7 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 – First Cave’s Camp
Altitudes (ASL): 1950m – 2600m, Distance covered: 8km, Trekking 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 the fields of maize and Irish potatoes before climbing gently through a pine forest. The first night’s camp is at First Cave, at about 2,600m altitude.
First Cave Camp – Kikelewa Cave Camp
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 Kilimanjaro really is. We overnight at Third Cave Camp (Kikelewa Caves).
Kikelewa Cave Camp – Mawenzi Tarn Hut Camp
Elevation (m): 3600m to 4330m, Distance covered: 6km, Trekking 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 Hut Camp
Elevation (m): 4330m, Habitat: Moorland.
We will spend an extra day at Mawenzi Tarn to acclimatize. We will be able to trek and explore around Mawenzi Tarn and also rest ready to continue our trek up Kilimanjaro tomorrow.
Mawenzi Tarn Hut Camp – Kibo Hut Campsite
Altitudes (ASL): 4330m – 4703m, Distance covered: 4 km, Trekking time: 3 – 4 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 go westerly 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
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)
Zero degree sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner (optional), Inflatable pillow (optional)
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
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,
Sunglasses, Sunscreen (SPF 25+), Lip Balm (SPF 25+), Sun Hat, Bandana, Camera, Bug spray, Malaria pills, Flashlight/torch, Batteries, Cash for tips, etc.