Marangu route, commonly known as the “Coca Cola” route due to its popularity as to date one of the most selected and utilized route. The Marangu route is definitely a challenging route that takes at least five days. The trail has permanent huts along its route with all the basic necessities. No technical skills are required for this five-day trek. The disadvantage of the Marangu route is that there is no separate descent route; as the same route is used for ascending and for descending. For this reason there is sometimes heavy and possibly disturbing traffic. Nevertheless, we would highly recommend all to add an additional day to acclimatization making it a 6 days trek.
Accommodation is only in wooden huts in a dormitory style.
There are 60 bunk beds in Mandara & Kibo Huts each & 120 bunk beds in Horombo Hut.
Ascent and descent is on same route.
This route can be trekked within minimum of 5 days, however an additional day for acclimatization is highly recommended.
Success rate is of the lowest.
Traffic is very high.
ITINERARY 5 DAYS 4 NIGHTS ON THE MOUNTAIN
Day 1- Marangu gate 1860m – Mandara Hut 2720m
3-4 hours trek – 7 km
Montane forest zone
From the gate, you ascend a cleared ridge trail to Mandara Hut. The cleared trail is the fastest way to Mandara, but opportunities to see wildlife or enjoy the forest are limited due to the heavy foot traffic. An alternative is to ascend along the parallel forest trail and descend on the main trail. The forest trail branches off to the left, a few minutes after the gate, and follows the edge of a stream through the under growth. About halfway (1 hrs from the gate) you can choose to cross the stream and rejoin the main trail, or continue on the forest trail. Both trails continue on opposite sides of the stream, merging about one hour before Mandara Hut Marangu-Mandara Hut. 1830m-2700m. 3-4 hours trek. Transfer to Marangu Gate at an altitude of 1,860m. The path to Mandara Hut, the first overnight stop, passes through rain forest and takes up to four hours.
Day 2- Mandara Hut 2720m – Horombo Hut 3720m
5-6 hours trek – 11 km
Montane forest, heather & moorland zone
From Mandara Hut the trail passes through a short stretch of forest and skirts the base of Maundi Crater, crosses a meadow and a wooded stream, then emerges into grassland. It is well worth the short detour to scramble up to the rim of Maundi Crater for a superb view of the mountain and its surroundings. The trail crosses numerous moorland ravines before ending at Horombo Hut, which is set in a rocky valley with a fine stand of giant sceneries or groundsels. Leaving behind the forest and following the ascending path through alpine meadows on to the slopes of Mawenzi. Horombo Hut is reached after about six hours and is 11km from Mandara.
Day 3 – Horombo Hut (3,720 meters) to Kibo Hut (4,700 meters)
Distance – 10 km
Trekking Time – 5-7 hours
Zone – Low alpine zone / High alpine zone
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. You will pass the last water point at 4,130 meters. From here you cross the Saddle of Mt. Kilimanjaro which is an alpine desert. 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 4700m – Summit Uhuru peak 5895m – Horombo Hut 3720m
12-16 hours trek – 21 km
Alpine desert, snow, heather & moorland
The trail to the summit lies directly behind Kibo Hut, to the west. It is normal to start this day’s climb at 2 am or earlier. (The reason for this is to see the sun rise over Mawenzi from the top of Kibo, the loose stone scree is frozen- making it easier to climb, and you can get back in good time). The first part is an uneven trail, which leads to the Hans Meyer Cave, a good rest point. After that, the trail makes more regular switchbacks most of the way to the top, with a last scramble over rocks to Johannes Notch and Gillmans Point. From there, the trail continues along the rim past Stella Point to Uhuru Peak. An early (2.00am) start to make the steep and demanding final ascent through the snow. By daybreak you should be at the rim of the crater at 5,685m. Time and weather permitting the final push to Uhuru Peak should take about 45 minutes. At the top there are stunning views of the ice walls offset by rugged rocks. After a fast descent to Kibo Hut for a meal and rest continue descend to Horombo Hut.
Day 5 – Horombo Hut 3720m – Marangu gate 1860m
5-6 hours trek – 12 km
An easy descent to Marangu Gate then transfers to Moshi to your Hotel for celebrations.
Recommended additional day for acclimatization Horombo Hut 3720m is on day 3 of the 6 days climb (trekkers can walk to Zebra rocks 3980m and Mawenzi saddle 4350m taking about 4-5 hrs).