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Marangu Route

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By Turtle - Posted on 22 August 2008

The Marangu route was for many years the standard route up Kilimanjaro. It's one of the shortest routes, and the descent route is the same as the climbing route (which simplifies trip logistics). It's also the only route up Kilimanjaro where you can stay in huts every night, although many people think the huts are in bad enough condition that you're better off in a tent! These factors mean that the Marangu route is usually the cheapest way up Kili.

In recent years, the Marangu route has received a bad reputation. It's nickname is the "Coca-Cola Route" due to the bottles of Coke for sale at the huts.

The Machame route has been promoted as a more scenic and less crowded alternative to the Marangu route, with the ironic consequence that Machame has now likely replaced Marangu as the busiest route.

If you're looking for rock bottom prices and you're confident in your acclimatization (or else not too concerned about actually reaching the summit!), then the Marangu route is for you. Otherwise, we think you'll have a better experience by spending a little extra time and money on another route up Kili.

Typical Marangu Route Itinerary

The Marangu route is usually offered as a 4 night / 5 day trip, often starting out of the town of Moshi. A typical itinerary for the Marangu route is:

  • Day 1: Drive from Moshi to the Marangu gate (1980 m), then hike to the Mandara hut (2700 m).
  • Day 2: Hike from the Mandara hut (2700 m) to the Horombo hut (3700 m).
  • Day 3: Hike from the Horombo hut (3700 m) to the Kibo hut (4700 m).
  • Day 4: Summit day. Start hiking from Kibo hut (4700 m) at midnight, arriving at Gillman's Point around sunrise (about 6 am). The true summit of Uhuru Peak (5896 m) is another 2 hours or so beyond Gillman's Point. Descend back to Horombo hut for the night.
  • Day 5: Descend from the Horombo hut back to the Marangu gate and drive back to Moshi.

Turtle says "pole pole"