Dry and relatively easy

Why Rongai?

Dry and relatively easy

This route is fast gaining in popularity and is considered to be one of the easiest routes up the mountain. It is the only route starting from the north side of the mountain at Rongai a small village close to the Kenya border.

The climbing conditions are drier on the northern side of the mountain and there are spectacular sweeping views over the broad flat Maasai lands. Overnights are spent camping in tents. The summit is reached via the east side of Kibo and the descent is via the Marangu route.

Itinerary code: STT K5 or STT K5+1

Level: Beginner

Nights:Camping in a tent

Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights (5 Days on trek) / 8 Days/ 7 Nights (6 Days on trek)

Day 2 - Naremoru Gate to First Cave (Simba) Camp

Time (average): 2.5- 4 hours

Altitude gained:700 metres (2300 feet)

Terrain:mostly easy, with slightly steeper moorland section, overall a good path with no difficulties

Summary:a delightful first day, with great views over the plains of Kenya to the north and towards Kibo

Day 3 - First (Simba) Cave to Third Cave Camp

Time (average):5-7 hours

Altitude gained: 1250 metres (4100 feet)

Terrain:mostly easy, with some moderately steep sections, overall a good path with no technical difficulties

Summary:a sustained hike, with subtle changes in the vegetation and glimpses of Mawenzi and Kibo from different angles

Day 4 - Third Cave to Kibo Camp

Time (average):3.5 - 5 hours

Altitude gained: 800 metres (2625 feet)

Terrain:good path with no technical difficulties and some moderate or slightly steep sections

Summary:another day of steady ascent across the bleakly lunar Saddle region

Day 5a - Kibo Hut to Gilman's Point / Uhuru Peak

Time (average):6-10 hours

Altitude gained: 985/1195 metres (3230/3920 feet) to Gilman's Point/ Uhuru

Terrain:a steep, rough ascent on lose scree and rocks to the crater rim; gentler gradients thereafter

Summary:by far the most strenuous stage of the route, normally attempted between midnight and dawn.

Day 5b - Uhuru Peak/ Gilman's Point to Horombo Camp

Time (average):4-8 hours (including rest/lunch stop)

Altitude lost: 2195 metres (7200 feet)

Terrain: gradual descent around crater rim, then steep, lose scree followed by a rough path

Summary:many people find the descent hard on the knees and feet: don't underestimate this stage

Day 6 - Horombo Camp to Moshi

Time (average):3-5 hours

Altitude lost: 2600 metres (9500 feet)

Terrain: Possibly muddy path

Summary:Reverse of your first two days on the mountain

Your descent here reverses the first two days of the Marangu route climb, with a lunch stop at Mandara Huts. At the Kilimanjaro National Park gate, before you depart, there is usually the customary tipping ceremony (if well-earned), and if lucky the supporting team will sing the 'Kilimanjaro Song'.

Extra day for Acclimatization

Mawenzi Tarn Hut - Acclimatization day

The alternative route (for acclimatization) follows two sides of a triangle, taking in Mawenzi Tarn. It diverges from the direct route at Second Cave (3450 m), which is normally the day 2 lunch stop (see above). Instead of heading south for Third Cave, you bear left (south-east) to camp at Kikelewa Caves (3600 m). You spend your third night at Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4350 m), named after the only tarn (lake) on the mountain. This unique campsite lies right under the jagged features of Mawenzi, with fine views of its northern amphitheatre. This route offers an even better altitude profile than the direct route, and the modest altitude gain on Day 4 is helpful immediately before your summit attempt.