The Rongai Route is the route of Kilimanjaro that begins from the north side, a route where few climbers are seen along the way. This route affords the opportunity to witness up close the Mawenzi Volcano (the second highest peak of Kilimanjaro) and the magnificent saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo Peak. However it requires a long drive to the park because of passing through the Marangu gate in order to obtain a permit.
The route feels relatively lonely as you cross unspoiled wilderness with little crowds to bother you. Your trek begins near the Kenya border, and you will summit via Marangu route and Gilimans point. Descending will take place on the Marangu route. We offer 2 options for the Rongai route covering 5/6/7-day treks, with the 7-day trek being highly recommended for acclimatization.
DAY 1 – Rongai or Nalemuru 1950 m – First Cave 2830 m
Hiking Time: 3-4hrs
After breakfast at your hotel, you will take a car to drive up to the Marangu gate to collect a permit. Afterwards, its another 2hr drive to the Rongai gate. We register at Nalemuru gate, and then start our climb. Our climb begins in the rainforest of the lower slope where we may encounter animals such as the black and white Colobus monkey, foot prints of buffaloes and elephants, along with several varieties of birds. We then hike to Simba Camp to stay overnight where the porters, camping crew master, and cook/chef are have your dinner preparations ready along with washing water. You will encounter villages who deal and sell maize and potatoes before you enter in the rainforest.
DAY 2 – First Caves 2650 m – Third Caves 3875 m
Habitat: Heather & Moorland
Hiking Time 4-5hrs
After getting breakfast, you start climbing slopes flunked with heather, with the twin peaks of Kilimanjaro keeping a watchful eye as you progress. After two hours you will be invited to witness and experience the shadow of the cave. The second caves, around 3450 m, lie twenty minutes further on through lizard country of bare rocks and long grass. After we pass the second caves, we go up hill and cross a wide and usually dry riverbed which in the rainy season is a popular playground for buffaloes. The path continues drifting southwards across the terrain, where the dry flower helichrysum is now interspersed among the heathers. Huge rocks begin appear to the left and right, temporarily obscuring the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo. We are near the campsite after crossing a final river bed, where you will be met again by the porters and chefs who prepare your accommodations for the evening.
DAY 3 – Third Caves 3875 m Kibo Hut 4720 m
Hiking Time: 3 hrs
After finishing breakfast, we start for the Kibo Hut. This day is short, and you should expect a great deal of wind and sand along the way. You will cross the trail of junction to the school hut right before we continue to Kibo Hut where you can meet not only your porter group, but other climbers from the Marangu route as well. You will now rest early in the afternoon/evening and wait for the summit climb.
DAY 3-4 – Kibo Hut 4720 m – Gilmans Point – Uhuru Peak – Horombo Hut
Habitat: Desert / Summit
Hiking Time: 10-15hrs
We will wake late in the evening early (around 23:00) to prepare for the climb. You will have tea and biscuit available to you. The start for the summit will begin around 23:30 through the stone and sand scree up to Williams Points. We will get rest in the Hans Meyer Caves, 4812 m. After resting, our trail will zigzag upwards to the sight post welcoming you to Gilmans Point, roughly 2.5hrs from Hans Meyer.
The appropriate time for us to be at Gilmans Point is roughly 0500-0600 in order to have a chance of seeing the sunrise at Uhuru around 0620-0630. This next route from Gilmans Point to Uhuru Peak is through to the junction called Stella Point, quite an easy climb. After getting to Uhuru, you can enjoy stunning views then descend back to Kibo Hut for rest. After resting, you will have lunch and begin packing for the trip down to Horombo Camp where you will stay overnight. It takes roughly 3hrs to get from Kibo down to Horombo.
DAY 5 – Horombo Hut – Marangu Gate
Habitat: Moorland & Montana Forest
Hiking Time: 5-6 hrs
After breakfast, we descend down to the Marangu Gate where you can have a chance to stop for lunch in the Mandara Hut.After lunch at Mandara hut you will proceed to the rain Forest area up to the Marangu gate for 2HRS where you can regesteration for check out at the gate to obtain certificate for those who reach Gilmans point, Stella point and Uhuru Peak.Then transfer back to hotel for a long overdue and hot shower with time to relax to relax.