Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route
Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route is a tantalizing feat that can test a persons limits of strength, but at the same time reward them with sights and sounds that are indescribable to those who have not been there and have not conquered the highest peak in Africa. 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.
Day 1: Welcome to Arusha
Welcome to Tanzania! Upon your arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) you will be met by your driver/guide and transferred to Karama lodge located just outside of Arusha. Enjoy the accommodations and tranquil natural setting of the lodge as you settle in for your first night in Tanzania.
Dinner and overnight at out Karama Lodge.
Day 2: Rongai Route Mt Kilimanjaro Road
Rongai Gate (1950m) – 1st Caves camp (2600m)
Hiking time: 5hrs – Distance: Approximately 8 km
Habitat: Forest (Montane)
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.
Day 3: Rongai Route Mt Kilimanjaro Trail/Passage
1st Cave (2600m) – Kikelewa Cave (3600m)
Hiking time: 6 – 7hrs – Habitat: Moorlands
The trail continues up towards Kibo, passing Second Cave (3450m) en-route, and reaching Kikelewa 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).
Day 4: Rongai Route Mt Kilimanjaro Direction
Kikelewa Cave (3600) – Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m)
Hiking time: 3 – 4hrs – 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.
Day 5: Rongai Route Mt Kilimanjaro Path/Trek
Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) – Kibo hut (4700m) Hiking time: 4 – 5hrs – 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.
Day 6: Rongai Route Mt Kilimanjaro Course
(Summit Attempt) Kibo hut (4700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo hut (3720m)
Hiking time: 8h to Uhuru, 6hrs to Horombo
Habitat: Stone scree / ice-cap summit
Distance: Approximately 6 kms ascent, 21 kms descent
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
Horombo hut (at 3720m) to Marangu Gate (at 1980m)
Hiking time: 6hrs – Distance: Approximately 27 kms
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!
Dinner and overnight at Karama Lodge
DAY 8: MOSHI – KILIMANAJRO AIRPORT
Depending with the time of your flight departure, our drive will come to the hotel to pick you up for trip to the Airport to catch a flight back home. Or else 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.
Kwa heri ya kuonana – (Good bye and see you again
- Local tourist taxes
- Mount Meru trekking fees
- Mount Meru Guides & Porters
- Balloon flight over the Serengeti
- Binoculars for game drive viewing
- Bottled Water at all times while on safari
- Park or reserve entry fees – where applicable
- Driver’s salary and allowances and park fees for vehicle and driver
- Game drives or sightseeing as detailed on the itinerary – where indicated
- All meals at hotels as mentioned in the itinerary – ( Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner )
- Ground transportation with an English-speaking driver/guide or naturalist guide
- Pick up from airport of arrival and drop off to the airport of departure while on safari
- Transport based on excellent 4X4 Vehicle (Land cruiser) with open roof for game viewing
- Full board Accommodation and If accommodation is fully booked we’ll suggest a comparable alternative
- International flights
- Single Supplement – USD $70 Per Room
- Tips and gratuities, which are optional
- Airport customs entry visas (currently US$ 50 per person)
- Balloon Flight Trip over the Serengeti
- Optional Night Game Drives and Optional Tours
You can also find additional information on booking and cancelation terms here.
You can access our Frequently Asked Questions by other travelers here.