Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro via Rongai route begins on the northern side of the mountain and is the least travelled route. It is a long drive to the starting point but you are rewarded by fantastic views and the likelihood that you will be the only climbers around. If you take this route up the mountain you are obliged to descend via the Marangu Route that is the most popular and well-used route.
Rongai route is one of remote and less frequently used route is the second easiest route to Kilimanjaro. The approach to the mountain is from the less-forested north side and the descent is by the Marangu Route. There are several variations: The one described below is a longer route taking in Mawenzi Tarn. The second day on this variant is quite long and could be broken up into two days walk allowing more time for acclimatization. The ascent to Uhuru Peak is almost the same as for the Marangu Route from the Kibo Hut.
Accommodation on the mountain is in tents (even on descent) which the porters will pitch for you. You will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes and walking poles. This is a steep, tough trek within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. If you are not accustomed to camping and mountain walking you could consider the Marangu Route as the most suitable. This follows easy angled paths through magnificent rain forests to the Mandara Hut. Shortly beyond it passes Maundi Crater, a fine view point located at the edge of the forest belt. Above you enter the moorlands with their fine giant heathers stands, groundsels, lobelia and other exotic tropical high altitude plants. The next hut is the Horombo Hut, soon after this hut you reach the Saddle, a high altitude desert separating the rugged Mawenzi summit from Kibo. The final ascent starts from the Kibo Hut and involves steep paths on loose scree. There is fresh running water at all the huts apart from Kibo where it will be carried by your porters. You will be accommodated generally in 4 person clean huts with mattresses.
The other routes are all more demanding as regards steepness and in places involve some scrambling. Accommodation is in tents and there is no running water at the campsites though warm water for washing is provided. The scenery more than compensates for these difficulties. Whichever route you choose it is essential to allow enough time for acclimatisation to the altitude. Although Mt. Kilimanjaro can be climbed throughout the year it is worth avoiding the two rainy seasons (late March to mid-June and October to the beginning of December) when the route becomes slippery. Probably the best time to visit is January to February and September to October when there is usually no cloud.
Mount Kilimanjaro (19340’) (5895m) lies just 3 degrees south of the equator and is one of the highest volcanoes in the world. It rises some (15000’) (4572m) above the surrounding plains and savannahs. The Kilimanjaro National Park covers some 1864 sq. Km (720 sq. miles) The base of this immense mountain has diameter of 80 Km (48 Miles) and the outstanding features are its three major volcanic centers: Shira (4160m) in the west. Mawenzi (5280 m) to the east and the permanently snow-capped Kibo in the middle.
In climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai route, the terrain passes from a tropical to an artic clime in just a few days. The encircling rain forest ensures the fertility of the lower lying shambas and is rich in birdlife. Above the rain forest lies the Alpine Meadow, beautiful moorland, offering many splendid views. Exotic plants such as the giant Lobelia and the fork-like Groundsel are to be seen. The latter blooming once every 50 – 70 years. Leaving the Alpine Meadow we reach the Alpine Desert and eventually the ‘’snows of Kilimanjaro’’.
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6 Days Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route – Day one
On arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, met and assisted. Transfer to the hotel for an overnight rest on bed and breakfast in readiness for the next day’s hit to Kilimanjaro.
6 Days Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route – Day two
- Rongai Gate (1950m) – 1st Caves camp (2600m)
- Hiking time: 5 hours | Distance: About 8 km’s | Habitat: Montane forest
Register at the Marangu park gate with a transfer (approximately 2 ½ hours) to the Rongai trailhead. Meet your guide and porters before you begin your hike from the Nale Moru village. The small winding path crosses maize fields before entering pine forest, and then climbs gently through a forest. The trail is not at all steep, but is rather a gentle hike through beautiful country. The first night’s camp is at First Cave, at about 2,600 metres.
There is a toilet and a wooden table with benches, but no hut. Water can be found just down the trail below First Cave, B,L,D.
6 Days Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route – Day three
- 1st Cave (2600m) – Kikelewa Cave (3600m) thirteen
- Hiking time: 6-7 hours | Habitat: Moorlands
The trail continues up towards Kibo, passing Second Cave (3450m) en-route, and reaching Kikelwa Cave at about 3600 metres. The views start to open up and you begin to feel you’re on a really big mountain! Water is in the obvious stream below the cave, although you might have to wander downhill a way to find some. Overnight at 3rd Cave camp (Kikelewa Caves), B,L,D.
6 Days Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route – Day four
- Kikelewa Cave (3600) – Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m)
- Hiking time: 3-4 hours | Habitat: Moorlands
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes offers superb views of this wilderness area. The vegetation zone ends shortly before you reach your next camp at Mawenzi Tarn spectacularly situated beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. Spend the afternoon acclimatizing and exploring the area, B,L,D.
6 Days Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route – Day five
- Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) – Kibo hut (4700m)
- Hiking time: 4 – 5 hours | Habitat: Alpine desert
Continue ascending on the east side of Kibo crossing the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo taking 4 to 5 hours to reach Kibo Hut. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent, which begins around midnight. Overnight at Kibo Camp, B,L,D
6 Days Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route – Day six
- SUMMIT ATTEMPT, Kibo hut (4700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo hut (3720m)
- Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru, 6 hours to descend to Horombo |Distance: 6 km’s ascent – 21 km’s descent | Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summitYou will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. This is where the going really gets tough. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5 681m), which is located on the crater rim. This section is very steep with a lot of stone scree, requiring a great physical and mental effort. Probably the most demanding section of the entire route. Do the Kili shuffle and move slowly.
From Gillman’s Point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895m), the highest point in Africa. Total exhilaration and satisfaction – you made it. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you can spend, taking photographs, before the 3-hour descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest you gather all your gear for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours) where you will overnight. The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly fast compared to the ascent. The total time spent walking on this day is around 14 hours, so be prepared for a very tough day. Later in the evening you enjoy your last dinner (with soft drink and beer for sale at the camp office) on the mountain and well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions, B,L,D.
6 Days Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route – Day seven
- Horombo hut (3720m) – Marangu Gate (1980m)
- Hiking time: 6 hours | Distance: About 27 km’sAfter breakfast you continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. At Marangu gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. You now drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower, and celebrations!! Overnight in the Hotel.
The price includes:
- Professional, experienced, mountain guides:
- All Park fees
- Rescue fees
- All meals while on the Mountain
- Arrival and Departure transfers
- Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
- Quality Mess tents with table and chairs
- Large portions of fresh, healthy, nutritious food
- Clean, purified drinking water
- Crisis management and safety procedures
- Fair and ethical treatment of porters
- Flying Doctors insurance (AMREF) during the trek
This price does not include:
- International Flights
- Alcoholic and soft drinks not included
- Visa fees
- Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
- Travel insurance