7 Day Rongai Route Itinerary
Rongai route is the only route approaching Kilimanjaro from the north, starting close to the Kenyan border, and is one of the least traveled routes. . Rongai’s starting point is at a higher altitude than any other route. The descent is down the Marangu route on the south side of the mountain, so climbers see the mountain from many view points.
The drive to the trail head takes about 2.5 hours from Moshi through many villages and coffee plantations, including a stop to register climbing permits at Marangu.
Day 1: Hiking to First Cave, 1950m/6400ft to 2880m/9450ft.
Time: 3-4 hours
Safari jeep transfers you (4-5 hours) to the wooden village of Nale Muru (1950m/6398 ft). After registering and preparing the porters, you will begin hiking on a wide path winding through fields of maize and potatoes, prior to entering pine forest. After that, the path starts climbing steadily, through an attractive forest that is home a various wildlife species. As the forest begins to thin out, you enter the first camp at the edge of the moorland zone (2600 m/8530 ft). This location ghastly extensive view of the Kenyan plains.
Day 2: Hiking to Second Cave, 2880m/9450ft to 3450m/11320ft.
Time: 3-4 hours
The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave where there are superb views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim. Depending in conditions, you can hike to Kikelewa Camp and spend a rest day at Mawenzi Tarn Camp.
Day 3: Second Cave to Kikelewa Cave, 3450m/8500ft to 3600m/11800ft.
Time: 3-4 hours
The third day begins by setting out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. The campsite is in a valley with giant Senecios near Kikelewa Camp.
Day 4: Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn camp, 3600m/11800ft to 4330m/14200ft.
Time: About 3-4 hours
You begin the short steep climb up grassy slopes with stunning views shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn. The Mawenzi Tarn is spectacular with its cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as to aid in the acclimatization process. If you are spending an extra day on the mountain, you will camp for two nights at Mawenzi Tarn. You can hike up and around Mawenzi for your acclimatization hike.
Day 5: Mawenzi Tarn camp to Kibo hut, 4330m/1420ft to 4750m/15600ft.
Time: About 4-5 hours
Cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite (4750 m) at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting while in preparing for the final ascent prior to a very short night’s sleep!
Day 6: Summit Day!!!
Hiking to Summit and Horombo Hut, 15600ft to 19340ft
Time: About 11-13 hours / (And down to 3720m and then down to 12,200ft).
Time: About 3-4 hours.
Around 1AM, begin the final, steepest and most demanding part of the climb by torchlight. You will proceed slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree, reaching the crater rim at Gillman’s Point (5685m/18,650ft). You will rest there for a short period to enjoy an outstanding sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are feeling strong enough can take the 3 hour round trip to Uhuru Peak, passing spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo is surprisingly fast. After some refreshments, you will continue your descent to the final campsite at Horombo.
Day 7: Hiking to Moshi, 3720m/12200 to 1700m/5500ft.
Time: About 5-6 hours
After breakfast, there will be a steady descent through moorland to Mandara Hut (2700m/8858 ft). This is the first stopping place at the Marangu route. The descent will then continue through a lush forest on an excellent path to the national park gate at Marangu. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Trekking poles and gaiters will assist you through this part of your descent. Shorts and t-shirts will be fine to wear at this altitude. Both rain gear and warm clothing are kept handy, just in case of changes in the weather.