Rongai Route (6 Days – Camping)

Rongai Route (6 Days – Camping)

The Rongai Route is the only trail to approach Kibo from the north, on the Kenyan side of the mountain. It is considered more scenic than the Marangu Route, easier than the Machame Route and has a high summit success rate. The Rongai Route is also one of the quietest routes as it does not converge with any other route until it joins the Marangu Route for the ascent on the summit. Descent is again via the Marangu Route on the south east side of the mountain. This route is completed in 6 days, but can be prolonged with to 7 days with an extra day allowing for good acclimatizati

Day 1

Rongai Gate (1,950 m) – Rongai Cave (2,600 m) Hiking time: 3-4h

After breakfast we will transfer you to Rongai. The climb begins from the attractive wooden village of Nale Moru (1,950 m) on a small path which winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently, but gently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the beautiful Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone (2,600 m) with extensive views over the Kenyan plains.

Day 2

Rongai Cave (2,600 m) – Kikelewa Cave (3,600 m) Hiking time: 6-7h

The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the ‘Second Cave’ (3,450 m) with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Our campsite is in a sheltered valley with giant senecios near Kikelewa Caves (3,600 m)

Day 3

Kikelewa Cave (3,600 m) – Mawenzi Tarn (4,330 m) Hiking time: 3-4h

A short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb all-round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4,330 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.

Day 4

Mawenzi Tarn (4,330 m) – Kibo Hut (4,750 m) Hiking time: 4-5h

We cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach School campsite (4,750 m) at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night!

Day 5 – Summit day!

Kibo Hut (4,750 m) – Uhuru Peak (5,896 m) – Horombo camp (3,720 m) Hiking time: 11-15h

We will start the final, and by far the steepest and most demanding, part of the climb by torchlight around 1 a.m. We plod very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point (5,685 m). We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo (4,700 m) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshment, we continue the descent to reach our final campsite at Horombo (3,720 m).

Day 6

Horombo camp (3,720 m) – Marangu gate (1,830 m) Hiking time: 5-6h

A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Hut (2,700 m), the first stopping place at the Marangu route. We then continue descending through lovely lush forest on a good path to the National Park gate at Marangu (1,830 m). You will be transferred to your hotel for overnight.

Rongai Route Map