The Rongai Route is the only trail ascending from the remote northern side of Kilimanjaro, starting close to the Kenyan border and rising high ‘Above the African Plains’, offering a fantastic sense of wilderness. Rongai lies in the rain shadow of the mountain, meaning your hike is less likely to be affected by adverse weather. From early in the trek Kibo, the summit cone, looms dramatically overhead. Our itinerary includes an acclimatisation day, since the topography on this side of Kilimanjaro does not lend itself to climbing high and sleeping low. Camp below the imposing jagged peak of Mawenzi and enjoy a relaxed morning before undertaking an acclimatisation hike. You cannot fail to be awe inspired as you cross the vast, open saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. Physically the route is considered easier than some trails, until you reach the high camp where there is a marked increase in difficulty as you climb steeply to the crater rim. Scramble over Jamaica Rocks and pop out on the rim at Gilman’s Point. Descent is via the Marangu Route.
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport you will be transferred to your accommodation where your guide will meet you for a full briefing and equipment check.
Overnight Ameg Lodge (Classic) or Lake Chala Safari Lodge (Premium)
Rongai Gate (1,950m/6,400ft) to Simba Camp (2,625m/8,610ft)
Elevation Gain: 675m/2,210ft
This morning you will drive for approximately 2-3 hours to the Rongai Nalemoru Gate, near the Kenyan border. After registering, begin your hike through the forest where you may see and hear wildlife, including black and white Colobus monkeys. Enjoy lunch on the trail, before continuing to the first campsite.
Overnight Simba Camp
Simba Camp (2,625m/8,610ft) to Kikelewa Camp (3,600m/11,800ft)
Elevation Gain: 975m/3,190ft
Day two takes you through Kilimanjaro's moorland with views of Mawenzi Peak ahead. The morning is steep and here you may begin to feel the altitude. Explore the first cave before resting over lunch close to the second cave. The afternoon is gentler, contouring across the moorland to camp in a sheltered valley. Trekking time approximately 6-8 hours.
Overnight Kikelewa Camp
Kikelewa Camp (3,600m/11,800ft) to Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m/14,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 730m/2,400ft
Today you will hike in the morning and rest in the afternoon, to help you acclimatize. The trail is relatively short but steep, and you are rewarded with superb all-around views and a tangible sense of wilderness. The campsite lies below Mawenzi Peak and offers stunning views of both Mawenzi and Kibo.
Overnight Mawenzi Tarn
Acclimatization Walk & Return to Mawenzi Tarn Camp
Elevation Gain: 650m/2,130ft
Today you can enjoy a relaxed breakfast, as you will be staying at Mawenzi Tarn for a second night and do not need to pack! The morning will be spent on an acclimatization walk. Dependent upon how you are feeling this can be a steep walk up the scree slopes towards the peak of Mawenzi, or a gentler climb to the ridge or the lunar desert, visiting the eerie site of a plane crash. Return to Mawenzi Tarn for a hot lunch and afternoon of rest.
Overnight Mawenzi Tarn
Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m/14,200ft) to Kibo Huts Camp (4,700m/15,410ft)
Elevation Gain: 370m/1,210ft
The saddle crossing between Kibo and Mawenzi feels lunar and offers spectacular views, but is exposed and can be windy. Kibo Huts Camp sits directly below the summit cone, looking down over the Kenyan plains and Mawenzi and upwards to the climb that lies ahead. After lunch and a full summit briefing, rest in preparation for your summit attempt.
Overnight Kibo Huts Camp
Kibo Huts (4,700m/15,410ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft) then descending to Horombo Huts (3,720m/12,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,195 m/3,930ft
Elevation Gain: 2,175m/7,140ft
Around midnight, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. For the next six hours, hike by the light of your flashlight. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek. The trail consists mostly of steep switchbacks, with a rocky section known as Jamaica Rocks to scramble over as you approach the crater rim at Gilman's Point (5,756m). The hike from Gilman's to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude however makes it feel long and tiring. After summit celebrations descend to Kibo Huts to eat, before continuing down to Horombo Huts to camp. Total trekking time is around 14 hours, so be prepared for a very tough day.
Overnight Horombo Huts
Horombo Huts (3,720m/12,200ft) to Marangu Gate (1,840m/6,040ft)to Moshi
Finish your trek with a descent to the Marangu Gate. Your last hike on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through the cloud forest. This trek will take approximately 5-6 hours. At the gate, you will be met and transferred to Moshi.
Overnight Ameg Lodge (Classic) or Pink Flamingo Boutique Hotel (Premium)
Today you will be transferred to Kilimanjaro Airport in time for your flight, or if you’ve decided to extend your Tanzanian adventure, begin the next part of your journey!
To start planning your tour with us, you can create an itinerary from scratch, or modify one of our suggested itineraries. Whether your trip is a few days’ or a few weeks’ long, local travel experts will craft a unique itinerary, fully tailored to your wishes. Want to visit the beautiful destination, or start an adventure to reach to the top? They will will make it happen.