What is the Coca Cola Route on Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, attracts thousands of adventurers and trekkers from around the globe each year. Standing at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters), it offers several routes to the summit. Each route has its unique characteristics and challenges. One of the most well-known and frequently traversed routes is the Marangu Route, commonly referred to as the “Coca-Cola Route.”

coca-cola route

Why is it Called the Coca-Cola Route?

The nickname “Coca-Cola Route” stems from its reputation as the easiest and most comfortable path to the summit, akin to the widespread and comforting presence of Coca-Cola. This route is favored by many due to its well-established huts. These huts are for sleeping which provide a level of comfort not found on the other routes.

Characteristics of the Marangu Route

marangu route or coca cola route

Ease and Accessibility

The Marangu Route is often chosen by first-time trekkers and those looking for a less strenuous path to the summit. It is considered the most straightforward route in terms of logistics and terrain.

Hut Accommodation

marangu huts

Unlike other routes that require camping in tents, the Marangu Route offers huts at each overnight stop. These simple huts provide bunk beds, mattresses, and basic dining facilities, offering trekkers a dry and relatively warm place to rest.

Scenic Diversity

The route passes through diverse ecosystems. It starts in the lush rainforest. It continues through the Moorland region, the Alpine Desert, and ends in the Arctic summit zone. This variety provides trekkers with an ever-changing landscape to enjoy.

However, the route is up and down the same path and therefore not as scenic as other routes.

Shorter Duration

Typically, the Marangu Route takes six days to complete. This shorter duration makes it appealing to those with limited time, although it can also mean less acclimatization time, increasing the risk of altitude sickness.


As one of the most popular routes, the Marangu Route can be crowded, especially during peak trekking seasons. This can lead to a more social experience but also means busier trails and huts.

For this reason, we only offer it as a private climb so you can climb on off days and during the rainy season if you choose.

Route Itinerary

Marangu Route Map

The itinerary for the Marangu Route is as follows:

Day 1: Marangu Gate to Mandara Hut

  • Altitude: 6,135 feet (1,870 meters) to 8,858 feet (2,700 meters)
  • Distance: 4.3 miles (6.9 kilometers)
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Day 2: Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut

  • Altitude: 8,858 feet (2,700 meters) to 12,205 feet (3,720 meters)
  • Distance: 5.7 miles (9.1 kilometers)
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours

Day 3: Acclimatization Day at Horombo Hut

Trekkers often spend an extra day at Horombo Hut for acclimatization. They may take a short hike to the Mawenzi Ridge, towering at 14,400 feet.

  • Altitude: 2,200 feet (670 meters)
  • Distance: 3.1 miles (4.98 kilometers)
  • Hike Time: 3-4 hours

Day 4: Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut

  • Altitude: 12,205 feet (3,720 meters) to 15,430 feet (4,703 meters)
  • Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8 kilometers)
  • Hiking Time: 5-6 hours

Day 5: Kibo Hut to Summit to Horombo Hut

  • Altitude: 15,430 feet (4,703 meters) to 19,341 feet (5,895 meters) to 12,205 feet (3,720 meters)
  • Distance: 12.3 miles (19.8 kilometers)
  • Hiking Time: 11-15 hours

Day 6: Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate

  • Altitude: 12,205 feet (3,720 meters) to 6,135 feet (1,870 meters)
  • Distance: 12.5 miles (20 kilometers)
  • Hiking Time: 5-6 hours

Pros and Cons


  • Comfortable hut accommodation
  • Shorter duration
  • Easy access and logistics


  • Higher risk of altitude sickness due to a shorter acclimatization period
  • Can be crowded
  • Less scenic variety compared to other routes, since you go up and down the same path.

Final Thoughts

The Marangu Route, or Coca-Cola Route, offers a unique blend of comfort and challenge, making it a popular choice for many trekkers aiming to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro. Its established facilities, straightforward path, and shorter duration make it accessible to a wide range of adventurers. However, the potential for altitude sickness and crowded trails are factors to consider when choosing this route. Ultimately, the Marangu Route provides an unforgettable journey through diverse landscapes, culminating in the awe-inspiring achievement of reaching Africa’s highest peak.

Are you ready to book your trip of a lifetime?

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