6 Days Rongai Route
Rongai is the only route that approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border and does offer the closest to a wilderness experience.
It is a remote trek in through barren landscape that is relatively disinteresting and it suffers from one of the lowest summit success rates. This is due to the route’s topography which does not allow the climber to “walk high, sleep low”.
Rongai Gate to First Cave’s Camp
Elevation (m): 1950m to 2600m, Distance: 8km, Time: 4 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest.
We will register at Marangu Park Gate and then transfer (approximately 2 ½ hours) to the Rongai trailhead. We will meet our porters before you begin your trek from the Nale Moru village. The small winding path crosses maize fields before climbing gently through a pine forest. The first night’s camp is at First Cave, at about 2,600m altitude.
First Cave to Kikelewa Cave
Elevation (m): 2600m to 3600m, Distance: 9km, Time: 6 – 7 hours, Habitat: Moorland.
The trail continues up towards Kibo, passing Second Cave (3450m) en-route, and reaching Kikelewa Cave at 3600 meters. From here the views start to open up and you will see for yourself how huge a mountain Kili really is. We overnight at Third Cave Camp (Kikelewa Caves).
Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn
Elevation (m): 3600m to 4330m, Distance: 6km, Time: 4 hours, Habitat: Moorland.
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb all-round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave the vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4330 m), spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatization.
Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Campsite
Elevation (m): 4330m to 4750m, Distance: 4 km, Time: 3 hours, Habitat: Alpine desert.
We cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite (4750m) at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent tomorrow!
Kibo Hut – Summit
Altitudes (ASL): 4700m – 5895m, Distance covered: 21 km, Trekking time: 6 – 7 hours ascent, 3 hours descent to Kibo Hut, another 3 hours descent to Horombo Hut, Habitat: Stone screed and ice-capped summit and Moorland, Altitude gained (Kibo Hut – Summit): 1195m, Change in Altitude; Summit – Horombo Hut: (-2175m).
You will wake up around 11:30pm, and after some tea, pop corn and biscuits you shuffle off into the night, and this is where the going really gets tough. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer point (5150m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5,685m), which is located on the crater rim. This section is very steep with a lot of stone screed, requiring a great physical and mental effort.
From Gillman’s Point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895m), the highest point in Africa. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend, taking photographs before the 3 hours descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest you gather all your gear you left behind for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours) for your overnight. Later in the evening you enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.
Horombo Hut – Marangu Gate
Altitudes (ASL): 3720m – 1920m, Distance covered: 18 km, Trekking time: 6 hours, Change in Altitude: (-1800m).
After early breakfast, you will continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. On arrival there, you will sign for checking out and receiving your summit certificates. The successful climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) are issued with silver certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m), receive gold certificates. Our vehicle will meet at Marangu Gate and transfer you back to Arusha or Moshi for a hot shower, dinner and overnight at the hotel/lodge.