The Marangu route is perhaps the easiest and most comfortable route to reach the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. The route is well-developed and the climb is constant and moderate. Only the approach to the summit is the exception as it is slightly more demanding. The accommodation on this tour is in simple mountain huts, which might be an advantage compared to the camping routes.
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 acclimatisation 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.
|DAY||START||ALTITUDE (M/FT)||FINISH||ALTITUDE (M/FT)||TIME (HRS)||DISTANCE (KM/MI)|
|1||Marangu Gate||1,843m/ 6,046ft||Mandara Hut||2,700m/ 8,858ft||4-5||8km/ 5mi|
|2||Mandara Hut||2,700m/ 8,858ft||Horombo Hut||3,720m/ 12,205ft||6-8||12km/ 7mi|
|3||Horombo Hut||3,720m/ 12,205ft||Mawenzi Ridge||4,315m/ 14,160ft||2-3||5km/ 3mi|
|Mawenzi Ridge||4,315m/ 14,160ft||Horombo Hut||3,720m/ 12,205ft||1-2||5km/ 3mi|
|4||Horombo Hut||3,720m/ 12,205ft||Kibo Hut||4,703m/ 15,430ft||6-8||10km/ 6mi|
|5||Kibo Hut||4,703m/ 15,430ft||Uhuru Peak||5,895m/ 19,341ft||6-8||6km/ 6mi|
|Uhuru Peak||5,895m/ 19,341ft||Horombo Hut||3,720m/ 12,205ft||4-5||16km/ 10mi|
|6||Horombo Hut||3,720m/ 12,205ft||Marangu Gate||1,843m/ 6,046ft||5-7||20km/ 12mi|
Marangu route success rate
The Marangu route, or the Coca-Cola route, is known to be one of the least expensive routes to complete due to the shorter time allocated to reach the summit. Yet it also shares the lowest success rates, as hikers tend to rush to reach the top. Skipping one additional acclimatization day can significantly lower the average success rate of 50%.
Marangu route tips
- If time and budget allow, aim for at least a 6-day hike and avoid the 5-day option, as this will allow your body to acclimate to the altitude and will help you succeed in reaching the summit.
- Prepare a ‘Kilimanjaro playlist’ to listen to during your hike to help break the mental and physical exhaustion you will likely face during your hike – especially on the summit night!
- Take it easy and don’t try to rush to the top.
- Take a close look at your packing list to make sure you have all of the right gear, including footwear, clothing, snacks, and equipment.
- Remember: water is a hiker’s best friend, and staying hydrated could be the difference between reaching the summit or not.
HOW TO CLIMB THE MARANGU ROUTE
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE MARANGU ROUTE?
Any physical activity you can do beforehand will help make your ascent more enjoyable. As for how hard you train, this will depend on whether you’re aiming for the Uhuru Peak or embarking on a shorter journey and will be different for everyone.
WHEN SHOULD I CLIMB THE MARANGU ROUTE?
You can climb the marangu route year-round, but it may be wet and cold which means you should be equipped with the right waterproof gear. Consider climbing between January–March and June–October. Note that April, May and November are the wettest months.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK AND WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
While trekking tour operators may supply some of the gear you’ll need, there are a few non-negotiables you will need that includes waterproof clothing, a headlamp, sunglasses, appropriate hiking boots, personal medication, a non-disposable water bottle and a cap or a beanie for example. Learn more.
HOW TO GET TO THE MARANGU ROUTE?
Before you start your hiking escapade to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, you will need to establish how to get there, and the best mode of transport to suit your itinerary or tour. Travellers flying from the UK, the US, Australia or Canada and other parts of the world have a few options to explore. Learn more.
WHAT ARE THE CLIMBING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MARANGU ROUTE?
Mount Kilimanjaro welcomes hikers of all levels of fitness and ability, but if you’re planning to reach the summit, careful planning and vigorous training is vital. Consider adding extra time to your itinerary to avoid altitude sickness and to enjoy your time climbing Kilimanjaro. Learn more.
What permits do I need?
Each visitor will be required to pay a fee per person, per day for the conservation fee to help manage the national park, however, most tours will cover the permits and entry fees are included in the price.
Day 0: Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport you are welcomed by our mountain guide who will usher you into a waiting vehicle and transfer you to the mvuli hotel in Arusha Our tour coordinator will have a short climbing briefing session with you at the lodge and leave you to relax and have dinner. BB booked
Day 1: Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) to Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft)
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Elevation Change: +3117ft/+950 m
Estimated Distance: 4.35 miles / 7 km
Habitat: Montane Forest.
Depart Arusha/Moshi around 0800hrs to Marangu Gate for the Mountain Climb Registration. Begin your Kilimanjaro trek by walking along a narrow trail through the rainforest of Kilimanjaro for most of the hike. Eat a picnic lunch at Kisambioni, day one’s halfway point. After lunch continue walking through the rainforest until reaching Mandara Hut. Relax for the rest of the day or take a short walk to Mahundi Crater. The views to the east over Taveta and to the northwest to Mawenzi Peak are striking on a clear day, making the short hike well worth the effort
Day 2: Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Elevation Change: + 3379ft/+1030 m
Estimated Distance: 6.84 miles / 11 km
After breakfast, depart Mandara Hut and Kilimanjaro forests to Horombo Hut. Most of the day’s hike will be through Kilimanjaro moorland, a rocky landscape with desert-like plants. Have your picnic lunch at Kambi ya Taabu before continuing to Horombo Hut. If the day is clear, enjoy beautiful views of Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. Arrive at Horombo Hut at around 1500hrs and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing.
