The Marangu Route has been referred to as the ‘Coca Cola’ route and this has led potential climbers to think that it is an easy route to the summit. This is far from the truth to be honest! The fact that it requires a minimum of 5 days to complete it does not mean that it is easier than any other route. The only reason that people say it is easier is because it is the only route up Kilimanjaro where you sleep in huts as opposed to tents. An optional acclimatization day at Horombo Huts is highly recommended for those with no prior trekking in altitude experience under their belt. Advance booking of hut accommodation is required to avoid any inconveniences. The route starts from the park headquarters in the village of Marangu and heads straight westwards towards Kibo. The trail goes through lush rainforest, heath and moorland to alpine desert and ultimately the arctic zone at the peak and same route down.
- Day 1: Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) to Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft) Elevation Gain: 915 meters, 3,000 feetLeave Moshi/Arusha at 8am for Marangu Gate. After completing gate registration, begin your Kilimanjaro trek. Walk along a narrow trail through the rainforest of Kilimanjaro for most of the hike. Eat a picnic lunch at Kisambioni, day one's halfway point. After lunch continue walking through the rainforest until reaching Mandara Hut. Relax for the rest of the day or take a short walk to Maundi Crater. The views to the east over Taveta and to the northwest to Mawenzi Peak are stunning on a clear day, making the short hike well worth the effort. The A-frame Mandara Huts can accommodate up to seventy people and consist of several sleeping huts and a dining area. All of Marangu's huts have beds with mattresses.
- Day 2: Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) Elevation Gain: 977 meters, 3,200 feetAfter breakfast, leave Mandara Hut and Kilimanjaro's forests for Horombo Hut. Most of the day's hike will be through Kilimanjaro's moorland, a rocky landscape with desert-like plants. Eat a picnic lunch at Kambi ya Taabu before continuing to Horombo Hut. If the weather is clear, enjoy beautiful views of Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. Arrive at Horombo Hut at around 3pm and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. Although extremely busy, the Horombo Huts are considered to be the nicest on Kilimanjaro. The small, A-frame buildings can accommodate up to eight people each and provide lodging for hikers ascending, descending and acclimatizing. Horombo can accommodate up to one hundred hikers and many more porters, cooks and guides.
- Day 3: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Mawenzi Hut (4,600m/15,100ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)Elevation Gain and Loss: 880 meters, 2,900 feet Day three is an acclimatization day. We suggest hiking all the way to Mawenzi Hut to allow for maximum acclimatization. The hike will increase your chances of reaching Uhuru Peak, and also reward you with magnificent views of Kibo. Return to Horombo for a late lunch. Spend the afternoon and evening relaxing at Horombo.
- Day 4: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft) Elevation Gain: 1,030 meters, 3,380 feetLeave Horombo Hut after breakfast to hike through the moorland and alpine desert of Kilimanjaro's upper altitudes. After hiking for about an hour arrive at Maua River, a small mountain stream. After Maua, the terrain becomes flatter and the vegetation begins to disappear. Break for lunch at Middle Red Hill. After lunch, continue on a steady incline for another two hours through Kilimanjaro's Saddle. Although the environment on the way to Kibo is a bleak desert with little vegetation, you will see many stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Reach Kibo Hut around 3pm to rest and prepare for your midnight climb.
- Day 5: Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft) to Summit (5,895m/19,340ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) Elevation Gain: 1,145 meters, 3,760 feet Elevation Loss: 2,175 meters, 7,140 feetAround midnight, awake for the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. The hike begins with a demanding five hour hike to Gillman's Point on the crater rim. Although this is considered to be the easiest of the three crater ascent paths, it is still extremely difficult. The first major rest stop, William's Point, lies at 5000 meters and is approximately a two hour hike Kibo Hut. Continue on for thirty minutes before beginning the rocky switchbacks that will continue to Gillman's Point (5,681 meters). The hike from Gilman's to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the hike long and tiring. The crater rim hike takes approximately two hours. Upon reaching Uhuru, take photos of your guide and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Horombo Hut. On the way down from the summit, you will see all of the magnificent views you could not see on the way up. Stop for a short break and snacks at Kibo Hut before continuing on to Horombo Hut. Reach Horombo Hut in the afternoon and enjoy your last night on the mountain.
- Day 6: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) Elevation Loss: 1,920 meters, 6,295 feetAfter breakfast, finish the trek with a descent to Marangu Gate. Your last hike on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through Kilimanjaro's cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent, as the trail can be slippery. Our vehicles will be waiting at Marangu Gate to take you back to Moshi/Arusha. You will be able to buy t-shirts and sodas at the gate.