Kilimanjaro. The name itself is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness, or Mountain of Caravans. Or it might not. The local people, the Wachagga, don’t even have a name for the whole massif, only Kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, and the summit of Africa.
Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) to Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft) Elevation Gain: 915 meters, 3,000 feet.
Leave bustling, colorful Moshi/Arusha early for the drive to Marangu Gate, the threshold of magnificent Kilimanjaro. It is just an hour’s drive, but you will be captivated by the countryside – coffee and banana plantations, through picturesque Marangu village, with Kilimanjaro rising majestically ahead of you.
We will register you at the Marangu Gate and then your adventure will begin.
At first, the ridged trail is narrow as you wander through the rainforest. It is lush and misty, with the trees adorned with moss.
The canopy overhead is alive with birdsong and strange rustlings – is that a colobus? Mongoose might scuttle ahead of you. You will also meet tired hikers descending from the summit. Give them a high five for effort.
The hike to Mandara Hut is around three hours so stop to rest your legs and have a tasty lunch at the Hut once you have replenished yourself, take the short but challenging walk to the Maundi Crater. On a clear day, the views to the east over Taveta and to the northwest ofMawenzi Peak are stunning.
Do not forget your camera! After basking in the beauty of it, you will hike back down to the Marangu Gate where our vehicle will be waiting for you to drive you, tired but happy, back to Moshi/Arusha. This Kilimanjaro day hike is suitable for most people, even if you are a little unfit!