Affectionately known as the “Coca-Cola route”, Marangu is by far the most popular route to the summit of Kilimanjaro. This could partly be as a result of the fact that the Marangu is the least expensive route, but more so, perhaps the fact that it is possible to do the Marangu route in 5 days, thereby getting to the summit one day earlier than on the Machame route. This is not always the best way due to a shorter acclimatisation period. The Marangu route does however offer you the option of spending an extra acclimatisation day on the mountain. This extends the route to a 6-day march, greatly increasing your chances of success. Hut accommodation on the Marangu route forms one of the main differences, compared to the other routes. It offers you the relative luxury of being able to sleep in huts along the entire route. Mineral water, soft drinks, chocolates and beers are also sold at all the camps on this route. All your equipment and supplies are portered and a cook prepares all your meals.
Day 1: To Mandara – 1700m to 2740m
After breakfast, briefing, and drive to the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate, register and commence the climb. Walking through the rainforest to the Mandara encampment located at 9000 ft / 2740 m. Dinner and overnight.
Day 2: To Horombo Camp – 2700m to 3700m
We now leave the glades of the rainforest and follow an ascending path on the open moorlands to the Horombo encampment located at 12000 ft /3700 m. Dinner and overnight. If you wish to extend your trek (recommended), here you can spend 1 or 2 extra days resting at Horombo or climbing the small peak of Mawenzi.
Day 3: To Kibo Camp – 3700m to 4700m
Ascending, we now pass the last watering point, walking onto the saddle of Kilimanjaro between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. Vegetation all but disappears into “moonscape”, but the views of the mountain are incredible. Arriving at the Kibo encampment located at 15000 ft / 4700 m. Dinner, rest and prepare for the summit climb.
Day 4: To Summit and Horombo – 4700m to 5895m (and down to 3700m)
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am), commence the climb to the summit on steep and heavy scree or snow/ice up to Gilman’s point located on the crater rim at 18640 ft / 5861 m (4-7 hours). Continuing, we now ascend to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point in Africa: 19340 ft / 5895 m (1-2 hours). Unbelievable views at every turn. Get your picture taken at the summit to show your friends. From here, we now descend, stopping for lunch and a rest before continuing on to the Horombo encampment for dinner and a tired but happy overnight (1-2 hours). This beginning of this climb is done in the dark and requires headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers.
This is, by far, the most difficult part of the trek with many switchbacks. “Pole pole” and an optimistic attitude will get you there!
Day 5: To Moshi – 3700m to 1700m
The descent continues past the Mandara encampment (lunch) back down to the Park Gate. This is where successful climber may now collect their well-earned certificates. Drive to Moshi for overnight.