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Marangu Route - Kilimanjaro

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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:

  1. Mandara Hut
  2. Horombo Hut
  3. 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. 

DAYSTARTALTITUDE (M/FT)FINISHALTITUDE (M/FT)TIME (HRS)DISTANCE (KM/MI)
1Marangu Gate1,843m/ 6,046ftMandara Hut2,700m/ 8,858ft4-58km/ 5mi
2Mandara Hut2,700m/ 8,858ftHorombo Hut3,720m/ 12,205ft6-812km/ 7mi
3Horombo Hut3,720m/ 12,205ftMawenzi Ridge 4,315m/ 14,160ft2-35km/ 3mi
Mawenzi Ridge 4,315m/ 14,160ftHorombo Hut3,720m/ 12,205ft1-25km/ 3mi
4Horombo Hut3,720m/ 12,205ftKibo Hut4,703m/ 15,430ft6-810km/ 6mi
5Kibo Hut4,703m/ 15,430ftUhuru Peak5,895m/ 19,341ft6-86km/ 6mi
Uhuru Peak5,895m/ 19,341ftHorombo Hut3,720m/ 12,205ft4-516km/ 10mi
6Horombo Hut3,720m/ 12,205ftMarangu Gate1,843m/ 6,046ft5-720km/ 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 acclimatisation 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.
    Learn more.
  • 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. 
    Learn more.
  • 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 gear, 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. 
    Learn more.

Mount Kilimanjaro routes

 

  1. Machame Route. Distance: 62 km, average duration: 6-7 days, success rate: 75%-85%
  2. Marangu RouteDistance: 72 km, average duration: 5-6 days, success rate: 50% 
  3. Lemosho Route. Distance: 70 km, average duration: 7-8 days, success rate: 65%-90%
  4. Rongai Route. Distance: 73 km, average duration: 6-7 days, success rate: 65%-80%
  5. Shira Plateau Route. Distance: 56 km, average duration: 7-8 days
  6. Umbwe Route. Distance: 53 km, average duration: 5-6 days, success rate: 60%-70% 
  7. Northern Circuit Route. Distance: 98 km, average duration: 8-9 days, success rate: 95% 

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