Rongai Route *** (GOOD)

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.




Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport, where you will meet by a Kibosho Tours representative and transferred to your hotel in Moshi. Evening briefing at hotel to prepare you for the climb ahead, followed by group dinner, an opportunity for the group to get to know each other before the climb.

DAY 1: Moshi - Rongai Gate to Simba camp (BLD).

Transfer from Moshi to Rongai gate to start your Kilimanjaro trekking. 

  • Elevation (ft.): 6,398 ft. to 9,300 ft.
  • Distance: 7 km
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Rain Forest

We take a ride to Marangu to complete the necessary registration formalities, before to Rongai. The climb begins from Nale Moru (6,400 ft) on a small path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering a pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently, but gently through an attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail. The forest begins to thin out at the edge of the moorland zone. Then, we take in the expansive views over the Kenyan plains as we arrive at our first campsite at Rongai One (8,500 ft), dinner and overnight. [3-4 hours walking] 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

DAY 2: Rongai Cave to 2nd Cave to Kikelewa Cave (BLD).

  • Elevation (ft.): 9,300 ft. to 11,811 ft.
  • Distance: 12 km
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
  • Habitat: Health

The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave (11,300 ft.) with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern Icefields on the crater rim. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out and head southeast across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Our campsite is in a sheltered valley, decorated with giant senesces near Kikelewa Caves (11,800 ft.). [6-7 hours walking]. Dinner and overnight at Rongai two Camp. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

DAY 3: Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn (BLD).

  • Elevation (ft.): 11,811 ft. to 14,160 ft.
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert

A short but steep climb is rewarded by superb all-around views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn hut (14,200 ft), spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatization. [3-4 hours walking]. Dinner and overnight at Kikelelwa Camp. 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

DAY 4: Mawenzi Tarn to Mawenzi Ridge to Mawenzi Tarn (BLD).

  • Elevation (ft.): 14,160 ft. to14,400 ft. to 14,160 ft.
  • Distance: 4 km
  • Hiking Time: 2-4 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert

A day to acclimatize with a walk up onto the Saddle towards Camel’s back. Camp at Mawenzi Tarn Hut (14,200 ft). [2-3 hours walking]  

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

DAY 5: Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut (BLD).

  • Elevation (ft.): 14,160 ft. to 15,430 ft.
  • Distance: 8 km
  • Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert

We cross the lunar desert of the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo Hut (15,400 ft) at the bottom of the crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for an early morning final ascent. [5-6 hours walking]. Dinner and overnight at Kibo Hut.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

DAY 6: Kibo Hut to Uhuru Point to Horombo Hut (BLD).

  • Elevation (ft.): 15,430 ft. to 19,341 ft. to 12,205 ft.
  • Distance: 22 km
  • Hiking Time: 10-13 hours
  • Habitat: Arctic

We start the final and most demanding part of the climb by torchlight around 1 a.m. We trek very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point (18,600 ft.). We rest here for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three-hour round trip to Uhuru Peak (19,345 ft), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo Hut (15,400 ft.) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshments, we continue the descent to Horombo Hut for dinner and overnight (12,200 ft). [11-15 hours walking] 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

DAY 7: Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate (BLD).

  • Elevation (ft.): 12,205 ft. to 6,046 ft.
  • Distance: 20 km
  • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: Rain Forest

A steady descents takes us down through moorland to Mandara Huts (8,900 ft.). We then continue descending through lovely lush forest on a good path to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate at Marangu (6,000 ft.), where we are transferred back to hotel in Arusha. [5-6 hours walking] 

Meals included: Breakfast, and Lunch




7-Day Rongai Route

NOTE: Prices are per person in U.S. dollars based on double/triple occupancy. All quotations are based on the current rates of park fees, VAT, other government taxes, and current exchange rates. Should any of these be increased or a new tax introduced, these increases will be added on even if your trip has already been paid for.


  • All accommodations per itinerary
  • All meals per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All tours and entrance fees per itinerary (unless listed as excluded)
  • All transportation and transfers per itinerary
  • National Park gate fees
  • Transport from Moshi to starting point on mountain and return to Moshi
  • Hut or camping fees
  • Certified, experienced, English-speaking guides for all routes
  • Salaries for all crew members
  • Rescue fees (as required by national park)
  • Tents, foam sleeping pads, cooking equipment, and eating utensils



  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals not listed
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff
  • Optional tours
  • Single room supplement
  • Personal expenses (visas, airport taxes, Internet, etc.)
  • Tips for guides, porters, and cooks (budget $200-450/person)

Sleeping bags and personal gear

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