This beautifully situated hotel, on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, stands in twelve acres of mature, well laid out gardens. It has a fine variety of exotic trees and flowering shrubs. From the gardens there are magnificent views to be had of Kilimanjaro, with its larger peaks of ice-capped Kibo and rocky Mawenzi. The oldest peak on the mountain, Shira, is much smaller and heavily eroded. Its remains are best viewed when climbing via the Machame or Shira/Lemosho routes.
The hotel takes its name from the surrounding area. "Marangu" means "full of water" in the local Chagga language, and the lush green surroundings demonstrate the truth of this. The central hotel building was once a farm house, built in the early 1900s, and is of a charming, old world style. This is a family-run business, with the consequent attention to detail one expects.
History of Marangu Hotel
During the last decade of the nineteenth century in Tanzania, then the newly acquired German colony known as German East Africa, Christian missions were active building churches, schools and hospitals on Kilimanjaro.
Martin Lany, a young tradesman from the country later known as Czechoslovakia, worked in the new Lutheran missions teaching building trades. In 1907 he bought land from Chief Marealle of Marangu, brought his wife Emma from Mombasa by oxwagon, and together they established a coffee farm on the present site of Marangu Hotel, where the old farmhouse is now the hotel's central building.
In the early 1930s, with declining world coffee prices, the Lanys began to take paying guests and, with the experience and knowledge they and their children had acquired of Mt Kilimanjaro, became one of the first outfitters for organised climbs.
In 1951, Frank Brice-Bennett, who had been a district officer in the region in the 1920s and 30s and a friend of the Lany family, brought his family by road from northern Nigeria where he was then stationed and settled them in Marangu. They lived in the hotel for a while, and then they bought land nearby and built their family home on it.
There began an association of the two families that lasted 50 years. Frank's wife Margaret (Peggy) and Martin's daughter Erika became business partners and together ran Marangu Hotel and its climbing operations. With the deaths of Erika and Peggy in the 1990s, Peggy's children, Desmond, Fionnuala and Seamus, and daughter-in-law Jackie, in cordial agreement with Erika's heirs, became the owners and managers of the hotel and the climbing operation.
In recent years, hotels and mountain operators have multiplied dramatically, as have the number of overseas visitors. In this increasingly competitive business environment Marangu Hotel is committed to maintaining and building upon a long established tradition of hospitality and comfort in the hotel, and professionalism and safety on the mountain. Marangu Hotel is committed, too, to the development of the Marangu area in general, and its people, from whom come the hundreds of guides, porters and hotel workers, many of whom have worked with the hotel for several decades, the most senior guides for over 40 years.