Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route Trek
RONGAI ROUTE – Traditionally, the Rongai Route’s premier advantage has been that it is the quietest route on the mountain. But one of the reasons it’s so quiet is that the likelihood of summiting on this route on the conventional six and seven day schedules is the second worst of all the six official routes. This is because there are no topographical features that allow the ‘climb high / steep low’ principle to be exploited, even if one incorporates a rest day that features a modest acclimatization excursion. Typically, operators that use this route report a failure rate of around half the climbing group.
The Rongai Route ascends Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern 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 Kili by approaching it from the north.
Day 1: Welcome to Moshi, Tanzania
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be picked up at the airport and taken to your hotel in Moshi. The rest of the day is free. Relax, take a stroll, enjoy the sights and sounds. Get plenty of rest – tomorrow will be huge! bed and Breakfast at Kili view Lodge
Day 2: Rongai Route Mt. Kilimanjaro Road
Register at the Marangu park gate, after which you transfer (approximately 2 ½ hours) to the Rongai trail-head. 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 meters. There is a toilet and a wooden table with benches, but no hut. Water can be found just down the trail below First Cave.
Rongai Gate (1950m) – 1st Caves camp (2600m)
Hiking time: 5hrs
Distance: Approximately 8 kms
Habitat: Forest (Montane)
Day 3: Rongai Route Mt. Kilimanjaro Trail/Passage
The trail continues up towards Kibo, passing Second Cave (3450m) en-route, and reaching Kikelewa Cave at about 3600 meters. 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).
1st Cave (2600m) – Kikelewa Cave (3600m)
Hiking time: 6 – 7hrs
Day 4: Rongai Route Mt. Kilimanjaro Direction
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.
Kikelewa Cave (3600) – Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m)
Hiking time: 3 – 4hrs
Day 5: Rongai Route Mt. Kilimanjaro Path/Trek
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.
Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) – Kibo hut (4700m)
Hiking time: 4 – 5hrs
Habitat: Alpine desert
Day 6: Rongai Route Mt. Kilimanjaro Course
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. This is 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.
Day 7 : Rongai Route Mt. Kilimanjaro Way – Moshi
After breakfast you continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. View more Mt Kilimanjaro tips. 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 at Weru Weru River Lodge – Bed & Breakfast.
Horombo hut (at 3720m) to Marangu Gate (at 1980m)
Hiking time: 6hrs
Distance: Approximately 27 kms
Day 8: Moshi – transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport – Today is your last day at the mainland Tanzania, after breakfast you will be driven to the Airport to catch a flight back home.