Kilimanjaro Hiking Tours – The complete Mt Kilimanjaro guide to climbing Kilimanjaro

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Marangu Kilimanjaro
Marangu Route

The Marangu route, famously known as the “Coca Cola route,” provides accommodation in Kilimanjaro A-frame huts in a dormitory-style, making it the only route that offers this feature. Although the route ascends and descends on Mount Kilimanjaro’s eastern side, which is less scenic, it remains a popular choice among hikers.

Additionally, the route offers a total of 240 bunk beds across its three huts. The Mandara hut provides 60 bunk beds, Horombo hut has 120 bunk beds, and Kibo hut offers another 60 bunk beds. These basic rooms are equipped with solar lighting, while the bunk beds come with mattresses and pillows. 

Despite the accommodation, the huts are communal, and most rooms are shared by approximately eight people. Consequently, light sleepers may face difficulty getting a good night’s rest due to the potential for noise. 

  Meals are served in communal dining halls that are fitted with tables and chairs. Basic washrooms are available at every camp. Running water with flushing toilets      and cold water showers are available at Mandara hut and Horombo hut, however only long drop style toilets are available at Kibo hut.  Please click on the Marangu    map to see an enlarged Marangu route map.

Recommended duration of climb

Hikers can opt for the 5-day Marangu route, which is the cheapest among all the Kilimanjaro routes and the only one permitted to be hiked in this duration. However, it is a well-known fact that this route has the lowest summit success rate compared to other Kilimanjaro routes, making it the most unsuccessful route. Despite its affordability, the 5-day Marangu route is not the best option for hikers seeking to reach Kilimanjaro’s summit due to its low success rate. 

For hikers planning to conquer Kilimanjaro, we highly recommend choosing the 6-day Marangu route option. This additional day/night of hiking allows your body more time to acclimatize, thereby reducing the risk of altitude sickness and increasing your chances of reaching the summit successfully. 

By opting for the 6-day Marangu route, hikers give themselves an opportunity to adapt better to the altitude, making the summit ascent less challenging. It is a worthwhile investment to add an extra day to the journey and increase the likelihood of reaching the top of Kilimanjaro while minimizing the risk of altitude sickness. 


Marangu route advantagesMarangu route disadvantages
Marangu route can be hiked all year round, Kilimanjaro A-frame huts and dining halls an advantage during rainy season. Strenious summit attempt – longest summit trail from Kibo hut to Uhuru peak of all routes.
Short hiking distances and easy trail from Marangu gate to Kibo hut. Challenging summit attempt, loose scree (rocks) on the trail and Jamaica rocks just before reaching Gillman’s point.
Accommodation on bunk beds in A-Frame huts with solar lighting. Difficult to get a good night’s rest, A-Frame huts are communal sleeping 8 persons per room.
Meals served in comfortable dining halls. Ascend and descend with the same route.

5 Day Marangu route itinerary – click here

6 Day Marangu route itinerary

Day 1 – Marangu Gate (1 970m / 6 460ft) – Mandara hut (2 720m / 8 920ft)

Marangu Route

Hiking time: 4 to 5 hours
Distance: Approximately 8.1 km / 5 miles
Habitat: Montane forest

The drive from Moshi town to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate, takes about 50 minutes. On day 1 the trail ascends on a cleared ridge trail, through the rain forest section. The forest, suffused with mist and dripping with beards of moss, is also where most of Kilimanjaro’s animals are found. Your first night stop, Mandara hut, consists of a group of wooden A-framed huts in a forest clearing. Dinner is prepared by our cook and served in a communal dining hall.


Day 2 – Mandara hut (2 720m / 8 920ft) – Horombo hut (3 720m / 12 205ft)

Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 11 km / 6.8 miles
Habitat: Moorland

From Mandara hut the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, skirts the base of the Maundi Crater and then emerges into the transition from rain forest to moorland. On a clear day, Kibo will glimmer in the distance, showing off her majestic glaciers in the morning sun. After about a 6 hours trek, you reach the Horombo hut, where you will have a hot bowl of washing water, rest, enjoy dinner and overnight.


Day 3 – Acclimatisation day

Horombo hut (3 720m / 12 205ft) – Mawenzi Ridge (4 360m / 14 300ft)

Hiking time: 3 to 4 hours 

Distance: Approximately 5.2 km / 3.2 miles

Habitat: Alpine desert

Marangu Route

This extra day and night at Horombo is for additional acclimatisation. A hike towards the Mawenzi ridge(4 360m / 14300ft), stopping at Zebra Rocks on the way (about 2.5 hours up and 1 hour down), is highly recommended. This hike will further assist with the process of acclimatisation. Remember to drink enough water and move slowly! All meals for the day are provided at the Horombo hut. Retire to bed early and get a last good night’s rest.

Day 4 – Horombo hut (3 720m / 12 205ft) – Kibo hut (4 720m / 15 485ft)

Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 9 km / 5.6 miles
Habitat: Alpine desert

After breakfast you now continue your ascent into the Alpine desert habitat. Situated in the barren Alpine desert is Kibo hut, a stone build block house which has bunk beds for 60 climbers, but no streams with water nearby. There are platform toilets behind the hut. The summit is now a further 1 175m / 3 854ft up and you will make your final ascent the same night. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get as much rest and sleep as possible.

Day 5 – Summit day

Ascend: Kibo hut (4 720m / 15 485ft) – Uhuru Peak (5 895m / 19 341ft)

Hiking time: 6 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak                                                                                                                                                                                    Distance: Approximately 6 km / 3.7 miles
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

Descend: Uhuru Peak (5 895m / 19 341ft) – Horombo hut (3 720m / 12 205ft)

Hiking time: 5 to 7 hours to descend to Horombo hut
Distance: Approximately 15 km / 9.5 miles
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

You will rise at around 23h20 and start your summit attempt. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5 240m / 17 191ft), also a good resting spot. The path, with a lot of stone scree, then zigzags up to Gilman’s point (5 681m / 18 638ft), which is located on the crater rim. The area just before reaching Gilman’s point, is called “Jamaica rocks” and is very steep, rocky area requiring a great physical and mental effort. 

This is probably the most demanding section of the entire route. Do the Kili shuffle and move slowly. From Gilman’s Point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5 895m 19 341ft), the highest point in Africa. Total exhilaration and satisfaction – you made it. Enjoy the views as the sun rise over Mawenzi peak!

You will then descend 3 hours back to Kibo hut. After a short rest, gather all your gear and head down to Horombo hut (2 ½ hours) for your overnight.

Day 6 – Horombo hut (3 720m / 12 205ft) Marangu Gate (1 970m / 6 460ft)

Hiking time: 5 to 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 19.7 km / 12.2 miles

After breakfast you continue your descent, passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reach Gilman’s Point (5 681m / 18 638ft) are issued with green certificates and those who reach Uhuru Peak (5 895m / 19 341ft), receive gold certificates.