The Marangu Route is the oldest and most well established trekking route on Mount Kilimanjaro, and it remains extremely popular, despite a wide variety of other options becoming available. This path provides trekkers with the classic Kilimanjaro climbing experience, offering sweeping views and a wonderful hiking adventure all the way to the summit of Uhuru Peak. That said, it also has some unique aspects that set it apart from any of the other routes as well, giving Marangu route a character and feeling that is entirely its own.
One of the more interesting aspects of Marangu Route is that it is the only route up Mount Kilimanjaro that doesn’t allow camping, so instead of sleeping in tents, trekkers stay in permanent huts instead. These dormitory-style shelters provide extra protection from the wind and rain, which makes this route a popular one for travelers climbing during the rainy season, which comes in April and May. There are 60 bunk beds each at Mandara and Kibo Huts, and 120 bunk beds at Horombo Hut
While staying at those huts, trekkers will sleep in bunk beds equipped with a simple mattress and pillow. They’ll also be able to purchase an array of candy bars, bottled water, and soft drinks, which is why Marangu route is often referred to as the “Coca-Cola Route.”
Marangu Route offers a slow, steady climb to each of the daily camps, which has given it the reputation for being an easy trek. Don’t underestimate this trail however, as the approach to the final camp can be physically demanding with roughly 1000 meters of vertical gain on that day alone. Of course, summit day on Kilimanjaro is always a challenge no matter which direction you approach from, making the final steps onto the top all the more satisfying.
Because it is one of the shortest treks to the summit – requiring just five days to reach Uhuru Peak – the Marangu Route is a popular one with trekkers who have a limited amount of time for their climb. The downside to this is that it doesn’t provide as much of an opportunity to acclimatize to the altitude. Because of this, Marangu route has the highest failure rate of any of the routes up Mount Kilimanjaro. Keep that in mind when choosing this option for your Kilimanjaro trek.
The Marangu Route is also the only route that uses the same path going up and coming back down. That means that while the trail is a scenic one, trekkers will experience the same sites going up as they do going back down. And because it has traffic going both directions, Marangu can also get overly crowded at times too.