Kilimanjaro Marangu Route
Marangu is one of the oldest and most popular Kilimanjaro routes featuring a high percentage of total climbs. Popularly known as the Coca Cola route, it approaches from the southeast part of the mountain. The acclimatisation profile is mediocre which leads to a lower summit success rate. Otherwise, the route is overall relatively easy with little to no steep parts.
Follow Alice’s view
Whilst doing your research you may have heard that “the Marangu route is the cheapest, easiest, and the most popular route up Mount Kilimanjaro.’ This is an outdated view and we actually feel quite the opposite. The Marangu route is probably one of our least favourite Kilimanjaro climb routes. Whilst offering rewarding views from the Saddle (a high altitude desert), it is less scenic than other Kilimanjaro routes due to ascent and descent on the same trail.
The Marangu route is the only Kilimanjaro route facilitating dormitory like accommodation with mattresses and basic amenities. This makes it a popular choice for budget operators that don’t have the right equipment to offer other Kilimanjaro routes. We only recommend choosing this route if you really don’t want to camp.
✓ Hut accommodation
✓ Enjoy panoramic viewpoints
✓ Variety of terrain
– Shorter acclimatisation period
– Low success rates
– Less scenic
The Marangu route is for climbers who: don’t want to camp in tents and require less time on the mountain
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What is the scenery like on the Marangu route?
The Marangu route is considered less scenic than the other Kilimanjaro routes because the ascent and descent are along the same path. Despite this lack of variety, the scenery it does have is beautiful with rainforest, moorlands, high altitude desert and glacial zones.
How hard is the Marangu route?
The Marangu route has a popular reputation for being an ‘easy’ climb. This is misleading. Though it offers amenities like hut accommodation and is a comparatively shorter route, things that may make it seem ‘easier’, it actually has a low success rate. It actually has the lowest success rate of all the seven Kilimanjaro routes due to the speed of the ascent. This just goes to show that you shouldn’t fall for the promise of ‘easy’! This being said, though we wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Marangu route, it is definitely still achievable with the right Kilimanjaro preparation which includes an awareness of the risks. You should be physically fit, and with the right support in the form of your mountain crew, you can achieve the summit via the Marangu route.
What is the Marangu route summit success rate?
The Marangu route is one of the shortest Kilimanjaro routes which lowers the quality of its acclimatisation profile. Summit success is low. Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all Kilimanjaro operators for the five day route is 50%.
How busy is the Marangu route?
The Marangu route is a popular choice out of the seven Kilimanjaro routes because it is seen as an easier climb, given its gradual slope and direct path. It is therefore a busy route and can get crowded. If you want to avoid the crowds, this Kilimanjaro route is not for you.
What is the accommodation on the Marangu route?
The Marangu route is the only route that offers hut style accommodation. There are 60 bunk beds at both Mandara and Kibo Huts, and 120 bunk beds at Horombo Hut. Sleeping bags are required, though you are supplied with mattresses and pillows. The huts themselves have communal dining halls, and the washrooms range in quality; from flushing toilets and running water at the lower huts to long drop toilets and buckets of water at Kibo Hut.
How long does it take to hike the Marangu route?
The Machame route can be completed in 5-6 days. Out of the two we would recommend the 6 day itinerary. We find that the low success rate of the Marangu route is mainly due to unprofessional local operators taking people up the mountain on the short 5 day itinerary. This doesn’t give you enough time to acclimatise. Furthermore, climbing Kilimanjaro is not a race. Take your time, enjoy the views and most importantly, pole pole!
What is the Marangu route cost?
Follow Alice offers the Marangu route as a 6 day group climb or private climb. This package costs $2285 per person (based on double occupancy). This includes 6 days on the mountain and 1 day either side at our beautiful parter lodge in Arusha, Kigongoni Lodge. For more information on the inclusions / exclusions and more details about the trip, head to our Kilimanjaro climb page.
