The Marangu (Coca-Cola) Route is the most popular route to trek up Kilimanjaro, and thus its name. It’s a well-travelled path through the rainforest at Marangu Village, into the heath and moorland, and then into the alpine desert of the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo, and on to the crater rim at Gillman’s Point, which only half of all trekkers reach. It is a relatively smooth trail, winding through some beautiful scenery, which changes quite dramatically every day.
DAY 1 MARANGU GATE (5,900 ft.) ~ MANDARA HUT (8,860 ft.)Departure from Arusha at 8am, about 2 hours to Marangu village. Once you arrive at the gate, and after completion of administrative formalities and meeting with porters and guides, begin the 4 to 5 hour walk to Mandara Hut. The walk is at a leisurely pace through a dense and humid forest to the hut. If you feel up to it at day’s end, walk to the nearby Maundi crater for a long view over the plains & Lake Jipe, and in the distance; the Pare and Usambara mountains. The night is spent inside one of the huts.DAY 2 MANDARA HUT ~ HOROMBO HUT (12,200 ft.)After about 45 minutes in the forest, you will suddenly arrive upon an area of high grasses of the heather belt, which as the trek continues, becomes increasingly desert-like, into the moorland. About 5 to 6 hours of walking brings you to Horombo Hut, and a stunning view of Mawenzi Peak. Night will be spent in one of the huts.DAY 3 HOROMBO HUT ~ ACCLIMITIZATION DAY This extra day is taken at Horombo Hut to help your body’s acclimatization, and also to witness the beautiful scenery. There is a trek to the base of Mawenzi, at nearly 15,000 feet , along the way passing Zebra Rock, and the striking landscape of the moorland zone.DAY 4 HOROMBO HUT ~ KIBO HUT (15,430 ft.)The day’s trekking will last about 6 to 7 hours. You will trek across the exposed, barren alpine desert of the saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi. The last fresh water point is at 14,100 ft., where it will be necessary to fill your water bottles. The porters will carry the rest of the water required for food and hot beverages. The saddle crossing is impressive and the landscape spectacular. Night spent at Kibo Hut.DAY 5 KIBO HUT ~ UHURU PEAK (19,340 ft.) ~ HOROMBO HUT (12,200 ft.)You will be woken early with a steaming cup of coffee or tea, and the departure will be between 12:30 to 1am. The temperatures range from just below freezing at midnight, to between 10 deg. F to –10 F. just before dawn at Gilman’s point, at about (18,652 ft.) on the crater rim. After about 6 hours of walking, you will come to the edge of the crater, near the Ratzel Glacier. Once reaching Gillman’s Point, summon your strength for another 1.5 hour trek over a gentle slope around the edge of the crater rim to the high point; Uhuru Peak, at (19,340 ft.). After a short time at the summit, descend the steep scree trail back to Kibo Hut for some rest, then descend further to Horombo Hut for the night.DAY 6 HOROMBO HUT ~ MARANGU GATE (5,900 ft) ~ ARUSHA Descend straight to the gate of Marangu, which will take about 6 hours of walking. On arrival at the gate you will have lunch, and then will be transferred to Arusha. Transfer back to Arusha for a much-welcomed shower!