Marangu route Kilimanjaro

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Marangu route Kilimanjaro

The Kilimanjaro National Park Marangu route is the most popular route for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa and one of the world's Seven Summits. Known as the "Coca-Cola route," it offers a relatively easy and less strenuous trek compared to other routes up the mountain. In this article, we will explore the features and highlights of the Marangu route and provide some tips for a successful climb.

Why Choose the Marangu Route?

The Marangu route is the only route on Mount Kilimanjaro that offers hut accommodation rather than camping. This makes it a preferred choice for those who are not comfortable with camping or want a more comfortable trek experience. The huts on this route are rustic, but they have bunk beds and a dining area, providing a more convenient and warmer place to rest and sleep.

In addition, the Marangu route is also considered the most affordable route, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious climbers. It also has a higher success rate compared to other routes, mainly due to its gradual ascent and descent, allowing more time for acclimatization.

Marangu Route Description

The Marangu route starts from the Marangu Gate, located on the southeastern side of the mountain. From there, the trail winds through lush rainforest, offering beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. As you climb higher, the vegetation changes to heath and moorland, until eventually reaching the rocky and snowy summit.

The whole trek is approximately 70 kilometers long and takes around 5-6 days to complete. Unlike other routes that offer different options for summit night, the Marangu route has a fixed itinerary that takes climbers to the summit and back down the same way. This makes it a less demanding route, as you only have to carry your daypack and not your camping gear.

Day-by-Day Itinerary of Marangu route

Day 1: Marangu Gate to Mandara Hut (8km, 4-5 hours)
The first day of the trek starts at the Marangu Gate at an altitude of 1,860 meters. The trail gradually ascends through the rainforest to Mandara Hut at 2,700 meters where you will spend the first night.

Day 2: Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut (12km, 5-6 hours)
The second day is a longer trek, passing through the heath and moorland zone, and offering spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The trail ends at Horombo Hut at 3,720 meters where you will spend the night.

Day 3: Acclimatization Day at Horombo Hut
This day is dedicated to acclimatization. You will have the option to climb to Zebra Rocks or Mawenzi Tarn for some extra acclimatization and scenic views. Alternatively, you can rest and enjoy the beautiful surroundings at Horombo Hut.

Day 4: Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut (9km, 5-6 hours)
This day is mostly an uphill climb to Kibo Hut at 4,703 meters. The terrain becomes steeper and rockier as you near the summit. You will also pass the last water point before reaching the summit. This day's trek may be challenging, so it is important to take enough breaks and move at a pace that is comfortable for you.

Day 5: Summit Day - Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut (22km, 10-15 hours)
This is an early start, with the climb beginning at midnight. The terrain is mostly rocky and steep, and the temperatures can be very low, so proper clothing and gear are essential. You will arrive at the summit, Uhuru Peak, after 6-8 hours of hiking. After taking in the views and celebrating your achievement, you will descend back to Kibo Hut for a short rest before continuing down to Horombo Hut for the night.

Day 6: Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate (22km, 5-6 hours)
The final day of the trek is a descent back to Marangu Gate. You will pass through the rainforest for the last time before reaching the gate where you will receive your summit certificate before transferring back to your hotel.

Tips for a Successful Marangu Trek

- Train and prepare both physically and mentally for the trek. The Marangu route is less demanding, but the altitude can still be challenging.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and bring a water purification system if you prefer not to use bottled water.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Pace yourself and take enough breaks to conserve your energy.
- Follow your guide's instructions and respect the mountain at all times.
- Acclimatize properly by taking the extra day at Horombo Hut and staying well-hydrated.
- Be prepared for sudden weather changes and bring enough warm clothing.
- Bring high-energy snacks to keep you fueled throughout the trek.

Training and Preparation for the Marangu Route

The Marangu route is considered a moderately challenging trek, so it is important to train and prepare your body and mind beforehand. Some recommended training activities include cardio exercises, hiking and strength training. It is also important to acclimatize your body to higher altitudes, so consider hiking at high altitudes or spending some time in a hypoxic chamber before your trek.

Packing Essentials for the Marangu Route

- High-quality hiking boots with ankle support.
- High-altitude clothing suitable for all weather conditions.
- A warm sleeping bag (at least a 3 to 4-season rating).
- A backpack with a rain cover and a daypack for summit night.
- Water bottles or a hydration bladder.
- Waterproof and sturdy trekking poles.
- Headlamp with spare batteries for summit night.
- Personal medications and toiletries.

Challenges and Highlights of the Marangu Route

The main challenge of the Marangu route is the high altitude and the long summit night. It is important to acclimatize properly and listen to your body to avoid altitude sickness. The highlights of this route include stunning views of the surrounding landscape, the convenience of hut accommodation, and the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak.

Cost and Accommodation Options on the Marangu Route

The estimated cost for the Marangu route ranges from $1700-$5000 USD per person, depending on the tour operator and group size. This includes all park fees, camping and hut fees, meals, and transportation to and from the mountain.

As the only route with hut accommodation, climbers on the Marangu route have the option to stay in simple but comfortable huts with bunk beds and dining areas. Alternatively, some tour operators also offer the option to camp outside the huts for a true camping experience.

Final Thoughts on the Marangu Route

The Marangu route offers a unique and convenient trekking experience with its hut accommodation and gradual ascent. While it may be less physically demanding, it still requires proper preparation and acclimatization. With the right mindset and training, anyone can successfully summit Mount Kilimanjaro via the Marangu route and experience the exhilarating feeling of standing atop one of the world's highest peaks.

Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park