“The climb was tough, but as a first time high altitude climber I never felt worried and always felt like I knew what was happening.” Stephen Hemmings
6 Day Marangu Route Overview
Starting from Marangu Gate to the summit and back to Marangu Gate
|Day||Start||Altitude (m)||Altitude (ft)||Finish||Altitude (m)||Altitude (ft)||Time (hrs)||Distance (km)||Distance (miles|
|1||Marangu Gate||1,843||6,046||Mandara Hut||2,700||8,858||4-5||8||5|
|2||Mandara Hut||2,700||8,858||Horombo Hut||3,720||12,205||6-8||12||7|
|3||Horombo Hut||3,720||12,205||Mawenzi Ridge||4,390||14,400||2-3||5||3|
|Mawenzi Ridge||4,390||14,400||Horombo Hut||3,720||12,205||1-2||5||3|
|4||Horombo Hut||3,720||12,205||Kibo Hut||4,703||15,430||6-8||10||6|
|5||Kibo Hut||4,703||15,430||Uhuru Peak||5,895||19,341||6-8||6||4|
|Uhuru Peak||5,895||19,341||Horombo Hut||3,720||12,205||4-5||16||10|
|6||Horombo Hut||3,720||12,205||Marangu Gate||1,843||6,046||5-7||20||12|
Marangu Route Itinerary
The Marangu route first approaches the mountain from the west. Before the climbing can begin, you will leave Moshi and take a drive to Marangu Gate, the home of the park authorities and the busiest gate on the mountain. From there your climb begins; you will pass through various different climatic zones, including beautiful with rainforest, moorlands, high altitude desert and glacial zones. The ascent and descent are along the same path.
The Marangu route is one of the shortest routes on the mountain but should not be mistaken as the easiest
Marangu Gate to Mandara Hut
After an early breakfast, our driver will take you to Marangu Gate. Here we get recorded and enter the national park. From here you will make your way to the Shira Gate. Your climb begins here as you trek though the dense rainforest leading to an opening with views of the cultivation hillside. Your trail carries on to Mandrara Hut at where you will stay overnight.
Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
Day 2 of trekking through the beautiful rainforest. Soon, the forest gives way to the moorland terrain. Views of the snow capped Kibo and Mawenzi peaks can be seen from here. You will continue for 6-8 hours which will bring you to Horombo Hut where you will set up camp for the night.
Part 1 | Horombo Hut to Mawenzi Ridge
Your 3rd day on the mountain is split into 2 parts. This is part of the ‘climb high, sleep low’ process which allows you to acclimatise properly. This first part of your climb will take you from Horombo Hut up to Mawenzi Ridge. You will journey through the Heath zone of Kilimanjaro on this leg of the day.
Part 2 | Mawenzi Ridge to Horombo Hut
Once you have reached Mawenzi Ridge, you will spend some time here taking in the breathtaking views before heading back down to Horombo Hut. This is where you will ‘sleep low’.
Horombo Hut to Kimbo Hut
Today we make our way to what is known as the lunar desert. The landscape here is baron and can be compared to the terrain one would experience on the moon. You will climb over the Saddle between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo and will arrive at Kibo Hut where you will stay overnight.
Part 1 | Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak (summit day!)
Our guide will wake you up around midnight for tea and biscuits. You then begin your summit attempt which many describe as the most mentally and physically challenging part of the whole Kilimanjaro climb. The route heads northwest into the dark night ascending over stone scree. In about 6h, we’ll reach Stella Point (5,685m/18,651ft), located on the crater rim. After enjoying the magnificent sunrise, we continue for an hour or so on a snow-covered trail before reaching Uhuru Peak (5,895m / 19,341ft), the very top of Africa and a life-time accomplishment! Be prepared to be overwhelmed and don’t forget to take your pictures.
Part 2 | Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut
After reaching the summit, we descend back down to Horombo Hut. Here, we’ll spend our final night on the mountain after having hiked for about 12-15h. You’ll fall asleep immediately, trust us!
Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate
We wake up at our last campsite down in the rainforest. After breakfast, we’ll say goodbye to all of our helpers that have been working so hard throughout the week to get us successfully to the summit. Helpers that have become friends during our days on the mountain. We do the last bit of hiking down to the foot of the mountain, where our driver will be waiting to bring us back to Kigongoni Lodge. Time for a beer and great celebration dinner!
Feeling inspired to climb the Marangu route? Got some more questions that you want answered? Shoot us a message! We are always happy to hear from you.
Other useful Kilimanjaro topics
- Kilimanjaro routes
- Kilimanjaro packing list
- Best time to climb Kilimanjaro
- Kilimanjaro preparation
- Kilimanjaro safety
- Tipping on Kilimanjaro
- What is it like to climb Kilimanjaro
The 7 Kilimanjaro routes
- Lemosho Route
The Lemosho is the most beautiful Kilimanjaro route.
- Machame Route
The Machame is the most popular Kilimanjaro route
- Marangu Route
The Marangu route only offers hut accommodation
- Rongai Route
The Rongai is the only route that approaches from the North
- Shira Route
The Shira route Approaches from the Western side of Kilimanjaro
- Northern Circuit Route
The Northern Circuit is the newest and longest Kilimanjaro route
- Umbwe Route
The Umbwe is the shortest, steepest and hardest Kilimanjaro route