The drive from Moshi to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate, takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Marangu, which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. Once you reach the park gate, all hikers are requested to sign in at the Park office and make their final preparations for the climb. Porters will be seen arranging and loading their packs, containing the food, water, cooking gas as well as most of your equipment. Make sure that you have all your daypack items (containing at least drinking water, your lunch pack and extra clothing) with you, as the porters ascend a lot quicker than the hikers.
Our guides will be available to assist with any additional information or needs you might have. You now leave the Park gate and ascend on a cleared ridge trail through the rain forest. The forest, suffused with mist and dripping with beards of moss, is also where most of Kilimanjaro’s animals are found.
An alternative and more scenic parallel forest trail branches off to the left a few minutes after the gate. This trail follows the edge of a stream through the undergrowth and offers you the option to rejoin the main trail either after 1.5 hours hiking, or 1 hour before Mandara hut.
Your first night stop, Mandara hut, consisting of a group of wooden A-framed huts in a forest clearing. Each hut features 6-8 sleeping bunks with solar generated lighting. The total capacity of the camp is 60 climbers. Water is piped into the camp from springs above and there are flush toilets behind the main hut. Dinner is prepared by our cook and served in a communal dining mess.
Day 2: Mandara hut (2715m) – Horombo hut (3705m) Hiking time: 6h
Distance: Approximately 11.6 km Habitat: Moorland
From Mandara hut the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, skirts the base of the Maundi Crater and then emerges into the transition from rainforest to moorland. It is well worth a short detour to scramble up the rim of the Maundi Crater for your first really impressive view of the Kibo Crater. On a clear day, Kibo will glimmer in the distance, showing off her majestic glaciers in the morning sun.
Once you are in the open moorland you will get the chance to see some of Kilimanjaro’s most spectacular plants – the endemic giant lobelia which grows up to 3 m in height and the giant groundsel (Senecia Kilimanjari), which can reach heights of 5m! After about 6 hours trek from here, you reach the Horombo hut, where you will have a hot bowl of washing water, rest; an evening meal and overnight.
Day 3: Horombo hut (3705m) – Acclimatisation day
Horombo hut is a village of huts perched on a small plateau, with buildings similar to Mandara, but with a total capacity of 120 climbers! Horombo is normally bustling with hikers, guides and porters, with an atmosphere of adventure and excitement. You will meet both ascending and descending hikers here.