The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border. This route has low traffic but is gaining popularity amongst climbers. It is the preferred route for those wanting a more remote hike, those looking for an easier route, or those who are climbing during the rainy season (the north side receives less precipitation). Although the minimum number of days required for this route is six days, seven days are recommended.
Although the scenery is not as varied as the western routes, Rongai passes through true wilderness areas for days before joining the Marangu route at Kibo camp. This route also descends down the Marangu route.
The climb begins at the village of Nale Moru ( 1950 mts) through cultivated land before entering the pine forest. Watch out for Kilimanjaro Colobus monkeys in the tree tops with their white fringed ‘capes’ and tail. Taking 3 – 4 hours the first camp is on the edge of the moorland zone where the forest begins to thin out at First Cave at 8500ft/2600m. Overnight 1st Cave Camp.
The morning walk is a steady ascent up to Second Cave at 11300ft/3450m with superb views of Kibo and the eastern ice fields on the crater rim. Pushing on to reach Third Cave taking 3 to 4 hours at 12800ft/3800m for overnight camp. Overnight 3rd Cave Camp.
Continue ascending on the east side of Kibo crossing the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo taking 4 to 5 hours to reach Kibo Hut at 15000ft/4700m. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent which begins around midnight. Overnight Kibo Camp.
An early start for the summit on steep heavy scree to arrive at Gilman’s Point at 18640ft/5681m in time to see the sun rise. Those who want to reach the highest point in Africa can take the approximately three hour excursion to Uhuru Peak 19340/5896m passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo is surprisingly fast and after some refreshment, continue the descent to reach the final campsite at Horombo at 12000ft/3700m taking 11 to 15 hours. Overnight Horombo Camp
We wake early and make our way from Horombo Hut to the gate at Marangu. After some post climb celebration, we’re driven back to Moshi and our local accommodations.