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Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route

The Rongai route is one of the easier routes up Kilimanjaro. Rongai is the only route to approach Kilimanjaro from the north and the descent is via the Marangu Route. Summit night from Kibo Hut is steep and follows the same path taken by the Marangu route which passes Gilman’s Point to Uhuru Peak.

As there is typically less moisture on this side of the mountain you are less likely to encounter rain and have more unclouded views of the peak. While it is flatter, it does not give the climb high sleep low option and therefore recommended to select more days for acclimatization.

OUR PROGRAM

Day 1: Moshi to Rongai Gate to Rongai Cave 

After breakfast, we depart from Moshi town and drive 45 minutes to Marangu park gate for registration. From there, we travel to Nale Moru, a further 68km/42miles and approximately 3 hours on difficult roads to the Rongai starting point (1,996m/6,549ft). We begin our hike from the Nale Moru village. The small winding path cross maize fields before entering pine forest, and then we climb gently through a forest which is a home to variety of wildlife including the black and white colobus monkeys. The trail is not steep but is rather a gentle hike through a beautiful countryside. Simba camp sits near the first cave at the edge of the moorland zone with spectacular views of the plains of Kenya.

Rongai Gate to Rongai Cave
Elevation: 1,950m/6,398ft to 2,835m/9,300ft
Distance: 8km/5miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Zone: Rainforest

Day 2: Rongai Cave to Second Cave Camp to Kikelewa Cave

After a good night sleep and a hearty breakfast, we continue along moorland terrain on a consistent ascending path. You will catch some terrific views of Kibo and get your first glimpse of the ice fields on the Eastern crater rim. The small shrubs of the moorland become thinner as we approach the Second Cave. Temperatures begin to drop.

Rongai Cave to Second Cave
Elevation: 2,835m/9,300ft to 3,444m/11,300ft
Distance: 6km/4miles
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Zone: Heath

Second Cave to Kikelewa Cave
Elevation: 11,300 ft to 11,811 ft
Distance: 6km/4miles
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Zone: Heath

Day 3: Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn

After breakfast and packing, we continue our stead ascent, entering the semi-desert terrain. This relatively short hiking day brings us closer to the Easter ice fields, continually drawing your attention to their wilderness beauty. As we exit the heath zone and emerge into the Alpine Desert zone, the landscape changes dramatically. The remainder of the day can be spent relaxing or exploring the area.

Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn
Elevation: 3,600m/11,811ft to 4,316m/14,160ft
Distance: 5km/3miles
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Zone: Alpine Desert

Day 4: Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut

We climb gradually, then cross the Lunar desert of the Saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. Our camp, Kibo Hut, sits at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. There is no running water at Kibo hut. The remainder of the day is spent resting and relaxing, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.

Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut
Elevation: 4,316m/14,160ft to 4,703m/15,430ft
Distance: 8km/5miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Zone: Alpine Desert

Day 5: Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit, a steep climb over loose volcanic scree some well-graded zigzags and a slow but steady pace. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s point (5,669m/18,600ft), we will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
After spending a few moments to appreciate your accomplishment and taking pictures in the plains of Africa, we descend to Horombo Hut. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak
Elevation: 4,703m/15,430ft to 5,895m/19,341ft
Distance: 6km/4miles
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Zone: Arctic

Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut
Elevation: 5,895m/19,341ft to 3,734m/12,250ft
Distance: 16km/10miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Zone: Heath

Day 6: Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate

On our last day, after breakfast we start our descent, we have a long trek mostly downhill through the tropical rainforest, passing the Mandara Hut down to the Marangu gate. Once at the park headquarters at Marangu gate, we collect our summit certificates. A vehicle will meet us here and drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate
Elevation: 3,720m/12,205ft to 1,843m/6,046ft
Distance: 20km/12miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Zone: Rainforest

Congratulations!

