The Rongai Route is the only trail that begins on Mt. Kilimanjaro’s northern, or Kenyan, side.
Due to its remote location, the route provides trekkers with a relatively unspoiled wilderness experience, with opportunities to see large animals such as antelope, elephant, and buffalo.
The north-east side of the mountain receives significantly less moisture than the southern slopes, reducing the likelihood of rain for trekkers. Trekkers are also more likely to see the mountain in clear, unobstructed light.
Although the Rongai Route is flatter than the other Kilimanjaro routes, its profile prevents trekkers from climbing high and sleeping low.
It is possible to hike it in six, seven, or even eight days. The Rongai Routes of seven or eight days are highly recommended because trekkers have more time to acclimate.
The trail from Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak is steep and follows the same path as Marangu trekkers, passing through Gilman’s Point.
The Rongai Route receives the least traffic of all the routes on Kilimanjaro due to its remote location.
Day 1: Simba Camp – Rongai Gate (1950m) (2600m).
Pick up from your hotel and drive to the Marangu park gate for registration and formalities, followed by a 3-hour transfer to the Rongai trailhead. Before you begin your hike from the village of Nale Moru, meet your guide and porters. The small winding path passes through maize fields before entering a pine forest and gently ascending through it. The trail is not particularly steep, but it is a pleasant stroll through the beautiful countryside. The first night’s camp is at Simba camp, which is located at a height of about 2,600 meters. There is no hut, but there is a toilet and a wooden table with benches. Water can be found just below Samba Camp, a short distance down the trail.
Day 2: Simba Camp – Second Cave Hiking (2–3 hours)
Moorland is its natural habitat.
After a late breakfast and a relaxing morning at Simba camp, begin hiking slowly to acclimate your body until you reach Second Cave (3450M) for a hot lunch. Afternoon relaxation in the second cave, followed by dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 3: Kikelewa Cave (2600m) – Second Tarn Cave (3600m).
After breakfast, continue climbing towards Kibo, arriving at Kikelwa Cave at 3600 meters. The views begin to open up, and you get the feeling that you’re on a very large mountain! Water can be found in the obvious stream below the cave, but you may have to go downhill a way to find it. 3rd Cave Camp is where you’ll spend the night (Kikelewa Caves).
Day 4: Mawenzi Tarn Camp (3600) – Kikelewa Cave (3600) (4330m).
This wilderness area is best viewed from a short but steep climb up grassy slopes. The vegetation zone ends just before you arrive at Mawenzi Tarn, which is spectacularly situated beneath Mawenzi’s towering spires. Spend the afternoon getting to know the area and acclimating.
Day 5: Kibo Hut (4330m) – Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4330m) (4700m).
Continue ascending on the east side of Kibo, crossing the Mawenzi-Kibo saddle and arriving at Kibo Hut in 4 to 5 hours. The rest of the day is spent resting before the final ascent, which begins around midnight. Kibo Camp is where you’ll spend the night.
Day 6: Kibo Hut (4700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo Hut (summit attempt) (3720m).
You’ll wake up around 23:30 and shuffle off into the night after some tea and biscuits. This is where things start to get tough. The trail begins with a rocky path leading to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m), which is also a good resting spot. The path then ascends in a zigzag pattern to Gillman’s point (5 681m), which is situated on the crater rim. This section is extremely steep, with a lot of stone scree, and it takes a lot of physical and mental effort to complete. This is most likely the most difficult section of the entire route. Snow is usually encountered from Gillman’s Point all the way up to Uhuru Peak (5895m), Africa’s highest point.
You achieved total exhilaration and satisfaction. The weather on the summit will determine how much time you have to take photos before the 3-hour descent back to Kibo hut for a short rest before continuing on to Horombo hut (3 hours) for the night. In comparison to the ascent, the descent to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly quick. On this particular day, I walked for nearly 14 hours in total. Later that evening, you have your final meal on the mountain and a well-deserved rest.
Day 7: Horombo Hut (3720m) – Marangu Gate (Day 7) (1980m).
After breakfast, continue your descent (6 hours) to the Marangu gate, passing by the Mandara hut. At Marangu Gate, you must sign a register with your name and contact information. Successful climbers will also receive their summit certificates here. Green certificates are given to climbers who reach Gillman’s Point (5685m), and gold certificates are given to climbers who reach Uhuru Peak (5895m). You now return to Moshi, where your trekking adventure comes to a close with fond memories.