Rongai Route - 06/06/23

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8 Days 7 Nights
Climbing Kilimanjaro - Rongai Route
Min Age : +6

Mount Kilimanjaro Climb Overview – Rongai Route

As the only route that approaches Mt Kilimanjaro from the north, the Rongai route has a more

gradual slope than the other routes up the mountain. The route approaches Mt Kilimanjaro from the north, beginning with a short drive from the Marangu gate to the Rongai gate. From there, a hike up to Simba camp, a walk through the bush, plantations and rainforest. The Rongai route traverses through moorland over several ridges to Kikeleva caves, then screes to Mawenzi Tarn Camp. An easy angled scree slope then leads across to the Kibo hut. Head to the summit on a steep scree up to Gillman’s point, then continue around the rim to Uhuru peak, the highest point in Africa. The descent is made through the Marangu route

This once in a lifetime experience rewards daring few explorers with an unforgettable adventure as they venture the path to the highest point of Africa. Here’s what to expect on this route:


Itinerary at a glance:
  • Day 1: Kilimanjaro International Airport to Arusha City
  • Day 2: Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Rongai Gate (Nale Moru), Hike to Simba Camp
  • Day 3: Hike Simba Camp to Second Cave
  • Day 4: Hike Second Cave to Third Cave
  • Day 5: Hike Third Cave to Kibo Hut
  • Day 6: Hike Kibo Hut to Summit, and down to Horombo Hut
  • Day 7: Hike Horombo Hut to the trailhead, drive to Arusha
  • Day 8: Arusha to Kilimanjaro International Airport

Route Description

The Rongai Route is thought to be one of the easiest Kilimanjaro routes. It typically has very little foot traffic compared to the other routes. The minimum duration for this trip is 6 days and that itinerary is described below.

Additional Acclimatization: You can add an additional day for acclimatization by taking a longer route east to Mawenzi Tarn on Day 2 and meeting back up with the trail at the Kibo Huts on Day 5. Elite Kilimanjaro recommends this option as it greatly increases your chances of success.

Departure & Return Location

Arrival and Departure: Kilimanjaro International Airport


Day 1Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport – Arusha City: 55kms/1hour

Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, you will be warmly welcomed by one of our experienced drivers and your Mountain Guide who will escort you to your reserved hotel in Arusha Town.

Overnight at Zawadi House on Bed and Breakfast

Day 2Rongai Start Point (1996m) – Simba camp (2626m)

  • Climbing time: 4 hours

  • Distance: Approximately 6.7 km

  • Environment: Forest (Montane)

Depart from Arusha town to the Marangu park gate for registration. From Marangu park gate we travel to Naro Moru, northeast Kilimanjaro, a further 68km and approximately 2 ½ hours on bad roads to the Rongai start point (1996m). Meet your guide and porters before you begin your hike from the Nale Moru village.

The small winding path crosses maize fields before entering the pine forest and then climbs gently through a forest. The trail is not at all steep, but is rather a gentle hike through a beautiful countryside. The first night’s camp is at Simba Camp (2 626m). The camp facilities include a public toilet and a wooden table with benches, but no hut.

Day 3Simba camp (2626m) – Kikelewa Camp (3679m)

  • Climbing time: 6 – 7 hours

  • Distance: Approximately 11.8 km

  • Environment: Moorlands

We hike from Simba camp up towards Kibo till 3 482m for lunch at First Caves, a distance of 5.8km. After lunch, we continued trekking until reaching Kikelewa Camp at about 3679 meters. The views start to open up and you begin to feel you’re on a really big mountain! Water can be found in an obvious stream below the cave, although you might have to wander downhill to find a pool or two. Enjoy dinner and overnight at Kikelewa camp.

Day 4Kikelewa Cave (3679m) – Mawenzi Tarn camp (4303m)

  • Climbing time: 3 hours

  • Distance: Approximately 3.7 km

  • Environment: 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 5Mawenzi Tarn camp (4303m) – Kibo hut (4730m)

  • Climbing time: 5 hours

  • Distance: Approximately 9 km

  • Environment: Alpine desert

After breakfast, we head west and 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 hut.

