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.
Itinerary in Brief
DAY 1: Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Rongai Gate (Nale Moru), Hike to Simba Camp
DAY 2: Hike Simba Camp to Second Cave
DAY 3: Hike Second Cave to Third Cave
DAY 4: Hike Third Cave to Kibo Hut
DAY 5: Hike Kibo Hut to Summit, and down to Horombo Hut
DAY 6: Hike Horombo Hut to trail head, drive to Moshi
Trekking to the highest mountain in Africa
Climb Kili in 6 days
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
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
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
Walking Time: 3-4 hours
Budget Lodging: Second Cave Camp
Day 3: Hike Second Cave to Third Cave
Today we continue our hike from the Second Cave to the Third Cave.
Elevation: 3450m/11,300ft to 3880m/12,700ft
Walking Time: 2-3 hours
Budget Lodging: Third Cave Camp
Day 4: Hike Third Cave to Kibo Hut
Hike to Kibo Hut at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent and a very early day!
Elevation: 3880m/12,700ft to 4750m/15,600ft
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Budget Lodging: Kibo Hut Camp
Day 5: Hike Kibo Hut to Summit, and down to 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
Budget Lodging: Horombo Hut Camp
Day 6: 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).
A vehicle will meet you at Marangu village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 1 hour). Don't forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration!
Elevation: 3700m/12,200ft to 1700m/5500ft
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
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