6 Days Rongai route Kilimanjaro climbing

The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border. Though gaining popularity amongst climbers, this route still experiences low crowds. Rongai has a more gradual slope than the mountain’s other routes. It is the preferred route for those looking for an alternative to the popular Marangu route, for those who would like a more remote hike, and for those who are climbing during the rainy season (the north side receives less precipitation). Rongai is a moderately difficult route, and is highly recommended, especially for those with less backpacking experience.


Although the scenery is not as varied as the western routes, Rongai makes up for this by passing through true wilderness areas for nearly the entire way. Descent is made via the Marangu route.


Cheetah trekking® offers Rongai as a seven day group climb or a six or seven private climb. The six day variation does not have an acclimatization day on day four at Mawenzi Tarn hut camp.


Rongai Route map






Rongai Gate to Rongai Cave

Elevation: 6,398 ft to 9,300 ft

Distance: 8 km/5 miles

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: Rain Forest


We drive from Moshi to Marangu Gate for permits before taking a short transfer to the Rongai Gate trailhead. The path winds through corn and potato fields and then climbs gently through the forest which is home to a variety of wildlife, including the black and white colobus monkey.




Rongai Cave to to Second Cave

Elevation: 9,300 ft to 11,300 ft

Distance: 6 km/4 miles

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: Heath


Second Cave to Kikelewa Cave

Elevation: 11,300 ft to 11,811 ft

Distance: 6 km/4 miles

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: Heath


We begin this morning with a steady incline up to Second Cave. We continue trekking though moorland, leaving the main trail for a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi, before finally arriving at Kikelewa Cave for the night.




Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn hut

Elevation: 11,811 ft to 14,160 ft

Distance: 5 km/3 miles

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert


The hike today is short and steep up a grassy slope. Views of the wilderness area are stunning. As we exit the heath zone and emerge into the Alpine Desert zone, the landscape changes dramatically. Our camp is situated beneath the jagged spires of Mawenzi, at Mawenzi Tarn hut. The remainder of the day can be spent relaxing or exploring the area or hikking up on top of the ridge for acclimatization in the afternoon




Marwenzi Tarn hut to Kibo Hut

Elevation (ft): 14,160 ft to 15,430 ft

Distance: 8 km/5 miles

Hiking Time: 5-6 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert


We climb gradually, then cross the lunar desert of the “Saddle” between Mawenzi and Kibo. Our camp, Kibo Hut, sits at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. Once here we rest, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.




Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak

Elevation (ft): 15,430 ft to 19,341 ft

Distance: 6 km/4 miles

Hiking Time: 6-8 hours

Habitat: Arctic


Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut

Elevation (ft): 19,341 ft to 12,250 ft

Distance: 16 km/10 miles

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Heath


Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s point (18,600 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.


After spending a few moments taking in the plains of Africa and your accomplishment, we descend to Horombo Hut. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.




Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate

Elevation (ft): 12,205 ft to 6,046 ft

Distance: 20 km/12 miles

Hiking Time: 5-7 hours

Habitat: Rain Forest


On our last day, we have a long trek mostly downhill through the tropical rainforest. Once at the park headquarters at Marangu gate, we collect our summit certificates. A vehicle will meet us here and drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

1 Person $ 1900
2 – 3 Persons $ 1780
4 – 10 Persons $ 1650