The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border. Though gaining popularity amongst climbers, this route still experiences low crowds. Rongai has a more gradual slope than the mountain’s other routes. It is the preferred route for those looking for an alternative to the popular Marangu route, for those who would like a more remote hike, and for those who are climbing during the rainy season (the north side receives less precipitation). Rongai is a moderately difficult route, and is highly recommended, especially for those with less backpacking experience.
Although the scenery is not as varied as the western routes, Rongai makes up for this by passing through true wilderness areas for nearly the entire way. Descent is made via the Marangu route. TANZANIA ROYAL TOUR CO LTD CO L.T.D offers Rongai as a seven day group climb or a six or seven private climb. The six day variation does not have an acclimatization day on day four at Mawenzi Tarn.
Rongai Gate to Rongai Cave
Elevation: 6,398 ft to 9,300 ft
Distance: 8 km/5 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
We drive from Moshi to Marangu Gate for permits before taking a short transfer to the Rongai Gate trailhead. The path winds through corn and potato fields and then climbs gently through the forest which is home to a variety of wildlife, including the black and white colobus monkey.