The Marangu Route
Budget operators attempt to encourage people to climb the Marangu Route by claiming that it is the easiest route. The reality is that the Marangu Route is only the easiest route for the operator as very little equipment is needed because accommodation is in huts, the entry gate is close to Moshi (where most of the low-budget operators are based), and the access road is paved all the way to the park gate.
While it is true that the approach to high camp is certainly the easiest on this route Marangu nonetheless suffers the worst summit success rates on the mountain with only 42% of all climbers reaching the summit, according to KINAPA’s official figures.
Problems with the Marangu Route
The trail is maintained in impeccable condition by the park authorities and affords vast and beautiful views of Kibo’s eastern aspect in good weather once the saddle is attained. The principal reason we however do not recommend the route is that minimal scope for acclimatisation is afforded with only some 200m being gainable from Horombo Huts, even if one opts for the 6 day route which includes a day’s supposed ‘acclimatisation’.
An obvious solution to this problem would seem to be to ascend the lower slopes of Mawenzi on day 3 but this is not safe because of rockfall and is also prohibited by KINAPA.
We are frequently asked which is Kilimanjaro's best route, but this question does not have an answer that applies to all climbers at all times of year. The volume of misleading information elsewhere on the Internet requires that we offer quite a comprehensive, and clarifying perspective on how to ensure you're enabled to choose the best Kilimanjaro route.
Unless specifically requested by climbers who are already acclimatised to 4,000m from the ascent of Meru or another mountain, and wanting vehicle support to the Shira Plateau, we only use the Shira Route for mountain safety work as a fast way of reaching the summit or Western Breach when short on time. It is possible for an acclimatised member of our staff to leave Arusha early in the morning and be on the summit the same day by driving up to around 3,760m.