Nicknamed the “Coca-Cola” route because the route is popularized as easy and cheap. This, however, is a misconception as the route is more difficult due to the ‘not as good acclimatization profile’ as Machame/Rongai/Lemosho routes.
Marangu is only route that has the luxury of sleeping huts along the way with evening meals taken in a communal dining area. There are even showers (cold) and some flush toilets, which to some are actually a bit of a luxury on the mountain, and is the perfect for those with no camping experience.
Often selected by unprepared, inexperienced climbers because of its reputation for being the “easiest” route, attributing to the lower success rate
The shortest and cheapest route, but less time to acclimatize, therefore lower success rate
Dormitory style accommodation in huts, Less scenic due to ascent and descent on same route
The Marangu route is a comfortable walking path with a very steady, gradual slope (at least until you reach the last camp). This gave the Marangu route a reputation as an “easy” climb route.But make no mistake: the Marangu route is NOT easy and it is NOT for tourists! It is a serious climb with very low success rates. Only a quarter to a third of the climbers on this route reach the summit of Kilimanjaro. The reason? The “tourists” on this route are shockingly unprepared.
A five day climb does not allow for sufficient acclimatization, many climbers have to turn around because of altitude sickness. (You can add an optional acclimatization day.)
Budget operators have much lower client success rates. Equipment, food, experience level of guides, all that makes a big difference and all that costs money.
The last day before the summit attempt is a long one and covers 1000 m of altitude difference. There is not much time to recover or acclimatize before setting out again at midnight to climb another 1200 m. Not good.
Add to that the lack of scenic variety compared to the other routes, and you wonder why anyone would want to climb Kili on the Marangu route.
Well, even if not as scenic as other routes, it is still a spectacular experience with great views all along. There are two reasons why you may want to climb Kilimanajaro on the Marangu route:
- You absolutely can not, under no circumstances, imagine sleeping in a tent for five nights or more. (But don’t think those huts offer luxury accommodation or that there are any amenities. There aren’t. You get a mattress and pillow – no linen – on a bunk bed, and you get to eat in a crowded dining hall. No less and no more.)
- The other reason to select Marangu is if money is your main consideration, before everything else. I you don’t care about scenery, aren’t worried by big crowds, and are willing to accept a reduced chance of success, Marangu is the cheapest option you have. (But do yourself a favour and take that optional extra acclimatisation day.)