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Kilimanjaro’s Rongai Route
Summary The Rongai Route is one of Kilimanjaro’s easiest routes, and it has very few people on it.
Prices
  • 6-day itinerary:
    • $1,305/person
    • $1,255/person for groups of 6 to 11
    • $1,235/person for groups of 12 or more
  • 7-day itinerary:
    • $1,495/person
    • $1,445/person for groups of 6 to 11
    • $1,425/person for groups of 12 or more
  • Plus transportation fee: $120/group (both itineraries)
  • Extra days on the mountain: $190/person/day
  • Low Season: $50/person discount from April 1 - June 15, and November
Duration 6 or 7 days trekking; There are two versions of this trek.
Length 70 km/43 mi total (6-days); 77 km/48 mi total (7-days)
Elevation Nale Muru (1,950 m/6,400 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft)
and descent to Marangu Gate (1,830 m/6,000 ft)
Description The Rongai Route is more scenic than the Marangu Route, easier than the Machame Route, and the success rate on the Rongai is very high. Unlike the Marangu Route where you sleep in huts, on the Rongai you sleep in tents (tents are included), and the porters will pitch your tent for you. Meals are served in a dinner tent or on a blanket outside. The Rongai starts on the north side of the mountain just south of the Kenyan border, and is one of the least traveled routes. The Rongai joins the Marangu for the summit climb, then you descend the Marangu Route on the mountain’s southeast side, so you see Kilimanjaro from many view points.

There are two versions of this trek – a direct 6-day itinerary, and a 7-day itinerary that takes a longer route. The more expedient 6-day itinerary is described below and the longer variation is described in the extra days section.
Map
Rongai Itinerary
Moshi
(915 m/3,000 ft)
Arrive at the Kilimanjaro or Dar es Salaam International Airport. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the Springlands Hotel in Moshi for your overnight.
Day 1
Moshi (915 m/3,000 ft) to Nale Muru
(1,950 m/6,400 ft)
to Simba Camp
(2,750 m/9,020 ft)
9 km, 4 hours
Montane Forest
Your day starts early with breakfast and a briefing. Transfer by Land Rover through many villages and coffee plantations for 4-5 hours to the attractive wooden village of Nale Muru (1,950 m/6,398 ft). After signing in and preparing the porters, you begin the hike on a wide path winding through fields of maize and potatoes, then enter pine forest. You then start to climb gently but consistently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. The forest begins to thin and Simba Camp (2,600 m/8,530 ft) is near the “First Cave” at the edge of the moorland zone with extensive views over the Kenyan plains.
Day 2
Simba Camp
(2,750 m/9,020 ft)
to Second Cave
(3,450 m/11,320 ft)
7 km, 3-4 hours
Moorland
Your morning walk is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave. En route, you will enjoy superb views of Kibo and the eastern ice fields on the crater rim.
Day 3
Second Cave
(3,450 m/11,320 ft)
to Third Cave
(3,870 m/12,700 ft)
10 km, 4 hours
Semi-Desert
Your continuing steady ascent takes you up to the Third Cave. Closer now, the eastern ice fields on the crater rim continue to draw you upwards. On this day, be careful to notice any signs of altitude sickness.
Day 4
Third Cave
(3,870 m/12,700 ft)
to Kibo Huts
(4,695 m/15,400 ft)
8 km, 5 hours
Alpine Desert
Today, you hike up to the Kibo Huts at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall, and this is where you join the popular Marangu Route. Plan on doing your hike early in the day, then resting in preparation for your final ascent. Prepare your equipment and warm clothing for your summit climb, then turn in early.
Day 5 – Summit Day!
Kibo Huts
(4,695 m/15,400 ft)
to Uhuru Peak
(5,895 m/19,340 ft)
to Horombo Huts
(3,690 m/12,100 ft)
4 km up, 14 km down
10-15 hours
Alpine Desert
Wake at midnight to a light breakfast, then prepare for your summit ascent. The goal is to climb before dawn so that you can reach Uhuru Peak shortly after sunrise. Leave at 1 AM, switchback up steep scree or possibly snow, and reach Gilman’s Point on the crater rim at 5,861 m/18,640 ft between 5 and 7 AM. Here, views of the fabled crater and its icecaps greet you. Another 2 hours of hiking along the crater rim near the celebrated snows takes you to Kilimanjaro’s true summit, Uhuru Peak, by 9 AM. This is Africa’s highest point, and you would have to travel more than 3,000 miles toward the Himalayas to find a higher peak! Be sure to have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends. After your summit stay, descend back to the Kibo Huts, have lunch, rest, collect your things, and re cross the saddle to the Horombo Huts. Eat dinner and get some well-deserved sleep!

You do the beginning of this climb in the dark with headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is, by far, the most difficult part of the trek. Slowly slowly, or, “pole pole,” and an optimistic attitude will get you there!
Day 6
Horombo Huts
(3,690 m/12,100 ft)
to Marangu Gate
(1,830 m/6,000 ft)
to Moshi
(890 m/2,920 ft)
18 km, 5-7 hours
Wake as usual, pack, and descend through the moorland to the Mandara Huts. Have lunch there then continue your triumphant recessional down through lush forest to the park gate, which you should reach around 2 or 3 PM. Remember to tip your guides, cooks, and porters, since you will be leaving them here. A vehicle will take you back to the Springlands Hotel in Moshi, where it is definitely time for celebration!
Moshi
Depart for the airport or other destinations in Tanzania or Kenya. A trip to the beaches at Zanzibar is a good way to recuperate. We can arrange many reasonably priced trips and safaris around Moshi and the Kilimanjaro region.
7-day Itinerary:

Day 2

Simba Camp
(2,750 m/9,020 ft)
To Kikelewa Camp
(3,600 m/11,810 ft)
17 km, 7 hours
Moorland


Day 3
Kikelewa Camp
(3,600 m/11,810 ft)
To Mawenzi Tarn
(4,330 m/14,205 ft)
7 km, 4 hours
Semi-desert


Day 4
Rest at Mawenzi Tarn

Day 5
Mawenzi Tarn
(4,330 m/14,200 ft)
to Kibo Huts
(4,695 m/15,400 ft)
8 km, 5 hours
Alpine Desert
You can add a day to this trek by taking a longer route that swings east to the Mawenzi Tarn, then crosses the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo to rejoin the route at the Kibo Huts. This itinerary greatly helps you acclimatization, and increases you chances of success.

If you choose this option, then on Day 2, you make a steady ascent to the Second Cave where you have lunch. You leave the direct trail at the Second Cave, and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path toward Mawenzi’s jagged peaks. After another 10 km, you reach the Kikelewa Camp in a sheltered valley with giant Senecios nearby. The Kikelewa Cave is also nearby.

On Day 3 you do a short, steep climb up grassy slopes rewarded by superb all-round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. Shortly after you leave the vegetation behind, you reach the Mawenzi Tarn, which is situated in a spectacular cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. After this short hike, you can spend the afternoon exploring this exciting area.

Day 4 is your extra day on the mountain, and you will spend two nights at Mawenzi Tarn. You can hike up toward Mawenzi for a splendid acclimatization hike.

On Day 5 you cross the lunar desert of the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach the Kibo Huts at the bottom of Kibo’s crater wall. You should spend the remainder of the day resting and preparing for your summit climb.

You summit on Day 6, and finish your descent on Day 7.

Note that if you skip the rest day, you can visit Mawenzi Tarn on a 6-day itinerary.

 
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