MOUNT KILIMANJARO

Rongai Route to the Roof of Africa

Kilimanjaro Rongai Route

Starting from the North- east side of the mountain near the Kenyan border, the Rongai route up Kilimanjaro rises above the Amboseli plains and approaches the summit of Kilimanjaro via Kibo Huts and Gilmans point, from Mawenzi peaks. The route traverses several diverse climate zones, each with its own amazing views and experiences. It is also a more gradual climb and because the North-East side of the mountain gets less moisture than the southern slopes it means it is a drier route. It is an unfrequented route and is also the easiest camping approach to Uhuru Peak. The decent route used on Rongai Route is the Marangu Route. The Rongai route is also known as the Outward Bound or Loitokok route.


KILIMANJARO RONGAI OVERVIEW

Day-1: Arrive

Day-2: Rongai Gate (1950m) - 1st Caves camp (2600m)

Day-3: 1st Cave (2600m) - Kikelewa Cave (3600m)

Day-4: Kikelewa Cave (3600) - Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m)

Day-5: Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) - Kibo hut (4700m)

Day-6: Kibo hut (4700m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Horombo hut (3720m)

Day-7: Horombo hut (3720m) - Marangu Gate (1980m))

Day-8: Depart

 

RONGAI/LOITOKOK DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrive Tanzania and transfer to the hotel.


Day-2: Rongai Gate (1950m) - 1st Caves camp (2600m)

Elevation: 1,950m ft to 2,600m
Distance: 8 km/5 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

Register at the Marangu park gate with a transfer (approximately 2.½ hours) to the Rongai trailhead before you begin your hike from the Nale Moru village. The small winding path crosses maize fields before entering pine forest, and then climbs gently. The trail is not at all steep, but is rather a gentle hike through beautiful country. The forest begins to thin out before you reach the first cave later in the afternoon. The first night's camp is at First Cave, at about 2,600 metres.


Day-3: 1st Cave (2600m) - Kikelewa Cave (3600m)

Elevation: 2,600m to 3,600m
Distance: 12 km/8 miles
Hiking Time: 6-7 hours
Habitat: Heath Zone

The trail continues up towards Kibo with magnificent views of the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim. We will pass Second Cave (3450m) en-route, and head out across the Kikelwa moorlands under the jagged and imposing, Mawenzi peaks, reaching Kikelwa Cave at about 3600 metres. Overnight at 3rd Cave camp with magnificent Scenio's nearby Kikelewa Caves.


Day-4: Kikelewa Cave (3600) - Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m)

Elevation: 3,600m to 4,330m
Distance: 5 km/3 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

A short but steep climb up grassy slopes offering superb views of this wilderness area. Here, we will leave the moorland region behind and quickly enter into the lunar alpine desert stretched out between the imposing peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo. We will camp at Mawenzi Tarn spectacularly situated in the shadows of Mawenzi.


Day-5: Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) - Kibo hut (4700m)

Elevation: 4,330m to 4,700m
Distance: 8 km/5 miles
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

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 Camp


Day-6: SUMMIT ATTEMPT - Kibo hut (4700m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Horombo hut (3720m)

Elevation: 4,700m to 5,895m to 3,700m
Distance: 24 km/14 miles
Hiking Time: 10-15 hours
Habitat: Alpine Arctic to Heath Zone

You will rise around 23h30, and head off into the night. This will be the hardest day on the trail as you head into the cold night air towards Uhuru peak. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m). 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. From Gillman's Point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895m). You will then begin your 3-hour descent back to Kibo hut and down to Horombo hut (3 hours) where you will overnight.


Day-7: Horombo hut (3720m) - Marangu Gate (1980m)

Elevation: 3,700m to 1,860m
Distance: 20 km/12 miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest After breakfast you continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Gillman's Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates.


Day-8:Depart

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for you flight home.



