7 Days Rongai Route

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7 Days Kilimanjaro Rongai Route

The 7 days Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai route uses the sole route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, near the Kenyan border, is the Rongai Route. Rongai’s ascension path is extremely similar to Marangu’s. It is one of the less difficult routes on Kilimanjaro. The ascent to the top is slow and steady. Unlike Marangu, however, this road is less used and traverses through remote wilderness areas. It’s possibly the only path where you may view wildlife in the early days.


Because of its distant position, the path is less popular, providing hikers with a unique wilderness experience, including the opportunity to encounter huge species like as antelope, elephant, and buffalo. Because this side of the mountain has less moisture, you are less likely to experience rain and have clearer views of the peak. While it is flatter, it does not have the option of climbing high and sleeping low, hence it is recommended that additional days be set out for acclimatization.

One of the easiest routes up Kilimanjaro is the Rongai path. The Rongai Route is the only way to climb Kilimanjaro from the north, while the Marangu Route is the only way to descend.


The climb from Kibo Hut to the summit is hard and follows the same road as the Marangu route, which passes Gilman’s Point on its way to Uhuru Peak.

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Start: Nalemoru Gate (1990m) Finish: Simba camp (2625m) + -
  • Total distance: 7km
  • Hiking Time (approx.): 2 hours

Although many still call this starting point the Rongai gate it is now officially named after the nearby Nalemoru village, after the original path (starting from Rongai village) was closed.  The starting point is about a 2 hour drive from Moshi town around the eastern side of the mountain. This is a beautiful drive giving you a good insight into local ‘Chagga’ life as you pass through villages, gazing out at the mud huts and banana plantations.   After signing up at the gate you’ll start you walk along a track through fields of potato and maize, and the odd pine plantation.  After about 1 hour you will pass through a small strip of forest- home to black and white colobus monkeys, before entering into heathland.  Following a short uphill walk you will arrive at Simba Camp, where you will be welcomed with a hearty warm dinner.

Day 2: Start: Simba Camp (2625m) Finish: Second Cave Camp (3487m) + -
    • Total Distance: 5.7km
    • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

    With this shorter day today you can set off a little later from camp.  Not the most scenic of days, but a great acclimatisation day as you hike along with views of heathers and the Erica of the moorland.  It is a short but steep climb up to the Second Cave Camp, where you will reach early afternoon to rest up and explore around the campsite.

Day 3: Start: Second Cave Camp (3487m) Finish: Kikelelwa Camp (3675m) + -
  • Total distance: 6.1km
  • Hiking Time (approx.): 4 hours

Following breakfast at the camp, set off along the undulating path, enjoying views down and across to Kenya.  Along the path today you will be hiking up with views towards the ragged peak of Mawenzi (Kilimanjaro’s second highest peak).  Continue along the rocky path, stopping for lunch along the way before reaching Kikelelwa Camp in the afternoon. A nice easy day, with just a short gain in elevation you may have energy to check out the nearby caves and get great snaps of the beautiful groundsels and lobelia plants located around the campsite.

Day 4: Start: Kikelelwa Camp (3675m) Finish: Mawenzi Tarn Huts (4302m) + -
    • Total distance: 3.75km
    • Hiking Time (approx.): 2-3 hours

    Yes, you read it right – only just under 4km today! Don’t be too fooled, you do gain over 600m in this shorter morning walk as you climb steadily to reach one of our favourite huts on the mountain.  The Mawenzi Tarn Huts are in a spectacular location, situated just underneath Mawenzi peak.  In the afternoon you can take an (optional but recommended!) acclimatization walk along the ridge where, provided it is a clear day, you will be rewarded with a wonderful view across to Kibo Peak.  Today is a bit of a treat with both a hot lunch, and a delicious dinner cooked up at the huts!

Day 5: Start: Mawenzi Tarn Huts (4302m) Finish: Kibo Huts (4715m) + -
    • Total distance: 9km
    • Hiking Time (approx.): 4-5 hrs

    Start your morning descending down a ridge, to then walk across the Northern edge of the saddle which passes between Kibo and Mawenzi peaks.  The landscape is lunar-like up here, although Eland (Africa’s largest antelope) have been spotted here.  Have your camera handy to take some fantastic panoramas of the spectacular views off to the east and west.  As you cross the saddle you will also be able to see your path for summit night laid out ahead of you up to Gillman’s point.  Kibo Huts are nestled just under the peak for which they are named.  You’ll arrive here for a late lunch and then rest up in preparation for your summit.

