It is Kilimanjaro’s oldest and most established trekking route and remains extremely popular despite having a wide range of other options available.
This trail offers hikers the classic Kilimanjaro climbing experience, with panoramic views and a wonderful hiking adventure to the top of Uhuru Peak. That said, it also has some unique aspects that set it apart from all the other routes, giving the Marangu route a character and feel of its own.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Marangu route is that it is the only route to Kilimanjaro where camping is not allowed, so instead of sleeping in tents, trekkers stay in permanent huts. These dorm-style shelters provide extra protection from wind and rain, making this route popular for travelers climbing during the rainy season, which falls in April and May. There are 60 berths each in Mandara and Kibo Huts and 120 berths in Horombo Hut.
While staying in these cabins, trekkers sleep in bunk beds with a simple mattress and pillow. They will also be able to purchase a wide variety of chocolate bars, mineral water and soft drinks, which is why the Marangu route is often referred to as the “Coca-Cola route”.
The Marangu route offers a slow, steady climb to each of the day camps, giving it a reputation for being an easy hike. However, don’t underestimate this route as the approach to the final camp can be physically demanding with about 1000m of vertical ascent that day alone.
Of course, a day at the top of Kilimanjaro is always a challenge, whichever direction you approach it from, making the final steps to the top all the more satisfying.
As one of the shortest treks to the summit, taking just five days to reach Uhuru Peak, the Marangu Trail is popular with hikers short on time to climb.
The downside of this is that it doesn’t offer much opportunity to acclimatize to the altitude. For this reason, the Marangu route has the highest failure rate of all routes on Kilimanjaro. Keep this in mind when choosing this option for your Kilimanjaro trip.
The Marangu route is also the only route that uses the same route up and down. This means that although the trail is scenic, hikers will experience the same sites going up and down. And since traffic goes both ways, Marangu can also be too busy at times.
However, for a classic Kilimanjaro experience, it’s hard to beat this royal path to the Roof of Africa.
Climbing Kilimanjaro offers Marangu a private climb of five or six days. The five day variation does not include an acclimatization day on the third day at Horombo Hut.