This is one of Kilimanjaro’s easiest routes, and it has become an increasingly popular route in recent years. This route is located on the northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro with a variety of spectacular landscapes together with different plants and animals species. The typical duration for this trip is 6 days. However, you can also add an acclimatization day and make it 7 day climb.
The Rongai Route is more scenic than the Marangu Route and easier than other camping route in climbing Kilimanjaro and the success rate on the Rongai Route is very high. Unlike the Marangu Route where you sleep in huts, on the Rongai Route you sleep in tents, the porter will have your tent pitched and waiting for you at the end of each days trek. This route starts on the north side of the mountain just south of the Kenyan border and is one of the least traveled routes. The route merges with the Marangu Route for the summit climb. The descend follows the Marangu Route on the mountain’s southeast side, so you will able see Kilimanjaro from many view points. There are two versions of this trek – a direct 6-day itinerary, and a 7-day itinerary that takes a longer route. The 6-day itinerary is described down below and the longer variation is described in the extra day’s section.
We offer several options for 7 and 8 day ascents to the top of Kilimanjaro along the Rongai route
1. Climbing Kilimanjaro, Rongai route, 7 days
Rongai route ascends Kilimanjaro from the northeastern side of the mountain, along the border between Tanzania and Kenya. This route retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north. Each night we will overnight in mountain dome tents enjoying the meals prepared by our mountain camp chefs. Your guide will be the local Tanzanian guides the expertise and best knowledge of the mountain, explain fascinating details about the route, Flora and Fauna, and attend to the endless details that make a climb successful and look out for your safety.
Transfer from the airport to Arusha or Moshi. Transfer from Kilimanjaro International Airport / Bus Station to the hotel in Moshi or Arusha by bus. The road will allow you to enjoy stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro Hotel (bed and breakfast).
Hotel, transfer to the Rongai Gate (1950 m), trakking to the 1st cave camp (2600 m). 8 km / 4-5 hours, Forest (Montana). After breakfast depart for Marangu park gate for register, after which you transfer (approximately 2 ½ hours) to the Rongai trailhead. Meet your guide and porters before you begin your hike from the Nale Moru village. The small winding path crosses maize fields before entering pine forest, and then climbs gently through a forest. The trail is not at all steep, but is rather a gentle hike through beautiful country. The first night’s camp is at First Cave, at about 2,600 metres. There is a toilet and a wooden table with benches, but no hut. Water can be found just down the trail below First Cave.
1st cave (2600 m), trakking to the Kikelewa cave (3600 m). 7 km / 6-7 hours, Moorlands. The trail continues up towards Kibo, passing Second Cave (3450m) en-route, and reaching Kikelwa Cave at about 3600 metres. The views start to open up and you begin to feel you’re on a really big mountain! Water is in the obvious stream below the cave, although you might have to wander downhill a way to find some.Dinner and overnight at 3rd Cave camp (Kikelewa Caves).
Kikelewa Cave (3600 m), trakking to the Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330 m). 4 km / 3-4 hours, Moorlands. A short but steep climb up grassy slopes offers superb views of this wilderness area. The vegetation zone ends shortly before you reach your next camp at Mawenzi Tarn spectacularly situated beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. Spend the afternoon acclimatizing and exploring the area.
Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330 m), trakking to the Kibo hut (4700 m). 4 km / 4-5 hours, Alpine desert. Continue ascending on the east side of Kibo crossing the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo taking 4 to 5 hours to reach Kibo Hut. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent, which begins around midnight. Dinner and overnight will be at Kibo Camp.
Climbing Day! Kibo hut (4700 m), Summit Uhuru peak (5895 m), Horombo hut (3720 m). 4 km up / 14 km down, 8-6 hours, Alpine desert. You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. This is where the going really gets tough. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150 m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5 681m), which is located on the crater rim. This section is very steep with a lot of stone screed, requiring a great physical and mental effort. This is probably the most demanding section of the entire route. Do the Kili shuffle and move slowly. From Gillman’s Point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895 m), the highest point in Africa. Total exhilaration and satisfaction – you made it. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you can spend, taking photographs, before the 3-hour descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest you gather all your gear for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours) where you will overnight. The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly fast compared to the ascent. The total time spent walking on this day is around 14 hours, so be prepared for a very tough day. Later in the evening you enjoy your last dinner (with soft drinks and beer for sale at the camp office) on the mountain and well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.
