The Rongai Route
Duration: 7 days hiking is recommended but it can be done in 6 days.
Overview: Rongai is gaining in popularity. You get to view the North side of Kilimanjaro, sleep in tents and have a more direct (and therefore less taxing) climb. This route also descends via the Marangu route. So you also get to see the monkeys and longer rain forest this side of the mountain offers.
When taking this route groups can decide, with their guide, to arrive at Kibo hut via the Mawenzi Tarn camp or School camp.
NOTE: You can also ascend the Rongai Route directly from Kenya. You can find cheap package holiday deals at Dealchecker where you can start your climb from the picturesque town of Rongai, in Kenya’s scenic Rift Valley province. With Rongai as your starting point, you can embark on a 7 day ascent, sleeping in tents at various camps along the route.
Climber Community: Click here to read what others have to say about the Rongai Route.
Day 1: Rongai Trail head (6562 ft) to First Cave (9449 ft)
|2884 ft||5 mi||4-5 hrs|
Your first day’s walk is a gradual ascent through the farms of Nalemuru and into the rain forest. You’ll camp in tents near the First Cave and will be rewarded with some of the best views of Kilimanjaro.
Day 2: First Cave (9449 ft) to Third Cave (12,713 ft)
|3264 ft||6 mi||7 hrs|
As you cross the beautiful moorlands today, you will pass by Second Cave on your way to your campsite at Third Cave. You’ll have fantastic views of both Kilimanjaro and Mawenzi as you hike.
Day 3: Third Cave (12,713 ft) to Mawenzi Tarn Hut (14,206 ft)
|1493 ft||7 mi||4-5 hrs|
The trail begins to get steeper as you head in an Easterly direction towards Mawenzi Tarn. Here you have an excellent view of Mawenzi (4958m)
Day 4: Mawenzi Tarn Hut (14,206 ft) to Kibo Camp (15,400 ft)
|1200 ft||5 mi||5 hrs|
Today you will cross through what is known as “The Saddle”, between Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. The area is devoid of vegetation, with many small rocks dotting the landscape. You will rest at your campsite before making your summit attempt.
Day 5: Kibo Camp (15,430 ft) to Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft)
|3910 ft||4 mi||5-7 hrs|
Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft) to Horombo Hut (12,205 ft)
|-7135 ft||14 mi||6-8 hrs|
This is the longest day. You begin your ascent at around 12:00 am. The path up to Gilman’s Point, zigzags back and forth along a gravel path. After Gilman’s Point you follow the crater rim over to Uhuru. The train can have snow and ice and there are a few parts that require care as you pass a rocky outcropping. After a few victorious photos, it’s time to head back down to Kibo Hut for a short rest before making your way down to Horombo Hut.
Day 6: Horombo Hut (12,205 ft) to Marangu Gate (6004 ft)
|6201 ft||11 mi||6 hrs|
Enjoy your last views of the mountain as you descend through the moorland and rain forest zones on your way to Marangu Gate. The rain forest section is spectacular, and may even offer views of some of the local monkeys. At the gate, you will receive your completion certificate if you made it to Gillman’s Point or Uhuru Peak. Then it’s back to the hotel for a hot shower and a dip in the swimming pool.