The Rongai route, located along the north side of Mount Kilimanjaro, is an alternative route that you can use to get to the peak. It is also the best route to use during the wet season since it receives little or no rainfall. Rongai is perfect for first-time hikers looking to have a good time, and it is also recommended for good acclimatization. The route can be climbed in 6, 7, and 8 days, but in this itinerary, we are going to look at the 6-day Rongai route.
The Rongai route is located on a remote side of the mountain where hikers get to witness the unspoiled wilderness and see some wildlife while hiking. It is also the best route to use because trekkers get clear views of Mount Kilimanjaro. A few of the negatives about using the Rongai route are that it does not offer the climb high and sleep low option because of its nature, the summit success rate is medium and the difficulty is low. The 6-day Rongai hike is good however advise that you go for the 7-day Rongai itinerary since it offers a day of acclimatization at the Mawenzi Tarn.
A similar 6 days package that however involves staying in the bunker houses known as the mountain huts, is the 6 Days Marangu Route Itinerary, which starts at the Marangu Gate and ends at the same Marangu Gate.
Arrival into Kilimanjaro Airport - Transfer to Moshi
You will be met by our professional guide and driven to your hotel in Moshi, where a small briefing will be carried out and an inspection of all the climbing equipment will take place. In case some equipment is missing, it can be hired on this day to avoid the last-minute hustle.
Moshi or Marangu to Simba Camp
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation: 6400 ft. to Simba Camp
A professional guide will pick you up from your hotel in Moshi and drive you towards the northern part of Kilimanjaro to the Nalemoru Gate, which leads to the Rongai route. Registration at the Kilimanjaro National Park entrance is needed, and this is where you are going to register and get your climbing permits. After registration, we shall start the hike towards Simba Camp, where dinner will be prepared by professionals before resting for the night.
Simba Camp to Kikelewa Caves
Duration: 6 to 7 hours
Distance: 5.6 miles
Elevation: 8700 feet to 11800 feet
Day two hiking starts early in the morning after breakfast from the Simba camp, heading towards a higher altitude before heading to Kikelewa camp. The camp has views of the eastern part of the crater rim of Kibo, and as the hike continues, we go off the main route through the moorlands and take a small route leading to Mawenzi peak, which is known as the 2nd Kilimanjaro volcano. We make camp in a small, sheltered valley near the Kikelewa Caves for the night, but note that the route leading to the caves requires one to be in good physical shape.
Kikelewa Caves to Mawenzi Tarn
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Distance: 3.7 miles
Zone: Heat Zone
Elevation: 11800 feet to 14210 feet
The third day is usually for acclimatization when you get to the Mawenzi Tarn after the short but steep hike from Kikelewa Cave. The vegetation along the route thins out, giving way to the heath zone. Mawenzi Tarn is located below Mawenzi spires, and acclimatization can be carried out in the afternoon hours.
Mawenzi Tarn to ascend to Kibo Hut
Duration: 4 to 5 hours
Distance: 5.6 miles
Zone: Alpine Desert
Elevation: 14210 feet to 15420 feet
We shall cross the desert between Mawenzi and Kibo to get to the Kibo campsite, which is located right at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. Relax at the camp in preparation for the summit hike for the rest of the day, and it is advisable that you get an early dinner and night as well.
Kibo hut to Uhuru Peak (the summit) - Descend to Horombo hut
Duration: 8 to 10 hours (ascent) and 4 to 6 hours (descent).
Distance: 3.5 miles (ascent) and 9.5 miles (descent).
Elevation: 15520 feet to 19340 feet
After a light breakfast, we set off for the summit between midnight and 1:00 am, clothed in many layers of clothing due to the coldness experienced in this zone. The trail is not an easy one, filled with snow and steep slopes, and the main aim of starting this early is to get to the summit as the sun rises. Clad in warm clothes and a headlamp to light the way, the first stop is Gilman’s Point at an elevation of 18685 feet, offering great views of the surrounding areas. Note that some hikers stop here and then start their descent, whereas others add an extra 2 to 3 hours to reach the highest point in Africa, which is the main Uhuru peak. After the celebratory pictures and rest, we start our hike down the mountain with a stop at Kibo hut before continuing to Horombo hut, where we will spend the night.
Horombo, descend to Marangu Gate, Transfer to Moshi / Arusha
Duration: 5 hours
Distance: 12.5 miles
This is the last day on the mountain, and although the hike is a long one, taking about 5 hours, it’s all downhill, and all you need are gaiters or hiking sticks to keep on your feet as you go through the forest zone. Certificates will be awarded at the Marangu Gate for a successful climb, and then we shall transfer back to the hotel on Moshi, where you get to relax, take a long shower, and get a celebratory dinner. This is the end of our trip, and we will drive you to the airport or the next safari destination.
6 Days Rongai Route Prices, Inclusions and Exclusions