Mount Kilimanjaro Hike through Lush Forests, Grassy Moorlands, and High-Altitude Lunar Deserts
The moderate trails, slow ascent, and solar-powered mountain huts of Mount Kilimanjaro’s Marangu route make for an easy and fun climb to the summit, even for beginners. The nine-day, six-night guided Mount Kilimanjaro hike from ET African Journeys follows this route as it passes through forests, moorlands, and glaciers on the way to Uhuru Peak. This getaway includes round-trip airfare from Washington, DC, accommodations, and all meals along the trail. Click here to see the full itinerary and optional extensions.
Days 1–2: An overnight flight from Washington, DC brings you to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, where you’ll catch a connecting flight to the Mount Kilimanjaro area. Upon arrival, the group transfers to Springlands Hotel in Moshi, Tanzania, a short distance from the park entrance. After meeting for a late-afternoon climb briefing, the rest of the evening is yours to rest or explore the town.
Day 3: It’s on to the National Park Gate in Marangu, a village surrounded by coffee and banana plantations. Hike about three to five hours to reach the first campsite, a group of A-frame wooden huts set in a clearing. From here, you can visit Maundi Crater’s volcanic remains in the afternoon or simply relax in your hut.
Days 4–5: The first leg of the day’s hike includes a steep ascent through the forest, but the trail gradually opens up into a grassy moorland scattered with giant heathers, groundsel, and other intriguing plants. In clear weather, you can see the Kibo and Mawenzi Peaks off in the distance. This campsite is another collection of huts at Horombo, located about 12,204 feet (3,720 m) above sea level. If you look west, you’ll see a spectacular sunset.
Following an equally beautiful sunrise, the group climbs four to five hours to reach Kibo Hut, a stone blockhouse situated on a high-altitude lunar desert between the Mawenzi and Kibo Peaks. The landscape here is mostly deposits of broken rock, so be sure to bring plenty of water from the previous campsite. Turn in early tonight—tomorrow’s hike starts before dawn.
Days 6–9: Beginning at 1 a.m., a hike by torchlight puts you at Gilman’s Point just in time to watch the sunrise. You can choose to rest here or climb another three hours past spectacular glaciers to Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro’s summit and the highest point of the hike at 19,343 feet (5,896 m) above sea level. In the early afternoon, return to Horombo for the night.
On the final day of the hike, head back to the National Park Gate via a leisurely, downhill walk through moorlands and forest. Then, return to the Springlands Hotel for one more night before your flight home the following afternoon.