You may have heard of the Marangu Route, which takes hikers up to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. However, I doubt you have heard of the Marangu Waterfalls, which are a great attraction in the area before or after your Mount Kilimanjaro trek. Combine the short waterfall hike with a coffee tour or an exploration of the local Chagga cave system and you are set for a full day of adventures before your more serious trekking. The two waterfalls I visited on my hike were Ndoro and Monjo, and these are the most popular two although there are others to explore in the area also.
In this blog post, I will share with you everything you need to know about the Marangu Waterfall hike including the location, cost of the tour, and what to expect.
MARANGU WATERFALL HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike is 5.5km out and back (return trip).
Hike Duration: The hike to and from the waterfall should take about 1.5 -2 hours.
Hike Difficulty: This trail is quite manageable. Even in the rain, it was okay when we walked slowly. It’s a muddy road, which converts into a single-track trail and towards the end of the hike. The hardest part of the hike is the 100m or so of incline up the stairs when returning from the waterfall.
Hike Incline: 212 meters (return trip).
My Strava Map Upload: Marangu Waterfall Hike
WHICH COMPANY DID I DO ALL OF MY TREKS, SAFARI AND TOURS WITH?
I did almost every single one of my treks, tours, safaris, and transfers with Altezza Travel. The guides and drivers were always on time, the guides were well trained, they had high-quality gear, and offer a wide range of tours, treks, and activities. If you book any safari, tour, or trek with Altezza Travel and use my code JACKSON5, they will give you a 5% discount on the entire tour price. That offer is even for Mount Kilimanjaro so you could save a couple hundred on your tour if you book with Altezza Travel using the code JACKSON5.
WHERE ARE THE MARANGU WATERFALLS
The Marangu WaterfallS are actually known locally as Ndoro and Monjo, which mean ‘nature’ and ‘water always’. However, for location purposes, the pin on google maps is Ndoro Waterfall. There is another popular waterfall in Marangu called Kinukamori, but the is another adventure altogether. Before you reach the pin location when you are driving, you will see the signs on the road that will take you to the tourist office and sign-in center at the caves. Just 40 kilometers from Moshi, this waterfall is a great day trip for those staying nearby Mount Kilimanjaro.
BOOKING THE MARANGU WATERFALL HIKE AND COFFEE TOUR
I really like how this tour has been packaged by the local village. They have turned a couple of waterfalls into a cultural experience that was very enjoyable but also benefits different members of the community from the coffee farmers, to artisans and of course the local guides. I booked the tour/transit through Altezza and the tour included pick-up and drop-off from the hotel as well as a packed lunch. You can get in touch with Altezza to organize the driver and guide for this tour by visiting their website here: Altezza Website. If you do book with Altezza, use my code JACKSON5 to get yourself 5% off any tour with them even Mount Kilimanjaro climbs.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE MARANGU WATERFALL HIKE (NDORO WATERFALL)
This adventure to Marangu was actually on my very last day in Tanzania after more than two months of exploring. It was a great way to end the trip in such a magical environment. I began the day at Aishi Machame Hotel near Moshi and made the 1.5-hour drive to Marangu passing through Moshi Town.
When we arrived at Marangu, I didn’t quite know what to expect but a bunch of boda-boda drivers stopped us in the center of town and said we needed to have a guide for the waterfalls. They seemed genuine so a local man named David jumped into our van and we continued on towards the tourism center. David told us there were two waterfalls and a cave that we should consider visiting and it sounded like a good plan so off we set. He told me it would be 10,000 Tanzanian Schillings for his guiding services plus the entrance fees along the way.
It turned out the entrance fee for the main waterfall was $10 USD but also the smaller waterfall and the cave were $10 USD each. If you are on a budget just do the main waterfall as that includes the big hike. However, the second waterfall (Monjo) was pretty close to the main waterfall (Ndoro), so didn’t seem to be worth the same price. The cave and cultural tour for $10 was okay but quite short so only go for that if you are genuinely interested in learning a bit of history about the Chagga people. I did all three and it was quite enjoyable and can definitely recommend it but you can easily save $20 and just visit the main waterfall and still have a great time.
