The Marangu Route - Mount Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania
The Marangu Route - Mount Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro National Park Reviews
Don't use "Big Time Safaris" to climb Kili, but certainly climb Kili Jun 01, 2010
The on-mountain experience with Big Time Safaris was great, my guide was great, the food was great, etc, but the business side of things was extremely frustrating. We put down a deposit of 50% before the trek began, and we paid by credit card. We made it very clear that the second half of the payment would also be by credit card and were told that this is not a problem. Well, it was a problem, and the 4th person who we ended up interacting with (it seems like these trips take 20 people to organize and only a few to actually hike with you) threw a fit because he for some reason had used his own credit card to front the money for the other half of the trip and was expecting that we would give him cash, even though persons 1,2 and 3 all said we could pay by card no problem. So, we had to cough up cash for this dude, because he wasn't willing to let his own companies mistake result in him losing any money, so we had to drive almost 2 hours away to get to this exchange bureau in Arusha so that we could pay an extra $300 in transaction and exchange fees to get the amount of cash we needed to pay this guy. So he only got what we originally said we'd pay, but we had to pay a bank almost $300 to get that amount, and we had to waste half a day of exploration time as well. The office guy could barely manage an apology, but he sure wasn't sorry enough to cut us any slack for his own companies mistake. Our guide was obviously upset that we were upset and obviously unable to really do anything for us, but he kept apologizing incessantly and stuck around a few extra days to help us around Moshi and saw us off safely. Our guide was a great guy, but seriously, DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY, or at least if you do take care of everything all at once so none of this crap happens to you. It was a horrible end to an otherwise fantastic experience.
Part of the Africa Summer 2010 travel blog
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The "Coca-cola Apr 26, 2003
Mountain Kilimanjaro stands at 19, 340 feet and is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. It has three high peaks namely Shira (the oldest volcanoe peak), Mawenzi (erupted after shira) and Kibo (the highest peak). For the twenty thousand or more mountain climbing tourists who visit Kilimanjaro each year, it is apparent that it is not something they want to do by themselves. It is not possible to climb to any of the peaks without guides. I'm proud to say I'm one of a few people who has braved this mountain route (Marangu)4 times and Machame once. 5 climbs in 10 years feels righteous. Well the last climb was more than 7 years ago. I climbed the Machame route with a group of 7 German climbers. (I used to be a travel and tour operator).
Kilimanjaro is and has always been a guided climb, without a guide you are lost. It is the most dramatic and most adventurous climb on this mountain. This particular review is on the less difficult route – The Marangu, adventurous, dramatic and breath-taking. I will write a seperate review on the Machame (difficult) Route. The Marangu route is made up of varying vegetation zones giving climbers opportunities to feast their eyes on vegetation like they have never seen. The chagga porters are to be applauded for their great service in getting climbers luggage up and down this enormous mountain.
Climbing skill level: for the Marangu, there is no prior climbing skill required, however it is imperative to be in good health. If you have any health complications however negligable, I would not recommend it. At 19,000 plus feet, this is extreme altitude even for seasoned climbers. Minimum climbing is 4-8 hours a day, you must be comfortable doing so, otherwise you will not make it. There are rest huts along the way to help with acclimatization, nonetheless, being in good physical health is the single most important aspect of climbing, do not underestimate the fitness level, take time to train prior to going (I highly recommend hiking at higher elevation).
The Marangu route takes 5-6 days to climb and is about 96 kilometers climb. It is the easiest and most popular of the two routes (Machame and Marangu). Sometimes it is called the Coca-Cola route (not very sure why).
This is what the basic 6 days route looks like
Day 1: Marangu gate upto Mandara hut. Montane Forrest (5 hours climb)
Day 2: Mandara hut upto Horombo hut (6 hours climb)
Day 3: Horombo hut (this is a rest day or what is called the acclimatization day)
Day 4: Horombo hut upto Kibo hut
Day 5: Kibo hut onto Uhuru peak (Summit climb). This is a tough one, 6-8 hours climb. Cold, rocky and snow, but the reward is well worth it.
Day 6: Climb back down via Horombo hut to Marangu gate
Some requirements for Mountain climbing:
Sound Physical Condition
Hike atleast 2 hours a week in higher or steep trails to improve cardiovascular
Waterproof, breathable & windproof jacket (outer wear like Ventex, Gore-Tex or Jeantex)
Waterproof, breathable & windproof pants (outer wear)
Polar fleece (middle layer)
Thermal underwear (under layers)
Mittens or warm gloves
Glove liners (if necessary)
One pair thermal (polertex) socks
Balaclava and Gaiters
Thermal water flask
Raincoat or poncho
(If you use a tour company, which you should, they will send you a list for the gear you need). Or you can rent it and I think you need a minimum of $1500 (but this was as of 2003 when I last climbed, prices may have gone up).
Checklist of what you need (it is important to have these otherwise no climbing)
Valid Passport and Visa (visas can be got on arrival at the airport)
Travel Insurance/ Medical Insurance
Return airline ticket
International health card/ yellow fever
Do not forget your camera or binoculars, you will not see what you see on your way up the way you see it going up and coming down you will not see much because you will be desperately wanting to get back down.
Most of what you need to make this trip can be rented through Kilimanjaro gear rentals (it is much cheaper to bring your own though).
NOTE: Please do not forget to tip the porters (great people the Chagga), they do not get paid enough for what they do carry up and down this great mountain your luggage that you verily need to stay alive.
Enjoy, let me know your thoughts in comments below.
Part of the Tanzania travel blog
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