• Adventure, Ecological, Sightseeing, Wildlife

Hike to Kilimanjaro; Rongai Route

  • Moshi, Tanzania
  •   10
  • English, French


The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border. Though gaining popularity amongst climbers, this route still experiences low crowds. Rongai has a more gradual slope than the mountain’s other routes. It is the preferred route for those looking for an alternative to the popular 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). Rongai is a moderately difficult route and is highly recommended, especially for those with less backpacking experience.


This morning we will drive to the village of Nalemoru for the starting point of the Rongai route. The first stage of the trek is through farmland and pine forests. You may have a chance to see the beautiful Colobus monkeys or if you’re lucky enough, elephants or buffalos en route. Our first camp will be the Simba Camp located at the edge of the moorland zone at 2625m.

Elevation: 1990m to 2625m

Distance covered: 8km / 5mi

time taken: 4 – 5 hours

Meals: Lunch & Dinner

The morning hike is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave Camp located in the moorland zone with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim.

Elevation: 2625m to 3480m

Distance covered: 5km / 3.1mi

time taken: 3 – 4 hours

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Leaving the pine forest behind, we carry on with a steady ascent walking though moorland. There are superb views of the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim of Kibo, the highest of the three volcanoes which form the mountain. We will leave the main trail and strike out across moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi, the second of Kilimanjaro’s volcanoes. We will set up camp today in the sheltered valley near Kikelewa caves at 3630m.

Elevation: 3480m to 3630m

Distance covered: 5km / 3.1mi

time taken: 3 – 4 hours

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning we have a short but steep ascent up grassy slopes which is rewarded by a superb view of the Kenyan plains to the north. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching our next camp at Mawenzi Tarn Hut directly below the towering cliffs of Mawenzi. This afternoon you have a chance to rest or explore the surrounding area to aid acclimatization.

Elevation: 3630m to 4310m

Distance covered: 8km / 5mi

time taken: 4 – 5 hours

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

We leave our campsite and cross the lunar desert of the ‘saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo After a couple hours trekking, reach this spectacular place, with the summit of Kilimanjaro in the background and our trail to the high camp stretched out before our eyes. Upon reaching our camp the remainder of the day will be spent resting in preparation for the final ascent after a very early night!

Elevation: 4310m to 4700m

Distance covered: 8km / 5mi

time taken: 5 – 6 hours

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today is “The Big Day” – the summit stage. You will begin your final ascent around midnight which will be long and strenuous. Passing the Hans Meyer Cave at 5220m, the climb slowly but surely goes upwards. At sunrise, you will reach Gillman’s Point (5681m) – the crater rim of Kilimanjaro – where the sun will slowly start to warm up the land. You will have soon forgotten the cold of the night and after a further hike of 1 – 2 hours, you will reach Uhuru Peak at 5895m. On your return to Kibo Hut, a warm meal awaits you followed by a 1 – 2 hour break before proceeding back down to HoromboHut.

Elevation: 4700m to 5895m down to 3700m

Distance covered: 22km / 13.7mi

time taken: 12 – 15 hours

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The last stage passes through the heath and moor zone to the Mandara Hut (2700m) where a warm lunch is waiting for you. Soon, you will once again pass the tropical rainforest and after a total time of 6 hours trekking, you will be back at the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate (1860m). After saying goodbye to your mountain guides, a short transfer follows to take you back to your hotel in Moshi. Once there, you can take a warm and relaxing shower and celebrate your success in reaching the summit of the Kilimanjaro.

Elevation: 3700m to 1860m

Distance covered: 20.8km / 12.9mi

time taken: 8 hours

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

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