Itinerary Summary

It begins at the remote, northern side of Kilimanjaro, near the Kenyan border and will take 7 days. We hike through a true wilderness area towards the jagged Mawenzi Peak, then cross a barren desert saddle, before climbing up Kibo’s eastern crater wall. The Rongai route is a more gradual ascent, and is therefore preferred by those with little or no backpacking experience, but is equally enjoyable for even the most hardened trekkers.

Itinerary Details

Day1: Registration and Trek to Rongai One Camp (2,600 m) [3-4 hours walking]

After completing the necessary registration formalities at Marangu National Park gate, we transfer by Landrover to Rongai. The climb begins from Nale Moru (1,950 m) on a small path that wind 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, including the beautiful Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone, Rongai One Camp (2,600 m) with extensive views over the Kenyan plains. [3-4 hours walking]

Day 2: Climb Towards Third Cave. [3-4 hours walking]

This is only a morning walk up to the campsite at ‘Second Cave’ (3,450 m). The walk is a steady ascent with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern ice-fields on the crater rim. The afternoon can be spend enjoying the view over the Kenyan plains or doing a short acclimatization walk up towards Third Cave. [3-4 hours walking]

Day 3: Trek to Mawenzi Peak [3-4 hours walking]

We now leave the main trail and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Our campsite is in a sheltered valley with giant senecios near Kikelewa Caves (3.600 m) After lunch, there is time to explore the valley or to rest. [3-4 hours walking]

Day 4: Trek to Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m) [3-4 hours walking]

A short but steep climb is rewarded by superb all round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m), spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatization. [3-4 hours walking]

Day 5: Trek to Kibo campsite (4,700m)  [5-6 hours walking]

We cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite (4,700m) at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remain time of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night! [5-6 hours walking]

Day 6: Trek to Uhuru Peak (5,896m) and descend to Horombo (3,720 m). [11-15 hours walking]

We will start the final, and by far the steepest and most demanding, part of the climb by torchlight around 1 a.m. We plod very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point (5,685 m) We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo (4,700 m) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshment, we continue the descent to reach our final campsite at Horombo (3,720 m). [11-15 hours walking]

Day 7: Steady Descend to Marangu (1,830 m). [5-6 hours walking] 

A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Hut (2,700m), the first stopping place at the Marangu route. We then continue descending through lovely lush forest on a good path to the National Park gate at Marangu (1,830 m). [5-6 hours walking]