Marangu, also known as the Coca-Cola route, is one of the oldest Kilimanjaro routes and the only one with hut accommodation. It starts in the south-east via Gilman’s Point to the Uhuru Peak. Marangu is the cheapest and shortest route to the top of the Kilimanjaro and therefore popular. Yet it gives the body less time to acclimatize and the chances to reach the summit successfully are lower. This is the only route that uses the same path up to ascend and descend and can be quite busy during the high season.

DAY 1: Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) – Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft)

Drive early morning from Moshi (or Arusha) to the Kilimanjaro park gate. Climbers need to sign in at the gate office before the Kilimanjaro climb can start. Hike through the rainforest on a small path. This forest is covered with mist and beards of moss and is the place where most wildlife is found. After a short break and lunch we continue walking through the rainforest until reaching Mandara Hut. Relax for the rest of the day or take a short walk to Maundi Crater and enjoy the stunning views. Each Mandara Hut can accommodate 6-8 people with a total capacity of 60 climbers. All of Marangu’s huts have beds with mattresses and a dining area.

DAY 2: Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft) – Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)

After breakfast, we set off to Horombo Hut and follow a path through rainforest and moorland. The open moorland consists of rocks and giants plants (lobelia and scenecio) which can reach heights of 3 and 5m. On a clear day you can see the impressive Mawenzi and Kibo Peaks glimmering in the distance. After a long hike we arrive at Horombo Hut where you can wash yourself with hot water and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. The Horombo Huts are considered to be the nicest on Kilimanjaro, though it can be busy.

DAY 3: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) – Mawenzi Hut (4,600m/15,100ft) – Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)

This extra day and night at Horombo Hut is for acclimatisation. We recommend a hike all the way to Mawenzi Hut, passing the Zebra Rocks (collection of rocks). This hike increases your chances of reaching Uhuru Peak and also offers magnificent views of Kibo. Return to Horombo for a late lunch. Spend the afternoon and evening relaxing at Horombo and go to bed early for a good night’s sleep.

DAY 4: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) – Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft)

After breakfast we continue to hike from moorland into alpine desert in about an hour time. We arrive at a small mountain stream, called the Maua River. The desert landscape becomes flatter and the vegetation disappears. We stop for a short break and lunch at Middle Red Hill. After this break we hike for another 2 hours to the Saddle, an area between the Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. We reach Kibo Hut around 3pm. This house of stones has bunk beds for 60 climbers. Make sure you get enough rest in the afternoon and prepare for your final ascent at midnight. We go to bed early in the evening for a good night’s sleep.

DAY 5: Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft) – Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft) – Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)

Around midnight, we rise and prepare for the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. The path is rocky and zigzags to Gillman’s Point (5,681 m) on the crater rim. This is a challenging five hour hike, with a rest stop at William’s Point (5,000 m). The hike from Gilman’s to Uhuru Peak (highest point of Africa) is a gradual climb but very tiring cause of the altitude. If you reach the summit on time, you can see the most beautiful sunrise you have ever seen. You reached the highest point of Africa! Enjoy the overwhelming sense of achievement. Time for a short celebration and to take awesome pictures. From the summit, we make our descent to Horombo Hut. Witness the amazing views on the way down from the summit. The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly fast compared to the ascent. We stop for a short break and snacks at Kibo Hut before we reach Horombo Hut in the afternoon and enjoy our last night on the mountain. The total time spent walking on this day is around 14 hours, so be prepared for a very challenging day.

DAY 6: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) – Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft)

Today’s descent is a trek mostly downhill, through the tropical forest, to Marangu Gate. The path can be slippery so watch your steps during the descent. At the foot of the mountain, you can collect your summit certificate. Your driver will be waiting at the Marangu Gate and brings you back to Moshi/Arusha.


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