The Rongai Route is one of the least frequented of the official Kilimanjaro routes. The upside of this is that there will be few other climbers about and for most of the trek you are walking through virgin wilderness and awe inspiring scenery. The downside is that one of the reasons it is quiet is because the topography of this route doesn’t make it easy to acclimatise as you can’t easily follow the “walk high, sleep low” principle.
Starting from the Rongai Gate, the route traverses several diverse climate zones, and each produces its own amazing views and experiences. Because of its remote location the route offers trekkers a relatively unspoilt wilderness experience where it is possible to see large wildlife like antelope, elephant and buffalo. Heading up to Kikelewa Caves on day two, the views start to open up, with the Amboseli Plains of Kenya stretching into the distance. The route continues up to the mountain’s second summit at Mawenzi, before crossing the saddle, a barren plain that connects the two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo. After reaching the summit, the descent is along the more heavily travelled Marangu Route, offering you the chance to see Mount Kilimanjaro from both sides.
Lying in the rain shadow of Kilimanjaro, the Rongai Route is one of the best routes to make the attempt on Kilimanjaro during the rainy season, as it sees substantially less rain than the southern routes.
Best time to travel: all year round
Day 1: Arrival Day – Kilimanjaro Airport – Arusha
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro international airport meet your driver. Transfer to Planet Lodge in Arusha. Later our Kilimanjaro manager together with your guide for Kilimanjaro will meet you at your lodge for detailed briefing & gear checking before leaving you to enjoy lovely lodge’s environment before dinner & overnight.
Overnight at Planet Lodge or similar in Arusha. Dinner & breakfast included.
Day 2: Arusha (1,400 m) – Rongai Gate (1950 m) – 1st Caves Camp (2,600 m)
Trekking time: 5 hours
Distance: approx. 8 km
Vegetation type: Montane Forest
The starting point of your Kilimanjaro trekking Rongai Route is at Park Gate of Marangu, then you will have a transport to the Rongai trail ahead (1,950 m). Normally, the transport is of about 3 hours to the Rongai Gate. If time allows, a packed lunch can be taken at Nelemoru. This trial takes you along the cypress plantations and montane forest. You can possibly spot some colobus monkeys.
The path is ending at the 1st Cave camp (2,600 m) and it is gradual allows you to enjoy the surroundings. Porters & cook are moving faster so at the time you reach the camp you will find them waiting and already build up your tents. They might have even prepared some bites for you and something hot to drink. At the camp you will get hot water to wash then changing clothes you have been trekking with, stay warm. Enjoy the camp environment waiting for dinner time. At night Mountain temperature may drop to a freezing point, be prepared.
Overnight at 1st Caves Camp (2,600 m). All meals included.
Day 3: 1st Caves Camp (2,600 m) – Kikelelwa Cave (3,600 m)
Trekking time: 6 to 7 hours
Distance: 9 km
Vegetation type: Moorlands
From the 1st Caves Camp start your day with a light breakfast, then you will arrive at the moorland vegetation type enclosed in heather. This trail will lead you towards the second Cave Camp (3,450 m), the place where you will have lunch. After lunch and some rest you carry on up to the third Cave Campsite (3,600 m), (Kikelelwa Cave) the alternative name. 6 Days trekking is the best as it gives enough time for acclimatization.
By the time you reach the Kikelelwa Cave, porters will have already prepared a tent for you, hot water to wash & coffee/tea and snacks (same procedure as per previous day). The camp is surrounded by a bunch of small caves in a valley a bit below saddle. After dinner you will go to sleep get prepared of crazy cold at night.
Overnight at Kikelelwa Cave also known as the 3rd Cave (3,600 m). All meals included.
Day 4: Kikelelwa Cave (3,600 m) – Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,330 m)
Trekking time: 3 to 4 hours
Distance: approx. 6 km
Vegetation type: Moorland
Light breakfast before starting your 3rd day at Kikelelwa Cave. Start your hiking day on an easy and moderate slope, you will notice changes on landscape and the pass now is becoming steeper and soon you will reach Mawenzi Tarn Camp at the altitude of 4,330 m.
This is a very remarkable campsite as it is in a hollow beneath the sharp peak of Mawenzi which is close to a small lake. Arriving at the camp same procedures will follow as previous days, soon hot lunch will be served followed by some relaxing hours. You can use this afternoon for resting and exploring the areas around the campsite.
You can have some walks to a number of ridges and towers in this area which will possibly offer a stunning view of Kibo. For a great acclimatization and for amazing views of Mawenzi this is the right place. Enjoy the magnificent sunset from your campsite then dinner and overnight.
