Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 6. Horombo Camp to Marangu Gate. The final day’s 20km, 4 hour trek to the finish!
In September, Lady Lynne and I completed the 70km, 6 day Rongai route ascent of Kilimanjaro. This is our day by day recap of that walk.
Horombo Camp to Marangu Gate was our sixth and last day hiking to Kilimanjaro. Make sure you’ve caught up on the previous 5 days first :-
- Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 1. Moshi to Rongai Gate to Simba Camp.
- Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 2. Simba Camp to Kikelewa Camp.
- Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 3. Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn Camp.
- Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 4. Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp.
- Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 5. Summit Day.
Today our last day, day 6, we descended 1845m to the final gate, Marangu Gate and our exit from the National Park.
Horombo Camp to Marangu Gate
As I climbed out of the tent in the early morning, once again awaking above the clouds, I found it hard to believe we were on our last day!
We were disappointed not to receive our usual bowl of African Porridge at breakfast time. Indeed I wrote in my journal “no porridge boo!”.
That bowl of sweet African nourishment had become a staple every morning in helping us to warm up!
Still, there was a feast of pancakes and omelettes. So there was no way we were going to go hungry.
Indeed as you will already have read throughout the previous 5 days there was no danger of that at any time!
All of our team assembled just before our tents were packed up for this final group photograph.
It was then that we were treated to our team singing and dancing. Thanking us for coming to visit their country in their own tradional way.
I’m not afraid to admit that it was an emotional experience. It brought Lynne and I close to tears. These guys had looked after us so well.
We made sure we left a suitable tip once back at our hotel, to be shared amongst all of them. As is customary.
It was just before 9am that we started our journey downwards from Horombo Camp to Marangu Gate.
The Horombo Camp actually has lots of huts in it. They are the overnight lodges for the Marangu route ascent of Kilimanjaro.
Rongai route climbers (ourselves) camp beside these huts on their descent.
There was a bit more wildlife to see on the way down as we reached the heather and moorland zones and eventually the rain forest zone.
Our guides pointed the wildlife out to us.
I had to be quick with my camera to grab a shot, as with this side-striped chameleon (above).
Colobus monkeys can be spotted in the trees at either sides of the path and sometimes above your head!
These beautiful monkeys have a distinct black and white coat and a long bushy tail. They eat leaves, fruit, flowers and twigs.
If you are very lucky you might also spot a blue monkey, although they are more rare.
Further into the forest it was really lush with pretty sights like this small lake and waterfall above.
Despite having climbed the 4th highest mountain in the world yesterday, both Lynne and I made good time today.
For me it was the thought of a hot shower and a beer at the end of the day which were acting like a carrot on a stick!
After about four hours walking we finally reached Marangu Gate.
There was a bit of paperwork to get together to exit the National Park and to prove we had summited.
But the hanging about didn’t matter. It was warm here. Both Lynne and I luxuriated in the heat.
If anything the cold at night during the last 6 days and on the summit day had been particularly challenging. Perhaps more so than the actual climb itself!
The Marangu Gate is one of the entry points to climbing Kilimanjaro, the start of the Marangu route.
The Marangu route is the most popular route and the only route that offers hut accommodation.
It’s also the only climbing route that uses the same path up AND down. Therefore it can be the most crowded route on Kilimanjaro.
To be fair we must have come down it on one of the least busiest times as we only passed a couple of groups throughout our morning descent.
Our final lunch of the trek was served at the Marangu Gate sitting at comfortable sheltered picnic tables. Our team even spread the picnic table with our familiar tartan table cloth!
We were both quite hungry from our long walk and were looking forward to our final feast.
Lady Lynne was served with a plate of spaghetti, beans and chips. The chips were Lynne’s favourite. Can you tell from her expression? 😆
I had half a fried chicken with vegetable stew. Delicious as usual!
The drive back to the hotel was only a couple of hours and it was easy for us both to doze.
After collecting the luggage that we had left and our valuables from the safety deposit box we enjoyed some cold drinks with our guide Gilibert.
I don’t normally drink full fat coke but they don’t do diet coke in Tanzania. What a sugar rush!
Lynne had beer. I was saving that moment until I felt clean again after a hot shower!
Both Lynne and I received our certificates to confirm we had successfully climbed and summited Kilimanjaro. Then we said our thanks and goodbyes to Gilibert.
It’s still surreal to tell people that we’ve climbed Kilimanjaro. A major tick off the bucket list. We’re both extremely grateful to our guides and porters for getting us up and down safely.
If you’re reading this and considering climbing Kilimanjaro yourself then I say just do it! Don’t regret in a few years from now what you could have done.
Well folks that ends our epic 6 day successful climb and ascent of Kilimanjaro.
So what’s next? Well there’s a number of things in planning…….
If you enjoyed reading this then you might also be interested in reading and watching a short movie of us climbing Ben More and Stob Binnein in Scotland.
What a wonderful adventure you guys have taken us on. It’s impressive to see how many people it takes to service and guide such a trek. With such an achievement, one must ask, what’s next? Thanks so much for sharing your journey.
Glad you enjoyed reading through the last 6 posts Ron. Next year we will be doing something a little closer to home. Actually not that far at all just a couple of hundred miles away. We’ll be walking the Cumbria Way, through the English Lake District at the end of April and start of May. I’ve just booked up our hostels so we’re good to go!
Once again, the pictures of the surroundings are pretty! Congrats on finishing the last chapter of your trip. Since I’m never going to climb Kilimanjaro (or even something less challenging), it was very exciting to have read these posts. What’s the next challenge? 😉
Thanks Ben! Next challenge is The Cumbria Way at the end of April / start of May 2019. It’s not quite as mountainous but there’s still plenty of beautiful scenery to be seen along it’s 70 miles. 🙂
Well, I did enjoy reading about your climb. And you descent. If I ever go, I’m going to be carried on a litter or by elephant, and I’m bringing a personal chef.
Ha ha! Thanks Jeff. You would definitely approve of the personal chef that goes with you on the hike. Lynne had to stop me from wanting to go and see him cook, just so I would leave him alone to actually get on with his job!
Surreal is the perfect word here, Neil! I still can’t believe you and Lynne climbed Kilimanjaro. I’m sure that last day was quite bittersweet, but you have some great photos here to remember it by. Congrats to the two of you, and I can’t wait to hear what the next adventure might be!
Thanks David. I enjoyed writing up all the posts and re-living the amazing, as you say “surreal” experience we had. I’ll be writing about our adventures on The Cumbria Way next year, hope you can join me for that! 😀