Day 6Summit: Kibo hut (4730m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo hut (3705m)

  • Climbing time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 6 to 8 hours to descend to Horombo

  • Distance: Approximately 5.4km ascent and 15 km descent

  • Environment: Stone scree / ice-cap summit

You will rise around 23h20, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night, and this is where the going really gets tough. 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. This is probably the most demanding section of the entire route. Do the Kili shuffle and move slowly. From Gilman’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 will be able to spend taking photographs, before the 3-hour descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest at Kibo hot, you gather all the gear you left behind for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours) for your overnight. 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. Later in the evening, enjoy your last dinner (with soft drinks and beer for sale at the camp office) on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.

Day 7Horombo hut (3705m) – Marangu Gate (1860m) – Arusha City

  • Climbing time: 6 hours
  • Distance: Approximately 19.7 km
  • Environment: Moorland & Montane Forest

After a well-deserved breakfast, it is a short, scenic, 3 – hour hike back to the park gate. Don’t give your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely, but do remember to tip your staff at the gate. At Mweka Gate, you can sign your name and add details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates.

Climbers who reached Stella Point are issued green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate, you will continue down to the Mweka Village, possibly a muddy, 3 km, 1-hour hike if the road is too muddy for vehicles. In the Mweka Village, you will be served a delicious hot lunch after which you are driven back to Arusha for an overdue hot shower and comfortable night in a nice hotel.

Overnight at Zawadi House on Bed and Breakfast

Day 8Arusha to Kilimanjaro International Airport

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Airport for your onward flight.

“End of service”.


Price includes and excludes

Price Includes

  • It's just one arrival and one departure. Each party will receive their own private vehicle and driver to transport them from Kilimanjaro International Airport to their accommodation.
  • Night in Arusha City before and after climbing Kilimanjaro.
  • Extra luggage will be stored at our office until you come back from the mountain
  • Transportation to and from the mountain
  • All entrance fees, camping/hut costs, and climbing permits for Kilimanjaro National Park
  • Rescue costs in Kilimanjaro National Park (Kilimanjaro Rescue Team)
  • A pulse oximeter is carried by the chief guide and is used to measure clients' blood oxygen levels twice day.
  • Oxygen for an emergency (for use in emergencies only – not as summiting aid)
  • First aid kit (for use in emergencies only)
  • Qualified mountain guides, porters, and cook
  • Salaries in accordance with KINAPA (Kilimanjaro National Park Authority) regulations.
  • 3 meals a day (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) on the mountain as specified in the itinerary
  • At the lunch stop, a hot meal is prepared and served inside the mess tent with a table and seats
  • Camping equipment (tents, mattress, camp chairs, camp tables, mess tent & cutlery for meals)
  • Certificate of Achievement if you reach Gilman’s point, Stella point or Uhuru point
  • Complimentary 3 litres of mineral water per hiker on the first day of the ascent, followed by 3 litres of purified water per person per day from first night onwards
  • Private portable toilet for the whole group

Price Excludes

  • International Flight
  • Personal Mountain Gears i: e Gloves, Sunglasses, sleeping bag, Hats, Rain suits, Warm Jacket, Heavy boots, Scarf's, Rain Trousers, Sleeping bag etc. Some of the gears/equipment could be rented in Tanzania.
  • Extras at the lodges i.e. drinks, telephone, laundry, etc.
  • Visa: US citizens pay $100 per person, whereas other countries pay $50 per person.
  • My own hotel room and mountain tent, respectively
  • Tips to mountain crew (highly recommended) – Guideline: Mountain guide: 25 USD per guide, per day, per group, Cook 15 USD per day, per group. Mountain Porter: 8 US per porter, per day on the mountain.

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