Day 1: Rongai Gate (1,800m/5,900ft) to First Cave Camp (2,600m/8,400ft)
Estimated Distance: 11km
Elevation Change: +1189m
Hiking Time: 6 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
After breakfast in Arusha/Moshi hotel, depart to the Rongai Gate near the Kenya border. After registering at the gate, begin your climb to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. During the first day, hike through forests where you may see and hear wildlife. Eat lunch on the trail before continuing to the first camp. Rongai ascends via the less forested northern side of the mountain.
The Rongai Route is one of the least crowded routes on Kilimanjaro because of the long drive to the gate. The Rongai trail is thought to have the best chance of viewing wildlife.
Day 2: First Cave Camp (2,600m/8,400ft) to Kikelewa Camp (3,600m/11,810ft)
Elevation Change: +1135m
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
During this day, view Mawenzi Peak ahead while trekking through Kilimanjaro’s moorland. The Rongai route is relatively short and steep, making for shorter hiking times.
Day 3: Kikelewa Camp (3,600m/11,810ft) to Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,330m/14,200ft)
Elevation Change: +340m
Hiking Time: 4 hours
This day is an acclimatization day, allowing you to hike in the beginning of the day and rest in the afternoon and evening. The hike is relatively short but steep. The Mawenzi Tarn campsite is situated below Mawenzi Peak and offers stunning views of both Mawenzi and Kibo.
Day 4: Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,330m/14,200ft) to Kibo Camp (4,750m/15,580ft)
Elevation Change: +400m
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
On this day cross the lunar landscape of the saddle before arrive at the final camp. Kibo Camp is situated directly below the Kibo cone, giving you views of your final destination-Uhuru Peak.
Day 5: Kibo Camp (4,750m/15,580ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)
Distance: 7km ascent; 23km descent
Elevation Change: +1295m -2795m
Hiking time: 8h to Uhuru, 6h to Horombo
Habitat: Stone screen / ice-cap summit
Wake up around midnight; begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. For the next six hours, hike by the light of your flashlight. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek. The trail is very steep until you reach the crater rim at Gilman’s Point.
The hike from Gilman’s to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the hike long and tiring. The crater rim hike takes approximately two hours. Upon reaching Uhuru, take photos of your guide and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Horombo Hut.
Day 6: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft)
Elevation Change: -1270m
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Distance: Approximately 27 km
Habitat: Montane Forest
After breakfast, finish the trek with a descent to Marangu Gate. Your last hike on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through Kilimanjaro’s cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent, as the trail can be slippery. Africa Insight Safaris vehicles will be waiting at Marangu Gate to take you back to Arusha. You will be able to buy t-shirts and sodas at the gate.