End of services

 

Rongai Route Variations

Alternate 9 days Alternate 10 days

Day-1: Arrive

Day-2: Rongai Gate (1950m) - 1st Caves camp (2600m)

Day-3: 1st Cave (2600m) - Kikelewa Cave (3600m)

Day-4: Kikelewa (3600) - Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m)

Day-5: Mawenzi (acclimatization)

Day-6: Mawenzi  - Kibo hut (4700m)

Day-7: Kibo hut (4700m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Horombo hut (3720m)

Day-8: Horombo (3720m) - Marangu Gate (1980m)

Day-9: Depart

 

Day-1: Arrive

Day-2: Rongai Gate (1950m) - 1st Caves camp (2600m)

Day-3: 1st Cave (2600m) - Kikelewa Cave (3600m)

Day-4: Kikelewa (3600) - Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m)

Day-5: Mawenzi Tarn (acclimatization)

Day-6: Mawenzi  - Outward Bound (4750m) to Mawenzi

Day-7: Mawenzi  - Kibo

Day-8: Kibo hut - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Horombo hut (3720m)

Day-9: Horombo (3720m) - Marangu Gate (1980m)

Day-10: Depart

 

Your Questions Answered

The Rongai route is considered to be one of the easier routes up Kilimanjaro though of course no route is ever 'easy'. The climb ascent profile is more gradual than the southern slopes. However, the Rongai Route does not have good acclimatization options to follow the principle of 'climb high, sleep low' which means that the success rate is lower than the Machame or Lemosho routes in terms of acclimatization. We suggest that you add on an acclimatization day.
Generally speaking it is not busy and certainly far less busy than most of the other routes. It also passes through more remote wilderness areas so there is greater chance to see wildlife in the first days. At third caves you may meet up with people from the Northern route but mostly you will only see a lot of people from Kibo onwards.
Kilimanjaro Rongai route is approximately 72km or 44miles from gate to gate. Most trekkers complete the Rongai Route in six days; however it can be done in 7 or 8 day variations.
There are two distinct trekking seasons during which is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. They are January-March and June-October. January-March is generally colder than June-October and there is a higher probability of encountering snow on the summit. However, because the northern side of the mountain gets less moisture you are less likely to get rain on Rongai during the rainy season.
Kilimanjaro is just three degrees south of the equator, so the lower slopes are generally hot and dry reaching 25°C during the day. This quickly dips with each ecological zone however, open heath lands, alpine desert and then, at the summit, categorically Arctic. Temperatures at Uhuru Peak are between -7 to -29°C.
Every night stop has an area with drop/toilet facilities, that are designated areas to allow for camping. You will sleep in tents. The camp areas are a lot more quiet with more rudimentary toilet structures than on other routes.
This is a popular question. The toilets that are available on the mountain are pretty rudimentary unless you are on Marangu, and are really just a wooden or block building with a hole in the ground (or a 'long drop'). One option though it adds to the cost is to hire a portable toilet. Finally, although there may not be toilet facilities when you really need them during the days trek, we ask that you seek out a 'loo with a view' away from the path, and keep your used paper in a small bag to dispose of later at camp so as to preserve the environment.
Altitude sickness, also called mountain sickness, is a group of general symptoms that are brought on by climbing or walking to a higher and higher altitude (elevation) too quickly. High altitude is defined as 8,000 - 12,000 feet (2400 - 2600m) above sea level. Altitude sickness can affect anyone who goes to high altitudes without giving the body time to adjust to the changes in air pressure and oxygen level. Symptoms usually come on within 12 to 24 hours of reaching a higher elevation and then get better within 24 to 48 hours as your body adjusts to the change in altitude. Because Kilimanjaro has a rapid ascent profile, altitude sickness tends to be more common than on some other treks. It is for this reason that taking your time is vitally important and why shorter routes have a lower success rate.
Month 2019 2020 2021
January - 10 28
February - 9 27
March - 9 28
April - 8 27
May - 7 26
June - 5 24
July 17 5 24
August 15 3 22
September 14 2 21
October 14 1, 31 20
November 12 30 19
December 12 30 19

Very definitely yes. Porters and guides are the life blood of any successful mountain climb. Through our partners in Tanzania we support various charity initiatives including the most important Kilimanjaro Porters Society. This society was registered under the name Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society on 30th September 2005 as a non governmental organization with a certificate no 13296 under the organization art of the United Republic of Tanzania. The society exists as a shield for porters who are registered under it with the goal of improving the living and working condition of these porters.

Rongai Route at a Glance