DURATION 6 DAYS 5 NIGHTS
This is the most popular and easiest way to the summit approaching from the southeast side of Kilimanjaro. The trail has huts along its route with all the basic necessities. No technical skills are required for this six-day trek. 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 that there is no different route for descending.
Marangu gate – Mandara Hut 2700m
Hiking time: 3-4 hours
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.
Mandara Hut – Horombo Hut 3720m
Hiking time: 5-6 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.
Hiking time: 4 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
From Horombo Hut you take the so called upper route to the zebra rocks. Here you have reached 4000m (1.5h). You keep on walking up to the saddle which lies in-between the two major peaks of Kilimanjaro, Kibo and Mawenzi. From here you have a good view across the Kibo desert. You also see the track which leads you to Gilmans Point on the next day. You will return to Horombo Hut for Lunch and have the afternoon to relax.
Horombo Hut – Kibo Hut 4700 m
Hiking time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
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: 10-12
Habitat: Ice-capped summit
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 to descend to Horombo Hut
Horombo – Marangu gate 1830m
Hiking time: 5 hours
An easy descent to Marangu Gate then transfers to Moshi. Dinner and celebration!!
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).