The Marangu (Coca-Cola) Route is the most popular route to trek up Kilimanjaro, and thus its name. The route done in six days is physically challenging for most people, because the time to acclimatise is short and the overnight trek to the summit requires mental and physical toughness.
The Marangu Route is 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.
The route done in six days is physically challenging for most people, because the time to acclimatize is short and the overnight trek to the summit requires mental and physical toughness. The trail from the highest hut to the summit deviates to a steeper, rockier terrain, and is challenging for most people. On this 6-day route, an extra day is taken at Horombo Hut (vs the standard 5-day route) to help with acclimatization.
Accommodation is in A-frame style huts on this route, except Kibo Hut, which is a stone building with separate rooms to accommodate climbers. All sleeping huts have foam mattresses and pillows on wooden bunk beds, and all dining huts have benches and tables for meals. All huts except Kibo have running water, and all have toilets.
MARANGU GATE (5,900 ft./ 1,800 m) ~ MANDARA HUT (8,860 ft./ 2,700 m)
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.
MANDARA HUT ~ HOROMBO HUT (12,200 ft./ 3,720 m)
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.
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 (4,600 m), along the way passing Zebra Rock, and the striking landscape of the moorland zone.
HOROMBO HUT ~ KIBO HUT (15,430 ft./ 4,703 m)
The day’s trekking will 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. (4,300 mt.), 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.
KIBO HUT ~ UHURU PEAK (19,340 ft./ 5,895 m) ~ HOROMBO HUT (12,200 ft./ 3,720 m)
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 (-12 deg. C) to –10 F. (-23 deg. C) just before dawn at Gillman’s point, at about 18,652 ft. (5,685 m) on the crater rim. The winding scree path of endless switchbacks will carry you through the night, and at dawn the spires of Mawenzi will be silhouetted against the red glow of the sun from beneath the clouds. 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. (5,895 m). 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.
HOROMBO HUT ~ MARANGU GATE (5,900 ft./ 1,800 m) ~ 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!