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HISTORY OF MARANGU HOTEL

HISTORY OF MARANGU HOTEL

Our Story

On the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, is where you find our beautiful hotel and the place we call home. Marangu Hotel is situated in lush gardens, with many species of trees and flowers and a magnificent view of Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Marangu Hotel was originally a farmhouse, built in the early 1900s, which developed over time into a guesthouse for travelers and then one of the first ever Kilimanjaro climbing organizers. Marangu Hotel’s mission has always been to support the local economy and to operate an ethical and sustainable tourism company.

We provide our guests with the very best Kilimanjaro guides, who have decades of experience and have your safety, health and the treatment of the mountain as their top priorities. We use top quality mountaineering equipment and gear, and we do safety checks before and after every climb.

We are passionate about Mount Kilimanjaro, and it has been our sole focus for over 90 years. We would love an opportunity to help you achieve your dreams of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, which is a truly life changing experience. Come join us in Marangu and be part of the Marangu Hotel family.

History of Marangu Hotel

Our guests come for the mountain, but end up falling in love with Marangu Hotel’s rich history and stories! Marangu Hotel was one of the first outfitters and we have been organizing climbs of Kilimanjaro since 1932.

During the last decade of the nineteenth century in the German colony known as German East Africa, Christian missions were active in building churches, schools and hospitals on Kilimanjaro.

Martin Lany, a young tradesman from the country later known as Czechoslovakia, and his wife Emma and their children, took a ship  to Mombasa, Kenya. From Mombasa, they travelled by oxwagon across the plains of Tsavo, a perilous journey where they lost many oxen to lion attacks before settling in Marangu, Tanzania. The Lany family bought land from Chief Marealle of Marangu and established a coffee farm. Erika, Martin and Emma’s second youngest, was born in Marangu right where the hotel’s office now stands!


In the early 1930s, declining world coffee prices drove the Lany’s to adjust their business direction by turning their home into an inn for guests. At that time, Moshi was a large hub in East Africa and Marangu Hotel was located on the main road between Nairobi and Moshi. The Marangu Hotel family also soon became one of the first outfitters for organized climbs of Kilimanjaro.

Marangu Hotel Family
MaranguHotel_Kilimanjaro
Marangu Hotel Management

In 1951, Frank Brice-Bennett, who had been a district officer in the region in the 1920s and 30s, brought his family by road from northern Nigeria and settled in Marangu. This soon sparked a partnership between the two families that lasted 50 years. Frank’s wife, Margaret (Peggy) and Martin’s daughter, Erika became best friends and business partners and together ran Marangu Hotel and its climbing operations. With the advent of commercial aviation, Kilimanjaro started becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination and together the two women pioneered the Kilimanjaro outfitting industry. 

The rest of the coffee farm was divided among villagers and other community organizations in Marangu and the remaining 12 acres of beautiful gardens are where Marangu Hotel is located.

Preceding the deaths of Erika and Peggy in the 1990s, Peggy’s children, Desmond, Fionnuala and Seamus 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, we’re committed to maintaining and building upon a long-established tradition of hospitality, comfort, professionalism and safety in the hotel and on the mountain. Marangu Hotel is committed to the development of the Marangu area and its people, from whom our guides, porters and hotel workers are employed; many of whom have worked with the hotel for several decades.

Come Be a Part Of Our History & Family