The first part of our tour was to enter the Chagga cave. This underground facility was built as a hideout for when the Maasai tribes would come to fight or loot the Chagga people. They built a cave big enough for 700 people to hide in and there are more than four kilometers of tunnels. In the tour, you will see how they added ventilation to the cave, stored animals, and how they used a code system to enter the cave. If you didn’t know the code you would be hit with the ‘skull crusher’.
We also had a quick look inside a typical Chagga hut. This is where the family would live and also keep their livestock at night.
After the cultural tour and exploration of the caves, it was time to go waterfall chasing. The hike is a 5.5-kilometer loop if you visit both waterfalls and probably just a four-kilometer out and back trail if you just visit Ndoro. The journey along the way passes through the forest neighborhood so you can observe the local dwellings and chat with some locals. There’s an abundance of fruit throughout the route with bananas, guava, and avocados in plentiful supply. David, our guide, gave us some fresh guavas to eat while we were walking.
Make sure to keep your eye out for chameleons on this trail. It’s a bit of a hotspot for these color-changing reptiles and we were lucky enough to spot two of them who were grasping to some small plants beside the trail. Because the sun was not out, they were dark brown and very well camouflaged in the shrubs.
After a couple of kilometers of easy walking, we reached the office for Ndoro Waterfall and began the steep descent to the base of the falls. This is really the only challenging part of the hike and they even provide you with a natural, wooden hiking pole to help you get up and down the steep climb. The trail was stunning on the way into the ravine and the lush, dense greenery had us transported into a Jurassic-Park-like atmosphere.
At the base of the falls, we were quite literally blown away. After a few days of heavy rain, the waterfall was plummeting down with extreme force causing spray to shoot back a few hundred meters from the impact point. On calmer days in the dry season, you can venture right up to the falls, but we admired this massive waterfall from a slight distance.
The second waterfall, Monjo, is nearby and takes just 5-10 minutes to reach from the top of Ndoro Waterfall. Monjo is much smaller but a very stunning spot with a swimming hole completely surrounded by ferns and vines. It’s one of the prettiest waterfalls I’ve seen in Tanzania. During the dry season or times with lower volumes of rainfall, this is a popular swimming spot and cliff-jump site.
We headed back via a quick look at the local market. My driver, Ombeni, bought an entire bunch (about 100 bananas) for $4. Not bad. That was the end of our tour and we headed back to Aishi Machame Hotel with our 100 bananas and an appreciation for the natural beauty of Marangu.
I hope you enjoyed this guide about the Marangu Waterfalls in Tanznia.
MORE OF MY TOP TANZANIA BLOG POSTS
For the mountain lovers: TANZANIA HIKING GUIDE: 14 BEST HIKES IN THE MOUNTAINS OF TANZANIA
The top waterfalls: 12 AWESOME WATERFALLS IN TANZANIA
Trekking Kili the adventurous way: CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO: THE WESTERN BREACH ROUTE
Tanzania’s second highest peak: MOUNT MERU CLIMB IN TANZANIA
Best place to base in Tanzania: WHERE TO STAY IN ARUSHA: 15 BEST HOTELS & LODGES
What to do in Tanzania: 25 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN TANZANIA
My favorite solo adventure: USAMBARA MOUNTAINS: HIKING ALONE FROM LUSHOTO TO MTAE
WHERE TO STAY IN ARUSHA
Most Luxurious and best overall: Gran Melia Arusha – incredible view of Mount Meru and premium 5-star luxury.
Where I stayed on a budget: Wakawaka Hostel– cheap, great location and chill vibes
Best value place to stay: Tulia Boutique Hotel & Spa – very cheap price but has pool and high quality facilities and rooms.