Kilimanjaro Climbing Marangu Route Trekking Total hiking distance: About 96 km’s (Excluding any acclimatisation hike)
Affectionately known as the “Coca-Cola route”, Marangu route is by far the most popular route to the summit of Kilimanjaro. This could partly be as a result of the fact that the Marangu is the least expensive route, but more so, perhaps the fact that it is possible to do the Marangu route in 5 days, thereby getting to the summit one day earlier than on the Machame route. This is not always the best way due to a shorter acclimatization period. The Marangu route does however offer you the option of spending an extra acclimatization day on the mountain. This extends the route to a 6-day march, greatly increasing your chances of success. Hut accommodation on the Marangu route forms one of the main differences, compared to the other routes. It offers you the relative luxury of being able to sleep in huts along the entire route. Mineral water, soft drinks, chocolates and beers are also sold at all the camps on this route. All your equipment and supplies are portered and a cook prepares all your meals.
For the 5-day route, simply exclude the additional acclimatization day at Horombo hut – day 3 on the itinerary below.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on the Marangu Route
The oldest route on Mount Kilimanjaro, the Marangu route, is also known as the “Tourist Route” or “Coca Cola Route“.
And you may have heard that “of all routes up Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Marangu route is the easiest, cheapest and by far the most popular.“
Only one of the statements is true: climbing Kilimanjaro on the Marangu route is the cheapest option.
The Marangu route is not the most popular route any more. It has been surpassed by the Machame Route.
And I disagree with the statement that the Marangu Route is the easiest because it is misleading. It maybe the easiest trip to organise, have the widest, most comfortable path to walk on and offer hut accommodation, but that does NOT make it easier to reach the summit.
Marangu Route Itinerary
(Note: altitudes and distances are approximations. Different sources will give you different numbers.)
Starting Point: Marangu Gate (1860 m/6100 ft)
Duration: 5 days (acclimatization day can be added at Horombo)Day 1 – Marangu Gate (1860 m/6100 ft) – Mandara Huts (2700m/8860 ft)
Walking distance: 8 km/5 miles
Walking time: 3-4 hours
Altitude gain: 840 m/2760 ft
Day 2 – Mandara Huts – Horombo Huts (3700 m/12140 ft)
Walking distance: 12 km/7.2 miles
Walking time: 5-7 hours
Altitude gain: 1000 m/3280 ft
Day 3 – Horombo Huts – Kibo Huts (4700 m/15420 ft)
Walking distance: 9.5 km/5.7 miles
Walking time: 5-7 hours
Altitude gain: 1000 m/3280 ft
Day 4 – Summit attempt via Gilman’s Point (5700 m/18700 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5895 m/19340 ft) and descent to Horombo Huts (3700 m/12200 ft)
Walking distance: 5.5 km/3.5 miles ascent + 15 km/9.5 miles descent
Walking time: 5-6 hrs + 1-2 hours up, 5-6 hours down (the overall walking time may vary from 10 – 16 hours)
Altitude gain: 1000 m/ 3280 ft (Gilman’s Point) or 1195 m/3920 ft (Uhuru Peak)
Descent: 2195 m/7200 ftDay 5 – Horombo Huts – Marangu Gate
Walking distance: 20 km/12.5 miles
Walking time: 5 hours
Descent: 1840 m/6040 ft
Marangu route distance
- Distance: The Marangu route is 72 kilometres (45 miles).
- Location: The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the southeast. The trail itself starts at Marangu gate.
- Height: The route reaches the summit of Kilimanjaro at the Uhuru peak reaching a height of 5,895 metres (19,341 feet).
- Trail conditions: During the hike, you will travel through misty forests, moorlands, a desertlike alpine area in the Saddle, and rocky paths and snow when you are near the summit.
As for scenery, of course, the Marangu route is still breathtakingly beautiful. However, it is considered to be less scenic, as the ascent and descent travel along the same path and is sometimes crowded.
The trail is well maintained due to its popularity and will have you travelling through forests or the Saddle (a high-altitude desert) before reaching the Kibo Hut.
Marangu route huts
The route itself also attracts novice hikers or trekkers who are looking to enjoy the luxury of sleeping in dormitory-style hut accommodation, and this is the only trail which offers this type of comfort.
The huts in this route are:
- Mandara Hut
- Horombo Hut
- Kibo Hut
Before you start planning your trek, don’t be tricked into thinking that a solid roof over your head makes this journey any easier. In the huts, everything is communal; from the basic washrooms to the showers and the dining halls.
Aside from the added bonus of hut facilities on the trail, many hikers and trekkers opt for the Marangu route because it is considered to be the easiest route on Kilimanjaro thanks to its gentle slope and direct path. Don’t forget though, as we mentioned earlier, the short time frame adds to the difficulty.
Marangu route 6-day itinerary
The Marangu route can take anywhere between 5-6 days to complete. However, it is suggested to avoid the 5-day trek as the quick ascent may reduce your chances of reaching the summit.
The main itinerary difference between the Marangu 5-day and 6-day route is the additional acclimatization day.
Previous trekking experience is highly recommended, as the days will feature 6-8 hours hiking with daily ascents of 900m to 1,000m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 1,100m to 1,200m.
You will need complete confidence in your ability to trek for many days over difficult terrain. Extremes of altitude and weather may be encountered and a degree of physical and mental stamina will be essential to complete the hike as the days will be tiring.