Overnight at Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,330 m)
Day 5: Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,330 m) – Kibo Hut (4,700 m)
Trekking time: 4 to 5 hours
Distance: approx. 9 km
Vegetation type: Alpine desert
After a light breakfast you will start your today’s program by hiking over a small ridge before having an easy walk on a nice path that is on the northern part of the saddle. With a good weather views around this area is wonderful. The vegetation type that will dominant the today’s walking is an alpine desert furnishing with some hardly grasses and occasionally everlasting flowers.
At this juncture Rongai Route will adjoin Marangu Route when reaching the saddle in-between Mawenzi and Kibo. The pass to the summit at this point is as the same as from Marangu Route. The final part of today’s hike that leads to Kibo hut is steeper. Reach Kibo hut at 4,700 m during lunch time. Hot water to wash & other procedures will follow, get enough rest and some acclimatization and be ready for the final part of your Kilimanjaro trekking.
On this day dinner will be served early but before or after dinner your guide will give you a detailed briefing of your final push to the summit. Go to bed early & try to get enough sleep as this is your big night at Kilimanjaro but before you should have prepared everything needed for your final ascent. Things needed for your final attempting to the summit are thermal clothing, ski-stick, and thermal flask for water, don’t forget to put in replace your headlamp and batteries.(guide will remind you during briefing).
Overnight at Kibo Hut (4,700 m). All meals included
Day 6: Summit Attempt. Kibo Hut (4,700 m) – Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) – Horombo Hut (3,720 m)
Trekking time: About 8 hours to Uhuru Peak and 6 hours to Horombo Hut
Vegetation type: Stone scree / ice-cap summit
Distance: approx. 6 km ascent and 21 km descent
The summit day on Rongai Route, the wake up time will be at around 23:00 to 23:30. Have some biscuit and tea before you start, you will firstly hiking through a very rough path with rocky passing Williams Point at an altitude of 5,000 m, Hans Meyer Cave at 5,150 m and Gillman’s Point at an altitude of 5,681 m situated on the crater rim.
To reach Hans Mayer Cave from Kibo Hut you will need almost two and a half hours. Gillman’s Point is not that far from Hans Meyers Cave, it is in a distance of about an hour. To reach the summit from Gillman’s Point is about 1.5 hour walking distance.
The remaining of the climbing is normally covered with snow and a walking is along the rim of the crater all the way to Uhuru Peak. On the way to Uhuru Peak you will pass Stella Point stands at an altitude of 5,752 m; this point is where the other routes reach the rim. Now you are almost at the summit but might be very challenging. Congratulation! You have made it to the roof of Africa via Rongai Route 6 days of tough hiking.
At Uhuru Peak you should not expect to spend much time, few minutes will be enough in such an altitude, so you may expect to take some picture before starting your way down. Now it is the time for descent back to Kibo Hut 4,700 m where your lunch is to be served. From Kibo Hut you need about 3 hours to reach Horombo Hut 3,720 m. Arriving at the camp in the afternoon, get hot water to followed by coffee/tea with snacks, change clothes & have a deep breath while relaxing and waiting for dinner.
Overnight at Horombo Camp in luxurious beds. All meals included
Day 7: Horombo Hut (3,720 m) – Marangu Gate (1,980 m) – Arusha
Trekking time: 6 hours
Distance: approx. 27 km
Vegetation type: low alpine zone and Montana forest
After heavy breakfast at Horombo Hut your last day at Kilimanjaro will start. Passing Mandara Hut at an altitude of 2,700 m on your way down to Marangu Gate, here you will have a short break for lunch then proceed down to Marangu Gate at (1,980 m)
At Marangu Gate you will sign some of your details into a register book and you will be provided with a summit certificate, a green color certificate is for those who reached Gillman’s Point and a gold certificate (Big Diploma) for Uhuru Peak. Celebrations, singing & dancing including farewell & tipping session for the crew can be at Horombo Hut in the morning or here when receiving certificate. At the time you reach the gate your driver will have already arrived and waiting to take you back to your Planet Lodge in Arusha possibly for hot shower before dinner & overnight.
Overnight at Planet Lodge or similar in Arusha. Dinner & breakfast included.
Day 8: Transfer to the Airport
After leisurely breakfast & depending on your flight time we transfer you to the airport to catch your flight back home.
End of Service!
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on Rongai Route and other route can be done alone or with Tanzania safari or Zanzibar beach holidays or both, please let us known your preferences. Karibu Sana.
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Mt. Kilimanjaro African continent’s highest peak and the highest single free-standing mountain with several routes from beginners to advance climbers