Day 1 – Load Up, Head to Marangu

We reached the summit of Mt Kili Thursday at 7:45AM. 3-1/2 days to ascend top and 1-1/2 days to descend. It was an incredible experience ! Just thought it would be fun to give a few day-by-day highlights.

Hiking Time: 5-6 hrs 
Total Distance: 12km 
Starting Altitude: 1980m 
Final Altitude: 2743m
Habitat: Rain forest

We take a bus ride to the Marangu region, where we register at the National Park before hitting the trail. Our team of caretakers for the next five days sing us a song and we quickly head off.

There are many route options for those looking to trek Kili but we chose the Marangu route a.k.a. Coca-Cola route, which has a fairly fast pace at five days but you do get to sleep in huts rather than tents. There is just something about sleeping in a dry sleeping bag and having some (often primitive) facilities.


After registration we walk through a thick rain forest – no need for sunscreen today. We are able to dress in shorts and T-shirts, and as we ramble along we get the first good opportunity to chat with our guide, assistant guide and the two other hikers in our group. Boxed lunches are served and then, for the first of many times, we are told TWENDE TWENDE which is Swahili for Let’s Go.

Our destination today is Mandara Hut, a camp with A-frame sleeping huts, dining hall, toilets and staff quarters. The daily routine, after hiking is completed, is the provision of warm wash basins for a quick wipe and then an invite to the dining hall for tea, coffee and yes – even a tray of popcorn. A break follows where you can wander the grounds and chat with others who are also arriving. On the first night we did a hike before dinner for about a half-hour to “climb high sleep low”. Really just to acclimate to the elevation. Dinner and then sleep!

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