Day 1 Rongai route 6 days – Rongai Gate (1950m) – 1st Caves Camp (2600m)
Hiking time: 5 hours
Distance: Approximately 8 kilometers
Habitat: Montane Forest
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will be picked up from Arusha (1400m) and driven to the Marangu Gate (1980m). At the gate, the porters will organize and pack the belongings for the hike while you and your guide register with the Tanzania National Park (TANAPA). You will then be transferred by vehicle to the Rongai trailhead, which is 2.5 hours away from the Managu Gate. The trail begins in the tall cornfields then leads into the pine forest. This trail has a gradual ascent and allows hikers to enjoy their surroundings. About halfway up the trail you will have a lunch break and you will reach the 1st Caves Camp (2600m) in the late afternoon or early evening. The porters and chef, who move very fast up the mountain, will reach camp before you and set up your tents, boil drinking water, and prepare snacks for your arrival. After washing up, a hot dinner will be served. For overnight, mountain temperatures may drop to freezing so be prepared!
Day 2 Rongai route 6 days – 1st Caves Camp (2600m) – Kikelewa Cave (3600m)
Hiking time: 6-7 hours
Following a hot breakfast, hikers will continue their ascent to Kikelewa Cave (3600m). The trail passes Second Cave (3450m) and this is a good spot to take a lunch break. Similar to the first night, your tents will be set up prior to arriving at camp and the porters will prepare drinking and washing water for you. You will enjoy evening snacks then dinner prepared by our chef. Be prepared for a cold night as temperatures drop below freezing at this exposed camp.
Day 3 Rongai route 6 days – Kikelewa Cave (3600) – Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4330m)
Hiking time: 3-4 hours
On this day, hikers will enjoy a short, yet steep trail to Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4330m). In the moorland, you will spot exotic plants, including giant lobelia and groundsel. At camp, hikers will enjoy spectacular views and allow their bodies to acclimate. Hot dinner and washing water will be prepared for hikers as they enjoy the magnificent sunset.
Day 4 Rongai route 6 days – Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4330m) – Kibo Hut (4700m)
Hiking time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
After breakfast, hikers will continue ascending east for a half-day hike to Kibo Hut. Kibo is located in the “Saddle,” which refers to the area located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo in an alpine desert. There is no water at this camp, but hikers can buy mineral water and soft drinks at the camp office. An early dinner will be served so hikers can rest before attempting the summit the same night. Your guide will brief you in detail on how to prepare for summit night. Get to sleep by 19:00!
Day 5 Rongai route 6 days – Summit Attempt Kibo Hut (4700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo Hut (3720m)
Hiking time: 8 hours to Uhuru and 6 hours to Horombo
Habitat: Stone scree / ice-cap summit
Distance: Approximately 6 kilometers ascent and 21 kilometers descent
Your guide will wake you around 23:30 for tea and biscuits. You will then begin your summit attempt. The trail is rocky up to Hans Meyer Cave (5150m). You continue your ascent to Gillman’s point (5681m). Reaching this section is an impressive achievement as the trail is steep, rocky, and at high altitude. Gillman’s is located on the crater rim. From this point, you will usually experience a snow covered trail until you reach the summit, Uhuru Peak (5895m). Reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is a lifetime accomplishment! You will be able to spend a short time on the summit taking photographs and drinking tea before the descent to Barafu begins. The hike down to Kibo Hut takes about 3 hours.
At Kibo Hut, you will rest and enjoy a hot lunch in the sun. After eating, you will continue descending down to Horombo Hut (3720m). You will have a dinner, wash, and rest soundly at the hut after a strenuous day.
Day 6 Rongai route 6 days – Horombo Hut (3720m) – Marangu Gate (1980m)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 27 kilometers
Following a well-deserved breakfast, your staff will have a big celebration full of dancing and singing. It is here on the mountain that you will present your tips to the guide, assistant guides, chef(s), and porters. After celebrating, you will descend for 6 hours back to Marangu Gate (1980m). The National Park requires all hikers to sign their names to receive certificates of completion. Hikers who reached Gillman’s Point (5681m) receive green certificates and hikers who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. After receiving certificates, you will drive back to Arusha for long overdue showers and more celebrations.