8 Day Rongai Route
he 8 day Rongai route begins in Moshi when you arrive on day 1 at your lodge. The climb begins at the remote, northern side of Kilimanjaro, near the Kenyan border. We hike through a true wilderness area towards the jagged Mawenzi Peak, then cross a barren desert saddle, before climbing up Kibo’s eastern crater wall.
The Rongai route is a more gradual ascent and is therefore preferred by those with little or no backpacking experience. However, it is equally enjoyable for even the most hardened trekkers. With only six days on the mountain and only 4.5 days before the summit climb, there is little time for altitude acclimatization. This route ascends quickly and steady. It is recommended for climbers who lack the time to spend more days on the mountain.
Our trips begin and end at your lodge in Moshi.
Try to arrive at your lodge in Moshi before 3 PM the day before your climb. With prior arrangement, an airport pick-up to your lodge is available from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), or simply make your own way by taxi. We will gather in the afternoon for a pre-climb briefing and an equipment check. We will also confirm you have the appropriate mandatory medical coverage and travel insurance.
Drive: 45 minutes
We take a ride to Marangu to complete the necessary registration formalities, before transferring by SUV to Rongai. The climb begins from Nale Moru (6,400 ft) on a small path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering a pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently, but gently through an attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail. The forest begins to thin out at the edge of the moorland zone. Then, we take in the expansive views over the Kenyan plains as we arrive at our first campsite at Rongai One Camp (8,500 ft).
3-4 hours · 4.3 miles elevation: +2,100 ft.
The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave(11,300 ft) with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern Icefields on the crater rim. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out and head southeast across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Our campsite is in a sheltered valley, decorated with giant senecios near Kikelewa Caves (11,800 ft).
6-7 hours · 5.7 miles · elevation: +3,300 ft.
A short but steep climb is rewarded by superb all-around views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn(14,200 ft), 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.
3-4 hours · 2.3 miles · elevation: +2,400 ft.
We cross the lunar desert of the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo Hut (15,400 ft) at the bottom of the crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for an early morning final ascent.
5-6 hours · 5.5 miles · elevation: +1,200 ft.
At 1 am, you will start the final and most demanding part of the climb by headlamp. You’ll plod very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point (18,600 ft). We will stop here 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 (19,345 ft). Along the way, you’ll pass close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo Hut (15,400 ft) is surprisingly fast. After some refreshments, we will continue the descent to Horombo Huts (12,200 ft).
11-15 hours · 12.3 miles · elevation: +3,945 ft. gain · -7,145 ft. loss
A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Huts (8,900 ft). We then continue descending through a lovely lush forest on a good path to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate at Marangu (6,000 ft), where we are transferred back to your lodge in Moshi.
5-6 hours · 12.4 miles · elevation: -6,200 ft.
After breakfast, we can arrange for a private transfer or taxi to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
Drive: 45 minutes