Kilimanjaro – Marangu Route


Marangu Route is also Known as the “Coca-Cola” route, the route approaches Kilimanjaro from the southeast. Many favor the Marangu route because it is considered to be the easiest path on the mountain, given its gradual slope and direct path. This could partly be as a result of the fact that the Marangu is the least expensive route.

Marangu is the only route which offers sleeping huts in dormitory style accommodations. There are 60 bunk beds each at Mandara and Kibo Huts, and 120 bunk beds at Horombo Hut. Guests are supplied with mattresses and pillows, but sleeping bags are still required.

The huts have communal dining halls and basic washrooms, ranging from flushing toilets and running water at the lower huts to long drop toilets and buckets of water at Kibo Hut. Also available for consumption are soft drinks, bottled water, and beer.

The minimum days required for this route is five, although the probability of successfully reaching the top in that time period is quite low. Spending an extra acclimatization day on the mountain is highly recommended.

Marangu is ideal for those who are not confident in their ability to hike over steeper paths. It’s also attractive for those who do not want to sleep in a tent. Marangu’s huts offer shelter and warmth against the weather so it is a decent choice when climbing during the rainy season. Marangu is for those who want to spend less on their climb, and do not mind crowds.

Below is the day by day itinerary for the 6 day Marangu climb on Mount Kilimanjaro:

Starting Point: Marangu Gate (1860 m/6100 ft)

Day 1:

Marangu Route

You leave Marangu gate and ascend on a cleared ridge trail through the rain forest. The forest, suffused with mist and dripping with beards of moss, is also where most of Kilimanjaro’s animals are found. An alternative and more scenic parallel forest trail branches off to the left a few minutes after the gate. This trail follows the edge of a stream through the undergrowth and offers you the option to rejoin the main trail either after 1.5 hours hiking, or 1 hour before Mandara huts. Your first night stop here Mandara hut, consisting of a group of wooden A-framed huts in a forest clearing.

  • 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 :

From Mandara huts the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, skirts the base of the Maundi Crater and then emerges into the transition from rain forest to moorland. Once you are in the open moorland you will get the chance to see some of Kilimanjaro’s most spectacular plants. After about 6 hours trek from here, you reach the Horombo hut, where you will have a hot bowl of washing water, rest; an evening meal and overnight.

  • 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:     Acclimatization day

Horombo hut is a village of huts perched on a small plateau, with buildings similar, but with a total capacity of 120 climbers! Horombo is normally bustling with hikers, guides and porters, with an atmosphere of adventure and excitement. You will meet both ascending and descending hikers here. This extra day and night at Horombo is for additional acclimatisation

Day 4:

From Horombo there are two trails to the “Saddle” (which refers to the area located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo). There is an upper route (right hand fork -This section is very stony and eroded.) and lower route (left hand fork – is much easier and nearly an hour shorter, and it also passes the last watering point at 4130m.) to choose from to reach to Kibo huts.

  • 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 5:

The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5 681m). From Gillmans point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895m), the highest point in Africa.

  • 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 ft

Day 6 :

After breakfast you continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate.

  • Horombo Huts – Marangu Gate
  • Walking distance: 20 km/12.5 miles
  • Walking time: 5 hours
  • Descent: 1840 m/6040 ft