gas as well as most of your equipment. Make sure that you have all your daypack items (containing at least drinking water, your lunch pack and extra clothing) with you, as the porters ascend a lot quicker than the hikers.
Our guides will be available to assist with any additional information or needs you might have. You now leave the park gate and ascend on a cleared ridge trail through the rain forest. The forest, suffused with mist and dripping with beards of moss, is also where most of Kilimanjaro’s animals are found.
An alternative and more scenic parallel forest trail branches off to the left a few minutes after the gate. This trail follows the edge of a stream through the undergrowth and offers you the option to rejoin the main trail after 1.5 hours hiking or 1 hour before Mandara hut.
Your first night stop, Mandara hut, consists of a group of wooden A-framed huts in a forest clearing. Each hut features 6–8 sleeping bunks with solar generated lighting. The total capacity of the camp is 60 climbers. Water is piped into the camp from springs above and there are flush toilets behind the main hut. Dinner is prepared by our cook and served in a communal dining mess.
Distance: Approximately 11.6 km
From Mandara hut, the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, skirts the base of the Maundi Crater and then emerges into the transition from rain forest to moorland. It is well worth a short detour to scramble up the rim of the Maundi Crater for the first really impressive view of the Kibo Crater. On a clear day, Kibo will glimmer in the distance, showing off her majestic glaciers in the morning sun.
Once you are in the open moorland, you will get the chance to see some of Kilimanjaro’s most spectacular plants – the endemic giant lobelia which grows up to 3 m in height and the giant groundsel (Senecia Kilimanjari), which can reach heights of 5m!
After about 6 hours trek from here, you reach the Horombo hut, where you will have a hot bowl of washing water, rest, an evening meal and overnight.
Distance: Approximately 9.6 km
Habitat: Alpine desert
After breakfast, you now continue your ascent into the Alpine desert habitat. From Horombo there are two trails to the “Saddle”, which refers to the area located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo. There is an upper route and lower route to choose from. The upper route is very stony and eroded.
The recommended lower route (left-hand fork) is much easier and nearly an hour shorter, and it also passes the last watering point at 4130m. You will have to fill your water bottles with all the water you will need until your return to Horombo hut in two night’s time unless you are willing to buy mineral water at Kibo hut. Once again, remember to slow down and drink enough water!
Situated in the barren Alpine desert is Kibo hut, a stone build block house which has bunk beds for 60 climbers but no streams with water nearby. It is however possible to buy mineral water and soft drinks at the camp office. There are platform toilets behind the hut.
The summit is now a further 1195m up and you will make your final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, ski-stick and thermal clothing for your summit bid. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed early and try to get as much rest and sleep as possible.
Distance: Approximately 5.4km ascent and 15 km descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Rise around 11:30 pm, and after some tea and biscuits, shuffle off into the night. This is where the going really gets tough. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5 681m), which is located on the crater rim. This section is very steep with a lot of stone scree, requiring a great physical and mental effort. This is probably the most demanding section of the entire route. Do the Kili shuffle and move slowly.
From Gillman's Point, you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895m), the highest point in Africa. Total exhilaration and satisfaction – you made it! Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend taking photographs, before the 3-hour descent back to Kibo hut.
After a short rest, you gather all your gear you left behind for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut for overnight. The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly fast compared to the ascent. The total time spent walking on this day is around 14 hours, so be prepared for a very tough day. Later in the evening, enjoy your last dinner (with soft drinks and beer for sale at the camp office) on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.
After breakfast, you continue your descent (6-hours), passing the Mandara hut and down to the Marangu gate. It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely.
At Marangu gate, you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m), receive gold certificates.
You now drive back to Moshi or Arusha for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!! Overnight at the hotel or picked to the airport
- Quality, waterproof, four-season private mountain sleeping tents:
- Professional, experienced, mountain guides:
- All Park fees
- Rescue fees
- All meals while on the Mountain
- Arrival and Departure transfers
- Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
- Large portions of fresh, healthy, nutritious food:
- Clean, purified drinking water:
- Private, portable chemical flush toilets:
- Crisis management and safety procedures:
- Fair and ethical treatment of porters:
- Summit Emergency Oxygen:
- Pulse Oximeters:
- Walking Poles:
What's Not Included
- Tanzania Visa: $50 per person on arrival
- Personal Expenses (e.g. laundry, telephone, beverages, etc.)
- Meals not listed above
- Optional Tours (short safari after your climb etc)
- Tips and any items of personal nature.