Rongai route is the only trail that approaches Kibo from the North, on the Kenyan side of the mountain. The Rongai route 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 for the ascent on the summit. Descent is again via the Marangu route on the southeast side of the mountain. This route is typically completed in 7 days allowing for good acclimatization.
Day 1: Arrive in Arusha
Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). A private transfer awaits you from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) to Arusha at a hotel that suits your budge where you will spend the rest of the day at leisure. The mountain guide will come at the agreed time at the hotel for a pre-climb briefing and an equipment check. We recommend that this is done on the eve of the climb.
Day 2: Rongai Gate (1950m) – 1st Caves camp (2600m)
Rongai Gate (1950m) – 1st Caves camp (2600m)- Hiking time: 5 hours | Distance: About 8 km’s | Habitat: Montane forest
Register at the Marangu park gate with a transfer (approximately 2 ½ hours) to the Rongai trailhead. Your guide will be with you to assist in the paper work. You begin the hike from the Nale Moru village. The small winding path crosses maize fields before entering pine forest, and then climbs gently through a forest. The trail is not at all steep, but is rather a gentle hike through beautiful country. The first night’s camp is at First Cave, at about 2,600 metres. There is a toilet and a wooden table with benches, but no hut. Water can be found just down the trail below First Cave.
Day 3: 1st Cave (2600m) – Kikelewa Cave (3600m)
1st Cave (2600m) – Kikelewa Cave (3600m) thirteen-Hiking time: 6-7 hours | Habitat: Moorlands
The trail continues up towards Kibo, passing Second Cave (3450m) en-route, and reaching Kikelwa Cave at about 3600 metres. The views start to open up and you begin to feel you’re on a really big mountain! Water is in the obvious stream below the cave. Overnight at 3rd Cave camp (Kikelewa Caves).
Day 4:Kikelewa Cave (3600) – Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m)
Kikelewa Cave (3600) – Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m)
Hiking time: 3-4 hours | Habitat: Moorlands
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes offers superb views of this wilderness area. The vegetation zone ends shortly before you reach your next camp at Mawenzi Tarn spectacularly situated beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. Spend the afternoon acclimatizing and exploring the area.
Day 5: Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) – Kibo hut (4700m)
Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) – Kibo hut (4700m)
Hiking time: 4 – 5 hours | Habitat: Alpine desert
Continue ascending on the east side of Kibo crossing the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo taking 4 to 5 hours to reach Kibo Hut. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent, which begins around midnight. Overnight at Kibo Camp.
Day 6: Summit; Kibo hut (4700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m)
Summit; Kibo hut (4700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo hut (3720m)
Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru, 6 hours to descend to Horombo |Distance: 6 km’s ascent – 21 km’s descent | Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
After some warm refreshments, start ascending by torchlight at around 23h30 to be able to be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. It can get tough here. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5 681m), which is located on the crater rim. This section is very steep with a lot of stone scree, requiring a great physical and mental effort. Probably the most demanding section of the entire route.
From Gillman’s Point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895m), the highest point in Africa. Total exhilaration and satisfaction – you made it. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you can spend, taking photographs, before the 3-hour descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest you gather all your gear for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours) where you will overnight – a well deserved sleep! The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly fast compared to the ascent. The total time spent walking on this day is around 14 hours, so be prepared for a very tough day.
Day 7: Horombo hut (3720m) – Marangu Gate (1980m)
Horombo hut (3720m) – Marangu Gate (1980m) – Hiking time: 6 hours | Distance: About 27 km’s
After breakfast you continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. At Marangu gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates.
Our vehicle will be awaiting you and will transfer you to the hotel in Arusha.
Day 8 Arusha to Kilimanjaro International Airport.