There are few personal accomplishments more rewarding than the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. This is a 9 days Mount Kilimanjaro Climb on Marangu Route takes visitors to the Africa’s highest peak 19,340′, the mountain rises abruptly from the surrounding Savannah.Its apex offers no better sunrise as the plains below are bathed in golden light a perfect capstone to this immense challenge.
– Ascend Kilimanjaro, the Roof of Africa, and behold stunning views from the summit
– Climb the Marangu Route, seeing diverse ecosystems from rainforest to alpine desert
– Join a team of local African guides who help you accomplish this amazing feat
– Stay in wood and stone mountain huts along the way
– Extend your trip with a safari; unforgettable wildlife viewing is the perfect reward
Detailed Tour Itinerary
Day 1 – Welcome to Arusha, Tanzania, the gateway to the roof of Africa!
Your trip begins today in Arusha, Tanzania with a flight into Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO). We provide a group transfer to a very comfortable hotel near Arusha. Most travelers find they are tired after the long flight and prefer to go directly to their room to rest. No meals included.
Day 2 – Explore Arusha or just relax on our hotel grounds before our orientation.
Take your time today to adjust to life in Africa. You’re free to do as you wish until our 4 p.m. group orientation meeting. You can arrange local transportation at the hotel front desk if you’d like to explore Arusha town, which is known as the “little Geneva of Tanzania.” Set in the shadow of Mount Meru with impressive views of Kilimanjaro, Arusha was established in 1900 as a German garrison town. Or you might want to just relax at the pool and gardens or try the jogging path on the grounds. We can also arrange for a day trip into Arusha National Park for some wildlife viewing (added cost). Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 3 – Hike through bamboo rainforest to Mandara Hut, near the forest line.
We depart after breakfast and drive to the park headquarters. There is the normal hustle and bustle of hiring porters, signing in and beginning the climb. The actual hike begins at the park gate (6,000′) and we hike 5.5 miles up to Mandara hut (8,860′) near the upper edge of the forest line. The hike takes about 4 – 6 hours- a good time to start using your walking sticks. Our path starts off in a bamboo rainforest (keep your eyes open for blue monkeys) then opens up to hillsides of heather and temperate forests. If time and weather permit, a short walk from Mandara to Maundi Crater is certainly worth it. Lodging here, as well as at Horombo, is in wooden A-frame huts that sleep 4 to 8 people. All meals included starting with breakfast today through breakfast on Day 9.
Hiking: 5 miles, ~3-4 hours; Elevation gain: ~2,760’.
Day 4 – Enter moorland filled with alpine heather on the way to Horombo Hut.
Our destination today is Horombo Hut at 12,340′. It takes a good 5-6 hours to cover the 10-mile journey – altitude will slow the group down, and the trail is strenuous but not technical. Be sure you’re drinking lots of water (no less than 2 liters per day). We often get our first views of the Kibo summit today far in the distance as we pass from forest into high moorland. In addition, we pass beneath the impressive, rocky southern face of Mawenzi – one of the three volcanic peaks that make up the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Hiking: ~8 miles, ~5-7 hours; Elevation gain: ~3,280’.
Day 5 – Take an acclimatization hike toward the rocky Mawenzi.
Today is an extra day to acclimatize, and it is best spent taking the day hike up towards Mawenzi, gaining elevation so that this evening when you return to Horombo, you’re sleeping at a lower elevation. The day hike is through a beautiful landscape with unique flora such as the odd-shaped, seemingly inside-out giant groundsel. The trail offers inspirational views of both Kibo and Mawenzi. Birdlife is also abundant in the Horombo area. If you’re feeling really fatigued at this point, you can choose to spend the day at Horombo. Afternoon rains are common, so plan your day hike in order to be back inside the lodge with a cup of tea and good book by 4 p.m. And, after the rain passes, the sunsets are typically beautiful and the black night sky full of stars.
Hiking: 6 miles, ~ 4-5 hours; Elevation gain 1,820’.
Day 6 – Cross “the Saddle” to Kibo Hut with Kibo and Mawenzi looming above.
Today is another long hike, this time up to Kibo Hut at almost 15,520′. Although shorter in distance, this usually takes 7 hours because it is steeper, and the altitude slows everyone down. Keep drinking your water! The route passes directly up onto the Saddle, a wide, flat plateau with the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi looming overhead. The views here are fantastic! The last part of the trail passes across the plateau before a final ascent to Kibo Hut, a stone hut with rooms that sleep 10 – 15 people in bunk beds. We have a light dinner, a pre-climb talk with our guides and turn in early for what little sleep is possible.
Hiking: 5.7 miles, ~5-7 hours; Elevation gain: ~3,280’.
Day 7 – Summit day! On the trail before midnight, we make our way to the top.
Our guides wake us before midnight for tea and cookies and final dressing (in many layers) for our summit attempt. It can be bitterly cold. The guides like to have the team on the trail between 12:00-1:00 a.m. in hope of reaching the summit for the sunrise. Starting off, the trail swings back and forth up a steep scree slope while the line of climbers stretches out in the darkness, only visible by their headlamps. Placing one foot in front of the other and focusing on your breathing, the black sky infinitely above you, this climb is one you will never forget. Most climbers arrive at Gillman’s point, elevation 18,685 feet, in time to see the sunrise around 6:30 a.m. The views from the top looking down on the plains of Africa make it all worthwhile. Some climbers decide they have reached their goal and head down from here, a legitimate summit. Others hike an additional 2-3 hours to the true summit, Uhuru Peak at 19,340′. The descent from Gillman’s point is fairly rapid, taking about 2 hours. Most climbers take a short rest at Kibo Hut before descending to Horombo Hut for the night, arriving in the late afternoon.
Hiking: 3.5 miles ascent + 9.5 miles descent, ~10-16 hours; Elevation gain: ~3,165’-3,820’; Elevation loss: ~7,000’.
Day 8 – Descend from Horombo Huts back to the park gate for a celebration dinner.
Another long hike is in store for us today, but it is essentially all downhill, and our spirits are boosted by the satisfaction of yesterday’s climb. Back at Marangu gate, at the park headquarters, we pick up our certificates to attest to our success and bid farewell to many of our porters and guides. We transfer then to our hotel in Arusha (2 – 2 ½ hours), where it’s a welcome treat to take a hot shower, drink a tall cold one and commemorate the climb with a celebration dinner.
Hiking: 12.5 miles, ~ 5 hours; Elevation loss: ~6,040’.
Day 9 – Say good-bye to Africa or join our Kilimanjaro Safari Extension.
Today is personal time for shopping in Arusha or relaxing at the lodge. A day room is arranged for late check-out. We provide a group transfer to the Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO). Or, continue the adventure on our Kilimanjaro Safari Extension. No trip to Africa is complete without seeing its magnificent wildlife! Breakfast included; lunch and dinner on your own.
Notes on Itinerary
Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.