Rongai Route – 6 or 7 days mountain climb

The Rongai route is the only route to start on the northern side of the mountain and is becoming popular with large groups, although it is still less used than the Machame or Marangu routes.

It is a long drive to the starting point on the northeast of the mountain but you are rewarded by fantastic views. This side of the mountain is drier than the south and so there is far less forest on this route and a lot of rocky ground. You may be exposed to the prevailing winds when crossing ‘The Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. The 7 day option has an extra day at Mawenzi Tarn for acclimatisation.

You start at Rongai Gate and summit via Gillman’s Point. Gillman’s is on the crater edge but it is still a long trek to Uhuru Peak which is the highest point of the crater edge. Your descent is via the Marangu route which is busy, is a two-way route, and uses the park huts rather than tents. This is a good route though, and has good acclimatisation and success rate particularly on the 7 day option.

Rongai 6 day Route Map and Itinerary

  • Day 1
    On arrival in Kilimanjaro airport you’ll be driven to the base hotel. This evening you’ll have a briefing where you’ll be given details about the forthcoming climb and have a chance to ask any questions.
  • Day 2
    After breakfast at the hotel you’ll drive round the mountain to the Eastern side to the park gate at Nale Muru , arriving in the early afternoon. Your guide will complete the necessary paperwork, after which you’ll set off. Hiking is through farm and pine plantations and then through montane forest. You reach Simba Cave Camp for your first night – 2,600m.
  • Day 3
    Todays trek first takes you up to Second Cave (3450) with views of the Eastern ice fields. After lunch leave main trail and head towards Mawenzi. Kikelewa caves campsite is in a sheltered valley. Overnight Kikelewa Caves Camp- 3,600m.
  • Day 4
    Hike up close to Mawenzi tarn (4330) located in a cirque beneath Mawenzi. In the afternoon you head out for an acclimatisation walk with your guide. Overnight Mawenzi Tarn Camp – 4,330m.
  • Day 5
    Today you cross the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo in the alpine desert zone. Kibo camp is situated at 4700 meters. In the afternoon it is time to prepare for the night ascent and then an early dinner and to bed for a few hours. Overnight Kibo Camp – 4,700m.
  • Day 6
    Summit Day! An early start is required to arrive in time for a dawn on the roof of Africa! You ascend Kibo volcano via Gilman’s point (5685m) which takes around 6 to 7 hours. It is then a further 11/2 to 2 hours to the summit and then descent to Kibo for refreshment and food. After this you head down the Marangu Route down to Horomobo camp. Overnight Horombo Camp – 4,700m – 5,895m – 3,706m.
  • Day 7
    After breakfast at Horombo you’ll continue down to the park gates a Marangu, 1,843m. It takes from 5-7 hours walking. Here you’ll be picked up and driven back to the base hotel. Check into your room and enjoy the luxury of a hot shower before a drink or two in the bar and a celebratory dinner.
  • Day 8
    Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport or your onward travels.

Rongai 7 day Route Map and Itinerary

  • Day 1
    On arrival in Kilimanjaro airport you’ll be driven to the base hotel. This evening you’ll have a briefing where you’ll be given details about the forthcoming climb and have a chance to ask any questions.
  • Day 2
    After breakfast at the hotel you’ll drive round the mountain to the Eastern side to the park gate at Nale Muru , arriving in the early afternoon. Your guide will complete the necessary paperwork, after which you’ll set off. Hiking is through farm and pine plantations and then through montane forest. You reach Simba Cave Camp for your first night. 2,600m
  • Day 3
    Todays trek first takes you up to Second Cave (3450) with views of the Eastern ice fields. After lunch leave main trail and head towards Mawenzi. Kikelewa caves campsite is in a sheltered valley. Overnight Kikelewa Caves Camp – 3,600m
  • Day 4
    Hike up close to Mawenzi tarn (4330) located in a cirque beneath Mawenzi. In the afternoon you head out for an acclimatisation walk with your guide. Overnight Mawenzi Tarn Camp – 4,330m
  • Day 5
    Today is an acclimatisation and rest day. Your guide takes you on a hike which normally lasts for around 4 hours. Overnight Mawenzi Tarn Hut – 4,330m
  • Day 6
    Today you cross the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo in the alpine desert zone. Kibo camp is situated at 4700 meters. In the afternoon it is time to prepare for the night ascent and then an early dinner and to bed for a few hours. Overnight Kibo Camp – 4,700m
  • Day 7
    Summit Day! An early start is required to arrive in time for a dawn on the roof of Africa! You ascend Kibo volcano via Gilman’s point (5685m) which takes around 6 to 7 hours. It is then a further 11/2 to 2 hours to the summit and then descent to Kibo for refreshment and food. After this you head down the Marangu Route down to Horomobo camp. Overnight Horombo Camp – 4,700m – 5,895m – 3,706m
  • Day 8
    After breakfast at Horombo you’ll continue down to the park gates a Marangu, 1,843m. It takes from 5-7 hours walking. Here you’ll be picked up and driven back to the base hotel. Check into your room and enjoy the luxury of a hot shower before a drink or two in the bar and a celebratory dinner.
  • Day 9
    Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport or your onward travels.
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Amanda Marks

Managing Director
Self confessed Africa-lover, but keen on all new travel experiences, Amanda is passionate about getting to know different cultures.

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Tracy Edwards

Travel Consultant
Tracy was been born and spent her youth in South Africa, the draw of the animals, the people and wilds of Africa have always run through her veins.

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Sinead Bailey

Travel Consultant
Sinead caught the travel bug following a year out after university. She has worked in the travel industry ever since, and visited many countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia.

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Christine MacDougall

Travel Consultant
The African dust is firmly planted in Chris’s heart. Born in Tanzania she spent much of her childhood in and around Ruaha. Travel and safari was part of life and through into adulthood fun and travel has never left her.