Kilimanjaro Marangu


As the popularity of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro continues to increase, potential climbers are often uncertain as to which route to take. Each route has its own advantages and disadvantages. When selecting the route, make sure it is the appropriate route for your desires, physical ability, aptitude and comfort level.


Marangu: Popular tourist route, approaches from southeast, easy, gentle gradients, beautiful rain forest section and moorlands, comfortable but basic hut shelter, poor acclimatization profile, descent on same trail.


There is no “best” Kilimanjaro route! It all depends on you.


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Available departures

Unfortunately, no places are available on this tour at the moment


Day 1:

Mountain Inn

Direct arrival at Moshi / optional airport transfer. Dinner, pre-climb briefing and overnight Mountain Inn.

Day 2:

Mandara hut

Breakfast. Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park gate at Marangu for the first section of the climb through the Mountain Forest to Mandara hut at 2.750m. Picnic lunch en-route. Dinner and overnight Mandara hut.

Day 3:

Horombo Hut

Breakfast. Leaving the forest, you trek along a good path through open grassy moorland to reach Horombo Hut at 3.700m. Picnic lunch e-route. Dinner and overnight Horombo Hut.

Day 4:

Horombo Hut (optional acclimatisation day)

Breakfast. This extra day is designed for acclimatisation. A hike towards Mawenzi hut, passing the Zebra rocks on the way is strongly recommended. All meals for the day are provided at the hut. Dinner and overnight Horombo Hut (optional acclimatisation day).

Day 5:

Kibo Hut

Breakfast. Ascend past the ‘last water point’ traversing the saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi until Kibo Hut at 4.700m. Picnic lunch en-route. Dinner and overnight Kibo Hut.

Day 6:

Horombo Hut

An early start (00:00am) for the summit Uhuru Peak, highest point in Africa at 5.859m. Descend via Kibo hut through the moorland back to Horombo hut. Hot lunch at Kibo. Dinner and overnight Horombo Hut.

Day 7:

Mountain Inn

Breakfast. Descend through the forest to the park gates at Marangu gate, to be met by our driver and transferred to Moshi. Dinner and overnight Mountain Inn.

Day 8:

After breakfast, end of our services


Day 1:

Arrival at Mountain Inn

Time (average): N/A
Altitude gained: N/A
Terrain: N/A
Transportation: Opt-ional airport transfers
Accommodation: Mountain Inn
Meals: Dinner
Summary: your arrival day before your climb

Direct arrival at our base hotel Mountain Inn in Moshi or request an optional transfer or extra day at leisure to recover from jet lag. Take room keys and settle in until dinner and your pre-climb briefing.

Day 2:

Marangu Gate to Mandara Huts.

Time (average): 3-4 hours
Altitude gained: 800 m
Terrain: mainly good path, may be muddy and slippery during or after rain
Transportation: Moshi to Marangu gate by vehicle / Marangu gate to Mandara huts on foot
Accommodation: Kilimanjaro Mountain Hut - Mandara Hut (2.700m)
Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch box, dinner
Summary: a gentle introductory half-day walking through the rain forest

Once your kit has been loaded, you will be driven to the Marangu Park gate where formalities are completed (registering with passport numbers and paying park fees) with the help of our experienced Shah Tours staff. From Mountain Inn the drive takes around 45 minutes, and it takes you to a 1.000 m altitude: the gate is at 1.900 m. Expect the gate formalities to take an hour or two: however if you are lucky it may be less. Trying to identify birds, flowers and trees may help pass the time. Additionally, make sure you have enough drinking water for the day and a packed lunch.

When you meet your guides and porters, try to remember their names and faces. They are about to become very important people in your life for the following days and by the end of the week you may think of them as supermen. Unless it has or is raining and the path is wet and slippery, this walk may seem disarmingly simple; nevertheless, maintain a slow, steady pace anyway, to help your body to acclimatise. If you need to leave the trail for any reason, be sure that somebody knows you have done so. If walking in a group, you may stop together for lunch at a half-way point, or alternatively postpone lunch until you arrive at Mandara Huts.

