7 Days Rongai Route Climbing

Tour Overview

The Rongai Route is one of the easiest routes and the success rate is very high. The route starts on the north side of the mountain just south of the Kenyan border, and is one of the least traveled routes. The descent is down the Marangu Route on the south side of the mountain, so climbers see the mountain from many view points.

The drive to the trail head takes about 3 hours from Moshi through many villages and coffee plantations, including a stop to register climbing permits at Marangu.

The Rongai Route can also be accessed from Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Allow 2 hours including border crossing. We will need copies of passports ahead of time.

Rongai ROUTE ELEVATIONS

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Rongai Gate (Nale Moru), Hike to Simba Camp

Drive to the attractive wooden village of Nale Moru (about 2 hours including a stop to get permits at Marangu). After signing in and preparing the porters, you will begin the hike on a wide path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently but gently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone with extensive views over the Kenyan plains.


  • Elevation: 2000m/6560ft to 2650m/8700ft
  • Distance: 6km/4mi
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Montane Forest
  • Meals: LD
  • Budget Lodging: Simba Camp
Day 2: Hike Simba Camp to Second Cave

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


  • Elevation: 2650m/8700ft to 3450m/11,300ft
  • Distance: 6km/4mi
  • Walking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland
  • Meals: BLD
  • Budget Lodging: Second Cave Camp
Day 3: Hike Second Cave to Kikelewa Camp

Head out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. The campsite is in a sheltered valley with giant Senecios nearby.


  • Elevation: 3450m/11,300ft to 3600m/11,800ft
  • Distance: 9km/5mi
  • Walking Time: 2-3 hours
  • Habitat: Semi-desert
  • Meals: BLD
  • Budget Lodging: Kikelewa Camp.
Day 4: Hike Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn

A short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb views. Leave the vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn, 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.

If you are spending an extra day on the mountain, you will camp for two nights here. You can hike up and around Mawenzi for your acclimatization hike.


  • Elevation: 3600m/11,800ft to 4330m/14,200ft
  • Distance: 6km/4mi
  • Walking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Semi-desert
  • Meals: BLD
  • Budget Lodging: Mawenzi Tarn Camp.
Day 5: Hike Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut

Cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent very early.


  • Elevation: 4330m/14,200ft to 4750m/15,600ft
  • Distance: 9km/5mi
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert
  • Meals: BLD
  • Budget Lodging: Kibo Hut Camp.
Day 6: Kibo Camp to Summit and Horombo Hut

Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am), commence the climb to the summit on steep and heavy scree or snow up to Gilman’s Point located on the crater rim (elev 5700m/18,700ft). Continuing, we now ascend to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point in Africa. There are unbelievable views at every turn. Have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends and family. From here we descend, stopping for lunch and a rest at Kibo before continuing on to the Horombo encampment.

The beginning of this climb is done in the dark and requires headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is by far the most difficult part of the trek with many switchbacks. Going slowly “pole pole” and an optimistic attitude will get you there!


  • Elevation: 4700m/15,500ft to 5895m/19,340ft
  • Down to 3700m/12,200ft
  • Distance: 6km/4mi up / 15km/9mi down
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours up / 15km/9mi down
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert
  • Meals: BLD
  • Budget Lodging: Horombo Hut Camp.
Day 7: Hike Horombo Hut to trail head, drive to Moshi

After breakfast, a steady descent takes us down through moorland to the Mandara Hut. Continue descending through lush forest path to the National Park gate at Marangu. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).

Tanzania Joy Tours vehicle will meet you at Marangu gate to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 1 hour).


  • Elevation: 3700m/12,200ft to 1700m/5500ft
  • Distance: 20km/12.5mi
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Forest
  • Meals: B.

Itinerary Map

Includes

  • 2 night’s accommodation in Moshi or Arusha is included
  • Park entry fees
  • Camping fees
  • Transportation to & from the Kilimanjaro gate
  • Team Kilimanjaro Rescue fees
  • 18% VAT on tour fees & services
  • 4 Season mountain tents
  • Friendly and professional mountain guides, cook and porters
  • 3 hot meals daily while on the mountain
  • Enough treated & filtered drinking water throughout the trek
  • Hot water for washing
  • Fair wages for the mountain crew as approved by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority (KINAPA), Kilimanjaro Association of Tour Operators (KIATO)
  • Government taxes
  • Ox meter
  • Sleeping Mattress
  • Quality Mess tents with table and chairs
  • Emergency first-aid kit

Excludes

  • Airfare
  • Tips for porters, Guide, Cook and Assistant Guide
  • Flights or overland transfers to Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha town
  • Tips to the mountain staff
  • Meals other than breakfast while in Arusha or Moshi
  • Additional nights beyond the two standard hotel nights included
  • Hotel upgrade costs if you decide to request an alternative hotel to the standard
  • Items considered to be non-essential, such as alcohol, beverages, cigarettes, snacks, etc

traveler photos from this trip

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