Day 1: Moshi town to Kilimanjaro gate – Mandara Hut.
We leave Moshi to Kilimanjaro gate – Mandara Hut. Take a short drive from Moshi or Arusha town to the Kilimanjaro Park Gate (1,830 m.) lies at the edge of Marangu, which is an attractive village with many small coffee and banana plantations. After completing the entrance formalities, we climb up through attractive and unspoiled forest to reach the clearing containing Mandara Hut (2,700 m.). The volcanic remains of Maundi Crater are nearby, and make a good afternoon excursion. An alternative is to rest and enjoy the beautiful forest. There is a rich birdlife at the huts and monkeys are often seen as well. [3-5 hours walking to Mandara Hut].
Elevation: 1860m/6100ft to 2700m/8875ft
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
Day 2: Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
We leave Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut The first part of the walk is a steep ascent through forest, but the path soon opens out into grassy moorland and, in clear weather, there are good views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. We climb steadily through the moorland zone, containing giant heather and occasional stands of groundsel, to eventually reach Horombo Hut (3,720 m.). Sunrises and sunsets here are often very stunning, the site is close to the glaciated dome of Kibo, and there is a real sense of being above the clouds. [4-6 hours walking from Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut].
Elevation: 2700m/8875ft to 3700m/12,200ft
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Day 3: Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut Through Desert Saddle.
We leave Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut Through Desert Saddle We climb very gradually towards the lunar desert of the Saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. The terrain changes to screed and there is a palpable sense of high altitude wilderness. We usually reach Kibo Hut (4,700 m.) at the bottom of the crater wall by midday and the afternoon is free (to contemplate the summit ascent!!). The remainder of the day is spent resting and eating in preparation for the final climb before a very early night! [4-5 hours walking from Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut]
Elevation: 3700m/12,200ft to 4700m/15,500ft
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Day 4: Kibo Hut to Summit, and down to Horombo Hut.
We will start our ascent by torchlight at about 1 a.m. so that we can be up at Gillman’s Point by sunrise. The initial climb is steep over loose volcanic screen, but there are some well-graded zig-zag and a slow but steady pace will have us up to Gillman’s (5,685 m.) in about five or six hours. We will rest there and spend some time taking in the sunrise. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m.), passing close to the spectacular glaciers that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent is surprisingly fast and we return to Horombo Hut for the night. [6-7 hours walking from Kibo Hut to Gillman’s Point]
Elevation: 4700m/15,500ft to 5895m/19,340ft Down to 3700m/12,200ft
Distance: 6km/4mi up / 15km/9mi down
Hiking Time: 6-7 hours up / 15km/9mi down
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Day 5: Hike Horombo Hut to trail head, drive to Moshi.
After breakfast, a steady descent takes us down through moorland to the Mandara Hut. Continue descending through lush forest path to the National Park gate at Marangu. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
A vehicle will meet you at Marangu village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 1 hour). Don't forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration!