Kilimanjaro Day Hike to Mandara Hut and Maudni Crater
It was late November, officially time known as low season for Kilimanjaro climbs and according to travel guides should have been a rainy weather, but it was sunny and warm weekend, perfect for some fresh air and some recreation in Kilimanjaro National Park.
A day before I was looking around Moshi for a private guide as I wanted to save some money and someone recommended Abu. Price was acceptable, he was free, weather was promising and I booked the hike to Mandara hut for the next day.
Equipped with my new hiking boots, camera and some water in my backpack, I was picked up in hostel in Moshi and we drove to Kilimanjaro park. My guide arranged all registration matters and the hike began.
Hike itself to Mandara hut is not steep and its easy to walk, but if you are not fit enough, eventually despite of easy forest paths, you will get tired. Since I am not an avid and enthusiastic hiker at fist place, it took me probably an hour more than average fit trekkers would need to reach Mandara hut – 5 hours up and 3 hours down.
Still, all the tiredness vanished the moment we reached Mandara hut on 2720 meters. But there is more. Another 350 meters more from Mandara hut there is Maundi crater. To be frank, looks more like a karst depression than a crater. The rims of crater will reward you with endless view of Kenya and your ears will hear nothing but sounds of the wind whistle and other sounds of nature. Pure tranquility.
The best thing about the November hike was – there were no tourist crowds. My guide Abu told me that once the Kilimanjaro climbing season starts, the trail we had for ourselves becomes swarmed with tourists and porters.
What to Pack for Day Hike to Kilimanjaro
- Most important is water and some snacks, guides usually include lunch box, so don’t bring to much food with you.
- Shoes – I was wearing massive hiking boots and my guide was wearing open sporty sandals, so this tells it all.
- Passport – every visitor needs to be registered, even for a day hike and Kilimanjaro park authorities require you to present your passport. No passport, no hike!
- Walking stick is always welcome!
- Some toilet paper or baby wipes – otherwise you will have to use leaves!
- Sunscreen and a hat for sun protection
- Layered clothing is the best for hike like this. You will start early, it will be chilly while at the time you reach Mandara hut it gets warm on a sunny day.