Rongai Route - Climb Kilimanjaro - 6 days

Rongai Route - Climb Kilimanjaro - 6 days

Short Overview
The Rongai Route is the only route on the north-eastern part of the mountain. This route is gaining in popularity, because it is the second easiest after Marangu and it has amazing wilderness conditions. The Rongai Route is recommended for climbers who want to avoid the huge numbers of climbers on other routes. This route can be started from the Tanzanian or the Kenyan side of the mountain and can be achieved in 6 days. The Rongai Route is only used to climb up the mountain and at the final stage it joins up with the Marangu Route, which is also the ascending route. This route has lots of caves, which are partly also used as overnight accommodations.
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Details of Rongai Route - Climb Kilimanjaro - 6 days

Day 1: Rongai gate to 1st  Caves camp

Walking distance: approximately 8 km Duration: 5 hours

Altitudes: Rongai gate (1,950 m) - 1st Caves camp (2,600 m)

Vegetation zone: Montane forest, low alpine zone (heather)

You will be transferred from your hotel to the village of Nalemoru. The start of this route is at the Marangu Park Gate, where you will be transported to the Rongai trailhead (1,950 m). 

The transport to the Rongai gate takes about three hours. If you have enough time, you might have your packed lunch at Nelemoru. This path leads through cypress plantations and montane forest. You might even see some colobus monkeys. At the end of the path you will reach 1st Caves camp (2,600 m). Your porters will already wait for you at the camp with your tent already build up. They might even prepare hot drinks and popcorn for you. This cave has a toilet and water below the trail and even a wooden table with benches but there are no huts.

Day 2: 1st Caves camp to Kikelewa Cave

Walking distance: approximately 9 km Duration: about 6 – 7 hours

Altitudes: 1st Caves camp (2,600 m) – Kikelewa Cave (3,600 m)

Vegetation zone: Moorlands

You will start your day at the 1st Caves camp with a light breakfast. Here you will enter the moorlands vegetation zone covered in heather. On this path you will pass the 2nd Cave Camp (3,450 m) where lunch will be served. After lunch you will make your way up to the 3rd Cave Campsite (3,600 m) also known as the Kikelewa Cave. You might as well stay at the 2nd Caves Camp and prolong this route from a 5 days hike to a 6 days hike for excellent acclimatisation.

If you choose the 6 days hike, porters and guides will prepare a tent for you at the 2nd Caves Camp and on your acclimatisation day you can even hike towards Mawenzi tarn and back down to the campsite. However, if you choose the 5 days hike, you will continue towards Kikelewa Cave and pass through the moorland covered with heathers and occasional rocky terrain. You will have great views of Mawenzi, Kibo and in case the weather is great also the Amboseli Plains at the mountains slope. At the 3rd Cave camp, porters will already prepare your tent and something for dinner. The camp is situated around a group of small caves in a valley just below the saddle. There is a stream below the cave with drinking water.

Day 3: Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn camp

Walking distance: approximately 6 km Duration: approximately 3 – 4 hours

Altitudes: Kikelewa Cave (3,600 m) – Mawenzi Tarn camp (4,330 m)

Vegetation zone: Moorlands

You will start your third day with a light breakfast at the Kikelewa Cave. You will start your hike on an easy and gentle slope. The landscape changes soon and the path becomes very steep. You will soon reach Mawenzi Tarn camp (4,330 m). This campsite is very spectacular, since it is located in a hollow underneath the jagged peak of Mawenzi right next to a tiny lake. Hot lunch will be served at this campsite and you will have time for some rest.

You can spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the surrounding of the campsite. You can even climb up the several ridges and towers of Mawenzi, which will offer you great views of Kibo. This area is great for acclimatization and for astonishing views of Mawenzi. Dinner will be served at the end of this day.

Day 4: Mawenzi Tarn camp to Kibo Hut

Walking distance: approximately 9 km Duration: approximately 4 – 5 hours

Altitudes: Mawenzi Tarn camp (4,330 m) – Kibo Hut (4,700 m)

Vegetation zone: Alpine desert

You will start today's journey after some light breakfast, prepared by your cooks. You will first climb over a small ridge and than walk on an easy path on the northern side of “the Saddle”. In good weather conditions the views are breathtaking. Today you will walk in the Alpine desert vegetation zone covered with the occasional everlasting flower and some hardy grasses.

At this part the route joins up with the Marangu Route when you reach the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. The summit path at this point is the same as the one from the Marangu route. The last part of today's journey up to Kibo hut is very steep. You will reach Kibo hut (4,700 m) around lunch time. Your porters and guides will already prepare something to eat and your tent. You will have enough time to prepare for the final part, enough rest and acclimatisation.

You will have an early dinner, so you'll have get enough sleep because this is your big night. You should also prepare all things for the final ascent before going to bed. The things which you should prepare before attempting to reach the summit are: ski-stick, thermal clothing, as well as a thermal flask for your water and replacing your headlamp and batteries.

Day 5: Summit Attempt: Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut

Walking distance: approximately 6 km ascent and 21 km descent

Duration: 8 hours to Uhuru and 6 hours to Horombo

Altitudes: Kibo Hut (4,700 m) – uhuru Peak (5,895 m) – Horombo Hut (3,720 m)

Vegetation zone: ice-capped summit

You will wake up at about 23:00 and 23:30. You will have some tea and biscuits. The first part of the climb is very tough consisting of a rocky path. You will pass Williams Point (5,000 m), Hans Meyer Cave (5,150 m) and Gillman's point (5,681 m) located on the crater's rim. From Kibo hut you will need about two and a half hours to reach Hans Meyer Cave. Gilman's point is not so far away from Hans Meyer Cave, it takes only about an hour to get there.

From Gilman's point you will need about an hour and a half to reach the summit. The rest of the climb is usually snow covered all the way up to Uhuru Peak and you will be walking along the crater's rim. You will also pass Stella point (5,752 m), this is the point where the other routes reach the rim. Now you are not far away from the summit but it can be very challenging. At Uhuru peak you will take some photographs and you shouldn't expect to remain at this altitude for longer than a few minutes.

You will now start your journey back down towards Kibo hut (4,700 m) where lunch will be served. From here you will need about three hours to get back to Horombo hut (3,720 m) where dinner will be served. You will stay at the Horombo hut for the overnight in luxurious beds.

Day 6: Horombo Hut to Marangu gate

Walking distance: approximately 27 km

Duration: 6 hours Altitudes: Horombo hut (3,720 m) – Marangu gate (1,980 m)

Vegetation zones: low alpine zone (heather and moorland), montane forest

You will start your last day on Kilimanjaro with a breakfast at the Horombo hut. On the way back down to the Marangu gate you will pass Mandara hut (2,700 m) where you will have a short stop for lunch. You already know this path from your first day on this route.

When you reach the Marangu gate you will sign your details into a register and receive a summit certificate, a green certificate for reaching Gilmann's Point and gold certificate for Uhuru Peak. We recommend that you tip the porters when you and all your equipment reaches the gate. At the gate a driver will be waiting for you to transport you back to your hotel.



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Itinerary in Brief

  • Day 1: Rongai gate to 1st Caves camp

  • Day 2: 1st Caves camp to Kikelewa Cave B, L, D

  • Day 3: Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn camp B, L, D

  • Day 4: Mawenzi Tarn camp to Kibo Hut B, L, D

  • Day 5: Summit Attempt: Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut B, L, D

  • Day 6: Horombo Hut to Marangu gate B, L, D

B - Breakfast; L - Lunch; D - Dinner

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