The Rongai route is the only route that approaches from the north, closer to the Kenyan border. This is, relatively, a gentler climb with a steady ascent and takes minimum six days to complete, although seven is recommended. Starting in Nale Moru village, you leave behind the local maize fields and enter the Rongai pine forest to the first camp at First Cave, at 2,600m. Woodland then opens up into wild moorland which, in turn, opens up views to the famous eastern icefields on the rim of Kibo cone. With each daily ascent, on this route, you not only gain views of Kili but also over the Kenyan plains. Green turns quickly to dusty brown as you approach the spectacular Mawenzi Tarn at 4,330m, with the jagged peaks of Mawenzi cone a majestic presence at this point.
The target on your sixth day is the “Saddle”, a lunar like desert that straddles the land between the Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. Lots of space here to get your head around the final ascent, resting at Kibo campsite to prepare for a midnight commencement to the summit. This starts with a steep, zig zag and torch lit climb to the crater rim at Gillman’s Point for sunrise – which unforgettably illuminates the snow that lines the final path all the way to Uhuru peak. The descent on this route is using the Marangu Route on the south east of the mountain and can take up to two days.