A great alternative to the more common and more traveled southern slope routes is the Rongai/Loitoktok route. This very scenic route begins its assault of Kilimanjaro from the northern side of the mountain, near the Tanzanian border with Kenya. It takes 3-4 hours driving time from Arusha to reach the Rongai gate. Climbers ascending by this less traveled route will summit from the Kibo hut and descend as park rules specify via the Marangu (aka "Normal" or "CocaCola™") route. The Rongai/Loitoktok route is shorter in distance than most southern approach routes, but an extra day at Cave III is very important, helping climbers to acclimatize and increase their chances of reaching the summit.
While at the Kibo and Horombo Huts, climbers using the Rongai/ Loitoktok sleep in tents but can use other services such as toilets. Rongai and Loitoktok used to be separate routes and come together at very high alitudes in Moorland area. From illegal climbers the authority decided to close one section to make one manageble route...so officially is known as Rongai route. But in either way call it Loitoktok or Rongai route people will know exactly what you mean as as Kilimanjaro climb is concerned. Loitoktok is a small town/ village in Kenya and was the Kenyans used to tell foreigners that Kilimanjaro was in Kenya and could climb through Loitoktok. Further more Loitoktok was East African Outbound School Training Centre whereby Kilimanjaro climb and Survival training courses were undertake. This one origanates from the North where Tanzania is bourdering Kenya. It is gentle route but takes longer driving from Arusha (3 hours) to the starting point-Rongai gate 1850 m. Summit from Kibo hut 15,740 ft or from School hut 15,580 ft but become one route at about 16,500 ft then proceed to Gilman's point 18,740 ft and Uhuru point/ summit point 19,340 ft. Descend through Tourist route. From Kibo hut climbers and their supporting crew climbed from Rongai are not allowed to use tourists huts, except can use other facilities! Descend thru Marangu route the tourist route!
MOUNT KILIMANJARO CLIMB - RONGAI/ LOITOKTOK ROUTE - 6 DAYS/5 NIGHTS
ROUTE ITINERARY AND DESCRIPTION
Day 1: Depart Arusha after an early breakfast, driving through 4/5 tarmac while 1/5 is all weather road going through Moshi town. After 3-4 hours we reach Rongai gate 2000 m, and sign in. Depending on arrival time, lunch can be eaten either at the gate or along the trail. Half of the hike is through the mountain rain forest of indigenous trees and bushes. Wildlife isfound on this side but hard to see due to thick vegetation and shyness of the animals; include elephants, common jackals , caracal alias lynx, several cats, cape buffalos, elands, bush bucks, spotted hyenas, bush and harvey's duikers, lots of birds and some species of butterflies. Hiking hours is 4-5 hours. Ovn Simba river camp 2880 m. The camp is located in the heather vegetation zone and if the weather is good, Mawenzi peak 5150 m is in view.
Day 2: 06:30 am morning call is served to your tent with a hot drink of your choice (coffee, tea, hot chocolate and or just water) followed by warm washing water then a full breakfast. Break camp and depart to cave III at 3900m. We'll have lunch along the trail at cave II 3450 m. As we ascend there is a gradual vegetation change into the light heather and moorland zone where cave III is. Hike is 7-9 hours including lunch break. Depending with weather of the day Kibo peak gets on view from cave II 3450 m.
Day 3: Cave III 3900m. We use this camp at this height for an extra day and night for more acclimatization and increase chances to summit. We have two options of hiking today; one is to Mawenzi turn hut 4340 m and the other is to Kibo hut 4750 m. All options are good scenic wise and give opportunities to gain altitude…… CLIMB HIGHER AND SLEEP LOWER PHILOSOPHY IS GOOD!! Picnic lunch and return to camp in evening around 04:30 pm. Dinner and sleep
Day 4: Kibo hut 4750 m. Takes 4-5 hours hike to reach Kibo hut from cave III. The hike is through the beautiful and scenic alpine desert, and Kibo hut is located within this zone with few signs of large wildlife except plenty of white napped ravens, a few lammergeyers, some mountain chats, little and alpine swifts. During the hike you will be viewing both big peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro Mawenzi and Kibo to the East and West respectively. Hot lunch in camp, siesta and evening short acclimatization hike if everyone feels good and the weather is conducive. Eat early dinner and get back to tents to organize ourselves ready for the summit duel.
Day 5:HOROMBO HUT 3720 m. LONG SUMMIT DAY!!! We begin before midnight of Day 4, at 11:30pm, to prepare for our summit and return, then begin our descent. Dress proper and pack extra warm layers, trail foods, water, camera, hard candies etc for the summit. The rest of personal stuff is left in tents till after summit. We eat break fast and leave at 12:30 am. Takes 5-6 hours to reach Gillman's point 5685 m and another 2-3 hours to reach "UHURU" the summit point at 5895 m ( 19,340 ft) After summitting we descend 3 hours to our tents at Kibo hut for some sleep and rest. Pack everything before lunch. Refill our water bottles and ready for another descend 3 – 4 hours to Horombo hut 3720 m, our last camp and night in Mount Kilimanjaro. While descending Kibo peak is left behind while Mawenzi peak 5150 m stays right in front, and kept on the left as descend further to Horombo
Day 6: WALK OUT DAY!! 6-7 hours descend to Marangu gate 1800 m via Mandara hut 2700 m, sign out and eat lunch and fresh fruits and soft drinks. Takes 2-3 hours drive back to lodge for shower and cold beer, coca-cola etc. Dinner and certificates presentations ceremony.