Normally this walk may take only half of the day, and there is plenty of time to visit Maundi Crater, a 15-30 minute walk from Mandara. This extra effort is rewarded by views of brilliant wild flowers and perhaps superb scenery of Kibo and Mawenzi (as long as it is not cloudy). A hot Dinner will be served in Mandara’s communal dining area prepared by Shah Tour’s supporting chef and other staff.

Day 3

Mandara Huts to Horombo Huts

Time (average): 5-6 hours
Altitude gained: 1.000 m
Terrain: good footpath with steady gradients
Transportation: On foot
Accommodation: Kilimanjaro Mountain Hut - Horombo Hut (3.700m)
Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch box, dinner
Summary: after clearing the forest, you walk across moorland with some great open views

After an early breakfast, you will begin the day's walk by clearing the forest and perhaps seeing spectacular views of Kibo and Mawenzi. The vegetation changes remarkably now, and at your picnic lunch (usually at the halfway point) you may see the four-striped grass mice, which are keen scavengers.

If it is a clear, cloudless day, you will be enjoying mountain views on a good footpath for majority of this day's walk. You may arrive at Horombo by early to mid-afternoon. If you and your group have chosen an extra day for acclimatisation, you will spend two nights at Horombo Hut, most probably in the same hut (however please leave your gear stowed tidily just in case). A hot Dinner, similar to Mandara, is served in the communal dining hut.

On the acclimatisation day, the saddle walk towards Mawenzi is highly recommended: the views of Kibo and Mawenzi are terrific, the ascent and descent (from 3.700 to 4.400m and back) is just what your body needs, and if you set off early you will still have most of the afternoon free. You will also be able to see Middle Red, West Lava and east Lava Hills, as well as Barafu Camp to the west. However, if you are nursing blisters or other problems you can opt out of the walk, or do it in part, to suit your energy level. At the very least, visit Zebra Rock, only a mile or so above Horombo.

Day 4:

Horombo hut (3700m) - Opt-ional acclimatisation day.

Time (average): 4 to 5 hours
Altitude gained: N/A
Terrain: good footpath with steady/steep gradients
Transportation: On foot
Accommodation: Kilimanjaro Mountain Hut - Horombo Hut (3.700m)
Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch box, dinner
Summary: Acclimatisation day at Horombo huts

This extra day and night at Horombo is for additional acclimatisation. A hike towards the Mawenzi Hut, passing the Zebra rocks on the way (about 3 hours up and 1.5 hours down), is strongly recommended. This hike will further assist with the process of acclimatisation. Remember to drink enough water and move slowly! All meals for the day are at the hut. Retire to bed early and get a last good night's rest

Day 5:

Horombo Huts to Kibo Huts

Time (average): 5 to 6 hours
Altitude gained: 1.000 m
Terrain: good path with steady gradients easing across the saddle (middle of the day)
Transportation: On foot
Accommodation: Kilimanjaro Mountain Hut - Kibo Hut (4.700m)
Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch box, dinner
Summary: passing through high semi-desert, you see some good views of Mawenzi and Kibo

The first part of the walk is similar to the optional saddle walk although the path bears off at a more north-westerly angle. Approaching the high desert of the saddle region, take note of how the giant groundsel persists wherever there is a watercourse. Fill up your water supplies at the last water point. The path becomes steeper, and the landscape becomes even bleaker, as you approach Kibo Hut.

You may reach Kibo Hut by early afternoon for a well-earned rest before the major challenge of the night’s summit attempt. Ensure that you purify or have plenty of drinking water for the nights walk, and pack it so your body warmth reaches the water, otherwise it will freeze. The most common mistake people make at altitude is not drinking enough water!

Before you start for the summit make sure there is enough battery and space in your camera and check or replace your head-torch battery. Pack enough snacks and morale boosters to see you through the walking during the night; arrange your warmest clothing ready for action, including gloves, hat and thermals. Then put your head down and sleep for as long as you can. If you cannot sleep then relax and think peaceful thoughts: your body needs to rest before the very strenuous 24 hours ahead.