Day 6: Summit Night: Kibo Huts (4715m) to Uhuru Peak (5895m) back to Kibo Huts + -
  • Total distance: 6.25km
  • Hiking Time (approx.) 6 hours
Start: Kibo Huts (4715m) to Horombo Huts (7720m) + -
  • Total distance: 9km
  • Hiking Time (approx.): 3-4 hours

Depending on how you have fared with the altitude in the days before, you will be woken at 11pm-12am to start your ascent up to Uhuru Peak.  Have some tea and biscuits to warm you up before starting on the hardest part of your trek.  You will make your way up to Gillman’s point by flashlight, zig-zagging your way along the soft ground.  This is definitely one of the steeper and more challenging ascents, but there is no such thing as going too slowly – make sure to take your time.  Upon reaching Gillman’s point you will stop for a well-deserved short rest.  You will have earned your certificate here, but don’t let that stop you from going on up to Uhuru peak – the hard work is over.  Now you can enjoy the magnificent views of glaciers to the left, and Reusch’s crater to the right.  Most trekkers will make it to the peak after approx. 6 hours, in time to watch what will be one of (if not the) favourite sunrise(s) of your life.  Heading back down to Kibo will be surprisingly quick, some like to use their walking poles to ‘ski’ down the soft scree!  Have some warm food here, rest up, before continuing your descent down to Horombo Huts.

Day 7: Start: Horombo Huts (3720m) to Marangu Gate (1905m) + -
  • Total distance: 20.75km
  • Hiking time: 7-8 hours

A long last day, which will no doubt feel like a walk in the park after yesterday’s efforts.  Make sure to enjoy this final day of the mountain… that beer will still be cold, and the shower still hot when you get down!  If you are not in a rush, your guide can take you down via the Marangu ‘Nature Trail’ – a much less used path (be prepared to hop over a few fallen trees) before reaching a beautiful water fall.  Enjoy time monkey and bird-spotting in the forest before emerging out at Marangu Gate where you will sign out of the National Park.  There is a great little souvenir spot here, with maps, books and postcards to buy (handy tools when bragging to all your friends back home!).  From the gate, our car will pick you up and transfer you back to your hotel for a well-deserved rest (massages available on request)!

This trek approaches the mountain from the Northern side, taking in some very different scenery on a more secluded route.

  • Suitable for: Moderate fitness with previous trekking experience ideal
  • Pros: A great choice for those that enjoy remoteness.  With less rainfall on the Northern side this is a good route to trek during rainy season.
  • Cons: Approaches the summit from the steeper route via Kibo Hut therefore we advise to opt with the 7 day route to ensure you are well acclimatised.
  • Trekking Days required: 6 or 7

We always recommend you have at least 1 day in town before starting your trek. This gives you time to rest, relax and prepare. On this day we make sure you meet your guide(s) so that they are able to check all your gear, we can rent anything else that you require and you have the opportunity to ask them any questions you may have!

This route is for those really wanting to do something different and experience unspoilt wilderness on the mountain. Although previously you may have felt like you were the only ones on the mountain, it has become more popular in recent years. This route is the only one to approach Kilimanjaro from its northern side, starting close to the border between Kenya and Tanzania. With its close proximity to Amboseli national park it is known for having some of the best wildlife encounters on the mountain, only rivalled by the western routes (e.g. Lemosho). Some people would say that this route isn’t as scenic as others– probably because the first couple of days are spent in a drier zone. This does mean that there isn’t much rainforest to marvel at on your first day but you descend via the Marangu route with a solid day trekking through rainforest on your final day – and you get to see both sides of the mountain! This route can be shortened to 6 days by making the stop at Second Caves just a lunch stop, however the extra day should help you to acclimatise. There is also a more ‘direct’ route taking just 5 days but we have chosen to focus on the ‘Kikelelwa’ route as it is much more scenic, and gives you a better chance of making it to the top.

Rongai Route map

NB: There is also a Rongai 7 Day route going via the Mawenzi Tarn huts which we can also organise – just ask! 

  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Moshi/Arusha (before/after the climb)
  • Transport to and from Moshi/Arusha to the trail head
  • Kilimanjaro National Park permits, camping /huts fees, rescue fee, and Value Added Tax (VAT)
  • Expert guide, assistant guides, cook and porters
  • Bottled oxygen for emergency rescue only
  • Camping tents 
  • Sleeping pads
  • Mess tents, tables, chairs, and lanterns
  • Fresh and nutritious meals on the mountain  
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Airfare and visa fees at airports  
  • Lunch or dinner at hotel  
  • Beverages at the hotel  
  • Personal gears and equipment  
  • Tipping

Best Time for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is between the warm and dry months of January through early-March and June through October. When the skies are clear and warm comfortable hiking conditions

How Much Does Climbing Kilimanjaro Cost?

Cost for safaris in Tanzania depends with the number of people, number of days visiting Tanzania and the type of accommodation on the safari (luxury, midrange and budget options ). Read more