6 Days Kilimanjaro Marangu Route

The Marangu Route

The Marangu Route is jokingly referred to as the "Tourist Route" or "Coca-Cola Route."

It's called "Tourist Route" for two reasons. One reason is simply its popularity; it makes this climb route somewhat touristy...

The Marangu route is also the only climbing route that uses the same path up AND down, which contributes to it being the most crowded climb route on Kilimanjaro.

The Marangu route is a comfortable walking path with a very steady, gradual slope (at least until you reach the last camp). This gave the Marangu route a reputation as an "easy" climb route.

And that's the other reason for the name "Tourist Route": because it is supposed to be "easy", the Marangu route is used by many shockingly unprepared "tourists", rather than trekkers.

The name "Coca Cola Route" stems from the sleeping huts along the route. They sell the stuff (as well as bottled water and candy bars). The Marangu route is the only Kilimanjaro climbing route that offers hut accommodation. Camping is not allowed.

A climb on the Marangu route is comparatively cheap. You need no camping equipment (no cost for extra porters to carry the equipment) and you can do the climb in five days/four nights. Also, many cut throat budget operators run treks on this route

1Day 1: Arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport

Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro airport you will be met by our representative and taken to the hotel for dinner & overnight.

Dinner and overnight at Keys Hotel (BB)

2Day 2: Marangu Gate to Mandara Hut

After an early breakfast you will be driven to Kilimanjaro with box lunch. The actual hike begins at the park gate (6,000') and we hike 5.5 miles up to Mandara Hut (8,860') near the upper edge of the forest line. The hike takes about 4-6 hours. The path is interesting, starting off through rain forest vegetation, then opening up to giant heather. If time and weather permit, a short walk from Mandara to Maundi Crater is worth it. Accommodations here, as well as at Horombo, are in wooden A-frame huts that sleep 4 to 8.

Overnight: Mandara Hut (FB)

3Day 3: Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut

Today the destination is Horombo Hut at 12,200'. It takes a good 5-6 hours to cover the 10-mile journey and we often get our first views of the Kibo summit. The trail is strenuous and slippery and takes us clear of the forests and out onto the moor land. It passes beneath the rocky southern face of Mawenzi-one of the three volcanoes that make up Kilimanjaro. Rainfall in this region is frequent.

Overnight: Horombo Hut (FB)

4Day 4: Acclimatisation Day

Today is an extra day to acclimatise, and it is best spent taking a day hike up toward the Maundi Hut by the upper trail to a viewpoint at 14,100 feet (4 hours round-trip). If you are feeling very fatigued, it can be spent resting or exploring the nearby region. Birdlife is abundant at Horombo. The rains come upon us almost every afternoon. So plan your day hike to be back inside the lodge with a cup of tea and good book by 4 p.m. Most climbers begin to feel the altitude at this level. After the rain clears, Horombo typically has beautiful sunsets and a night sky full of stars.

Overnight: Horombo Hut (FB)

5Day 5: Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut

Another long hike, this time up to Kibo Hut at almost 15,500'. Although somewhat shorter in distance, this usually takes 7 hours because it is steeper and the altitude slows everyone down. The route passes directly up onto the Saddle, a wide, flat area with the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi looming overhead. Views from here can be fantastic. The last part of the trail passes across the arid plateau before ascending to Kibo Hut. Kibo Hut is a stone hut with rooms that sleep 10-15 people in bunk beds. We have a light dinner, and turn in early for any sleep if possible. The guides give a little pre-climb talk after dinner.

Overnight: Kibo Hut (FB)

6Day 6: Kibo Hut to summit and back to Horombo Hut

We are awakened about midnight, and have tea and cookies. The guides try to get everyone ready to climb as quickly as possible, leaving between 1:00-1:30 a.m. Starting off, the trail swings back and forth up a steep scree slope and the climate is bitterly cold. The summit climb is an event you will not forget, with the night sky full of stars and only your breathing to help focus your mind. Most climbers arrive at Gillman's Point, elevation 18,635 feet, in time to enjoy sunrise around 6:30 a.m. The views from the top looking down on the plains of Africa make it all worthwhile. Some climbers decide that they have reached their goal and head down from here.

For the strong, the true summit is Uhuru Peak (19,340 feet)-an additional 3 hours away round-trip. The descent from Gillman's Point is fairly rapid, taking about 2 hours. Most climbers take a short rest at Kibo Hut before descending to Horombo Hut for the night, arriving in the late afternoon.

Overnight: Horombo Hut (FB)

7Day 6: Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate. Return to Moshi

A long 14-mile hike back to the Marangu gate and park's headquarters. We stop at the hotel, pick up our gear and drive to our hotel in Arusha. It is a welcome treat to sleep in a bed, take a hot shower and celebrate the climb. After finishing your climb you will be taken to Keys Hotel where you will have lunch, hot shower and overnight.

Dinner and overnight at Keys Hotel (BB)