This trail is popularly called the Tourist route or “Coca-Cola” route, this could partly be as a result of the fact that the Marangu is the 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 than on the Machame route.
This route however offers the visitors the option of spending on extra acclimatization day at Horombo hut. Hut accommodation on the Marangu route forms one of the mains differences, compared to the other routes. All your equipment and supplies are pottered and a chef prepares all your meals.
DAY 1 – Marangu Gate 1860 m – Mandara Hut 2720 m
Habitat: Montana Forest
Hiking Time: 4-5hrs
Pickup in your hotel after finishing breakfast and drive from Moshi to Marangu National Park distance takes about 1hrs. After registration at the main gate, porters cook or chef and guides prepare and pack the supplies for all 6/5 days and your equipment and measure on the scale of Kilimanjaro National Park ready to be carried by porters. Make sure that you have all your daypack items (containing at least valuable things, drinking water and your lunch pack and extra clothing) with you as the porters ascend a lot quicker than the hikers. You now leave the gate and ascend through to the Montana forest. The forest suffused with mist and dripping with beards of moss is where by most Kilimanjaro animals are found. After 2hrs or 1 hour and a half you have to stop in the place called Kisambioni for a lunch. Kisambioni is a chagga tribe word which means place for washing. After lunch you continue to step up to the end of Montana forest start heather and Moo land up to 2720m in Mandara hut for overnight.
DAY 2 – Mandara Hut 2720 m – Horombo Hut 3720 m
Habitat Heather & Moorland
Hiking Time: 5-6hrs
From Mandara hut the trail passes through as short stretch of forest, then skirts the base of the Maundi Crater and then emerges into the transition from rain forest to moorland. It is well worth a short detour to scramble up the rim of the Maundi Crater for your first really impressive views of the Kibo Crater on clear day.
Once its clear the visitors have a chance to see most spectacular plants the endemic giant lobelia which grows up to 3m in height and the senecio Kilimanjari or giant groundsel which can reach the height of 5m. After 4hrs you will be able to continue to moorland area, and finish the steep of WONA MOUNTAIN which has simple desks and tables for lunch. After finishing a lunch break you start to climb for a 2hrs up to horombo hut, where you will have hot washing water, rest an evening meal and overnight.
DAY 3 – Horombo Hut 3720 m (For Acclimatization)
Horombo hut is a meeting point to both ascending and descending hikers. This extra day and night at horombo is for additional acclimatization for those who have taken 6days.
For those who have taken 6days and one day acclimatization they have a chance to go near to Mawenzi ridge passing zebra rocks on the way (about 4hrs up and 2hrs down) which is strongly recommended. This hike will further assist with the process of acclimatization. Remember to drink enough water and move slowly! All meals for the day are provided at the hut. Go to the bed early and get a last good night’s rest.
DAY 4 – Horombo Hut 3720 m – Kibo Hut 4700 m
Habitat: Desert Place
Hike Time: 6-7hrs
Early in the morning after finishing the breakfast start to ascend the end of the moorland up to Maua River, the Maua River is a place for filing all the water for use at Kibo hut because this is the last water point as there is no other source of water after passing through which is located at a picnic site with simple desks and tables.
The path begins to loop north between the Kibo summit on your left and middle red hills on your right provided the venue for lunch. After getting a lunch continue slowly for 3hours to desert place up to Kibo hut for preparation of dinner, rest and time to the summit.
DAY 5 – Kibo Hut 4700m – Gilman s – Uhuru Peak – Horombo Hut
Habitat: Desert Place / Summit
Hike Time: 10-15hrs
At around 23:00pm get some tea with biscuit and get ready to start to summit around 23:30 through stone and sand scree up to Williams point and get rest for approximately coming 3 hours to Hans Meyer Caves 4812m. After Hans Meyer Caves the trails are going zigzag or switch packs up to the phase of climbing rocks to the sight post welcoming to Gilman’s point for a 2 and half hours from Hans Meyer.
Roughly time to be in Gilman is around 5:30 am in order to have a chance of seeing the sunrise at Uhuru around 6:30am. This way from Gilman’s to Uhuru Peak is through the junction called Stella Point which is quite easy. After getting at Uhuru peak enjoy stunning of the walls then descend back through to, Stella Point, Gilman’s Point up to Kibo Hut for rest eating lunch and packing for going down to overnight at Horombo Hut. From Kibo to Horombo is about 3hrs down.
DAY 6 – Horombo Hut – Marangu Gate
Habitat: Moorland & Montana Forest
Hiking Time: 5-6hrs
After breakfast descent down to Marangu gate where you can have a chance to stop for lunch in Mandara hut. For those who reached Gilman Point, Stella Point and Uhuru Peak are awarded certificate at the main gate. Make sure you tip the guide, cook and porters according to the information that you were given by Mount Kilimanjaro Trails. Enter the car go down for the hotel and shower, celebrate certificate and overnight.
For those who have taken five days they have to follow this program up to day 4 then to Kibo hut instead of resting at Horombo hut.