Day 6a:

Kibo Hut to Gilman's Point / Uhuru Peak

Time (average): 6-10 hours
Altitude gained: 985/1.195m to Gilman’s Point/ Uhuru
Terrain: a steep, rough ascent on lose scree and rocks to the crater rim; gentler gradients thereafter
Transportation: On foot
Accommodation: N/A
Meals: Mid-night snack
Summary: by far the most strenuous stage of the route, normally attempted between midnight and dawn

You will be woken up around midnight by your guide to climb through the night. This is mainly because you need the time to try to reach the summit and still be able to descend in daylight. To reach your next night’s accommodation via Uhuru, you need not only to gain 1.195 m of vertical height, on a slope averaging some 27%, but also to lose 2.195 m. Additionally, in some ways walking down at night is easier as the scree is firmer when cold or frozen and the snow less slush in the early morning.

Before waking up, slip into as many layers of clothing as you have: you will be cold, perhaps very cold, to start with, but may need to shed layers after you have been climbing for a while. On the other hand, if a high wind gets up, you may become colder than ever, especially your hands, feet and ears.

Eat and drink whatever is possible. Check that you are drinking water and snacks are handy and that the water will not freeze. When your head-torch is switched on, take care not to dazzle others by looking directly at them. If there is moonlight, you may not need the head-torch.

The first half of this ascent is on a steep, winding rocky path. Try and maintain a very slow, steady pace: this may be less tiring than constantly stopping for shorter breaks. Make your stride smaller if need be, and don’t be afraid to hang back if the pace is too quick for you. Many people get into a trance-like rhythm, trudging up rhythmically through the starlight. The halfway point is Hans Meyer Cave (5.150 m) where you may have a slightly longer rest.

After Hans Meyer Cave, the path becomes steeper as it zigzags up towards Gilman’s Point. This is by far the most difficult part of the route: just plod on, don’t be discouraged by the way that Gilman’s Point mysteriously seems to recede. If you have the determination, and escape altitude sickness, you will get there in the end! If your feet slip back on the scree, try pushing harder on your walking poles and edge with your boots. As you come close to or reach the crater rim, the sun will raise your body temperature. Pause to enjoy what is generally considered the finest sunrise on earth.

From Gilman’s Point, it takes approximately another 1.5 to 2 hours to Uhuru Peak, although the gradients are much gentler and the terrain easier. There is no point in making a colossal effort to reach the summit unless you are also still capable of getting yourself back down. You may find that the achievement of reaching the summit gives you a rush of energy that sees you through this, making it perhaps the longest day of your life

Day 6b:

Uhuru Peak/ Gilman's Point to Horombo Huts

Time (average): 4-8 hours (including rest/lunch stop)
Altitude gained: 2195 m
Terrain: gradual descent around crater rim, then steep, lose scree followed by a rough path
Transportation: On foot
Accommodation: Kilimanjaro Mountain Hut - Horombo Hut (3.700m)
Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch box, dinner
Summary: many people find the descent hard on the knees and feet: don’t underestimate this stage.

This is the second part of the summit day which began at midnight with the climb towards the crater rim in the dark. Coming down sounds simple and easier, and most people underestimate it. Your chances of falling are always greater on the way down a mountain, and on the steep scree of Kilimanjaro, they are higher than usual. Walkers will realise that a descent can be harder than an ascent, with potential damage to knees and toes.

The figures are impressive: from Uhuru peak, you need to lose 2.195 m of altitude to reach Horombo Hut. Even from the crater rim, you have to lose 1.985 m. These are serious descents, probably further than you could ever attempt on a daily walk. Your body has to perform this task immediately after a night of unprecedented exertion at high altitude with no sleep!

Following there’s the terrain: although the crater rim walk is fairly straightforward, the steep scree is another matter. You may be especially glad of using two walking poles at this point. Observe the guides; they have a nifty technique of half-running and half-sliding down the scree: some people imitate this easily, others fall over a lot. If you fall, try to relax on your way down and watch out for the rocks. Don’t let yourself be forced into descending faster than you want to. The dust could create a serious problem for your eyes, nose and throat therefore protect your face or hang back (or both). The problem is much worse when you follow another walker closely.

