6 Days Rongai Route

Rongai route begins at the remote that approaches Kibo Peak from the northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro, near the Kenyan border and is the quieter, lesser traveled camping route that offers the closest to a wilderness experience. We hike through a true wilderness area towards the jagged Mawenzi Peak, then cross a barren desert saddle, before climbing up Kibo’s eastern crater wall. Eventhough this route does not allow the climber to “walk high, sleep low” due to its topography; the Rongai route is a more gradual ascent, and is therefore preferred by those with little or no backpacking experience, but is equally enjoyable for even the most hardened trekkers.

Detailed Route Itinerary

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 Park Gate/Ranger Post. 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, Trekking distance: 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, Elevation (Kibo Hut – Summit): 4720m – 5895m.

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 will enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.

Horombo Hut – Marangu Gate
Elevation (ASL): 3720m – 1920m, Trekking distance: 18 km, Trekking time: 6 hours, Habitat: Morland/Montane forest.

After early breakfast, you will continue your descent (6 – 7 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 Gillman’s Point certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m), receive Uhuru Peak 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.

For the Head

Wool Hat, Balaclava, Sunglasses, glacier glasses better, Sunscreen (SPF 25+), Lip Balm (SPF 25+), Sun Hat, Bandana

Clothes (No Cotton)    

Synthetic base layer (2) , Wool or synthetic layer (2), Wool or fleece sweater, Wind/Water-proof jacket, Convertible hiking pants, Underwear, Water-Proof Pants, Synthetic or wool pants for layering, Gloves or mittens, Glove Liner, Lycra tights.

For the Feet

Thin sock liners (2), Wool hiking socks (6), Good- broken-in hiking boots, Gaiters (knee lengthy is better), Tennis shoes or sandals (for camp)

For Sleeping

Zero degree sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner (optional), Inflatable pillow (optional)

For Hiking

Day pack (no larger than 2,200cu), Water bladder 100oz/3ltr, Rain cover for pack, Headlamp, Extra batteries, Large duffel bag for gear (porters carry), Energy bars/gels, Plastic bags

Personal Items

Toiletries, Small first aid kit, Small towel, Diamox for altitude sickness, Cash for tipping, Wet wipes, Bug Spray

Safari Gear List


Brown, beige or khaki clothes, Light jacket,

Other Items

Sunglasses, Sunscreen (SPF 25+), Lip Balm (SPF 25+), Sun Hat, Bandana, Camera, Bug spray, Malaria pills, Flashlight/torch, Batteries, Cash for tips, etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *