Trip Overview

The Rongai Route is the only Kilimanjaro route to start from the north-eastern side of the mountain, close to the Kenyan border. Though the drive to the trailhead is long, you will be compensated with lovely views. Because of its remote location, the Rongai route sees much lower traffic than the other Kilimanjaro routes and offers a genuine untouched wilderness experience. In addition, because there is typically less moisture on this side of the mountain, the likelihood of rain is lower than with the other routes and there are more opportunities to see unclouded views of the peak.

The Rongai route is flatter than the other Kilimanjaro routes and is generally considered to be one of the easiest. That said,  due to its topography, it does not offer the advantage of trekking high and sleeping low; for this reason, we recommend seven days instead of six.

The trek from Kibo Hut to the summit follows the same path as those taking the Marangu Route, i.e., through Gilman`s point to Uhuru peak. From there, the route descends on the south-eastern side of the mountain via the Marangu route, which makes for a longer last day than some of the other routes. Though the scenery may not be as varied compared with that of the western routes, the remoteness is what makes this route special.

Day 1: Arrival Tanzania

Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met by a Tansafari-Tours representative and transferred to your hotel in Arusha.

Day 2: rest day

Enjoy a day at your leisure to rest from your travels and prepare for your climb. Your head Kilimanjaro guide will meet you at your hotel today to give you a thorough briefing about your climb and check your gear. If you need to rent any clothing or equipment, today will be the day to do so.

Day 3 (climb day 1): Arusha – nale muru Gate – Simba Camp

After breakfast, you will depart to the village of Nale Muru, where the Rongai trailhead is located. After signing in, you will begin your trek along a gradual and winding trail that  crosses maize and potato fields before entering the pine forest. From there, the trail climbs consistently, but gently, through a forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. You will enjoy a picnic lunch along the trail. The first day’s hiking is easy going and you will arrive at Rongai’s Simba Camp around mid-afternoon. This first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone and offers extensive views over the Kenyan plains. Upon arrival, you may unpack and relax until dinner time.

  • Beginning altitude: 1,950m/6,400ft
  • Ending altitude: 2,650m/8,695ft
  • Zone: Rainforest
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 7km/4mi
  • Elevation gain: 700m/2,300ft
 

Day 4 (climb day 2): Simba Camp – second cave

Today is a relatively short hike. You will head out this morning and steadily ascend up to Second Cave, where we will be camping for the night. Here, you can enjoy the gorgeous views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim, as well as a hot lunch. The rest of the day is for relaxation.

  • Beginning altitude: 2,650m/8,695ft
  • Ending altitude: 3,450m/11,320ft
  • Zone: Heath
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 7km/4mi
  • Elevation gain: 800m/2,625ft
 

DAY 5 (CLIMB DAY 3): SECOND CAVE – Kikelewa camp

This morning your hike will lead you on a gradual rise through the beautiful open moorland toward the jagged peaks of Mawenzi to Kikelewa Camp. The camp is situated near a couple of caves by the Kikelelwa River, with giant Senecios and Lobelias flourishing nearby. The evening will reveal Kibo’s snowy summit peaking over the ridge that separates the campsite from the saddle.

  • Beginning altitude: 3,450m/11,320ft
  • Ending altitude: 3,600m/11,810ft
  • Zone: Heath
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 6km/4mi
  • Elevation gain: 150m/480ft
 

Day 6 (climb day 4): Kikelelwa Camp – Mawenzi Tarn Camp

You head out today on a short but steep climb up grassy slopes, offering 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 exploring the area and hiking up and around Mawenzi for better acclimatization.

  • Beginning altitude: 3,600m/11,810ft
  • Ending altitude: 4,330m/14,160ft
  • Zone: Alpine desert
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 4km/2.5mi
  • Elevation gain: 730m/2,350ft
 

DAY 7 (CLIMB DAY 5): MAWENZI TARN CAMP TO KIBO Hut

Today you cross the lunar desert of the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo Hut, arriving at the bottom of the Kibo Crater wall by early afternoon. You will see little in the way of flora along the way, but, if you are lucky, you might see eland, which are said to roam in these parts. For most hikers, this is their favorite day on the mountain. Once you have arrived at Kibo Hut, the remainder of the day will be spent relaxing in preparation for your final ascent, which will begin around midnight. Have an early dinner and then head to your tent to get some sleep ahead of the challenge that awaits you. Please note that there is no running water at Kibo Hut.  

  • Beginning altitude: 4,330m/14,160ft
  • Ending altitude: 4,750m/15,430ft
  • Zone: Alpine desert
  • Hiking time: 5-6 hours
  • Distance: 8km/5mi
  • Elevation gain: 420m/1,270ft
 

Day 8 (climb day 6): Kibo Hut – Uhuru Peak – Horombo hut

You will wake up at around midnight and have a light breakfast before setting off into the night; beware, the wind and cold at this elevation and time of day/night can be extreme! We now begin our slow zigzagging trek up to Gilman’s Point (5,756m/18,885ft) on the edge of the Kibo crater, taking frequent but short breaks. This will most likely be the toughest part of the entire climb, and you will need to summon all of your physical and mental strength to keep going, which, of course, you can do! At Gilman’s point, you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise over Mawenzi Peak that you are ever likely to see. 

From Gillman’s Point, it’s about an hour-and-a-half push up to the summit, but the trail is relatively flat compared to the earlier sections and your efforts will be rewarded with magnificent views of the glaciers and snowfields on one side, and views over Kibo on the other. Just keep moving forward one little step at a time! Finally, you will arrive at Uhuru Peak, the highest poing on the African continent at 5,895m/19,340ft! Take a moment to congratulate yourself on this incredible feat – you made it! Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you can spend taking photographs to preserve this moment for posterity. 

You will then descend back to Kibo Hut (approximately 3 hours) for breakfast and a short rest before continuing downward to Horombo Hut (another 3 hours), where you will overnight. 

Later in the evening, enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

  • Beginning altitude: 4,750m/15,430ft
  • Altitude at the summit: 5,895m/19,340ft
  • Ending altitude: 3,720m/12,200ft
  • Zone: Arctic/Heath
  • Hiking time: 10-13 hours
  • Distance: 22km/14mi
  • Elevation gain: 1,145m/3,910ft
  • Elevation loss: 2,175m/7,140ft
 

Day 9 (climb day 7): Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate

After breakfast, we will hike our last stretch – a long one – from Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate, nearly 20km (12.5 miles)! Take it slowly and use your trekking poles to help you. Upon arrival at Marangu Gate, you will sign out and pick up your certificate. You will then be transferred back to Arusha or to Kilimanjaro Airport, depending on your onward plans.

  • Beginning altitude: 3,720m/12,200ft
  • Ending altitude: (1,870m/6,135ft)
  • Zone: Rainforest
  • Hiking time: 5-7 hours
  • Distance: 20km/12.5mi
  • Elevation loss: 1,850m/6,065ft

One of our Kilimanjaro experts will get back to you within 24 hours.