Starting from the North- east side of the mountain near the Kenyan border, the Rongai route up Kilimanjaro rises above the Amboselli plains and approached the summit of Kilimanjaro east of the Mawenzi peaks. The route is also known as  Loitokok or the old Outward Bound Hut route up Kilimanjaro. It is an unfrequented route and is also the easiest camping approach to Uhuru Peak.

The route approaches Kilimanjaro from the northern side at Loitokok Park gate over by the Kenyan side of the mountain after a long drive of about 4 hours from Moshi. The route heads through the forest on an unspoilt, remote and less popular trail as a direct approach towards Kibo huts. There are chances to see herds of Buffalo if you are lucky and you also get a chance to see a number of caves formed from the volcanic eruption of Kilimanjaro. However because of the constant altitude gain of the route does not allow for the application of the climb high and sleep low principle and hikers generally suffer more from altitude sickness along Rongai route compared to other routes. For this reason an extra day acclimatisation is advised.

Rongai climb can be done in as little as six days but this yields lower success rates. Descent is made via the Marangu route.


Day-1: Meet at Kilimanjaro International Airport

Day-2: Rongai Gate (1950m) - 1st Caves camp (2600m):

Day-3: 1st Caves (2600m) - Kikelewa Cave (3600m):

Day-4: Kikelewa Cave (3600) - Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m):

Day-5: Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) - Kibo hut (4700m):


Day-7: Mandara Huts - Marangu Gate

Day-9: Depart

Fast Facts

Altitude: 5895m

All year

Best weather: June to October. Kilimanjaro is equatorial which means minimal variation between the seasons.  However, there are two rainy seasons in Tanzania, the first is from March to May (short rains) and November to December (longer rains) which can make the forest track very muddy and of course, snow and/or rain higher up.

Tour: From 6 days

Hotels, Tents

Trek Grade: 2c (FP)

A combination of very long days with steep paths, boulders and mountain scrambling. Glaciers and snow may be encountered at high altitude. There is no need for technical climbing experience. Medium risk of altitude sickness. Altitudes under about 6000m. Good cardio vascular fitness is needed with weight and circuit training and running. Lots of hill walking. Backpacks will weigh about 4-5kg and contain water, camera and essentials. Trek weight loss around 4kg. Fully Portered

Detailed Itinerary

Day-1: Arrive Kilimanjaro

Day-2: Rongai Gate (1950m) - 1st Caves camp (2600m):

Elevation: 1,950m ft to 2,600m
Distance: 8 km/5 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
Register at the Marangu park gate with a transfer (approximately 2 .5 hours) to the Rongai trekking start point. Meet your guide and porters before you begin your hike from the Nale Moru village at the start of the Rongai route. The small winding path crosses maize fields before entering a pine forest with a gradual climbs. The trail is not at all steep, but rather a gentle hike through beautiful country. The forest begins to thin out before you reach first cave later towards the afternoon. The first night's camp is at First Cave at about 2,600 metres. There is a toilet and a wooden table with benches, but no hut. Water can be found just down the trail below First Cave .

Day-3: 1st Caves (2600m) - Kikelewa Cave (3600m):

Elevation: 2,600m to 3,600m
Distance: 12 km/8 miles
Hiking Time: 6-7 hours
Habitat: Heath Zone
The Rongai trail continues to Kibo with magnificent views of the Eastern ice fields on Kibo Crater rim. We will pass Second Cave (3450m) en-route, and start out across the Kikelewa moorlands under the jagged and imposing, Mawenzi peaks, reaching Kikelwa Cave at about 3600 metres. Overnight at 3rd Cave camp with magnificent Scenios nearby Kikelewa Caves .

Day-4: Kikelewa Cave (3600) - Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m):

Elevation: 3,600m to 4,330m
Distance: 5 km/3 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes offering superb views of this wilderness area. Here, we will leave the moorland region behind and quickly enter into the lunar alpine desert stretched out between the imposing peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo. We will camp at Mawenzi Tarn spectacularly situated in the shadows of Mawenzi. Spend the afternoon acclimatizing and exploring the area.

Day-5: Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) - Kibo hut (4700m):

Elevation: 4,330m to 4,700m
Distance: 8 km/5 miles
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Continue ascending along the east side of Kibo along the Rongai trail, crossing the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo taking 4 to 5 hours to reach Kibo Hut. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent, which begins around midnight. Overnight at Kibo Camp


Elevation: 4,700m to 5,895m to 3,700m
Distance: 24 km/14 miles
Hiking Time: 10-15 hours
Habitat: Alpine Arctic to Heath Zone
Wake at around 11pm and prepare for the summit ascent. This part of the hike is carried out early in the morning before dawn so that you reach Kilimanjaro Uhuru Peak around sunrise. After climbing steadily up a zig-zag path Gilmans Point lies ahead  where you can get to see views of the crater from Gilmans Point. Another 2 hours of hiking will bring you to t Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft) at about 8:30 am, summit of Kilimanjaro. From there you trek back to Kibo Huts, collect your things and cross the vast plateau again at Horombo Huts to spend the night. After eating dinner, it is time for well-deserved sleep.

