The Marangu Route is also known as the "Tourist Route" and the "Coca-Cola Route." It is the oldest route, the most popular route, and the one that comes closest to the trail that Hans Meyer took in making the first successful assault on the summit. It is the only route that climbers are sleeping on the dormitory huts and not camping outside. This is one of the shorter route, taking just five days. However, many climbers decide to take an extra day(s) to relax at Horombo Huts, using that day to visit the Mawenzi Huts Campsite. From a safety point of view this is entirely sensible and aesthetically such a plan cannot be argued with either, for the views from Mawenzi across the Saddle to Kibo truly take the breath away; assuming, that is, that you have some left to be taken away after all that climbing.
Origin of the name ‘Coca Cola Route’:
Coke is a soft drink, this means this route is easy and simple like Coca Cola, as the opposite to the Machame Route which is called Whisky Route. Do not mislead with the name, thinking climbing to the summit within five, six or seven days is simply a walk in the national park. You will be wrong, there is a greater proportion of climbers fail on this route than on any other. This is because this route’s reputation for being ‘easy’ attracts the more inexperienced, out of condition climbers who do not realize that they are embarking on a 35 km uphill walk, followed immediately by a 35 km knee jarring descent. Machame Route, for example, you start at 1800 m and aim for the summit at 5895m. While on Marangu, you start just a little higher at 1860 m and have the same goal. So simple logic should tell you that it cannot be that much easier. The fact that there’s no tent to carry, however, means you can probably get away with just two to three porters per person, or fewer if you carry your own bag something of a false economy we have found, as we believe it increases your chances of suffering from AMS.
Accommodation on the Marangu Route:
There are over 70 spaces at Mandara Huts, 148 spaces at Horombo (the extra beds are necessary because this hut is also used by those descending from Kibo) and just 58 spaces at Kibo. Sleeping in the huts makes a bit difference especial on pack list, even though the huts have mattresses and pillows you will still need sleeping bags because not all huts have. Regarding the sleeping situation, it does help if you can get to the huts early each day to grab the better beds. This doesn’t mean you should deliberately hurry to the huts, which will reduce your enjoyment of the trek and increase the possibility of AMS. But do try to start early each morning: that way you can avoid the crowds, beat them to the better beds, and possibly improve your chances of seeing some of the wildlife too.
Difficulties of this route:
The biggest drawback on the Marangu Route is that the ascent is exactly the same as the descent while it is the shorter route and therefore there is not as much variety in settings compared to other routes. It also means that the route can get very crowded.