Horombo hut, trakking to the gates of Marangu, transfer to Moshi or Arusha, 3700 m to 1700 m,18 km, 5-7 hours. After breakfast, A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Hut (2700 m / 8858 ft), the first stopping place at the Marangu route. Continue descending through lovely lush forest on a good path to the National Park gate at Marangu (1830 m / 6004 ft). At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy). A vehicle will meet you at Marangu village to drive you back to your Hotel in Moshi. Don’t forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration!
2. Climbing Kilimanjaro, Rongai route, 8 days
Meeting at the airport, transfer to Arusha or Moshi. A transfer from Kilimanjaro International Airport / Bus Station and a shuttle bus to your hotel will allow you to enjoy stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Check in at the hotel (breakfast and dinner).
Arusha, Rongai Gate, traking to Simba Camp. Elevation(m): 1387/915 m to 1950 m to 2750 m. Distance: 9 km. Hiking Time: 4 hours. Habitat: Montane Forest. You will have an early breakfast. Transfer by our vehicles through many villages and coffee and plantations for 2-3 hour drive to Rongai Gate (1950 m/6398 ft). After signing in and preparing the porters, you will start hiking on a wide path winding through fields of maize and potatoes, and then enter into montane forest. You will then start to climb gently but consistently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. The forest begins to thin as you arrive at Simba Camp (2600 m/8530 ft) with fantastic views over the Kenyan plains.
Camp Simba, trakking to the Kikelewa camp. Elevation: 2750 m to 3600 m. Distance: 17 km. Hiking Time: 7 hours. Habitat: Moorland. After an early breakfast you will have a steady ascent to the second cave where you will stop for lunch. You leave the direct trail at this point and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path toward Mawenzi side peak to Kikelewa Camp in a sheltered valley. At the Kikelewa Camp you will settle for your dinner and overnight rest.
Kikelewa camp, trakking to the Mawenzi hut. Elevation: 3600 m to 4330 m. Distance: 7km. Hiking Time: 4 hours. Habitat: Semi-Desert. After breakfast you will face a short, steep climb up grassy slopes; rewarded by superb all-round views, immersed in the vast surrounding wilderness. Soon after, you leave the vegetation behind and arrive at the Mawenzi Tarn Camp, which is situated in a spectacular cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi Peak. After this hike, you will reach to the Mawenzi turn hut camp where you will also see the amazing undried Lake with no inlet as well as outlet here you will have lunch and rest then dinner and overnight at this camp.
Acclimatization Day (7-day itinerary skips this day). This is your extra day on the mountain, and you will spend two nights at Mawenzi Tarn. You will hike up towards Mawenzi for a splendid acclimatization hike. Then after return back to the camp for lunch the dinner and overnight.
Mawenzi hut, trakking to Kibo hut. Elevation: 4330 m to 4695 m. Distance: 8km. Hiking Time: 5 hours. Habitat: Alpine Desert. After an early breakfast you will cross the lunar desert of the saddle between Kibo peak and Mawenzi peak to Kibo Huts at the bottom of Kibo’s crater wall. You should spend the remainder of the day resting and preparing for your summit climb.
Climbing Day! Kibo hut, Summit Uhuru Peak, Descent to Horombo hut. Elevation: 4695 m to 5895 m to 3690 m. Distance: 4 km up, 14 km down. Hiking Time: 10-15 hours. Habitat: Alpine Desert. Wake at midnight to a light breakfast and then prepare for your summit ascent. The goal is to climb before dawn so that you can reach Uhuru Peak shortly before or after sunrise. Leave to the peak at 12; 00AM, switchback up steep scree or possibly snow, and reach Gilman’s Point on the crater rim at 5861 m/18640 ft between 4 and 6 AM. At this point, you will have views of the fabled crater and its icecaps facing you. Then after 2 hours of hiking along the Kibo crater rim near the celebrated snows takes you to Kilimanjaro’s true summit, Uhuru Peak here you will spend some times for taking photo’s but it will depend on how you feel. After your summit activities done, descend back to the Kibo Huts, have lunch, rest, collect your equipment, and continue on down, re-crossing the saddle to the Horombo Huts. Have dinner and overnight at Horombo camp.
Horombo hut, trakking to Marangu gate, transfer to Moshi or Arusha. Elevation: 3690 m to 1830 m to 1387 m. Distance: 18 km. Hiking Time: 5-7 hours. After a long and enjoyable sleep you will be awaken for breakfast and pack up, start descend through the moorland to Mandara Huts. Here you will have lunch then proceed with your triumphant recessional down through lush forest to Marangu Gate. Here you will sign out then after a vehicle will take you to back to the hotel where it is definitely time for certificate presentation and celebration!