I stayed at the hotel for a few nights in connection with Kilimanjaro trip in Sept./Oct. 2003. When I arrived at Kilimanjaro International airport I had already been in touch with the hotel and arranged for a pick-up. The hotel is located about 1 hr and 15 min. away from the airport.
The hotel is a former farm and it was built in the early 1900s. The hotel consists of several cottages and buildings and they were not that impressive at first sight. Some of the buildings looked a bit old and “worn out”. I shared a room with a friend and the room itself is OK. In the room we found a couple of beds that were a bit too hard for my likings, the room were not really well lit and I had trouble reading at night. In the room there were no air condition but the windows had mosquito nets so we could keep them open all night. Apart from that there was a little wardrobe with some hangers, a little desk and a bench. There was no TV or mini bar in the room. The bathroom had tiled floor and walls and had a bath tub that also worked as the shower (combined with a shower curtain). It was not always easy to get hot water and sometimes the water had to run for a few minutes before it started warming up. But on the plus side the water comes from a private spring :-). There were not any extras to be found apart from a couple of little soap bars.
Breakfast and dinner was included in our package. For breakfast it was possible to start with some fruit or corn flakes. And after this I got a plate with egg (prepared in different ways), sausage, bacon, and toast and served with tea or coffee. Dinner was a already prepared menu and it normally started with soup. From there it moved on to a starter, then to the main course and from there to dessert and cheese/crackers. It was normally a pretty filling meal and it was possible to take as much as one wanted. It was very tasty and it was really home cooking style food. And you don’t find many hotels were someone walks through the garden and rings a bell when dinner is ready to be served :-)
The hotel features a big, wonderful garden. It seems like everything blooms here from the smallest bushes to the biggest trees. Around the garden chairs and tables can be found so it is possible to have a cold drink outside in the shadow of a tree . How about having an ice cold Kilimanjaro lager while have a great view of both Kibo and Mawenzi on clear days :-) The bar is open all day more or less and for 1200 shillings you can get ½ liter of cold beer. The big garden is also home to quite a number of birds. I’m not a bird lover but some of the birds were impressive in color and sound.
Apart from this you can find a couple of souvenir shops located next to the reception. And if you want to cool down a bit it possible to jump into a pool. We tried it out and the water was refreshing :-) I’m used to taking a swim in cool water so I didn’t mind…but I guess some might say it was a bit cold. There is a laundry service at the hotel and I was very tempted to use it because everything was dirty after the trip on Kilimanjaro. But everything is air dried and there were not enough time to do this. But let me assure you: your boots will need a good scrubbing after trekking on Kilimanjaro :-)
But the best thing about the hotel was the hotel owners and staff. They were all so kind and so friendly and kept saying “good luck” and “don’t worry” before we set out on our Kilimanjaro climb. They all seemed to play for the same team and they were very serious about their business at tour guides on the mountain.
It is possible to use US dollars when you pay in the bar and the restaurant. And you can change currency in the reception.
I have no problem recommending the Marangu hotel as accommodation or as a tour guide when it comes to trekking on Kilimanjaro. The hotel may have a pretty basic standard compared to western standards but the staff makes you feel like you’re at home with their friendly attitude and their smiles. They seem to care for each and every guest and that makes the stay special.
Excellent hotel to serve as a base in Moshi for your Kili or Meru trek.
Rooms are standard size with clean large bathrooms.
Garden bar is open late. Beer, soda and tomato/cheese sandwiches are served until midnight.
Food is ala-carte for lunch and buffet style every night. Breakfast is again buffet style, with the choice of eggs made to order (try the spanish omelete, it's great!).
If you need anything, Layla at the reception wil take care of you! She's a whiz!
This hotel is situated in a secure compound about 15 minutes walk (3 kms) outside Moshi town. The hotel will arrange for a taxi into town and also local rainforest walks to look for Colobus monkeys if you so desire.
Cheap internet access available after 7pm or so until 10pm.
Hotel only accepts cash or TCs. No plastic.
Gift store is very pricey - dont get anything here. You will get much better deals either at the kili park gate or while on your safari.
Although we did buy "Kili - Just done it" T-shirts after our trek! Couldnt resist...
Well manicured gardens with an excellent view of the twin Kili peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi.
Nice big swimming pool with a garden bar that is open late.
Hotel will arrange Kili treks for you if needed.
Second shelter on a rout appeared to be even more primitive than the first one. Rooms are smaller, beds are shorter...
Try to avoid sleeping at the second floor above canteen - porters and guides have their supper at very late time. Loud voices and music from radio sets could disturb you if you are not too tired.
Huts on the way to summit are rather primitive wooden or stone cabins. Equipment is limited to two-story beds. Toilets and water supply are on the outside, though rather clean.
There are special houses for kitchen and for canteen.
This is the first huts on the rout called Mandara Huts.
This room is for 10 people, other rooms are smaller. Total number of beds is about 120, but booking procedure is not very precise, so do not wonder if there will not be any free beds and you will be asked to shere it with someone.
Many trekkers stay in Moshi, arranging and/or preparing the hike up Kili.
This hotel offers a quiet location just out of town, excellent food and very decent s/c rooms. The service is not amazingly friendly however but still OK.
