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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 5-day and 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. 

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

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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