Marangu Route: The Classic Climb to Kilimanjaro’s Summit

Marangui Route, also dabbed “Coca-Cola Route” is the most ancient, easiest, and well established route with dormitory accommodations  to Uhuru Peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. This route offers a slow but steady climb, which makes it the most famous path to the summit, for trekkers with limited number of days, which may take at least 5 days to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, as compared to the other Mount Kilimanjaro routes

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro through Marangu route

Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, stands as a beacon for climbers and adventurers worldwide. Among the various routes leading to its summit, the Marangu Route is perhaps the most famous and distinctive, often referred to as the “Coca-Cola Route.” This nickname comes from its relative ease and the availability of soft drinks at some huts. Here’s an in-depth look at what makes the Marangu Route a compelling choice for many aspiring climbers.

Overview Of Marangu Route Of Kilimanjaro

  • Nickname: Coca-Cola Route
  • Duration: 5-6 days
  • Distance: Approximately 72 kilometers (45 miles) round trip
  • Elevation: From 1,860 meters (6,100 feet) at the Marangu Gate to 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) at Uhuru Peak
  • Accommodation: Mountain huts

Key Features of The Route

Accommodation: One of the unique aspects of the Marangu Route is the use of huts for accommodation. These huts provide more comfort and shelter compared to tents used on other routes. They offer beds, communal dining areas, and basic sanitary facilities, making the climb somewhat easier for those who prefer not to camp.

Terrain: The Marangu Route is known for its well-trodden path and gradual slope, which makes it less technically challenging than some other routes. However, the relatively rapid ascent can pose acclimatization challenges, which can impact the success rate.

Scenery: The route takes climbers through a variety of ecosystems, each offering distinct flora and fauna. From lush rainforests to moorlands and alpine deserts, the changing landscapes provide a visual feast and a memorable trekking experience.

Day-by-Day Itinerary Of The 6 Days Marangu Route

Day 1: Marangu Gate to Mandara Hut

  • Distance: 8 km (5 miles)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,020 meters (3,346 feet)
  • Duration: 4-5 hours
  • Starting Elevation: 1,860 meters (6,100 feet)
  • Ending Elevation: 2,820 meters (9,250 feet)
  • Description: The journey begins at Marangu Gate, leading through dense rainforest. This first section is scenic, with chances to see Colobus monkeys and various birds. Mandara Hut provides the first overnight stay in a comfortable setting.

Day 2: Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut

  • Distance: 12 km (7.5 miles)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,000 meters (3,281 feet)
  • Duration: 6-8 hours
  • Starting Elevation: 2,820 meters (9,250 feet)
  • Ending Elevation: 3,720 meters (12,200 feet)
  • Description: Leaving the rainforest, the trail enters heath and moorland. The vegetation becomes sparser, offering wide views. Horombo Hut, with views of Mawenzi and Kibo peaks, is the next stop.

Day 3: Acclimatization Day at Horombo Hut

  • Description: An extra day at Horombo Hut to help with acclimatization. Climbers can take short hikes, such as to Zebra Rocks, to adjust to the altitude.

Day 4: Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut

  • Distance: 10 km (6.2 miles)
  • Elevation Gain: 980 meters (3,215 feet)
  • Duration: 5-7 hours
  • Starting Elevation: 3,720 meters (12,200 feet)
  • Ending Elevation: 4,700 meters (15,420 feet)
  • Description: The trail ascends past the “Last Water Point” into the alpine desert. The stark landscape is dotted with giant groundsels. Kibo Hut, located at the base of the Kibo crater, is the final resting point before the summit attempt.

Day 5: Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut

  • Distance: 6 km (3.7 miles) ascent + 16 km (9.9 miles) descent
  • Elevation Gain: 1,195 meters (3,921 feet) to the summit
  • Elevation Loss: 2,175 meters (7,135 feet) descent
  • Duration: 6-8 hours to Uhuru Peak, 6-8 hours to Horombo Hut
  • Starting Elevation: 4,700 meters (15,420 feet)
  • Summit Elevation: 5,895 meters (19,341 feet)
  • Ending Elevation: 3,720 meters (12,200 feet)
  • Description: The final ascent begins around midnight. Climbers reach Gilman’s Point at 5,685 meters (18,652 feet), then continue along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. After celebrating the summit, climbers descend back to Horombo Hut for rest.

Day 6: Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate

  • Distance: 20 km (12.4 miles)
  • Elevation Loss: 1,860 meters (6,100 feet)
  • Duration: 6-8 hours
  • Starting Elevation: 3,720 meters (12,200 feet)
  • Ending Elevation: 1,860 meters (6,100 feet)
  • Description: The descent continues through moorland and rainforest, back to Marangu Gate where climbers receive their summit certificates.

Pros and Cons


  • Comfortable huts: Offers more comfort and shelter compared to camping.
  • Easier logistics: Huts mean less equipment to carry.
  • Scenic route: Diverse ecological zones with beautiful landscapes.


  • Crowded: Often crowded, especially during peak seasons.
  • Short acclimatization: Rapid ascent can lead to altitude sickness.
  • Less varied terrain: Compared to routes like Machame or Lemosho, the terrain may seem less diverse.

Preparation Tips

  • Physical fitness: Regular exercise and cardiovascular training can help prepare for the trek.
  • Acclimatization: Consider additional days for acclimatization to improve chances of success.
  • Gear: Proper clothing, sturdy hiking boots, and gear for cold weather are essential.

Hydration and nutrition: Drink plenty of water and maintain a balanced diet to support your body during the climb.