The northern Rongai route offers a relatively “easy” climb, a high success rate, a gradual and steady ascent, plus wildlife watching in the wilderness. The main draw of this Kilimanjaro route is the chance to get away from the crowds, so you can enjoy the incredible scenery. The six-day route via Mawenzi Tarn staying in well-staggered camps also means you’ll have more time to acclimatize and less risk of altitude sickness.
Although considered to be less scenic than the Lemosho and Machame routes, there are still oases of wilderness, especially on the later days of the hike and the camp beneath Mawenzi Peak is noted as one of the most scenic on the mountain. An additional benefit of the Rongai route is than the northern side of Kilimanjaro tends to be drier, so weather conditions are more favourable for climbing and camping. This is a big plus to consider if you’re trekking during Tanzania’s wetter seasons.
Mt Kilimanjaro Climbing Rongai Route
The Rongai route ascents Kilimanjaro from the northeastern side of the mountain, along the border between Tanzania and Kenya. This route retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north.
Day 1: Arrival – Moshi On arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, met and assisted. Transfer to Keys Annex Hotel in Moshi for an overnight rest on bed and breakfast in readiness for the next day’s hit to Kilimanjaro.
Day 2: 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.
Day 3: 1st Cave (2600m) – Kikelewa Cave (3600m) 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.
Day 4: 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.
Day 5: 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.
Day 6: 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 summit You 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 drinks and beer for sale at the camp office) on the mountain and well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions, B,L,D.
Day 7: Horombo hut (3720m) – Marangu Gate (1980m) Hiking time: 6 hours | Distance: About 27 km’s After 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, dinner and celebrations!! Overnight in Keys Annex Hotel, B,L.
Day 8: Departure Transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport for your flight back home or continue with your safari schedule. End of services. B
Tour Price: US$ 1,550 per person sharing.
Tour price includes:
-Transfer to and from the base of the mountain
-Rongai route trek as itinerary depicts
-Full board accommodation whilst on the trek.
-Meal plan as detailed: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
-Accommodations at Keys Annex Hotel for 2 nights and huts on the mountain as per the itinerary
-All park entrance fees to include government taxes
-Service of an English speaking professional Mountain guide on the mountain, porters and skilled cook
-All services begin and end at Kilimanjaro Airport as per the itinerary
-Treated water on the trek
-Return airport transfers from/to Kilimanjaro Airport
-Mountain rescue fees
-Tips, laundry, sleeping bags, drinks and climbing gears -Medical evacuation, USD 30 per person value
-International flights and taxes
-Items of a personal nature and any other extras not detailed in the above itinerary.