Day 3: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Mawenzi Hut (4,600m/15,100ft) to Horombo Hut
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Estimated Change: +2395ft/+730 m
Estimated Distance: 4.35 miles / 7 km
This extra day and night at Horombo is ideal for body acclimatization. A hike towards Mawenzi, passing through Zebra Rocks on the way (about 3 hours up and 1.5 hours down), is strongly recommended as it will further assist with acclimatization.
Day 4: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft)
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Elevation Change: +3018ft/+920 m
Estimated Distance: 7.46 miles
Habitat: Alpine desert.
After breakfast continue your ascent into the Alpine desert, passes the last water point at 13550 ft/4130m. You will have to fill your water bottles with all the water you will need until your return to Horombo hut in two night’s time (unless you are willing to buy Mineral water at Kibo hut). The summit is now a further 3921ft /1195m up and you will make your final ascent the same night. Go to bed around 1830hrs and try to get as much rest and sleep as possible.
Day 5: Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft) to Summit (5,895m/19,340ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)
Hiking Time (Ascent): 6-8 hours / (Descent): 5-6 hours
Estimated Distance (Ascent): 4.35miles /7 km / (Descent):7.46 miles /12km
Elevation Change: Gain; +3757ft /+1145 m/Loss; -7136ft/-2175m
Habitat: Stone screed and ice-capped summit
Around 2330hrs,you will wake up and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night, and this is where the going really gets tough. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer point (17225ft/5250m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (18639ft/5 681m), which is located on the crater rim. This section is very steep with a lot of stone screed, requiring a great physical and mental effort.
From Gillman’s Point you will normally come across snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (19341ft/5895m), the highest point in Africa. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend, taking photographs before the 3 hours descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest you gather all your gear you left behind for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours) for your overnight. Later in the evening you enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.
Day 6: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft)
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Elevation Change: -6161. 42ft /-1878 m
Estimated Distance: 11.20 miles /18 km
Habitat: Montane Forest
After breakfast, end the trek with a descent to Marangu Gate. Your last trek on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through Kilimanjaro’s cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent, as the trail can be slippery. At Marangu Gate you will sign for departure. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (18652ft/5685m) are issued with silver certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (1 9341ft/5895m), receive gold certificates. Our vehicles will be waiting at Marangu Gate to take you back to Moshi/Arusha.
Accommodation and food
The accommodation is in good huts, either dormitory or smaller four bed A-frames. The lower huts have spacious dining rooms, where you will be served meals cooked by your guide. All food and kitchen equipment will be carried by the porters and cooked by an experienced cook. It will be plentiful and wholesome, but may be limited by the circumstances. Beer and soft drinks are available at the huts. Your own supply of chocolate and high energy snacks is a good idea.
Water is available at several points and should be purified before drinking. All water at the huts will be boiled and some provided for drinking the next day. A comforting tip is to fill your bottle in the evening with boiled water for the next day, and to use it as a hot water bottle overnight. There are water points between the huts – check with your guide.
Acclimatization is extremely important, both to let you enjoy your ascent but more importantly to avoid any serious complications. The route is planned to optimize the height gain, but you may still get a head ache or feel nauseous. There are two important preventative measures: to drink copiously, even when it is really difficult, and to walk very slowly, avoiding as far as possible increased heart and breathing rates.
A drug, Diamox, is available from your GP and is well proven to help with acclimatization. This is taken as tablets for a few days before and then during your ascent. It is safe and has no serious side effects. It is important to remember that one possible effect of altitude is light-headedness and odd behavior, which can lead to foolish decisions. The danger here is of someone who is not well insisting on continuing.
|No. of Pax in one group||7 Pax||6 Pax||5 Pax||4 Pax||3 Pax||2 Pax||1 Pax|
Available Discounts Available discounts for Marangu – 6 days
|Children between 5 years and 15 years old||USD 850 per person|
|Expatriates/Residents living in Tanzania||USD 910 per person|
|East African Citizens||USD 820 per person|
- All transfers to the mountain and back to your Arusha hotel
- Professional, experienced, mountain guides
- Guides, Porters, Cook salaries and park fees
- Quality, waterproof, four-season mountain sleeping tents
- Sleeping Mattress
- All meals while on the Mountain
- Quality Mess tents with table and chairs
- Large portions of fresh, healthy, nutritious food
- Clean, purified drinking water
- Conservation fees (part of park fees)
- Camping or Hut fees (part of park fees)
- Rescue fees (part of park fees)
- VAT (18% charged by the Government)
- Surcharge for online payment of deposit (5%)
- Gloves, Sun glasses, Sleeping bag, Hats, Rain suits, Warm Jacket, Heavy boots, Scarf’s, Rain Trousers,
- Extras at the lodges i.e. drinks, telephone, laundry etc.
-, Visa and Travel Insurance
– Tips to mountain crew (highly recommended)
- Per potter per day is from 6 – 8 USD
- Assistance guide / cook – per day is from 12 – 15 USD
- Guides per day is from 20 – 25 USD