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Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro via The Rongai Route

Kilimanjaro Rongai Route

Kilimanjaro Rongai Route

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Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route

There are six established routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, and Umbwe. The Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe route all approach from the south of the mountain. The Lemosho and Shira routes approach from the west. The Rongai route approaches from the north. All routes except Marangu and Rongai descend via Mwerka.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro via The Rongai Route

Less crowded because of its remote location the route offers trekkers a unique wilderness experience where it is possible to see large wildlife like antelope, elephants, and buffalo. As there is typically less moisture on this side of the mountain you are less likely to encounter rain and have more unclouded views of the peak.

While it is flatter, it does not give the climb high sleep low option and therefore recommended to select more days for acclimatization.

The Rongai route is one of the easier routes up Kilimanjaro. Rongai is the only route to approach Kilimanjaro from the north and the descent is via the Marangu Route. Summit night from Kibo Hut is steep and follows the same path taken by the Marangu route which passes Gilman’s Point to Uhuru Peak.

There are several variations; the one described is a longer route taking in Mawenzi Tarn.

Duration: 5 or 6 days
Difficulty: Medium
Scenery: Very good
Traffic: Low

  • Destination
  • Departure
    Arusha city, Moshi town
  • Departure Time
    Approximately 8.30AM
  • Return Time
    Approximately 7.30PM
  • Dress Code
    Casual, comfortable and light
  • Included
    3 Meals a day
    Airport Transfer
    Budget Accommodation
    Entrence Park Fees
    Local Guide
    Safari Driver/Guide
  • Not Included
    5 Star Accommodation
    Airport taxes
    International flights
    Safari Vehicle
    Tanzanian Visas
    Tips and gratuities
    Travel insurance

Tour Plan


Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Rongai Gate (Nale Moru), Hike to Simba Camp (LD)

Drive to the attractive wooden village of Nale Moru (about 2 hours including a stop to get permits at Marangu). After signing in and preparing the porters, you will begin the hike on a wide path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering the pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently but gently through an attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone with extensive views over the Kenyan plains. -- Elevation: 2000m/6560ft to 2650m/8700ft -- Distance: 6km/4mi -- Hiking Time: 3-4 hours -- Habitat: Montane Forest Meals included: Lunch, Dinner Budget Accommodations: Simba Camp

Hike Simba Camp to Second Cave (BLD)

The morning hike is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim. -- Elevation: 2650m/8700ft to 3450m/11,300ft -- Distance: 6km/4mi -- Walking Time: 3-4 hours -- Habitat: Moorland Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Budget Accommodations: Second Cave Camp

Hike Second Cave to Third Cave (BLD)

Today we continue our hike from the Second Cave to the Third Cave. -- Elevation: 3450m/11,300ft to 3880m/12,700ft -- Distance: 9km/5mi -- Walking Time: 2-3 hours -- Habitat: Semi-desert Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Budget Accommodations: Third Cave Camp

Hike Third Cave to Kibo Hut (BLD)

Hike to Kibo Hut at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent and a very early day! -- Elevation: 3880m/12,700ft to 4750m/15,600ft -- Distance: 5km/3mi -- Hiking Time: 3-4 hours -- Habitat: Alpine Desert Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Budget Accommodations: Kibo Hut Camp

Hike Kibo Hut to Summit, and down to Horombo Hut (BLD)

Very early in the morning (midnight to 2 am), commence the climb to the summit on steep and heavy scree or snow up to Gilman's Point located on the crater rim (elev 5700m/18,700ft). Continuing, we now ascend to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point in Africa. There are unbelievable views at every turn. Have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends and family. From here we descend, stopping for lunch and a rest at Kibo before continuing on to the Horombo encampment. The beginning of this climb is done in the dark and requires headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is by far the most difficult part of the trek with many switchbacks. Going slowly "pole pole" and an optimistic attitude will get you there! -- Elevation: 4700m/15,500ft to 5895m/19,340ft -- Down to 3700m/12,200ft -- Distance: 6km/4mi up / 15km/9mi down -- Hiking Time: 6-8 hours up / 15km/9mi down -- Habitat: Alpine Desert Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Budget Accommodations: Horombo Hut Camp

Hike Horombo Hut to trailhead, drive to Moshi (B)

After breakfast, a steady descent takes us down through moorland to the Mandara Hut. Continue descending through the lush forest path to the National Park gate at Marangu. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy). A vehicle will meet you at Marangu village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 1 hour). Don't forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration! -- Elevation: 3700m/12,200ft to 1700m/5500ft -- Distance: 20km/12.5mi -- Hiking Time: 4-5 hours -- Habitat: Forest Meals included: Breakfast
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