Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, 7 Days Rongai Route

High Peaks Expeditions

Trip Overview

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 lowcrowds. 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. Although the scenery is not as varied as the western routes, Rongai makes up for this by passing through true wilderness areas for nearly the entire way. The descent is made via the Marangu route.

Trip - Highlights

  • Day 01: Moshi/Rongai gate/Rongai Cave
  • Day 02: Rongai Cave/Second Cave/ Second Cave/ Kikelewa Cave
  • Day 03: Kikelewa Cave/Mawenzi Tarn
  • Day 04: Mawenzi Tarn/Mawenzi Ridge/Mawenzi Tarn
  • Day 05: Mawenzi Tarn/Kibo Hut
  • Day 06: Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak
  • Day 07: Horombo Hut/Marangu Gate

This Safari Only Takes

7 Days

What Includes in a Trip

How Long do you want to be in Africa?

We can help you to find a trip based on your time frame.


We drive from Moshi to Marangu Gate for permits before taking a short transfer to the Rongai Gate trailhead. The path winds through corn and potato fields and then climbs gently through the forest which is home to a variety of wildlife, including the black and white colobus monkey.
• Rongai Gate to Rongai Cave
• Elevation: 6,398 ft to 9,300 ft
• Distance: 8 km/5 miles
• Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
• Habitat: Rainforest

We begin this morning with a steady incline up to Second Cave. We continue trekking though
moorland, leaving the main trail for a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi, before finally arriving at Kikelewa Cave for the night.
• Elevation: 9,300 ft to 11,300 ft
• Distance: 6 km/4 miles
• Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
• Habitat: Heath
• Elevation: 11,300 ft to 11,811 ft
• Distance: 6 km/4 miles
• Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
• Habitat: Heath

The hike today is short and steep up a grassy slope. Views of the wilderness area are stunning. As we exit the heath zone and emerge into the Alpine Desert zone, the landscape changes dramatically. Our camp is situated beneath the jagged spires of Mawenzi, at Mawenzi Tarn. The remainder of the day can be spent relaxing or exploring the area.
• Elevation: 11,811 ft to 14,160 ft
• Distance: 5 km/3 miles
• Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
• Habitat: Alpine Desert

This is an extra day meant for acclimatization and can be spent day hiking on Mawenzi Ridge. The unique landscape offers motivating views of Kibo and Mawenzi. After spending a few moments exploring the area we head back to Mawenzi Tarn for camp.
• Elevation (ft): 14,160 ft -14,400 ft
• Distance: 2 km/1 mile
• Hiking Time: 1-2 hours
• Habitat: Alpine Desert
• Mawenzi Ridge to Mawenzi Tarn
• Elevation (ft): 14,400 ft -14,160 ft
• Distance: 2 km/1 mile
• Hiking Time: 1-2 hours
• Habitat: Alpine Desert

We climb gradually, then cross the lunar desert of the “Saddle” between Mawenzi and Kibo. Our camp, Kibo Hut, sits at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. Once here we rest, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.
• Elevation (ft): 14,160 ft to 15,430 ft
• Distance: 8 km/5 miles
• Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
• Habitat: Alpine Desert

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time
of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s point (18,600 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
After spending a few moments taking in the plains of Africa and your accomplishment, we descend to Horombo Hut. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
• Elevation (ft): 15,430 ft to 19,341 ft
• Distance: 6 km/4 miles
• Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
• Habitat: Arctic
• Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut
• Elevation (ft): 19,341 ft to 12,250 ft
• Distance: 16 km/10 miles
• Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
• Habitat: Heath

On our last day, we have a long trek mostly downhill through the tropical rainforest. Once at the park headquarters at Marangu gate, we collect our summit certificates. A vehicle will meet us here and drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.
• Elevation (ft): 12,205 ft to 6,046 ft
• Distance: 20 km/12 miles
• Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
• Habitat: Rain Forest

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Let’s Go Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, 7 Days Rongai Route

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