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Mt. Kilimanjaro: Rongai-Mawenzi Route

Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro from the less-used northeast side on the Rongai Route then descend to the Marangu Gate.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 21.7 miles
Duration: Multiple days

Overview :  Along the northern border of Tanzania lies Mount Kilimanjaro, the roof of Africa. At 19,340 feet, its summit is over 2000 ft higher... more »

Tips:  This route is limited to the guide service run by Kibo Slopes Safari Tours. The lack of crowds of trekkers and climbers makes this... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Start of Climb

There are a handful of routes to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro but many guide services attempt to get their teams to the top in 4 days. This route is one that will allow you to acclimatize well and also see different aspects of this great peak. You will start on the north side of the mountain from a town called Loitoktok in Kenya. From... More

2. Camp 1 - 2640m

From this camp, the views of the plains of southern Kenya may begin to emerge. Often the cloud layer is at this level so you'll not see much until you begin the climb on day 2. The camp is located in an area of tall scrub with a view of the summit if the weather is clear.

3. Camp 2 - 3640m

After Camp 1, the next camp is in the direction of the Mawenzi Peak. Camp 2 was located by the Kikelewa caves at 12,070 feet. Taking this detour is designed to allow you 2 extra days to acclimatize. Climbing more than 3300 ft (1000m) a day increases your risk of acute mountain sickness so planning a route with acclimatization days built in... More

4. Camp 3 - Mawenzi Tarn -4320m

Day 3 marks a big ascent to an elevation that can make or break the climb. Climbing to over 4000m is a good test elevation for how you will do with the altitude. Climb directly toward Mawenzi Peak to the tarn located below is towering cliffs at 14,180 feet. At this elevation, if someone is going to develop acute mountain sickness, this is often... More

5. High Camp (Camp 4) - School Hut - 4720m

Before proceeding to the School Hut, stay an extra day at Mawenzi Tarn (build this into your climbing plan). This provides a key extra day for acclimatization. It may cost an extra $100 for the day but worth the investment if it takes your chances of making the summit from 50% to 90%.

The climb on day 5 takes you straight toward the summit... More

6. Gilman's Point - 5650m

You'll be up at 11PM or 12AM to prepare for the night climb. Your goal will be to arrive at the crater rim at sunrise (around 6AM).

Step out of the School Hut into the cold mountain air in pitch-blackness. You will start out the steep, switch-backing trail that is the route up to the rim. Set a slow pace to keep your strength in reserve for... More

7. Summit - 5875m

As you rounded the rim to the southern face, you will see the massive Rebmann glacier that rests on the SE side of the summit dome.

Make your way west around the crater rim and up the gradual slope in very thin air to Uhuru Peak at 19,340 feet (5875m) – the summit of Kilimanjaro and of the entire continent of Africa. If you are fortunate, the... More

8. Kibo Hut - 4700m

After your time on the summit, head down back the route you ascended to Gilman's Point. Look down the steep face of scree and irregular rock that you had slowly climbed up all night. The 3,500 foot face may seem imposing at first, but after scrambling down the initial rocky portion, you will enter the long, soft scree slope that is more like... More

9. Horombo Huts - Camp 5 - 3730m

Time to get back on your feet again and start off down the 5-mile hike to Horombo Huts at 12,280 feet. This can be a particularly grueling section as you have likely been on your feet for over 14 hours at this point. The descent is fast, however, and will take about 3-4 hours. When you arrive at Horombo Huts, you've finished your days work.

10. Marangu Gate -1440m

The final day is a 10 mile hike to the Marangu Gate.
It is a 6000 foot descent the gate so you're work is still cut out for you. You'll travel through high scrub desert, woodland scrub, then into a tropical rain forest. The air is noticeably thicker and it will seem easy to complete this stretch in 3-4 hours. At the gate, signed out and get... More