There is only one route over on the north eastern side of the mountain, Rongai route, which is usually a five night climb. This lesser known track may not be quite as spectacular as the western routes, but it does usually have far lower traffic than the other five night routes. This route retains a sense of un spoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by
approaching it from the north. It is generally considered to be the easiest of the quality routes on the mountain. Rongai route is the best route for people who are looking for a decent quality experience and are perhaps not absolutely confident about your fitness.
Day 1: Nalemuru gate to Simba camp
Trekking time 4 hours
Climatic zone Rainforest
Altitude gained 600 metres / 1,970 feet
Vehicles take climbers to the gate at 2,000 metres at the entrance to the forest on the north eastern side of the mountain. This is a journey of a little over an hour from Marangu. From here it is a 3 to 4 hour walk, gradually ascending through the forest, to the camp which is just clear of the forest at 2,600 metres.
Day 2: Simba camp to Third Cave
1,100 metres / 3,610 feet
The path ascends on a good path through Alpine moorland, similar to what is found on the Marangu route, to Second Cave at 3500 metres where they have lunch, as normal, but then the path continues directly towards the peak of Kibo for a further 2 hours and camp is made at Third Cave, 3,700 metres.
Day 3: Third Cave to Kibo Hut
High altitude desert
1,000 metres / 3,280 feet
After breakfast, climbers ascend to the moonscape of the Saddle, the high altitude desert lying between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. Then they trek across the Saddle to Kibo, ascending the foothills of Kibo to make camp close to Kibo Hut at 4700 metres. The trekking day is around 5 to 6 hours’ long.
Day 4/5: Kibo Hut to the summit then down to Horombo Hut
Trekking time 15 hours
Climatic zone Artic zone
Altitude gained 1,000 metres / 3,280 feet
Climbers are woken at about 11pm. After dressing in all their warm clothing, they have a hot drink and then set off at midnight. The first part of the ascent to the Hans Meyer cave is quite indirect, going around large rock outcrops and it is not as steep as the latter part. The surface is loose and can be hard going. After the cave the scree slope becomes extremely steep and you have to climb in a zig-zag fashion. It takes an average of 6 hours to reach Gillman’s
Point on the crater rim. On a fine morning, the views of the sun rising from behind Mawenzi are spectacular. Gillman’s Point is at 5,700 metres. From here, the path goes around the crater rim for a further one and a half to two hours to the summit at Uhuru Peak, 5896 metres. The descent back to Kibo Hut can take a further 3 or 4 hours. After a rest and a meal, the descent continues to Horombo Hut via the lower route, a further trek of around 3 hours.
Day 5/6: Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate
Trekking time 6 hours
Climatic zone Rainforest
The descent from Horombo to Mandara Hut takes around 3 hours, and the final part of the descent through the forest to Marangu Gate takes another 2 hours. At the Gate vehicles will be waiting to take you and your crew back to the hotel.