Marangu Route – 6 days/5 nights
Below is a route that can take anybody from any corner of the planet to the “Roof of Africa”. Famously known as the “Coca Cola Route”, Marangu is the easiest, cheapest and one of the busiest routes to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This is the only route to offer sleeping huts in dormitory-style accommodation. Climbs can take five or six days; however, we always advise choosing the longer route for the best chance of acclimatization and reaching the summit.
DAY 1: MARANGU GATE (1,830M/6,000FT) TO MANDARA HUTS (2,700M/ 8,900FT)
Elevation Gain: 870 meters / 2,900 feet
Hiking Time: 4 to 5 hours
After breakfast, you’ll get picked up from your hostel/hotel in Moshi and driven to the starting point at Marangu Gate (approximately 45 mins). After registration, you will begin your journey to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro using a well-maintained trail through Montane Forest. On the way, you’ll walk through dense rainforest and coffee plantations as your guide talks you through some of the local flora and fauna. Here you will also get a very good chance of witnessing Black and White Colobus monkeys, as well as many different species of brightly-colored birds. Mandara Hut is a group of dormitory-style wooden huts with solar generated lighting. The camp accommodates up to 60 hikers and has all necessary facilities, including water and toilets.
DAY 2: MANDARA HUTS (2,700M/8,900FT) TO HOROMBO HUTS (3,720M/12,200FT)
Elevation Gain: 1,020 meters/ 3,300 feet
Hiking Time: 6 to 8 hours
On your second day, you’ll embark on a hike that traverses a slightly steeper trail to Horombo Hut. The trail passes through more of Montane Forest before transitioning into the moorland vegetation zone, where you’ll find rolling alpine meadows dotted with giant heather trees. Once in the open moorland, you’ll also get the opportunity to see plants like the giant lobelia and giant groundsel, which can grow to an outstanding 16ft in height! After approximately six hours of hiking, you will reach Horombo Hut, where you’ll have hot water to wash, an evening meal and an overnight rest. Horombo is a village of huts perched on a small plateau with buildings similar to Mandara, but with a total capacity of 120 climbers.
DAY 3: HOROMBO HUTS (3,720M) - ACCLIMATIZATION DAY
An extra day at Horombo Hut provides an opportunity to acclimatize and increase your chances of making it to the summit. There are a number of walks within the vicinity of the huts which are strongly recommended to further help with the process of acclimatizing to the altitude. The most popular hike is to the Mawenzi Saddle, passing the Zebra Rocks along the way. Remember to drink enough water and move slowly (pole, pole). After the four to five-hour hike (round-trip), you’ll then enjoy an evening meal before retreating to bed early for a good night’s rest.
DAY 4: HOROMBO HUTS (3,720M/12,200FT) TO KIBO HUTS (4,700M/ 15,400FT)
Elevation Gain: 980 meters / 3,200 feet
Hiking Time: 6 to 8 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Wake up early to catch the sunrise and get some great photos! After a full breakfast, you will then continue to trek at a slow pace through the heathland, which quickly turns into an almost lunar-like landscape as you enter the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. During this hike, you may start to experience some symptoms of altitude sickness. Pay attention to your body and keep your guide informed. From here you will start to get fantastic views of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s summit before arriving at Kibo Hut – a drystonewalled hut with dormitories and limited facilities. Rest for the evening at Kibo Huts and prepare for your final ascent to the summit!
DAY 5: SUMMIT DAY! - KIBO HUTS (4,700M/ 15,400FT) TO UHURU PEAK (5,895M/ 19,340FT) TO HOROMBO HUTS (3,720M/12,200FT)
Elevation Gain: 1,295 metres / 4,200 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,785 metres / 9,100 feet
Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours to Uhuru Peak; 7 to 8 hours to Mweka Camp
Habitat: Arctic conditions
This is where the going gets really tough! Just before midnight, you will venture into the night and begin your final ascent to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Head northwest through the heavy stone scree following multiple switchbacks between Ratzel and Rebmann glaciers until you reach Stella Point (5,685m). This section is probably the most challenging part of the route and will require great physical and mental effort. Continue to move slowly, always listening to your guide.
After a short rest at Stella Point, you will hike along the crater rim for another hour before reaching your ultimate goal – Uhuru Peak! Congratulations! You have now made it to the “Roof of Africa”.
Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend there, but it is important to start your descent within good time to ensure you get enough rest back at Horombo huts. After your rest, you’ll gather the rest of your belongings and descend to Horombo huts (3,720m) where you’ll enjoy dinner and a well-earned sleep!
DAY 6: HOROMBO HUTS (3,720M) TO MARANGU GATE (1,830M/6,000FT)
Elevation Loss: 1,890 meters / 6,200 feet
Hiking Time: 5 to 7 hours
After eating breakfast, you will begin the easiest part of your adventure on Mount Kilimanjaro via a scenic path through the forest to Marangu Gate. Successful hikers who made it to Stella Point and Uhuru Peak will be awarded their certificates at the gate. Then it’s time to drive back to your hotel to enjoy a shower, dinner, and celebrations with a Kilimanjaro beer!