Day-7: Mandara Huts

Elevation: 3,700m to 1,860m
Distance: 20 km/12 miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
Wake, pack and descend along the same route to Mandara Huts for lunch, before trekking down to the Marangu park gate to meet your transport back to Moshi. Those climbers who climbed to Gilmans Point (5700m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates for your Rongai Route climb on Kilimanjaro.


After breakfast, transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport for you flight home.

End of services

What's Included

Price includes

Return Kilimanjaro airport transfers
Three meals a day on trek except for last day of trek
All park entry fees
All porter, guide and cook fees
Kilimanjaro emergency rescue fees
Kilimanjaro Rongai Route Park permit for 7 days
Camping fees for the Rongai Route
Tents on Mt Kilimanjaro
Dining tent, chairs, utensils etc.
Sleeping mattresses for Mt Kilimanjaro
Four night's bed and breakfast at Moshi Springlands Hotel twin share

Price Excludes

Mandatory travel and medical insurance
Tips, baggage and porterage
Bottled water
Meals other than those indicated
Visa's and vaccinations
International flights
Costs for giving up the expedition (no refunds applicable)
Costs incurred for returning to the hotel earlier than expected (From $70 per night)
Extra transfer across to Loitokok Gate

Pros and Cons

 There is very little forest to walk through so you miss the forest scenes.

 It is a direct approach route with little chance for climb high sleep low acclimatisation.

 Longer drive around to the start guide which means a higher cost with the transfer

 Very quiet seldom used route for the first few days

 Stunning views across the Saddle and also Mawenzi Peaks

 Chance to see Colobus monkeys and possibly game


 Add on a day at Mawenzi Tarn Camp for an acclimatisation trek

Route Profile Map

Kilimanjaro Rongai Route Profile Map 6 days
 Rongai Route query

Book your Rongai Climb
Overview of other routes
 6 - 7 days trekking
 40 minutes drive to Machame Gate
 Scenic but steep
 Good for acclimatisation
 Starts in forest and joins Lemosho and Shira
 Summit via Barafu Hut and Stella Point
 Sleep in Tents
 Descend via Mweka
Machame Route
 6 - 7 days trekking
  3 hour drive to Park Gate
  Scenic and quiet
  Good for acclimatisation
  Starts in forest and joins Lemosho and Machame
  Summit via Barafu Hut and Stella Point
  Sleep in Tents
  Descend via Mweka
Shira Itinerary
 7 - 8 days trekking
 3 hour drive to Park Gate
 Scenic, quiet, longer approach
 Good for acclimatisation
 Starts in forest and joins Machame and Shira routes
 Summit via Barafu Hut and Stella Point
 Sleep in Tents
 Descend via Mweka
Lemosho Route
 5 - 6 days trekking
  30 minutes road to Marangu Gate
  Busy route
  Less scenic - same ascent and descent
  Need tan extra day for acclimatisation
  Route joins Northern Circuit and Rongai Route
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
  Sleep in Huts
  Descend via Marangu Route
Marangu Route
8-9 days trekking
  4 Hour drive to Shira Gate
  Very Quiet
  Less scenic but longer approach
  Start higher but route is good for acclimatisation
  Route joins Rongai and Marangu Routes
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
  Sleep in Tents
  Descend via Marangu Route
Northern Circuit Route
 5-7 days trekking
  40 Minute drive to Umbwe Gate
  Very Quiet
  Very steep and fast approach
  Poor chances for acclimatisation
  Route joins Shira, Lemosho and Machame
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
  Sleep in Tents
  Descend via Mweka
Umbwe Route
 Kilimanjaro Short Treks
These treks are designed for people with less time available or who do not want to go for summit. They range from 1 to 4 days on Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro Short Treks
 Mt Meru
Mt Meru is a great pre-acclimatisation trek before Kilimanjaro or a stand alone trek. These treks are 3-4 days
Mt Meru page

There are several options to tag on a safari tour in either Tanzania or Kenya after your Kilimanjaro trek. The shortest safari is from 3 days to 9 or longer if you prefer.
Safari Tours

Frequently Asked Questions