Rongai route approaches Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern section of the mountain, not far from the Kenyan border. It is considered quite remote but has seen a surge in trekkers in recent years. On this route, the drive to the trailhead at Nale Moru is long but the road is tarmac most of the way. With a starting point in Arusha, the routes on the souther or western side are more popular because of accessibility. On this route, we camp at the base of Mawenzi Peak before walking across the Saddle to perch ourselves in the the busy camp of Kibo in readiness for the summit assault.
This route over 7 days allows for an extra night at Mawenzi Tarn with acclimatisation walks during the spare day. Doing this will increase the chance of successfully summiting Kilimanjaro.
DAY 1 - Arusha – Simba, Hike: 1950m-2600m, 3-4 hours
After breakfast, we make the journey to Nale Moru, a wooden village near the Kenyan border to complete entrance formalities. After lunch we begin walking through fields and forest to the sound of the chatter of Colobus monkeys before arriving at our camp amongst the moorland grass.
DAY 2 - Simba – Kikelelwa, Hike: 2600m-3330m, 5-6 hours
From our camp after breakfast, we have a steady walk up through grassy woodland to Second Camp (Kikelelwa Caves – 3450m) for a hot lunch and then continue onto our camp. Today is filled with an array of stunning views over the surrounding plains.
DAY 3 - Kikelelwa – Mawenzi Tarn, Hike: 3330m-4330m, 5-6 hours
After breakfast, we leave the vegetation behind as we weave our way to reach the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn Hut by mid-afternoon. This campsite is at the base of Kilimanjaro’s second highest peak – Mawenzi. A short rest is followed by an afternoon of acclimatizing to 4500m before returning to camp dinner.
DAY 4 - Mawenzi Tarn, Hike: 4330m
Today we are going to enjoy an acclimatisation day – short walks around the Mawenzi Tarn area for the benefit of altitude acclimatization. We join other groups on the mountain at times for a friendly football match or simply use some of the time to re-gather strength for the challenge ahead.
DAY 5 - Mawenzi Tarn – Kibo, Hike: 4330m-4700m, 4-5 hours
Today, we cross the lunar desert of the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo (4700m) and we marvel at the vast open and empty plain. It is fun to have a sing along on this part of the trek; it seems befitting when you feel minuscule being amongst the giant peaks of Kilimanjaro. We reach camp mid-afternoon and rest. We enjoy an early dinner and sleep in preparation for the final assault to Gilman’s Point & Uhuru Peak from midnight.
DAY 6 - Kibo – Summit – Horombo, Hike: 4700m-5985m-3720m,13-15 hours
At midnight, we wake for a small snack before continuing our climb for the steepest and most demanding climbing we have done so far. We walk ‘pole pole’ on a switchback trail, on volcanic scree, until we reach Gilman’s Point (5685m) before sunrise. After resting and re-hydrating, we soldier on to Uhuru Peak, via Stella Point, to reach the ‘Roof of Africa. The feeling of fulfilment & exhilaration you will get will be hard to match! We return to Kibo Hut for lunch, resting before continuing down to our next camp for the night.
DAY 7 - Horombo – Arusha, Hike: 3720m-1830m, 5-6 hours
We leave Horombo after breakfast, and follow the trail via Mandara Huts (2700m) for a scrumptious lunch back amongst the forested foothill areas. If we are lucky, we will with Colobus or vervet monkeys. We then continue down to then National Park Gate at Marangu to sign out of the Park and then climb aboard our waiting vehicle for the transfer back to Arusha. After a shower and short resting, we join in a trekking de-briefing and share stories of a wonderful adventure.