Kilimanjaro can only be approached from the north through the Rongai path. Due to its distant position, the path provides hikers with a relatively unspoiled wilderness experience, with opportunities to observe huge animals such as antelope, elephant, and buffalo. The north-east side of the mountain receives significantly less rainfall than the southern slopes, reducing the risk of rain for hikers. Trekkers are also more likely to see the mountain in clean, and clear light. Although the Rongai Route is flatter than the other Kilimanjaro routes, its profile restricts trekkers from climbing high and sleeping low.
It is possible to trek it in six, seven, or even eight days. The Rongai Routes of seven or eight days are highly recommended because hikers have more time to acclimate. The trail from Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak is difficult and follows the same way as Marangu trekkers, passing over Gilman’s Point. Because of its remote position, the Rongai Route receives the least traffic of any Kilimanjaro route. The Marangu track is used to descend the Rongai Route.
Rongai Route Summit Success Rate
With the longer journey option, the Rongai Route’s summit success rates are considerably increased. While no official statistics are available, the average success rate across all operators for the 7-day trek is 80% and for the 6-day trek is 65%.
Rongai Route Itinerary
Six-day trekkers do not spend an extra day acclimating at Mawenzi Tarn (4,300 meters). Trekkers can take a stop at Rongai Second Cave (3,450 meters) on the second day of an eight-day excursion before continuing to the Kikelewa Camp (3,600 meters).
Day 1: Rongai Start Point (1,950 meters) – Rongai First Cave (2,620 meters)
- Distance: ~8km / 5 miles
- Trekking time: 4 hours
- Zone: Rainforest
Rongai Route trekkers are driven from Moshi or Arusha to Marangu Gate for registration before being shuttled 70 kilometers on terrible roads to the Rongai Start Point at 1,950 meters on the first day.
The hike begins at Nale Moru hamlet and leads to the rainforest through a gentle and twisting trail that first passes through cornfields before entering the forest. The first day of hiking is smooth, and you should reach Rongai First Cave (2,620 meters) about mid-afternoon, where you can rest and eat dinner.
Day 2: Rongai Cave (2,620 meters) – Kikelewa Camp (3,600 meters)
- Distance: ~9km / 7 miles
- Trekking time: 6-7 hours
- Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone
On the second day of this trip, the journey continues from Rongai First Cave through the rainforest until entering the low alpine moorland zone, where grasses and shrubs replace the rainforest vegetation. You will travel east to Kikelewa Camp (3,600 meters) for the night after stopping for lunch at Rongai Second Cave (3,450 meters), 6 kilometers from First Cave Camp.
Eight-day trekkers may spend the night at Rongai Second Caves before continuing to Kikelewa Camp, depending on their tour operator.
Day 3: Kikelewa Camp (3,600 meters) – Mawenzi Tarn (4,300 meters)
- Distance: ~6km / 4.5 miles
- Trekking time: 4-5 hours
- Zone: Low alpine zone
The route’s third day begins with a short but challenging climb from Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn (4,300 meters), which lies in the shadow of the beautiful Mawenzi Peak. After lunch, you will have the rest of the afternoon to acclimate and explore the region around Mawenzi Tarn.
Day 4: Acclimatization day – Mawenzi Tarn (4,300 meters)
- Distance: 0
- Trekking time: 0 hours
- Zone: High alpine zone
This is a crucial day for acclimatization. Short hiking excursions to explore the area may be organized by your tour operator.
Day 5: Mawenzi Tarn (4,300 meters) – Kibo Hut (4,700 meters)
- Distance: ~9km / 5.5 miles
- Trekking time: 6-7 hours
- Zone: High alpine zone
Day five is a lengthy but easy climb from Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut, passing via the Saddle, which is created by the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi (4,700 meters). The trail is dry, desolate, and inhospitable, but it offers amazing vistas of Kibo.
Dinner will be served in Kibo Hut, and you will go to bed early because your summit attempt will begin at 23:30. Before going to sleep, trekkers should remember to prepare their kit, which includes a headlamp, camera, insulated water, and warm weather clothing.
Day 6: Kibo Hut (4,700 meters) – Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) -Horombo Hut (3,720 meters)
- Distance: ~5.5km / 3 miles climb and then 15km / 8 mile descent
- Trekking time: 6-8 hours to summit and 5-8 hours to Horombo Hut
- Zone: Glacial zone and preceding zones
After being awoken with tea and biscuits at midnight, you will begin your trek across a bumpy path to the first check station, Hans Meyer Cave at 5,150 meters. You should take a pause and refuel with an energy bar at this point.
The path then zigzags and steepens as you approach Gilman’s Point at 5,681 meters, about 2-3 hours later. You’ve made it to Kibo’s crater rim, which is a real achievement. However, there is still a 200-meter climb to the summit, Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters).
To push yourself up the final slopes, dig deep to discover the reserves and mental energy you’ll need. You will be able to stay at Uhuru Peak for a short time before descending to Kibo Hut and then Horombo Hut. You will be trekking for 12-16 hours in total. It will be one of the most difficult days of your life, but it will be well worth it. The good news is that beer can be purchased at Horombo Hut.
Day 7: Horombo Hut (3,720 meters) – Marangu Gate (1,870 meters)
- Distance: ~20km / 13 miles
- Trekking time: 5-7 hours
- Zone: Rainforest
The final day is about 20 kilometers from Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate (1,870 meters). Because your knees may be tired from the previous day’s trip, descend slowly and carefully, using your trekking poles to reduce the impact on your joints.
You will now sign out at Marangu Gate, where you signed in six days earlier. A green certificate will be given to those who made it to Gilman’s Point but did not go any further. A gold certificate will be given to trekkers who make it to Uhuru Peak.
About The mountain
At 5,895 meters Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on the earth; it is one of the Seven Summits. The snow-capped peak of Africa is a dormant volcano. This majestic mountain can be found inside the Kilimanjaro National Park of Tanzania, at 005.00 degrees south, 036 degrees east, 5895m above mean sea level.
Exceptional climb success
Since 1994, ClimbingKilimanjaro has been fore runner in operating Kilimanjaro tours. We have a proud and unbeatable track record of more than 15,000 safe and successful summit attempts.
The specialised experience of ClimbingKilimanjaro puts us, as a tour operator, in a unique position to offer the most professional support, guidance, information and motivation to realise this proverbial “bucket-list” dream.
ClimbingKilimanjaro can provide references from previous successful and satisfied clients – on request. Visitors are also welcome to visit our Testimonials & Summit Gallery pages
Real-Time Tracking Service
ClimbingKilimanjaro is the only operator that offers real-time tracking to hikers on Mount Kilimanjaro. This unique service will allow family and friends to track the live progress of their loved ones, as they hike to the summit of Kilimanjaro, subject to availability, pre-booking and at a small supplementary fee.
Guides and porters
ClimbingKilimanjaro only utilises highly trained and registered guides, with several years of experience, to lead a mountain support team that are properly equipped to look after climbers on the mountain.
All of the Climbing Kilimanjaro package options includes the services of one porter per hiker, who will carry the client’s duffel bag (max. 15kg) from one camp to the next.
The above average staff ratio of the Climbing Kilimanjaro Mountain Support Team to climber is: 2 Porters per climber and 2 guides for a maximum of 4 hikers – a very favourable ratio to directly enhance safety and enjoyment on the mountain.