MT KILIMANJARO CLIMB – MARANGU ROUTE
Marangu Route “the oldest route to summit”. No climbing is required and even first-time enthusiasts can hike to the top of Africa.
At 5896m Mt. Kilimanjaro the highest point on the continent, but what makes it all the more impressive is the incredible rise of 4600 m with its snowy peak and glaciers often protruding above the clouds. Few mountains can claim the grandeur of Mt Kili; the breath-taking views of Amboseli National Park in Kenya, the Rift Valley, and the Maasai Steppe. And unlike many of the world’s other high peaks, no climbing is required and even first-time enthusiasts can hike to the top of Africa.
Tips and Gratuities
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha where our representative will meet you. We’ll transfer to Honey Badger Lodge, Moshi where we will spend the afternoon and evening. Before dinner, you will receive your climb briefing.
After an early breakfast, we will leave Moshi at 08:30 am, drive for approximately 50 minutes to Kilimanjaro’s Marangu Gate on the eastern side of the mountain. Your guide will handle your registration before we begin the hike around 10:30 am.
We start off in the rainforest – enjoy the towering Eucalyptus trees, bird life, and Colubus monkeys. At these lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy, so gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts should be sufficient, but keep your rain gear and warmer clothing handy. We will stop at the halfway mark for lunch, and reach the Mandara Huts at 2 or 3 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 including Northern Tanzania and Kenya. Dinner is served during the early evening at 7 pm. Bathrooms with running water are available.
Marangu Gate to Mandara Huts
Elevation: 1860m to 2715m
Distance: 8 km
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
Today we’ll have a fairly leisurely wake up in time for a 7:30 am breakfast. We’ll aim to break camp by 8:30 am and hike for an hour through rainforest glades. We will then follow an ascending path through heathland where we’ll be able to look for giant lobelias and groundsels. We continue up into open moorlands where small shrubs comprise the majority of vegetation. Again we’ll stop halfway for lunch, where we will enjoy amazing views of Mawenzi if the weather is clear. We should arrive at the Horombo Huts by 3 pm, where Kibo summit is visible on clear days. Rest, unpack, and prepare for dinner. Bathrooms with running water are available.
You may start to feel the effects of altitude here and to aid your acclimatization, you can choose to spend an extra day resting at Horombo or climbing to a basecamp below Kibo’s sub peak Mawenzi.
Mandara Huts to Horombo Huts
Elevation: 2715m to 3705m
Distance: 11.5 km
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Habitat: Heathland and moorland
Acclimatization Day - Horombo Hut is a village of huts perched on a small plateau, with a total capacity of 120 climbers. Horombo is normally bustling with hikers, guides and porters, with an atmosphere of adventure and excitement. You will meet both ascending and descending hikers here. This extra day and night at Horombo is for additional acclimatization. A hike to a basecamp below Kibo’s sub peak Mawenzi, passing the Zebra Rocks on the way (around 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!
We’ll wake up for breakfast as usual – or wake up early to capture an amazing sunrise. The first part of the day’s hike climbs through the dwindling heathland that blends into what can best be described as moonscape as we enter the sweeping saddle connecting Mawenzi and Kibo. When we stop for lunch, and later when crossing this surprisingly large saddle, take in the summit climb up to Kibo that we will be starting in just a few hours. Be careful to notice any signs of altitude sickness. There is no running water at the Kibo Huts.
Horombo Huts to Kibo Huts
Elevation: 3705m to 4730m
Distance: 10 km
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
We’ll wake at midnight, have a light breakfast and prepare for our summit ascent. The goal is to reach Uhuru Peak around sunrise. We leave Kibo Huts at 1 am, switchback up steep scree or possibly snow, and reach Gilman’s Point on the crater rim at 5861m around 4-6am. Here, views of the fabled crater and its icecaps greet us. Another 2 hours of hiking along the crater rim near the celebrated snows take you to Kilimanjaro’s true summit, Uhuru Peak, by 6-8am. This is Africa’s highest point – we’d have to travel more than 3,000 miles toward the Himalayas to find a higher peak! Be sure to have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends. After our time on top, we descend back to the Kibo Huts, have lunch and rest a while. We’ll then collect our things and cross the saddle and head back to the Horombo Huts. After dinner, get some well-deserved sleep!
Please note that we will be doing the beginning of this climb in the dark with 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. Slowly, slowly, or, “pole, pole,” and an optimistic attitude will get you there!
Summit Day - Kibo Huts to Uhuru Peak to Horombo Huts
Elevation: 4730m to 5895m to 3705m
Distance: 5.4 km up, 15 km down
Hiking Time: 13-16 hours
Habitat: Stone scree/ice-capped summit
Today we descend through the moorland back to the Mandara Huts. We’ll have lunch there and continue down through lush forest to the park gate, which we should reach around 2 or 3 pm. At this point we’ll say goodbye to our guides, cooks, and porters. We’ll transfer to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha or take you straight to the airport, where it is definitely time for celebration!
Horombo Huts to Marangu Gate
Elevation: 3705m to 1860m
Distance: 19 km
Hiking Time: 6-7 hours