Sleep in mountain huts during your trek and enjoy an included acclimatisation day at Horombo Hut to give you the best chance of reaching the summit.. Travelling with experienced guides – the best on the mountain – plus trained porters, you’ll be in good hands, with one guide for every two trekkers.. Passing through vast grasslands, giant cacti fields and alpine meadows, all against dramatic mountain backdrops, the Marangu Route is popular for good reason.. Hike Kilimanjaro’s climactic last stretch by lamplight and give yourself as much chance as possible to watch a sunrise over icefields from behind Africa’s highest peak.
Take on Kilimanjaro with Lonely Planet and Intrepid on an eight-day trekking adventure. This is the most popular and direct of the mountain routes and the only one serviced by mountain huts to provide protection from the elements. With one guide for every two passengers and a team of porters, all you have to do is focus on the incredible views and keep your footing, while the crew keeps you safe and sound. Hike through forests and alpine meadows, over rocky ravines and past lunar landscapes to the spectacular summit of Africa’s highest peak – the panoramic views from the top of Mt Kilimanjaro must be seen to be believed.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 6 Dinner Included: 7
Jambo! Welcome to Tanzania. Your hike begins in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Marangu. The hotel is a short walk from the village’s bustling market and some excellent coffee shops. It is also very close to some beautiful waterfalls and ancient Chagga caves. Please make sure you are at the hotel by early evening, as your trip starts with a full briefing and kit inspection by an experienced Kilimanjaro climber. This will take place before dinner, usually around 6 pm. In the event that one of you fellow travellers are late, the meeting may have to be rescheduled for the following morning.
Stop into one of the offices of the Intrepid Foundation-supported Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. Learn how various projects support the people who are helping you tackle Mt Kilimanjaro, making sure these hardworking individuals are fairly compensated and safe while they work. Not only will you gain an appreciation for the work of the folks who make the trek possible, but you’ll also be able to walk easier with the knowledge you’re supporting ethical trekking. Continue to Marangu Gate, the entrance of the Mt Kilimanjaro National Park (1860 m) and meet your guides and porters. With introductions and assignment of porter loads taken care of, it’s time to embark on the trek of a lifetime.
Your second day on the mountain involves another long hike over a slightly steeper stretch. The total distance from Mandara to the Horombo huts is 12 kilometres (approximately 5–7 hours). Today you will see the rainforest give way to open and rolling alpine meadows dotted with giant heather trees. Once out of the forest canopy, the twin snow-tipped peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi lie directly ahead. These are two of the three great cones of Kilimanjaro (the other being Shira). During the day’s walk we will traverse several ravines before reaching the hut, which is set in a rocky valley. There is time to enjoy a wide variety of vegetation and changing landscapes on the way to Horombo Hut (3780 metres). We will spend the next two nights here at the hut.
After breakfast, walk towards Mawenzi Hut, passing the unusual Zebra Rocks on the way. It’s a steep climb up a grassy slope, but well worth it: the views over the area towards Kibo are second-to-none. Afterwards, return to Horombo for lunch. Spend the afternoon relaxing and acclimatising to the altitude, or ask your guides about short walks in the area. Take advantage of the rest day here and drink plenty of water – the next couple of days will be pretty intense!
Kibo Hut / Mawenzi Peak
Today you’ll walk the 10 kilometres or so from Horombo to Kibo Hut (approximately 5–7 hours). As the journey progresses you will notice the landscape gradually becoming more rugged and rocky, and the air noticeably thinner. We will have to soften our pace a little to accommodate these environmental changes. Marvel at giant groundsels and lobelias while you travel across the sparse moorland. Skirt Mawenzi Peak and marvel at the stark lunar landscape of the Saddle, reaching Kibo Hut in afternoon (4740 m), take the opportunity to have an early night in preparation for a very early (or late?) wake-up call.
Uhuru Peak / Horombo Hut
Your guides will wake you up at 11 pm and hot tea will be served. Prepare for the last leg of the trek – to the summit. The distance from Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak is six kilometres (approximately 6–8 hours), and the descent to Horombo will be approximately the same amount of time. The trek begins beneath the stars as you zigzag your way up a large scree slope, guided only by torch light, to reach Gilman's Point (5685 m). With some luck, arrive in time for breathtaking views of the sun rising behind Mawenzi Peak. This is the stretch that most people find the hardest, and you should be prepared for a very cold morning. The dramatic spectacle of the sun rising over the ice fields of the crater will make the early start worthwhile. For those who still have the energy, it's a further walk (approximately 2 hours) along the rim of the crater to Uhuru Peak (5896 m), the highest point in Africa. From here there are amazing views of the crater, ice fields and plains below. After photos and time to catch your breath, descend back to Horombo Hut for a well-earned rest.
Continue your descent through alpine meadows and rainforest to the park gate. The distance from Horombo to Marangu Gate is 20 kilometres (approximately 5–6 hours). Here your transport awaits and you will return to the hotel for a relaxing shower – a real treat after the physical exertions of the last few days! Over a celebratory meal we can relive and share our experiences of the past five days on the mountain.
There are no activities or trekking planned for today. A transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport or a shuttle to Nairobi can be arranged locally – please speak to your group leader about this at the welcome meeting.