Kikekelwa is a deviation of the main Rongai route which approaches Kilimanjaro from the northeast and offers a remote journey through unspoilt rainforest and wilderness, far from crowds of the more popular southern routes. There is also a more ‘direct’ route taking just 5 days but we have chosen to focus on the ‘Kikelelwa’ route as it is much more scenic, and gives you a better chance of making it to the top. It is the only route where it’s possible to see wildlife in the first few days of trekking. It is also the only route to afford you such a close view of Mawenzi Peak, Kilimanjaro’s second-highest peak, and a rewarding hike across the ‘Saddle’, the expanse between the Mawenzi and Kibo (Uhuru) Peaks. The ascent to Uhuru follows the Marangu route via Kibo Hut with the descent, also using the Marangu route, offering a different perspective. Whilst not having as much varied scenery as Machame or the western routes, Rongai is one of the easier climbs and is ideal for those looking for a remote hiking experience.
Day1: Nairobi Oloitoktok:
Pick up your from your hotel in Nairobi and transfer to Oloitoktok, a Kenyan border town with Tanzania for overnight. We will gather in the evening at 18:00hrs for a pre-climb briefing. Equipment check and also confirm you have the appropriate mandatory medical coverage and travel insurance.
Day2: Rongai Camp one: (3-4hrs walking)
After an early breakfast in Oloitoktok, you will drive to the Rongai (Nalemoru) gate via Tarekea border post of Tanzania. We begin our climb on this unspoiled wilderness route. The walk then starts to climb consistently, but gently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone (2600 m.). It provides extensive views over the Kenyan plains.
Day3: Kikelelwa Camp 3,750m (7-8hrs walking)
Today’s hike is a steady ascent up to the ‘Second Cave’ (3,450 m.) with superb views of Kibo. The eastern icefields on the crater rim are insight. We leave the main trail and cut across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. “Upper Kikelewa” campsite is on a small plateau above a sheltered valley with giant senecios past Kikelewa Caves (3,750 m.)
Day4: Mawenzi Turn Hut 4,300m (3-4hrs)
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb all-round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We pass the vegetation zone shortly before reaching our camp at “Mawenzi” (4,300 m.). It is spectacularly situated beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatization.
Day5: School Hut 4,750m (5-6hrs)
We cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach “School Hut” campsite (4,750 m.) The camp is at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The rest of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent, later at night!
Day6: School Hut to Summit down to Horrombo Hut (12-15hrs walking)
Start the final and by far the steepest and most demanding, part of the climb by torchlight around 1 a.m. We plod slowly through the trail over 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. The strong ones can make a three-hour round trip to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m.). Passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. Descent to School hut (4,700 m.) is surprisingly fast. After some refreshment, we continue the descent to reach our final campsite at Horombo (3,720 m.)
Day7: Horrombo Hut down to Marangu Gate 1,830m (5-6hrs)
A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Hut (2,700m.), the first stopping place at the Marangu route. We continue descending through a lovely lush forest on a good path to the National Park gate at Marangu (1,830 m.)
Day 8: Departure day:
After an early breakfast, we board the shuttle to Nairobi. We have the option to join other safari options.