The Rongai route ascends Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern 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.
The topography of the route does not allow for the application of the climb high and sleep low principle and hikers generally suffer more from altitude sickness on the Rongai route compared to other routes (an additional acclimatization day is highly recommended on this route). The Rongai route use the scree summiting path from Kibo hut to Gilman’s point and descend via the Marangu route.
Day 1: Simba Camp
Drive to Marangu gate and register and then proceed to Rongai Gate to Simba Camp at height of 2750m. Hike time: average 3 to 4 hours. After a short drive to the Rongai Gate through villages and coffee plantations we begin our trek along a winding track which weaves its way through natural rainforest harbouring a variety of wildlife. As the forest begins to thin we reach Simba Camp, The first cave is near camp. Also you can see Kenya wilderness and savanna plains.
Day 2: Trek from Simba to Kikelelwa Camp (3600m)
Simba Camp to Kikelelwa Hike time: 7 hours
Depart from Simba Camp in the morning and continue ascending steadily to the Second Cave. We stop here for lunch with spectacular views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields before leaving the main trail across the moorlands in the direction of Mawenzi. We arrive at Kikelelwa Camp situated in a sheltered valley near Kikelelwa caves.
Day 3: Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4330m)
Kikelelwa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn Camp Hike time: 4 hours
Start a steep and steady climbing up grasslands providing you with superb views before we leave the vegetation behind and arrive at Mawenzi Tarn Camp. Our campsite is below the awe-inspiring jagged spires of Mawenzi peak glistening in the sunshine.
Day 4: Kibo Camp (4700m)
Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp Hike time: 5 hours. Start climbing across the The Saddle between the volcanoes of Mawenzi and the towering Kibo. As we cross the alpine desert the open landscape offers panoramic views with Kibo looming overhead throughout the day. You can eventually make out a winding summit path high above on the side of the mountain. The world largest antelope, the eland can be seen in these parts.
Day 5: Summit Day
Kibo Camp to Uhuru to Horombo Hut Hike time: 10 hours Uhuru peak : 5895m
We rise around 11:30pm for tea and biscuits and start the final and most demanding part of the climb by torchlight. After 5 or 6 hours of zig-zaging up loose volcanic scree we pass Williams Point at 5000m. Hans Meyer Cave at 5182m is next as we take it nice and slowly with regular rest stops to drink and catch our breath, however the severe cold makes is essential to keep moving. We reach Gillman’s point at 5685m in time for the spectacular sunrise. We continue to Uhuru Peak the true summit of Kilimanjaro at 5895m. We pass spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area, by the time we reach the summit the suns rays will have thawed our freezing bodies. Enjoy your time on the summit as you will remember it for ever more.
We descend for 5 hours to Horombo camp skiing down the scree. The descent is surprisingly fast and we arrive at Horombo camp, our final campsite at 3720m.
Day 6: Descent Horombo hut to Marangu park gate
Descend Time: 4 hours. Depart from Horombo Camp our steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara hut before continuing through lush forest on a good path to the park gate at Marangu. You overnight at Hotel in Marangu or Moshi.