DURATION 5 DAYS 4 NIGHTS
This is the most popular and easiest way to the summit. The trail has huts along its route with all the basic necessities. No technical skills are required for this five-day trek. The trek can also be taken in 6 days/5 nights to add acclimatization with an extra day at Horombo Hut. The main factors that differentiate the other routes with the Marangu route are the permanent huts, which provide the overnight accommodations, and the layout of the walking trails. Marangu route is quite clearly the fact the fact that there is no different route for descending.
Marangu gate – Mandara Hut 2700m
Hiking time: 5 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
Transfer to the Park Headquarters at Marangu Gate for registration. From the gate, you ascend a cleared ridge trail, formerly a vehicle track 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 undergrowth. About halfway (1 1/2 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 (2700m)
Mandara Hut – Horombo Hut 3720m
Hiking time: 6-7 hours
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.
Horombo Hut – Kibo Hut 4700 m
Hiking time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
Distance: 9.8 km
From Horombo Hut there are two trails to the Saddle. The right fork is very stony and eroded and is the most direct route to the Saddle and Mawenzi. From the Saddle (about 2 hrs from Horombo), there are trails to Mawenzi Hut (hr) or Mawenzi Tarn Hut (2 hrs) and across the length of the Saddle to Kibo Hut (3 hrs). The left fork from Horombo Hut is an easier trail and emerges on the Saddle much closer to Kibo and about one kilometer from Kibo Hut. The landscape now becomes rockier and Rugged until the Saddle is reached. Kibo Hut is the overnight stay.
Kibo Hut – Summit Uhuru peak 5895m – Horombo Hut
Hiking time: 8hrs ascent -6hrs descend to Horombo Hut
Habitat: Ice-capped summit
Distance: 6km’s ascent – 15km’s descent
You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night, and this is where the going really gets tough. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5 681m), which is located on the crater rim. This section is very steep with a lot of stone scree, requiring a great physical and mental effort. Probably the most demanding section of the entire route. Do the Kili shuffle and move slowly.
From Gillman’s Point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895m), the highest point in Africa. Total exhilaration and satisfaction – you made it. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend, taking photographs, before the 3 hour descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest you gather all your gear you left behind for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours) for your overnight. The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly fast compared to the ascent. The total time spent walking on this day is around 14 hours, so be prepared for a very tough day. Later in the evening you enjoy your last dinner (with soft drinks and beer for sale at the camp office) on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.
Horombo – Marangu gate 1830m
Hiking time: 6 hours
After breakfast you continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. At Marangu gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m), receive gold certificates. You now drive back for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!!
Huts – Marangu Route
Mandara hut 2700m. This is a group of comfortable, wooden A-frame huts. The largest cabin has a downstairs dining area and an upstairs dormitory with bunk beds and mattresses; smaller huts sleep 8 each. The total capacity is 60. Water is piped into site from springs above and flush toilets are behind the main cabin.
3720m the buildings are similar to Mandara, but total capacity is 120. Water is piped from the stream behind the huts. There is a platform toilet southeast of the main hut; about 80 m down the slope and new flush toilets have been built within the complex of small huts.
4700m this stone built blockhouse with a small dining room and a number of dormitory rooms leading off a main corridor has bunk beds and mattresses for 60 people.
NONE so bring an adequate supply from the Last Water stream above Horombo Hut Plat form toilets are behind the hut (to the south-west).