The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border. Though gaining popularity amongst climbers, Rongai has low traffic. It is the preferred route for those looking for an alternative to the crowded Marangu route, for those who would like a more remote hike, and for those who are climbing during the rainy season (the north side receives less precipitation).
The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, and seven days are recommended.
Although the scenery is not as varied as the western routes, Rongai makes up for this by passing through true wilderness areas for days before joining the Marangu route at Kibo camp. This route descends down the Marangu route. Rongai is a moderately difficult route, and is highly recommended, especially for those with less backpacking experience.
Drive to Rongai Gate in Moshi from Arusha for registration formalities and equipment preparation. Start climbing through the forest habituating wild animals like colobus monkeys. The trail leads on to Rongai Cave where you will have dinner and sleep.
Hike from Rongai cave through the rainforest before switching into the low alpine moorland zone noticing the vegetation change. The trail leads to Rongai Second Cave where you will rest and have lunch. Continue climbing to reach Kikelewa Camp in the evening. Dinner and overnight stay at the camp.
Trek from Kikelewa Camp into Alpine zone noticing the stunning wilderness views. Continue to to finally reach Mawenzi Tarn in the shadow of the magnificent Mawenzi Peak. Have lunch upon arrival and take the rest of the day off recuperating for the next day.
This day is special for acclimatization whereby you can walk for several hours then return to the camp. Start by exploring the landscape while approaching the Saddle towards Camel’s Back. Return back to the camp in time for lunch and take the rest of the day off recuperating.
Start climbing through the Saddle formed between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi, and up to Kibo Hut while enjoying Kibo’s magnificent views. At the camp, have an early dinner and much rest. Retire to bed early at 19:00 hours as to prepare yourself for the final ascent.
Wake up at 23:00 hours for adding more warm clothes and a cup of hot coffee. Start climbing around midnight through volcanic scree to reach Gilman’s Point 5,681 m at sunrise. Enjoy the magnificent view while taking pictures and some rest. Take a round trip to reach Uhuru Peak (the roof of Africa). Take pictures at the summit feeling accomplished and have some little rest.
Start descending shortly to finally reach Horombo hut. Have hot dinner and much rest at the hut.
On this last day, descend to Marangu gate for awards. Hikers who reached Stella point receive green certificates while those who reached Uhuru peak receive golden certificates. It’s the time to tip your guides, cookers and porters according to your satisfaction. Drive back to Arusha for a good bath and much sleep.
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