OUR PROGRAM

Day 1: Moshi to Rongai Gate to Rongai Cave 

After breakfast, we depart from Moshi town and drive 45 minutes to Marangu park gate for registration. From there, we travel to Nale Moru, a further 68km/42miles and approximately 3 hours on difficult roads to the Rongai starting point (1,996m/6,549ft). We begin our hike from the Nale Moru village. The small winding path cross maize fields before entering pine forest, and then we climb gently through a forest which is a home to variety of wildlife including the black and white colobus monkeys. The trail is not steep but is rather a gentle hike through a beautiful countryside. Simba camp sits near the first cave at the edge of the moorland zone with spectacular views of the plains of Kenya.

Rongai Gate to Rongai Cave
Elevation: 1,950m/6,398ft to 2,835m/9,300ft
Distance: 8km/5miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Zone: Rainforest

Day 2: Rongai Cave to Second Cave Camp to Kikelewa Cave

After a good night sleep and a hearty breakfast, we continue along moorland terrain on a consistent ascending path. You will catch some terrific views of Kibo and get your first glimpse of the ice fields on the Eastern crater rim. The small shrubs of the moorland become thinner as we approach the Second Cave. Temperatures begin to drop.

Rongai Cave to Second Cave
Elevation: 2,835m/9,300ft to 3,444m/11,300ft
Distance: 6km/4miles
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Zone: Heath

Second Cave to Kikelewa Cave
Elevation: 11,300 ft to 11,811 ft
Distance: 6km/4miles
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Zone: Heath

Day 3: Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn

After breakfast and packing, we continue our stead ascent, entering the semi-desert terrain. This relatively short hiking day brings us closer to the Easter ice fields, continually drawing your attention to their wilderness beauty. As we exit the heath zone and emerge into the Alpine Desert zone, the landscape changes dramatically. The remainder of the day can be spent relaxing or exploring the area.

Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn
Elevation: 3,600m/11,811ft to 4,316m/14,160ft
Distance: 5km/3miles
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Zone: Alpine Desert

Day 4: Acclimatisation day at Mawenzi Tarn

This extra day meant for acclimatization and can be spent hiking on Mawenzi Ridge. The unique landscape offers motivating views of Kibo and Mawenzi. After spending a few moments exploring the area we head back to Mawenzi Tarn for camp.

Mawenzi Tarn to Mawenzi Ridge
Elevation: 4,316m/14,160ft to 4,389m/14,400ft
Distance: 2km/1mile
Hiking Time: 1-3 hours
Zone: Alpine Desert

Mawenzi Ridge to Mawenzi Tarn
Elevation: 4,389m/14,400ft to 4,316m/14,160 ft
Distance: 2 km/1 mile
Hiking Time: 1-2 hours
Zone: Alpine Desert

Day 5: Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut

We climb gradually, then cross the Lunar desert of the Saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. Our camp, Kibo Hut, sits at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. There is no running water at Kibo hut. The remainder of the day is spent resting and relaxing, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.

Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut
Elevation: 4,316m/14,160ft to 4,703m/15,430ft
Distance: 8km/5miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Zone: Alpine Desert

Day 6: Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit, a steep climb over loose volcanic scree some well-graded zigzags and a slow but steady pace. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s point (5,669m/18,600ft), we will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
After spending a few moments to appreciate your accomplishment and taking pictures in the plains of Africa, we descend to Horombo Hut. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak
Elevation: 4,703m/15,430ft to 5,895m/19,341ft
Distance: 6km/4miles
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Zone: Arctic

Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut
Elevation: 5,895m/19,341ft to 3,734m/12,250ft
Distance: 16km/10miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Zone: Heath

Day 7: Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate

On our last day, after breakfast we start our descent, we have a long trek mostly downhill through the tropical rainforest, passing the Mandara Hut down to the Marangu gate. Once at the park headquarters at Marangu gate, we collect our summit certificates. A vehicle will meet us here and drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate
Elevation: 3,720m/12,205ft to 1,843m/6,046ft
Distance: 20km/12miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Zone: Rainforest

Congratulations!

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