Day 1 Rongai Gate/Rongai Campsite
Day 2 Rongai Campsite/Cave Campsite
Day 3 Acclimatization
Day 4 Cave Campsite/Kibo Campsite
Day 5 Kibo to Uhuru/Horombo
Day 6 Horombo/Marangu Gate
The Rongai route trailhead is on the Northern side of Mt. Kilimanjaro near the Kenyan border, a 4 hrs drive around the mountain from Arusha/Moshi. Being on the rain shadow of the mountain, the route is drier and has a different, more open landscape allowing for better views to the open grasslands of Kenya’s Amboseli and Tsavo West National Parks with their herds of elephants.
It is therefore a very beautiful route with a very gentle ascent, each day is a long walk on a gentle gradient, easing acclimatisation and climbing difficult and few climbers making it the ideal route to take. It is a very worthwhile route, but the disadvantages make it attractive only to those operators intent on offering something different.
After clearing registration formalities at Marangu gate, transfer to Rongai by 4WD vehicle to for the start of the climb. Today’s 3 to 4 hrs climb begins from the Nale Moru village (1,950 m.) through maize and potatoes farms into the Alpine forest, home to several species of wildlife, including black Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey with their long ‘cape’ of white hair and flowing white tail. Our first camp is on the edge of the moorland zone and enjoys fantastic views across the Kenyan plains.
Overnight Rongai Campsite, 2600m
After a light breakfast, we start a 6 to 7 hrs day with a steady hike to ‘Second Cave’, 3450 m. From here, one can see Kibo and the eastern ice-fields on the crater rim.
After lunch, we walk across the moorland towards Mawenzi to our campsite near Kikelewa Caves.
Overnight Cave Campsite 04, 3600m
Today’s is a short but steep 3 to 4 hrs climb up the slopes. Our camp is at Mawenzi Tarn, 4330m, beneath Mawenzi. The afternoon is free to rest or walk the surrounding areas.
Overnight Cave Campsite 04, 4330m
A 4 to 5 hrs hike across lunar desert, between Mawenzi and Kibo brings us to our camp at the base of Kibo wall. Afternoon spent resting in readiness for final ascent to summit tomorrow morning. Early night is recommended.
Overnight Kibo Hut, 4750m
After an about midnight wake up call with tea/coffee and biscuits/cookies. Our guides will try to get everyone ready to leave between 0100 and 0130 hrs. The 11 to 15 hrs climb is the steepest and most demanding, part of the climb.
Immediately after take off, the trail seems to swing back and forth up a steep slope in harshly cold weather. The summit climb is an unforgettable event though. With the night sky full of stars and only your breathing to help focus your mind, most climbers will reach Gillman’s Point, 5650m at about 0630 hrs, perfect time to enjoy a fantastic sunrise. Views from even this level down to the African plains are breathtaking.
Often, some climbers decide that they have reached their goal and head down from here.
For the strong however, the true summit, Uhuru Peak at 5860m is a further 3 hrs walk away round-trip. Descent from Gillman’s Point is a fairly quick 2 hrs affair.
Most climbers take a short rest at Kibo before proceeding to Horombo arriving late in the afternoon for overnight.
Overnight Horombo Hut, 3720m
Descend 5 to 6hrs to Mandara Hut, 2700m, and stop before continuing to the Marangu gate (1,830 m.)