The Marangu Route, often known as the “Coca-Cola Route,” is a renowned and historic pathway leading adventurous trekkers to the summit of Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. Situated on the mountain’s southeastern side, this trail offers a distinctive and appealing experience for those who aspire to stand atop the Uhuru Peak. As the oldest established route on Kilimanjaro, the Marangu Route is known for its well-developed infrastructure, including comfortable huts for accommodation and a well-trodden path. This is the only route that has huts for sleeping in. This makes it a preferred choice for those looking for a less strenuous yet rewarding journey to the “Roof of Africa.” It is also the route we recommend during the rainy season.
In this article, we will explore the specifics of the Marangu Route, including its distance, the recommended duration, and a GPX overview to assist trekkers in planning their expedition.
Distance and Overview
The Marangu Route covers a total distance of around 44.7 miles (72 kilometers), making it one of the shorter routes on Kilimanjaro. The journey starts at the Marangu Gate, located at an elevation of 1,860 meters (6,102 feet), and ascends through lush forests, heathlands, and alpine desert, culminating at Uhuru Peak, which towers at an impressive 19,341 feet (5,895 meters) above sea level.
Number of Days
A 6-day itinerary is typically recommended for the Marangu Route. This provides trekkers with enough time to acclimatize gradually and enhances their chances of a successful summit. The journey unfolds as follows:
Marangu Gate to Mandara Hut
Marangu Gate Elevation: 6,102 feet (1,860 meters)
Mandara Hut Elevation: 8,858 feet (2,700 meters).
As you ascend, you’ll be embraced by a captivating forest, teeming with a variety of wildlife, including the enchanting blue monkey. The forest gradually thins out, leading you to your first campsite
Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
Horombo Hut Elevation: 12,205 feet (3,720 meters).
Prepare for an invigorating morning ascent through the mesmerizing moorland region. Weather permitting, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks—two of the three awe-inspiring volcanos comprising the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Horombo Hut to acclimatize at Zebra Rocks and back to Horombo Hut.
Zebra Rocks Elevation: 13,058 feet (3,980 meters)
The day consists of a short hike to the Mawenzi Ridge, towering at 14,400 ft. From this vantage point, prepare to be mesmerized by unobstructed views of the majestic Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. After soaking in the splendor of this area, we’ll descend back to Horombo Hut
Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut.
Kibo Hut Elevation: 15,430 feet (4,703 meters).
You’ll traverse the lunar desert of the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo, eventually reaching Kibo Hut at the base of the crater wall.
Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak (Summit) to Horombo Hut
Summit Elevation: 19,341 feet (5,895 meters)
Camp Elevation: Approximately 12,200 feet (3,720 meters).
The summit attempt commences at midnight. After trekking to the summit, you’ll descend to Horombo Hut.
Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate
Gate Elevation: 6,102 feet (1,860 meters)
The final descent carries trekkers through verdant rainforests, a befitting conclusion to an amazing journey.
The 6-day itinerary allows trekkers to adjust to the altitude and savor the remarkable landscapes comfortably.
You can then upload the route to your smartphone and use an app like Gaia or Garmin Explore. They can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play. You can also view your progress on a Garmin device or watch.
The Marangu Route offers a unique and captivating path to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Its distinctive huts, relatively shorter duration, and comfortable pace make it a favorite among adventurers. It is also the route with the best chance of having WiFi. By understanding the route’s distance, and the ideal number of days, and using the GPX overview, trekkers can make well-informed preparations for this remarkable journey, ultimately securing a safe and successful ascent to the majestic Uhuru Peak.