From the frontyard there are good views on Kilimanjaro.
Cheap dala dala (minibuses) bring you to the centre of town.
I paid for a double room tsh 7000 ($7), single occupancy, including continental bf., dinners are about $3.
Although windy and, as a consequence, quite chilly, the Lava Tower Camp has a stunning setting right at the base of the Lava Tower. We suddenly had the sense of being right at the cone base with the summit towering over us. Plus, we could see right back to the area of Shira One, almost to where we had first come up.
We climbed the Lava Tower for a different perspective on our tents, and watched the white-collared ravens soaring around the cliff edges, seemingly enjoying the location as much as we did ourselves (the cliffs more than made up for the fact that our appetites were all less than hearty by this point).
The Lava Tower is an amazing structure, good for climbing or just admiring.
Shira One camp was the first of two on the Shira Plateau, and was far more exposed than our previous night at Mti Mkubwa. The camp was right out in the open, with a stream running nearby and a couple of outhouses sticking up here and there. We heard the wind howl at night, but the incredibly clear sky (with zero light pollution) was perfect for stargazing, while the moon illuminated the summit (which seemed remarkably/deceivingly near).
On the Shira Plateau, we got our first summit views of the hike! What an amazing dinner back drop!
Millenium camp was our descent camp and our final night on the mountain. It suddenly seemed like a five-star hotel, nestled in brush, with fancy toilets that had doors (but alas, only small cut-out holes). There were also great views back to the summit. This was where we took our official farewells from the porters, who sang us a song against this extraordinary backdrop.
The ranger at Millinium camp sells beer if you are feeling well enough to celebrate. We opted to celebrate at our hotel the following night (after a long shower).
After a day of walking across the Shira Plateau towards Shira Two camp, we realized just how far we had been from the summit cone - despite it seeming so close! This was a slightly more sheltered camp, at the edge of a slope. One of our group became ill here - altitude sickness or, perhaps just exhaustion - so we spent an extra night at the camp, acclimatizing and relaxing, with amazing night-time views down to Moshi and Arusha.
Great night-time views of the lights in Moshi and Arusha!
This was our first campground, and was crowded in comparison with some of the later campgrounds. We shared a small clearing nestled in the woods, with several other groups. Unlike many of the later camps, though, Mti Mkubwa is very well sheltered in among the trees.
Like most of the camps, there's a ranger station in the middle of camp: the rangers spend 10 days on the mountain at a time, rotating between different camps and have lots of interesting tales to tell.
Mandara Hut is the first group of huts on the Marangu route and sits at 2720M on Mt Kili. There are several huts for climbers, separate huts for the porters and a main hut for communal gathering including meal times. The location is at the end of the Rain Forest band and several species of monkey can be found including Colombus and Blue Monkey.
The toilets here are possibly the best on the mountain. There is a side walk you can also do which takes you around the Maundi Crater - it takes you about 1 hour. The huts have matresses and pillows - you only need to bring your sleeping bag. Lighting is also taken care of with solar panels attached to each hut charging up batteries which power the lights. You may want to bring a head-lamp just in case!
You will not spend much time at Kibo Hut as normally you will arrive here after noon and will get woken at 11pm for a midnight assult on Kilimanjaro's peak. The hut is split into 5 x 12 bunk dorms with matress and pillow for each. At just under 5000M, you need to be aware of the need to walk slowly when moving about including going to the long drop toilets.
There are also campers here from the Rongai route.
Kibo Hotel is over 100 years old and has many artifacts on display showing climbs of Kilimanjaro over the years. The hotel is located in Marangu and is in the medium price range for the area.
The rooms are ok with all bedding and items coated in anti mosquito spray giving the place a peculiar smell. Many beds have mosquito nets to give extra protection given the ever present danger of malaria.
The hotel has a swimming pool (avoid) and restaurant. The restaurant has very good priced meals (most mains are TS8000) and all meals that my group had were more than okay.
Security is in the form of a Maasai warrior who hides in the shadows inside the hotel - rather freaky at first though our man was very friendly even if his big pointy stick (spear) looked rather dangerous - I'm guessing that poison on the tip is still in fashion!
Be warned though that it's a cash only situation so if you want to eat & drink you'll need money to do so. For a couple of meals plus a beer or 2 you'll be looking at approx TS26000. If you don't have local currency the hotel can change $US etc though at a rather unattractive rate!
This was our final ascent camp, located right at the very edge of the cone, with only rock ahead of us. We were all tired and a little nauseous by this point - although to varying degrees - so the surrounds were somewhat lost on us. We were mostly keen to get on with our final ascent, turning in early and enjoying the camp, later, by moonlight!
Looking back on the camp from higher up, you will feel like the tents are on the edge of the earth.
Only stayed a couple of nights here, once before the trek and once after. The rooms are basic but comfortable so long as you arent looking for anything too luxurious. They are all ensuite and have mosi nets. The food was fine although the selection wasnt massive. They also have a good bar/pool area if you just want to sit out for a while.
The hotel is owned by a tour company so you can organise pretty much anything you want from here although mabe get a taxi into Moshi (20 mins away) and compare prices there. You can hire gear too but see my other packing tip on Gladys for a better place to rent equipment.
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