The Marangu Route is also known as the "Tourist Route" and the "Coca-Cola Route." This is because Marangu is the most popular route on the mountain, and thus is considered "touristy", and because the route is the only one that offers sleeping huts, which serve beverages like Coca-Cola, on the way. This is the easiest route to the summit of Kilimanjaro, sometimes called the Coca-Cola Route. The Marangu route takes you at a gentle pace through forests, moorlands and then across The Saddle, a high-altitude desert separating the main summit, Kibo, 5895m, from craggy Mawenzi, 5149m, to Kibo Hut. From here an early start is made for the ascent to Uhuru Point (the top of Kibo). The path zig-zags up steep scree which is easier to climb when frozen. The views from the crater rim at Gillman's Point at dawn can be spectacular. Uhuru Peak lies just above. This is a tough walking trip but within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. An extra day for acclimatisation to the altitude is recommended at Horombo from where there are various walks to enjoy.
Recommended Tipping Guidelines:
Those who have climbed Mt Kilimanjaro before know that without the hard work and strength of the mountain crew, one would not be able to fully experience the magnificence of the mountain. At Naomi Grace Tours, we pay our crew more than the salary suggested by the Kilimanjaro National Park and Tanzania Tour Operator Association. However, many crew also heavily depend on tips to support their families. The following are recommended daily rates for the entire group to tip per staff member:
Senior guide - $20 – 30 / day
Assistant guide - $15 – 25 / day
Cook - $12 – 15 / day
Waiter - $10 – 12 /day
Porter - $8 – 10 / day
Summit porter - $12 – 15 / day
Toilet crew - $10 – 12 / day
In general for all Kilimanjaro routes except Marangu you will have*:
1 Climber: 1 senior guide, 1 cook and 3 porters
2 Climbers: 1 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook and 6 porters
3 Climbers: 1 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook and 9 porters
4 Climbers: 2 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook, 1 waiter and 9 porters
For Marangu you will have*:
1 senior guide and 1 cook for each 8 climbers
1 additional assistant guide for each 3 climbers
2 Porters per climber
* These are estimates and actual numbers may vary depending on the needs of the group.
It is ideal to have a tipping ceremony with the climbers and crew on the last day on the mountain. Ideally tips should be given to the individual crew members directly to ensure the full amount of the tip is received.
View our simple 5day or extended 6day (for acclimatization purposes) itineraries below:
5Day sample itinerary for the Marangu route:
After Arrival in Moshi or Arusha...
Drive to Marangu Gate. Walk through the rain forest to Mandara hut (4h, 2720m).
Leave the forest and cross open moor land to Horombo hut (5h, 3720m).
Walk through moorland then across The Saddle to Kibo hut (5h, 4730m).
Very early start for the summit on steep scree up to Gillman's Point (5h, 5681m), continue to Uhuru Peak (1h30min.,5895m). Descend to Kibo Hut for lunch and a rest before descending to Horombo hut (about 13h total walking time).
Descend to Marangu gate (5h). Drive back to the hotel (B&B). This ends of the trekking.
6Day sample itinerary for the Marangu route:
Day One: Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) to Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft)
Elevation Gain: 915 meters, 3,000 feet
Leave Moshi at 8am for Marangu Gate. The drive to Marangu takes approximately 1 hour, and you will meet your Ascend Tanzania guides, cooks and porters when you arrive at the gate. After completing gate registration, begin your Kilimanjaro trek. Walk along a narrow trail through the rainforest of Kilimanjaro for most of the hike. Eat a picnic lunch at Kisambioni, day one's halfway point. After lunch continue walking through the rainforest until reaching Mandara Hut. Relax for the rest of the day or take a short walk to Maundi Crater. The views to the east over Taveta and to the northwest to Mawenzi Peak are stunning on a clear day, making the short hike well worth the effort.
The A-frame Mandara Huts can accommodate up to seventy people and consist of several sleeping huts and a dining area. All of Marangu's huts have beds with mattresses.
Day Two: Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 977 meters, 3,200 feet
After breakfast, leave Mandara Hut and Kilimanjaro's forests for Horombo Hut. Most of the day's hike will be through Kilimanjaro's moorland, a rocky landscape with desert-like plants. Eat a picnic lunch at Kambi ya Taabu before continuing to Horombo Hut. If the weather is clear, enjoy beautiful views of Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. Arrive at Horombo Hut at around 3pm and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing.
Although extremely busy, the Horombo Huts are considered to be the nicest on Kilimanjaro. The small, A-frame buildings can accommodate up to eight people each and provide lodging for hikers ascending, descending and acclimatizing. Horombo can accommodate up to one hundred hikers and many more porters, cooks and guides.
Day Three: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Mawenzi Hut (4,600m/15,100ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)
Elevation Gain and Loss: 880 meters, 2,900 feet
Day three is an acclimatization day. We suggest hiking all the way to Mawenzi Hut to allow for maximum acclimatization. The hike will increase your chances of reaching Uhuru Peak, and also reward you with magnificent views of Kibo. Return to Horombo for a late lunch. Spend the afternoon and evening relaxing at Horombo.
Day Four: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,030 meters, 3,380 feet
Leave Horombo Hut after breakfast to hike through the moorland and alpine desert of Kilimanjaro's upper altitudes. After hiking for about an hour arrive at Maua River, a small mountain stream. After Maua, the terrain becomes flatter and the vegetation begins to disappear. Break for lunch at Middle Red Hill. After lunch, continue on a steady incline for another two hours through Kilimanjaro's Saddle. Although the environment on the way to Kibo is a bleak desert with little vegetation, you will see many stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Reach Kibo Hut around 3pm to rest and prepare for your midnight climb.
Day Five: Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft) to Summit (5,895m/19,340ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,145 meters, 3,760 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,175 meters, 7,140 feet
Around midnight, awake for the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. The hike begins with a demanding five hour hike to Gillman's Point on the crater rim. Although this is considered to be the easiest of the three crater ascent paths, it is still extremely difficult. The first major rest stop, William's Point, lies at 5000 meters and is approximately a two hour hike Kibo Hut. Continue on for thirty minutes before beginning the rocky switchbacks that will continue to Gillman's Point (5,681 meters).
The hike from Gilman's to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the hike long and tiring. The crater rim hike takes approximately two hours. Upon reaching Uhuru, take photos of your guide and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Horombo Hut.
On the way down from the summit, you will see all of the magnificent views you could not see on the way up. Stop for a short break and snacks at Kibo Hut before continuing on to Horombo Hut. Reach Horombo Hut in the afternoon and enjoy your last night on the mountain.
Day Six: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft)
Elevation Loss: 1,920 meters, 6,295 feet
After breakfast, finish the trek with a descent to Marangu Gate. Your last hike on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through Kilimanjaro's cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent, as the trail can be slippery. Our vehicles will be waiting at Marangu Gate to take you back to Moshi. You will be able to buy t-shirts and sodas at the gate.