The Northern Approach
Rongai Route up Kilimanjaro

So there is just a week to go. Its now getting really exciting but at the same time a bit worrying! The training is all but done and there are just a few last minute things to organise. Then we are off!!!

I thought it would be a good idea to put up details of the route we are taking so you can follow the trek in a bit more closely. We are on the Rongai Route which is the only route to approach Kilimanjaro from the North.

Day 1 (Day 2 Ex London) Start Marangu

We depart London in the afternoon and will arrive in Kilimanjaro after a night flight via Nairobi, Kenya. There will be a trip briefing this afternoon/evening. The briefing will cover all aspects of your trip and will include the distribution of any hired equipment you have booked. We stay in a hotel this night and make final preparations for the start of our trek next morning.

Day 2 (Day 3 Ex London) Start our climb

After completing the necessary registration formalities, we transfer by road to Nale Moru (1,950m) to begin our climb on this unspoilt wilderness route. The first day is only a half-day walk on a small path that winds through farmland and pine plantations. It is a consistent but gentle climb through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. We reach our first overnight stop by late afternoon at the edge of the moorland zone (2,600m). Approx 3-4 hours walking.

Day 3 (Day 4 Ex London) Ascent to Kikelewa Caves

The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the ‘Second Cave’ (3,450m) with superb views of the Eastern icefields on the rim of Kibo, the youngest and highest of the three volcanoes that form the entire mountain. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi, the second of Kilimanjaro’s volcanoes. Our campsite, which we reach in late afternoon, is in a sheltered valley near Kikelewa Caves (3,600m). Approx 6-7 hours walking.

Day 4 (Day 5 Ex London) Mawenzi Tarn

A steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb panoramas of the Kenyan plains to the north. We leave vegetation behind close to Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m), spectacularly situated in a cirque beneath the towering cliffs of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or to explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatisation. Approx 3-4 hours walking.

Day 5 (Day 6 Ex London) Crossing the Saddle to Kibo

We leave our attractive campsite to cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite (4,700m) at the bottom of the Kibo Crater wall by early afternoon. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night! Approx 5-6 hours walking.

Day 6 (Day 7 Ex London) Summit Day – This is what its all been leading up to……………

Kilimanjaro Summit
Kilimamjaro Summit and Highest part of Africa

We will start the final, and by far the steepest and most demanding, part of the climb by torchlight at around midnight. We plod very slowly in darkness and cold on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the Crater rim at Gillman’s Point (5,685 m). We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip along the snow-covered rim to the true summit of Uhuru Peak (5,895m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo Hut (4,700m) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshments and rest, we continue descending to reach our final campsite at Horombo (3,720m). This is an extremely long and hard day, with between 11 and 15 hours walking at high altitude.

Day 7 (Day 8 Ex London) Descent to Marangu

A sustained descent with wide views across the moorland takes us into the lovely forest around Mandara (2,700m), the first stopping place on the Marangu route. The trail continues through semi-tropical vegetation to the National Park gate at Marangu (1,830m). We leave the local staff to return to our hotel in Marangu by mid-afternoon for a well-earned rest and a much needed shower and beer! Approx 5-6 hours walking.

Day 8 (Day 9 Ex London) End Marangu

The day can be spent resting in the hotel garden or exploring the village for souvenirs. There is a highly recommended but optional village walk that explores Marangu for half a day. This village is a fascinating mixture of small but fertile coffee and banana farms, friendly Chagga people, and some beautiful scenery with waterfalls and magnificent views. We depart in the afternoon and will arrive in the UK the following day absolutely shattered but hopefully exhilarated!

Please note that all the details on this page are taken from our travel notes as supplied by Exodus Travel.


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