Marangu – or “Coca-Cola” – route is rightfully popular amongst Kilimanjaro climbers. It is unique in that it provides extra comfort with its permanent huts. Fabulous vistas of Kilimanjaro Mawenzi and Kibo peaks are an added advantage of Coca-Cola Route! Marangu Route offers 6 and 5-day itineraries, the latter being the way to go for experienced trekkers.
The 6 days Marangu Route itinerary with its longer acclimatization is preferable if this is to be your first climb. Those who climb Kilimanjaro on Marangu can look forward to a trek that covers the distance of 64 km (40 miles) with comfortable conditions resulting in a 92% success rate for the longer program.
Day 1: Kilimanjaro National Park to Mandara Hut
After breakfast and briefing, drive to the Kilimanjaro national park gate (about 1 hour), register and commence the climb. Walk through Rainforest to the Mandara encampment. A side trip to Maundi Crater is a good way to see the surroundings including Northern Tanzania and Kenya. In the rainforest, look for towering Eucalyptus trees, bird life, and Colobus monkeys.
Elevation; 1860m/6100ft to 2700/8875ft
Hiking time; 3-4 hours
Habitat; Montane forest
Day 2: Hike Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
You leave the glades of the rain forest and follow an ascending path on the open moorlands to Horombo encampment. Views of the Mawenzi and the summit of Kibo are amazing. Look for giant lobelias and grounsels. You may begin feel the affects of the altitude.
Elevation; 2700m/8875ft to 3700m/12200ft
Hiking time; 5-6hours
Habitat; health land
Day 3: Hike Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut
Ascending, we now pass the last watering point, walking onto the saddle of the Kilimanjaro between the peaks of the Kibo and Mawenzi vegetation begins with upper health land but then disappear into ‘’moonscape’’. Dinner, rest, and prepare for summit climb.
Elevation; 3700m/12200ft to 4700m/15500ft
Hiking time; 5-6 hours
Habitat; Alpine Desert
Day 4: Hike Kibo Hut to Summit, and down to Horombo Hut
Very early in the morning, commence the climb to the summit on the steep and heavy snow up to Gilman’s point located on the crater rim, and then we will ascend to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point in Africa. There are unbelievable views at every turn. Have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends and family. From here we descend, stopping for lunch and a rest at Kibo before continuing on the Horombo encampment.
The beginning of this climb is done in the dark and requires headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is by far the most difficult part of the trek with many switchbacks.
Going slowly ‘’pole pole’’ and optimistic attitude will get you there!
Elevation; 4700m/15500ft to 5895m/19340ft
Down to 3700m/12200ft
Distance; 6km/4miles up/15km/miles down
Hiking time; 6-8 hours up/15km/9miles down
Habitat; alpine desert
Day 5: Hike Horombo Hut to Mandara Hut
After breakfast, a descent takes us down through Moorland to the Mandara Hut. Continue descending through lush forest path to the National park gate at Marangu. At lower elevation it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help.
Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy). A vehicle will be waiting for you at Marangu gate to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 1 hr drive).
Elevation; 3700m/12200ft to 1700m/5500ft
Hiking time; 4-5 hours