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The Marangu Route is also known as the “Coca Cola” or “tourist” route. It is the easiest and shortest route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.Marangu route is also the only route with the comforts of sleeping huts at every campsite with solar-powered lights and comfortable beds. The huts are communal, and the bunks have a sponge mattress and pillow. All climbing groups, often from several countries around the world, share meals in dining huts providing a jovial and energetic atmosphere. This route is usually done in 5 days, but you can do it in 6 days for better acclimatization. You can spend the extra day resting at Horombo or climbing to a base camp below Kibo’s sub peak Mawenzi.
Pick up from Kilimanjaro International Airport
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met and transferred to the Babylon Lodge in Marangu for accommodation and dinner. If you arrive early, you will spend day for relaxation in the beautiful lodge as you enjoy the Kilimanjaro region and the high altitude if you are coming from low altitude places. You can even take a walk to the local town which is just 10 minutes walking just to stretch your legs.
Marangu Gate (1920m) – Mandara Hut (2720) Hiking time: 5 hours
Distance: 10km Habitat: Montane forest
Yow will wake up in the morning and after breakfast the guides will get everything ready and you will for the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate. Once you reach the Park gate, all hikers are requested to sign in and make the final preparations for the hike. Porters and guides will be busy arranging all the equipment, food and other mountain requirements. Make sure you have your daypack with you containing at least (drinking water, your lunch pack, camera and extra clothing). The porters ascend a lot quicker than the climbers and you will not be able to access any of your items on the trail. Your hike through rainforest from the park gate at 6,000 feet to the Mandara Huts at 9,000 feet will take about 5 hours. You will reach Mandara Hut at about 3 or 4 PM. Unpack, rest, and have some tea or coffee. A 15 minute side trip to Maundi Crater is a good way to see the surroundings as well as views of Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Dinner is served during the early evening. Mandara hut is 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 85 climbers. Water is piped into the camp from springs above and there are flush toilets behind the main hut.
Mandara Hut (2720m) – Horombo Huts (3720) Hiking time: 6 hours/Distance about 12km Habitat: Moorland
After breakfast hike to the Horombo Huts at 12,000 feet. From Mandara hut the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, then 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 your 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 Kilimanjaros 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 6m! After about 6 hours from here you reach the Horombo hut, where you will have hot washing water, rest; an evening meal and overnight.
Horombo Huts (3720m) – Kibo Huts (4700m) Hiking time: 6 hours/ Distance about 10km Habitat: Alpine Desert
Wake to breakfast as usual, but if you wake early you can get some great photos of the sunrise. . 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 (right hand fork) and lower route (left hand fork) to choose from. The upper route (right hand fork) will be very familiar, as you will have climbed most of it the previous day towards Mawenzi hut. It is very stony and eroded.
The recommended lower route (left hand fork) is much easier and nearly an hour 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. 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.
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 at round about 18h00 to 19h00 and try to get as much sleep as possible.
SUMMIT ATTEMPT(Kibo hut (4700m)- Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Horombo hut (3720m)
Hiking time: 7-8 hours to Uhuru Peak- 4 hours to descend to Horombo/ Distance 6km ascend and 9km escend.
Habitat: Stone Scree and Ice-capped summit
You will rise around midnight, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night, and 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 (5681m), 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 (3 hours) for your overnight. The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly fast compared to the ascent. The total time spent walking on this day is around 13 - 14 hours, so be prepared for a very tough day.
Later in the evening you enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.
Descend from Horombo (3720m) to the Marangu Gate (1920m)
Hiking time 5-6 hours/ Distance: About 18 km
After breakfast you continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. 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 Babylon Lodge for a long overdue hot shower and after the shower, it will be time to celebrate with your guides and porters. Kilimanjaro beer and barbecue will be a good way to celebrate your success of being to the highest point in Africa. The guides will also sing for you and the jovial mood of the evening will make your trip worth remembering!
After breakfast, you will depart for the airport or other destinations in Tanzania. We will be glad to arrange for you a tour to see the wildlife of Tanzania or to the beautiful spice island of Zanzibar through our partner company
You can add an extra day at the Horombo Huts at 12,000 feet. Horombo hut is a village of huts perched on a small plateau, with buildings similar to Mandara, but with a total capacity of 200 climbers! Horombo Hut is normally bustling with hikers, guides, porters, and with an atmosphere of adventure and excitement. You will meet both ascending and descending hikers here. This extra day and night at Horombo are for additional acclimatization. A hike towards the Mawenzi-Saddle, passing the Zebra Rocks on the way (about 3 hours up and 1.5 hours down), is strongly recommended. This hike will further assist with the process of acclimatization. Remember to drink enough water and move slowly! All meals for the day are provided at the hut. Retire to bed early and get a last good night's rest.