On your way down Kilimanjaro, your knees, calves and toes may find it quite hard going. Before you begin, make sure your boots are tightly laced over the instep: the goal is to prevent your toes from hitting against the end of the boot, which can cause lasting numbness, especially the big toes, and may lead to later loss of a toenail or two.

Once you're safely down to Horombo, you will find beer on sale at the Hut. By all means enjoy one or two, but be aware that you are still at high altitude (3.700 m) and therefore alcohol will have around double its sea-level effect. It is additionally a diuretic, and may reduce your chances of an unbroken night’s sleep.

Day 7:

Horombo Huts to Moshi.

Time (average): 3-5 hours
Altitude gained: 2600 m
Terrain: Possibly muddy path
Transportation: Horombo hut to Marangu gate on foot / Marangu to Moshi by vehicle
Accommodation: Mountain Inn
Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch box, dinner
Summary: Reverse of your first two days on the mountain.

The descent here reverses the first two days' climb, with a lunch stop at Mandara Huts. At the Kilimanjaro National Park gate, before you depart, there is usually the customary tipping ceremony (if well-earned), and if lucky the supporting team will sing the 'Kilimanjaro Song'.

Day 8:


Time (average): N/A
Altitude gained: N/A
Terrain: N/A
Transportation: Opt-ional airport transfers or extension package
Accommodation: N/A
Meals: Breakfast
Summary: your departure day after your climb

Leave our base hotel Mountain Inn in Moshi or request an optional transfer or extra day at leisure to recover from the mountain climb. Safari and Zanzibar extension tours are also possible if you have a few extra days in Tanzania.



Price upon request.

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T's & C's

Additional Notes:

  • This is a proposal only and subject to availability. If components of this itinerary are not available at the time of booking, we shall endeavour to offer suitable alternatives.
  • Gorilla and Chimpanzee tracking permits are not included. Please note that
  • Gorilla permits of US $ 600,00 per permit in Uganda and/ or US $ 750,00 per permit in Rwanda and US $ 150,00 for Chimpanzee permits in Kibale, Uganda need to be paid together with the deposit. The price for these permits is nonrefundable, however in case of cancellation, we shall endeavor to resell excess tickets through the available official channels.
  • The appointed driver/ tour guide will accompany clients throughout the safari, assist them with check-in at accommodation and share his knowledge of flora and fauna.
  • A language specific tour guide is available against a surcharge.
  • A 4 x 4 wheel drive vehicle such as a Land Cruiser is available against a surcharge.

Where applicable for charter or scheduled local flights, the following baggage restrictions apply:

  • 15 kgs on all flights in small, soft-sided bags.

Abbreviations for the meal plan are as follows:

  • BB = Bed & Breakfast.
  • DBB = Dinner, Bed & Breakfast.
  • FB = Full Board.

Terms and Conditions of our Services Payments Deposit:

  • 25% of the total safari price within 7 days of confirmation.
  • Balance: full balance due 45 days (6 weeks) prior to arrival.
  • Reservations: made within 45 days or less prior to arrival: Immediate full prepayment due.
  • Cancellations: received within 30 days before safari date 20%
  • 29 to 23 days before safari date 25%
  • 22 to 15 days before safari date 40%
  • 14 to 08 days before safari date 55%
  • 07 to 03 days before safari date 65%
  • 02 days before safari date 95%
  • No Show 100 % Changes Without Prior Notice Tariffs quoted are valid for 2015 wherever possible.

Not all service providers release or guarantee their rates well in advance and therefore the itinerary price may be subject to changes without prior notice.

Factors that can not be anticipated and may influence this cost calculation include, but are not limited to, supplier increases (including gorilla permits and park/conservation fees), government tax increases, fuel price increases, unforeseeable itinerary amendments due to circumstances beyond our control, availability restrictions, etc.