The Marangu Route, also known as the "Coca-Cola Route" or "Tourist Route", is the oldest on Mt Kilimanjaro and is also one of the most popular – mainly because it is the only route on the mountain that has hut accommodation for hikers. There are 60 bunk beds each at Mandara and Kibo Huts, and 120 bunk beds at Horombo Hut.
Typically tour operators provide mattresses and pillows for climbers (sleeping bags however, need to be brought separately by trekkers).
The Marangu route can be completed in 5 days; however, it is recommended that climbers take an extra day to acclimatise at Horombo Hut.
The main setback on the Marangu Route is that the ascent is exactly the same as the descent and therefore there is not as much variety in settings compared to other routes. It also means that the route can get very crowded.
The Marangu Route begins at Marangu Gate (1,870 meters) on the South-East side of Mount Kilimanjaro (see map above). Typically you will be driven to the gate from Moshi, which takes approximately an hour and passes through the village of Marangu. If approaching from Arusha it takes over two hours to reach Marangu gate.
At the gate you will meet your trekking team, register with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities and witness porters assembling and weighing packs of gear that they will be carrying up the mountain. Day one is a gradual trek through the Kilimanjaro rainforest and takes 5-7 hours to complete.