Rongai Route 7 Days Kilimanjaro Climb


The 7 days Rongai route is the only route that ascends the North Slope of Kilimanjaro. This is a quieter route and offers amazing views. We recommend doing the 7 days route (versus the 6 days itinerary), as the topography of this trail doesn’t offer many opportunities to “climb high, sleep low”. The Rongai route 7 days itinerary includes an acclimatization day at Mawenzi Tarn Camp to give your body time to adjust to the higher altitudes. Acclimatization is important to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Why we recommend the 7 days Rongai route

We recommend choosing a 7 days Rongai route if you want to avoid the crowds. This is also a good choice if you have little or no trekking experience and want a more leisurely climb with fewer steep sections. The main reason is that the 7-day Ronga route includes an acclimatization day at the Mawenzi Tarn camp. We strongly recommend choosing the seven days instead of the six days itinerary.


Day 0: Pre-trek Briefing

If you have chosen the optional airport transfer, we will pick you up from Kilimanjaro Airport or Arusha Airport and transfer you to Panama hotel in Moshi or similar hotel. Pre-trek briefing at the Moshi hotel. You should plan to arrive at least one day before the tour starts. We will spend today with a pre-excursion briefing. We review your equipment and rent the necessary equipment.

Day 1: Hotel to Simba Camp

Travel to the attractive wooden village of Nale Moru (approx. 2 hours including obtaining permits in Marangu). After checking in and preparing the porters, we start the tour on a wide path that winds through corn and potato fields before entering the pine forest. The track then climbs steadily but gently through attractive woodland that harbors a variety of wildlife. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp is on the edge of the marshland with a sweeping view of the Kenyan plains.

  • Elevation: 2000m/6560ft-2650m/8700ft
  • Distance: 6km/4mi
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Montane Forest
  • Meals: lunch and dinner
Day 2: Simba Camp to Second Cave

The morning hike is a steady climb to the second cave, which offers great views of Kibo and the eastern ice fields on the crater rim.

  • Elevation: 2650m/8700ft-3450m/11300ft
  • Distance: 6km/4mi
  • Walking time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 3: Second Cave to Kikelewa Camp

Cross the moorland on a minor track towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. The campsite is located in a sheltered valley and the giant Senecios is nearby.

  • Elevation Gain: 3,450 m/11,300 ft – 3,600 m/11,800 ft
  • Distance: 9km/5mi
  • Walking time: 2-3 hours
  • Habitat: semi-desert
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 4: Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn

A short but steep climb up the grassy slopes is rewarded with a wonderful view. Leave the vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn, spectacularly located just below the towering spiers of Mawenzi. In the afternoon, you are free to relax or explore the area to help acclimatize.

  • Elevation: 3,600 m/11,800 ft – 4,330 m/14,200 ft
  • Distance: 6km/4mi
  • Walking time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: semi-desert
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 5: Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut

Cross the lunar desert of the ‘saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach the Kibo campsite at the base of the Kibo crater wall. The rest of the day is spent resting to prepare for the very early final climb.

  • Elevation: 4330m/14200ft-4750m/15600ft
  • Distance: 9km/5mi
  • Hiking time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: alpine desert
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 6: Kibo Hut to Summit to Horombo Hut

Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am), commence the climb to the summit on steep and heavy scree or snow up to Gilman’s Point located on the crater rim (elev 5700m/18,700ft). Continuing, we now ascend to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point in Africa. There are unbelievable views at every turn. Have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends and family. From here we descend, stopping for lunch and a rest at Kibo before continuing on to the Horombo encampment.

The beginning of this climb is done in the dark and requires headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is by far the most difficult part of the trek with many switchbacks. Going slowly “pole pole” and an optimistic attitude will get you there!

  • Elevation: 4700m/15,500ft to 5895m/19,340ft
    Down to 3700m/12,200f
  • Distance: 6km/4mi up / 15km/9mi down
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours up / 6-8 hours down
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7: Horombo Hut to trail head to Moshi hotel

After breakfast, a steady descent takes us down through moorland to the Mandara Hut. Continue descending through lush forest path to the National Park gate at Marangu. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).

Our vehicle will be waiting for you at the Marangu gate to take you back to your hotel in Moshi (approx. 60 minutes).

  • Elevation: 3700m/12,200ft to 1700m/5500ft
  • Distance: 20km/12.5mi
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Forest
  • Meals: Breakfast



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