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Mount Kilimanjaro Marangu Route

The Marangu Route is the oldest on Kilimanjaro and is also one of the most popular – mainly because it is the only route on the mountain that has huts provided for hikers. 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 compared to 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 into a 6-day trek, greatly increasing your chances of success. Shared 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. There are 60 bunk beds each at Mandara and Kibo Huts, and 120 bunk beds at Horombo Hut.

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.

The main itinerary difference between the Marangu 5 day and 6 day routes is the additional acclimatization day at Horombo Hut.

Day 1 – Marangu Gate (1,870 meters) to Mandara Hut (2,700 meters)

Distance: ~8km / 5 miles    |    Trekking time: 4-6 hours    |    Zone: Rainforest

The Marangu Route begins at Marangu Gate (1,870 meters) on the South-East side of Mount Kilimanjaro.  Typically you will be driven to the gate from Moshi, which takes approximately an hour and passes through the village of Marangu. At the gate you will meet your trekking team, register with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities and witness porters assembling and weighing packs of gear that they will be carrying up the mountain. Day one is a gradual trek through the Kilimanjaro rainforest and takes 5-7 hours to complete. Your first night is spent in the Mandara A-frame Huts (2,700 meters) which come equipped with solar generated lighting, flush toilets and water piped in from a nearby mountain stream.

Day 2 – Mandara Hut (2,700 meters) to Horombo Hut (3,720 meters)

Distance: ~11.5km / 7 miles    |    Trekking time: 6-8 hours    |    Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone

You will be served breakfast and should be on your way by latest 08:30. The trek continues through the rainforest, around the base of the Maundi Crater and then transitions rather rapidly into the low alpine moorland zone. If the weather is clear you should definitely take the opportunity to scramble up the Maundi Crater to get your first full view of Kibo. During the trek you will also see giant lobelias which are scattered throughout the landscape at this altitude. Day two takes approximately 6-8 hours to complete and covers a significant distance (11.5km / 7miles). At Horombo Hut (3,720 meters) you will be served dinner and shown to your sleeping quarters for the night.

Day 3 – Horombo Hut (3,720 meters) to Kibo Hut (4,700 meters)

Distance: ~10km / 6 miles    |    Trekking time: 5-7 hours    |    Zone: Low alpine zone / High alpine zone

Note: Day three on the Marangu Route is an acclimatisation day for 6 day trekkers. Most six day trekkers venture on a 4-5 hour hike to Mawenzi Hut and back, which is good for acclimatisation!

For 5 day trekkers you will depart from Horombo Hut early and begin a 1,000 meter ascent to Kibo Hut which covers a distance of approximately 10km. There are two routes to Kibo. The first, or upper route, forks to the right. Six day trekkers would have trekked this route on their acclimatisation day to Mawenzi Hut. You will most likely take the lower left hand route as it is easier and nearly an hour shorter. On the left hand route you will pass the last water point at 4,130 meters. At Kibo Hut you will be served an early dinner and should try get to bed before 19:00 as you will be awoken around 23:30 to start your 1,150 meter ascent to Uhuru Peak. Make sure that you have all your gear ready for a prompt departure, including insulated water, snacks, your headlamp and camera.

Day 4 – Kibo Hut (4,700 meters) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) and then Horombo Hut (3,720 meters)

Distance: ~5.5km / 3 miles ascent and then 15km / 8 mile descent

Trekking time: 6-8 hours to the summit and then 5-8 hours to Horombo Hut

Zone: Glacial zone, high alpine zone and low alpine zone

After being awoken you will be served some hot tea and biscuits and will then begin your summit ascent. The route follows a rocky path to the first check point, Hans Meyer Cave at 5,150 meters. It then continues to zigzag for a good 2-3 hours until you get to Gilman’s Point (5,681 meters) on Kibo’s crater rim. The final push is tough and requires mental stamina. Focus on moving slowly and deliberately for the final 200 meter ascent. At Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) you will not be able to stay too long so make sure to get all the pictures you want to take and then begin your descent back to Kibo Hut, and onto Horombo Hut. In total you will be trekking upwards of 12-16 hours. It will be one of the longest days of your life but well worth it!

Day 5 – Horombo Hut (3,720 meters) to Marangu Gate (1,870 meters)

Distance: ~20km / 12.5 miles    |    Trekking time: 6-8 hours    |    Zone: Low alpine zone and rainforest

After your breakfast you will be heading to Marangu Gate from Horombo Hut and is nearly 20km but usually only takes 7 hours to complete. At Marangu Gate you will be presented with your certificate, either for Gilman’s Point or Uhuru Peak (depending on how far you managed to get). It is customary to present your trekking team with their hard-earned tips at this point. You will then be driven back to your hotel where celebrations can begin!

Items included:    Professional English-speaking guide
    Mountain crew (cook & porters)
    Meals according to the itinerary
    Drinking water
    Overnight stays in hotels and mountain huts
    All national park fees
    All mentioned transfersItems excluded:    Sleeping bag
    Flights
    Optional activities
    Alcoholic and soft drinks
    Visa fees
    Tips
    Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
    Travel insurance

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