The Marangu route takes you at a gentle pace through forests, moorlands and then across The Saddle, a high-altitude desert separating the main summit, Kibo 5896 m from craggy Mawenzi, 5149 m to Kibo Hut. From here an early start is made for the ascent to Uhuru Point (the highest top of Kibo). The path zig-zags up steep scree which is easier to climb when frozen. The views from the crater rim at Gillman's Point at dawn can be spectacular. Uhuru Peak lies a further 1h 30min.
Accommodation on the mountain is in comfortable huts. You will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes and walking poles. This is a tough walking trip but within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. An extra day for acclimatisation to the altitude is recommended at Horombo from where there are various walks to enjoy.
Day 1: Marangu Gate - Mandara Hut. Leaving Marangu Gate (1980 m) we trek on a wide track to our first night through exotic rain forest and giant heathers. If we are lucky we may spot families of Columbus monkeys in the trees. We walk for 6 hours ascending 700 m to Mandara Huts at 2700 m. Dinner and overnight at the hut.
Day 2: Mandara Hut - Horombo Hut. We continue our trek through the forest eventually reaching an area of heather, which then turns into moorland. When you get to this stage you will get your first good view of snow capped Kibo and its jagged sister Mawenzi. Camp is at Horombo Hut (3700 m). During the day we will have walked about 11 km which will take 5-7 hours and we will have ascended 1000 m.
Day 3: Horombo Hut. Today is a rest day for acclimatization purposes however for those who wish we can walk up to The Saddle which is the strip of land between Mawenzi and Kibo with good views.
Day 4: Horombo Hut - Kibo Hut. We carry on up and cross the Saddle to Kibo Hut (4700 m), which is more basic than the two huts we've stayed in up till now. The walk is over a fairly barren moonscape though the views of Kibo ahead and Mawenzi behind can be stunning when set against a crystal blue sky. The walk is about 10 km will take 5-7 hrs and we will ascend 1000 m.
Day 5: Kibo Hut - Uhuru Peak - Horombo Hut. This is an extremely long and challenging day, walking up to 16 hrs. We get up shortly after midnight and climb Kibo for about 6 hrs to Oilman's point (5680 m) on the rim of the volcanic crater for sunrise. If the day is clear there are spectacular views over the savannah plains with the possibility of seeing Mt Kenya some 360 km away. We then continue across the snow around the rim for a further 2 hrs for the final push to Uhuru Peak (5895 m) - Africa's highest point. It is a hard hike, but is well worth it to see the glaciers and have your photo taken with a sign confirming your achievement. If you reach Uhuru you will have walked about 4 km for about 7 - 81/2 hours and ascended 1200 m. We go down the way we came back to Gillman's then onto Kibo and then all the way back to Horombo Huts where we will spend another night. This will be another 14 km, which will take 41/2 to 7 hrs and will have descended 2200 m.
Day 6: Horombo - Marangu Gate. We retrace our steps with Mandara Hut being a good place to break for lunch. Transport will be waiting at Marangu gate for the journey back to our hotel. Gala dinner and overnight.
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Africa Tanzania Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Mountain/Rock Climbing