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Marangu Route – Kilimanjaro’s Hut Accommodated Trail

  • Updated: December 10, 2019
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This page provides a comprehensive and impartial guide to climbing Kilimanjaro via the Marangu Route.

Please note: We are not a tour operator, but we can put you in touch with our recommended partner, see details below.

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Marangu Route

Overview

The Marangu Route, which approaches the mountain from the southeast, is the only route up the mountain which offers hut accommodation, as opposed to the tents which are used on other routes

It is also special as it can be completed in as little as five days, offering the quickest route to Uhuru Peak. An extra acclimatisation day is recommended, however, therefore the route is typically completed in six days.

Due to the availability of hut accommodation and its low cost, the Marangu Route is the most popular route on the mountain for beginners -- as such, its success rate is lower than some of the other routes, as many hikers underestimate the difficulty of reaching the peak of Kilimanjaro.

Marangu Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Most direct and fastest route to the summit
  • Cheaper than alternative routes
  • If you don't like sleeping in a tent, the Marangu route offers hut accomodation

Cons

  • Same ascent and descent route, with poor acclimatisation profile. Hence altitude sickness is quite common on this route
  • Relatively low summit success rate, especially on the five day trail

Marangu Route Map

Marangu-Route-Map

The map illustrates the Marangu Route, which begins on the South-eastern side of Mount Kilimanjaro. The route ascends and descends on the same trail.

Marangu Altitude Profile

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The Marangu Route has one of the poorer route profiles on Kilimanjaro, as there is very little opportunity to Climb High and Sleep Low.

The route to the summit is also pretty rapid, which means that there is not much time to properly acclimatise.

Get a Kilimanjaro Trek Quote

We do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote from our recommended partner click Get a Quote.

Marangu - Typical Itinerary

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The Marangu route can be completed in 5 or 6 days. Below is a detailed itinerary for the five-day Marangu Route. For details on the six-day variation, see the Route Variations section below.

Click each day to read more.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Marangu Route Variations

The Marangu Route is operated as either a five-day or a six-day trek. In order to allow enough time for acclimatisation, it is recommended that trekkers take the six-day route. The only difference between the two routes is an extra day spent at Horombo Hut to acclimatise; many trekkers spend this day taking photos and exploring the nearby terrain. It is a rare opportunity for some downtime.

Video Overview

A great overview of the Marangu Route, demonstrating the sights and sounds you can expect on this beautiful trail.

Get a Kilimanjaro Trek Quote

We do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote from our recommended partner click Get a Quote.

Recommended Guidebook

mount-kilimanjaro-guide

Mount Kilimanjaro: Trekkers Guide to the Summit

Mount Kilimanjaro: Trekkers Guide to the Summit is a practical and super insightful guidebook that has been used by 1000s of climbers as an authoritative resource to prepare for Mount Kilimanjaro.

The book is available on Amazon Kindle or an eBook version can be downloaded here.


Frequently Asked Questions about Marangu Trek

1.

When is the best time to trek the Marangu Route?

June to September is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro, as the weather is best. That said, since it is close to the equator it is possible to climb the mountain at any time of the year. April and May are the rainy season so most hikers avoid these months.

2.

How much does the Marangu Route cost?

The Marangu Route is widely-considered to be the cheapest route up the mountain since it can be completed in as little as five days.


However, the costs of trekking on the Marangu Route will vary based on a few factors, such as what season you choose to hike, whether you choose the five or six-day option, or whether you choose to use a Western guiding company or communicate directly with a local guiding company.


Here are the major costs to consider when planning to undertake the Marangu Route:


  • Visa, Vaccinations, Insurance etc: ~$300-$500
  • Equipment (buying and hiring): ~$200-$300
  • Flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport/Dar es Salaam/Nairobi: ~$800
  • Tour Agency: About $1,500 for a cheap local agency to ~$3,000 for an expensive Western agency.
  • Tips: ~$200-$300
  • Misc (additional food, unplanned travel / hotels etc): $200
  • Total Costs: $3,200 – $5,100
3.

Are permits required for the Marangu Route?

A permit is required to climb Kilimanjaro. Furthermore, all trekkers must be accompanied by a guide and porters. If you are joining an organised tour, these will be arranged for you. Otherwise, speak to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha and they should be able to help you find a guide and obtain the necessary permit to climb Kilimanjaro.

4.

How difficult is the Marangu Route?

The Marangu Route is attempted by many novices each year because it offers hut accommodation and some perceive it as a less-difficult trek than the other routes up the mountain.


This is a misperception --- the five-day route does not allow much time for acclimatisation and can be very difficult, particularly if you attempt it without proper preparation. The summit success rate on the Marangu Route is not as high as some of the other routes up Kilimanjaro. It's a good idea to work on your aerobic fitness before taking on the trek.

5.

Is altitude sickness a risk?

Altitude sickness is a serious concern on the Marangu Route, particularly for the five-day variant. Trekkers should be informed of the risks, symptoms and warning signs before they go. We recommend you read our detailed article on Altitude Sickness and Acclimatisation.


If you are particularly concerned about altitude sickness, the six-day Marangu Route is a better option than the five-day trek. One of the longer treks, such as the Lemosho Route or the Northern Circuit Route, would be even better as they allow more time for acclimatisation.

6.

What gear do I need for Marangu Trek?

Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro requires a number of essential pieces of trekking clothing and equipment. You will be exposed to a range of altitudes where temperatures fluctuate dramatically between night and day.


To help you plan and prepare for your trek we have written a detailed gear list.

6.

What type of insurance do I need for Marangu Trek?

Trekking to the summit of Kilimanjaro carries with it certain inherent risks. Chief among these is the risk of altitude sickness. It's a good idea to look into travel insurance before your journey. Make sure your insurance covers trekking up to 6,000 meters, which does not come standard in most travel insurance packages.


Check out World Nomads for a quick calculation of the cost of travel insurance for your trip to Kilimanjaro.

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