This route is perfect for those looking for an alternative to the Marangu route due to provides more shelter from the weather and high winds. Rongai route is best option during the rainy season due to its location, which receive little rain but it does usually have far lower traffic than the other routes. It is generally considered to be the easiest of the quality routes on the mountain. Rongai is the best route for people who are looking for a decent quality experience and are perhaps not absolutely confident about their fitness and the route is good for people with no much experience on mountain climbing. This route can be climbed for 6-days, although 7-days is recommended for better acclimatization.
Day 1: Arusha (1,400 m) – Rongai Gate (1950 m) – 1st Caves Camp (2,600 m)
Trekking time: 5 hours
Distance: approx. 8 km
Vegetation type: Montane Forest
The starting point of your Kilimanjaro trekking Rongai Route is at Park Gate of Marangu, then you will have a transport to the Rongai trail ahead (1,950 m). Normally, the transport is of about 3 hours to the Rongai gate. If time allows, a packed lunch can be taken at Nelemoru. This trial takes you along the cypress plantations and montane forest. You can possibly spot some colobus monkeys.
The path is ending at the 1st Cave camp (2,600 m) and it is gradual allows you to enjoy the surroundings. Porters & cook are moving faster so at the time you reach the camp you will find them waiting and already build up your tents. They might have even prepared popcorn for you and something hot to drink. At the camp you will get hot water to wash then changing clothes you have been trekking with, stay warm. Enjoy the camp environment waiting for dinner time. At night Mountain temperature may drop to a freezing point, be prepared.
Overnight at 1st Caves Camp (2,600 m) All meals include.
Day 2: 1st Caves Camp (2,600 m) – Kikelelwa Cave (3,600 m)
Trekking time: 6 to 7 hours
Distance: 9 km
Vegetation type: Moorlands
From the 1st Caves Camp start your day with a light breakfast, then you will arrive at the moorland vegetation type enclosed in heather. This trail will lead you towards the second Cave Camp (3,450 m), the place where you will have lunch. After lunch and some rest you carry on up to the third Cave Campsite (3, 600 m), (Kikelelwa Cave) the alternative name. 6 Days trekking is the best as it gives enough time for acclimatization.
By the time you reach the Kikelelwa Cave , porters will have already prepared a tent for you, hot water to wash & coffee/tea and snacks (same procedure as per previous day). The camp is surrounded by a bunch of small caves in a valley a bit below saddle. After dinner you will go to sleep get prepared of crazy cold at night.
Overnight at Kikelelwa Cave also known as the 3rd Cave (3,600 m). All meals include.
Day 3: Kikelelwa Cave (3,600 m) – Mawenzi Tarn camp (4,330 m)
Trekking time: 3 to 4 hours
Distance: approx. 6 km
Vegetation type: Moorland
Light breakfast before starting your 3rd day at Kikelelwa cave. Start your hiking day on an easy and moderate slope, you will notice changes on landscape and the pass now is becoming steeper and soon you will reach Mawenzi Tarn Camp at the altitude of 4,330 m.
This is a very remarkable campsite as it is in a hollow beneath the sharp peak of Mawenzi which is close to a small lake. Arriving at the camp same procedures will follow as previous days, soon hot lunch will be served followed by some relaxing hours. You can use this afternoon for resting and exploring the areas around the campsite.
You can have some walks to a number of ridges and towers in this area which will possibly offer a stunning view of Kibo. For a great acclimatization and for amazing views of Mawenzi this is the right place. Enjoy the magnificent sunset from you campsite then dinner and overnight.
Overnight at Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,330 m)
Day 4: Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,330 m) – Kibo Hut (4,700 m)
Trekking time:4 to 5 hours
Distance: approx. 9 km
Vegetation type: Alpine desert
After a light breakfast you will start your today’s program by hiking over a small ridge before having an easy walk on a nice path that is on the northern part of the saddle. With a good weather views around this area is wonderful. The vegetation type that will dominant the today’s walking is an alpine desert furnishing with some hardly grasses and occasionally everlasting flowers.
At this juncture Rongai route will adjoin Marangu route when reaching the saddle in-between Mawenzi and Kibo. The pass to the summit at this point is as the same as from Marangu route. The final part of today’s hike that leads to Kibo hut is steeper. Reach Kibo hut at 47,00 m during lunch time. Hot water to wash & other procedures will follow, get enough rest and some acclimatization and be ready for the final part of your Kilimanjaro trekking Rongai route 6 days.
On this day dinner will be served early but before or after dinner your guide will give you a detailed briefing of your final push to the summit. Go to bed early & try to get enough sleep as this is your big night at Kilimanjaro but before bed you should have prepared everything needed for your final ascent. Things needed for your final attempting to the summit are thermal clothing, ski-stick, and thermal flask for water, don’t forget to put in replace your headlamp and batteries.(guide will remind you during briefing).
Overnight at Kibo Hut (4,700 m). All meals included
Day 5: Summit Attempt. Kibo Hut (4,700 m) – Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) – Horombo Hut (3,720 m)
Kibo Hut (4,700 m) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) to Horombo Hut (3,720 m)
Trekking time: About 8 hours to Uhuru and 6 hours to Horombo
Vegetation type: Stone scree / ice-cap summit
Distance: approx. 6 km ascent and 21 km descent
The summit day on Rongai Route, the wake up time will be at around 23:00 to 23:30. Have some biscuit and tea before you start, you will firstly hiking through a very rough path with rocky passing Williams Point at an altitude of 5,000 m, Hans Meyer Cave at 5,150 m and Gillman’s Point at an altitude of 5,681 m situated on the crater rim.
To reach Hans Mayer Cave from Kibo hut you will need almost two and a half hours. Gillman’s Point is not that far from Hans Meyers Cave, it is in a distance of about an hour. To reach the summit from Gillman’s Point is about 1.5 hour walking distance.
The remaining of the climbing is normally covered with snow and a walking is along the rim of the crater all the way to Uhuru Peak. On the way to Uhuru Peak you will pass Stella Point stands at an altitude of 5,752 m; this point is where the other routes reach the rim. Now you are almost at the summit but might be very challenging. Congratulation you have made it to the roof of Africa via Rongai route 6 days of tough hiking.
At Uhuru Peak you should not expect to spend much time, few minutes will be enough in such an altitude, so you may expect to take some picture before starting your way down. Now it is the time for descent back to Kibo hut 4,700 where your lunch is to be served. From Kibo hut you need about 3 hours to reach Horombo hut 3,720 m. Arriving at the camp in the afternoon, get hot water to followed by coffee/tea with snacks, Change clothes & have a deep breath while relaxing waiting for dinner.
Overnight at Horombo Camp in luxurious beds. All meals included
Day 6: Horombo Hut (3,720 m) – Marangu gate (1,980 m) – Arusha
Trekking time: 6 hours
Distance: approx. 27 km
Vegetation type: low alpine zone and Montana forest
After heavy breakfast at Horombo hut you are last day at Kilimanjaro will then start. Passing Mandara hut at an altitude of 2,700 on your way down to Marangu gate, here you will have a short break for lunch then proceed down to Marangu gate at (1,980 m)
At Marangu gate you will sign some of your details into a register book and you will be provided with a summit certificate, a green color certificate is for those who reached Gillman’s Point and a gold certificate (Big Diploma) for Uhuru Peak. Celebrations, singing & dancing including farewell & tipping session for the crew can be at Horombo hut in the morning or here when receiving certificate. At the time you reach the gate your driver will have already arrived and waiting to take you back to your Planet Lodge in Arusha possibly for long overdo hot shower before dinner & overnight.