6 DAY RONGAI ROUTE
T he 6 day Rongai route begins on the remote northeast side of Mount Kilimanjaro, near the Kenyan border. You’ll ascend through a barren wilderness as you climb toward Mawenzi Peak. Once there, you’ll cross the lunar-like saddle which is void of vegetation. You’ll approach the summit via the eastern crater wall. The Rongai route has a more gradual approach to the summit and is recommended for those who have no trekking experience or have limited time. Just because it is easier does not mean it is any less enjoyable for those who are trekking experts.
The Rongai Route is four and a half days to the summit and one and half days to the exit.
We recommend booking your flight to arrive at least the morning before your climb starts or two evenings prior. It is difficult to get a trip briefing and proper rest if you arrive the evening before your climb. Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is 45 minutes from your lodging. We will pick you up from JRO and take you to your hotel, or you can take a taxi.
At the trip briefing, we will make sure you have the required equipment, perform your initial health check, and that you have the appropriate mandatory medical coverage and travel insurance.
Kilimanjaro: Day 1
3-4 hours · 4.3 miles elevation: +2,100 ft.
From the hotel, you’ll be driven to Marangu so the guide can register you with the park. Afterward, you’ll continue to the Rongai trailhead at Nale Moru (6,400 ft). While the guides and porters weigh the gear you’ll begin your trek. Depending on the time, you’ll eat lunch at the trailhead or along the way to camp. The trail winds through fields of corn and potatoes before entering a rainforest. Once there, it starts to climb consistently but gently through the lush forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long “cape” of white hair and a flowing white tail.
As you approach the Heather/Moorland region the forest begins to thin out. Once the trees have dwindled down the expansive views of Kenya can be seen below. You’ll reach your first camp at Rongai One Camp (8,500 ft).
Kilimanjaro: Day 2
6-7 hours · 5.7 miles · elevation: +3,300 ft.
The morning begins with a steady ascent up to Second Cave (11,300 ft) with amazing views of Kibo and the Eastern Icefields on the crater rim. After lunch, you’ll leave the main trail heading southeast across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peak of Mawenzi. The camp is in a sheltered valley near Kikelewa Caves (11,800 ft).
Kilimanjaro: Day 3
3-4 hours · 2.3 miles · elevation: +2,400 ft.
Today begins with a short but steep climb that will be rewarded with breathtaking 360-degree views and a palpable sense of wilderness. The vegetation tapers off as you reach the next camp—Mawenzi Tarn (14,200 ft). This camp is in the shadows of the towering spires of Mawenzi. The rest of the afternoon will be to rest or explore the surrounding area as your body acclimatizes.
Kilimanjaro: Day 4
5-6 hours · 5.5 miles · elevation: +1,200 ft.
Today’s trail crosses the lunar-like saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo en route to Kibo Hut (15,400 ft) situated at the base of the crater wall. The remainder of the day should be spent resting in preparation for the early morning’s final ascent.
Kilimanjaro: Day 5
11-15 hours · 12.3 miles · elevation: +3,945 ft. gain · -7,145 ft. loss
Summit Night: You’ll be woken by the guide around midnight. Your goal is to reach the Crater Rim by sunrise. You’ll start in the dark, plodding along by headlamp on the neverending switchbacks. The trail will consist of loose volcanic scree and will continue going up until you reach the crater rim at Gilman’s Point (18,600 ft). You’ll rest here for a short time admiring the beautiful sunrise over Mawenzi peak.
The final leg of your ascent takes about an hour and a half. You’ll pass by spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs en route to the summit—Uhuru Peak (19,341 feet). After resting at the summit, eating, and waiting your turn taking photos at the sign, you’ll backtrack down to Stella Point.
The descent to Kibo Hut (15,400 ft) is surprisingly fast. After a snack, you’ll continue the descent to Horombo Huts (12,200 ft) to rest for the night.
Kilimanjaro: Day 6
5-6 hours · 12.4 miles · elevation: -6,200 ft.
The final day on Kilimanjaro begins with a steady descent through moorland to Mandara Huts (8,900 ft). Once you reach the rainforest, you’ll be entertained by singing birds and crazy primates swinging through the trees, saying goodbye to you as you finish your journey. After your guide has checked you out at the Kilimanjaro National Park gate at Marangu (6,000 ft), you’ll travel through coffee plantations and fields of bananas and avocado as you head back toward your hotel.
After breakfast, you’ll either be driven to JRO or picked up for your safari.
Rongai Route Map
- All park fees and taxes
- Hotel lodging the night before and the night after the climb (double occupancy)
- Transport to and from the hotel and trailhead
- Tents (double occupancy)
- Sleeping pad
- All meals and water on the mountain
- Support personnel (guides, cooks, and porters)
- Airfare to Tanzania
- Airport pick up and drop off
- Tips for guides and porters
- Sleeping bags and other personal gear
- Rental gear – Sleeping bag, jacket, duffel, private toilet tent, trekking poles
- Travel Insurance
- Drinks and/or snacks
- Lunch and dinner at the hotel