Mt Kilimanjaro Trek - Rongai Route

Overview

The Rongai route is one of the easier routes up Kilimanjaro. Rongai is the only route to approach Kilimanjaro from the north and the descent is via the Marangu Route. Summit night from Kibo Hut is steep and follows the same path taken by the Marangu route which passes Gilman’s Point to Uhuru Peak.

As there is typically less moisture on this side of the mountain you are less likely to encounter rain and have more unclouded views of the peak. While it is flatter, it does not give the climb high sleep low option and therefore recommended to select more days for acclimatization.

Highlights

  • The Rongai Route approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, providing a unique perspective and a less-traveled path compared to some other routes.
  • The route offers a diverse range of landscapes, from farmlands and forests to alpine desert, showcasing the changing ecosystems as you ascend.
  • The Rongai Route tends to be less crowded than some of the more popular routes, contributing to a quieter and more tranquil trekking experience.
  • The northern side of Kilimanjaro is known for the potential to spot wildlife such as antelopes, colobus monkeys, and various bird species during the initial stages of the trek.
  • The Rongai Route generally has a slower and more gradual ascent, aiding in acclimatization and reducing the risk of altitude-related issues.
  • Like other Kilimanjaro routes, the final summit push typically begins in the early hours of the morning, allowing trekkers to reach the summit around sunrise, offering breathtaking views.
  • The Rongai Route has a unique Cave Camp situated at a higher altitude, providing an interesting camping experience and contributing to acclimatization.
  • Trekkers may have opportunities to interact with local communities and learn about their customs and traditions as the route passes through villages.
  • The northern approach and less-traveled nature of the route can provide a sense of remoteness and seclusion.
  • Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro via the Rongai Route offers a strong sense of accomplishment due to the challenges overcome.
  • The panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and the sunrise from the summit are truly awe-inspiring.
Included
Excluded

Day 1: Arrive in Moshi/ Airport Transfer

Arrive in Moshi and you’ll be picked up at the airport by our representative at Moshi Airport (QSI) and taken to your hotel. Moshi is a small and clean town that offers many activities and sceneries to take part in. 

Arrive a few days before your climb and visit the ever-beautiful and tranquil Lak Chala, or take a dip in the Kikuletwa Hot Springs. Take a village trip to Materuni waterfalls and Materuni Village for a local coffee-making tour or take a tour to Olpopongi Village located at West Kilimanjaro. 

INCLUDE: 
— Airport Transfer

Overnight at Moshi Hotel

Day 2: Moshi to Rongai Gate to Rongai Cave 

After breakfast, we depart from Moshi town and drive 45 minutes to Marangu park gate for registration. From there, we travel to Nale Moru, a further 68km/42miles and approximately 3 hours on difficult roads to the Rongai starting point (1,996m/6,549ft). We begin our hike from the Nale Moru village. The small winding path crosses maize fields before entering a pine forest, and then we climb gently through the forest which is home to a variety of wildlife including the black and white colobus monkeys. The trail is not steep but is rather a gentle hike through beautiful countryside. Simba camp sits near the first cave at the edge of the moorland zone with spectacular views of the plains of Kenya.

INCLUDED: 
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Elevation: 1,950m/6,398ft to 2,835m/9,300ft
Hiking time:
 
4-6 hours
Distance: 8 km/ 5 miles
Zone: Rainforest

Overnight at Rongai Cave

Day 3: Rongai Cave to Second Cave Camp to Kikelewa Cave

After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, we continue along the moorland terrain on a consistent ascending path. You will catch some terrific views of Kibo and get your first glimpse of the ice fields on the Eastern crater rim. The small shrubs of the moorland become thinner as we approach the Second Cave. Temperatures begin to drop.

INCLUDED: 
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Rongai Cave to Second Cave
Elevation:
2,835m/9,300ft to 3,444m/11,300ft
Hiking time:
 
3-5 hours
Distance: 6 km/ 4 miles
Zone: Heathland

Second Cave to Kikelewa Cave
Elevation:
3,444m/11,300ft to 3,599m/ 11,811 ft
Hiking time:
 
3-5 hours
Distance: 6 km/ 4 miles
Zone: Heathland

Overnight at Kikelewa Cave

Day 4: Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn

After breakfast and packing, we continue our stead ascent, entering the semi-desert terrain. This relatively short hiking day brings us closer to the Easter ice fields, continually drawing your attention to their wilderness beauty. As we exit the heath zone and emerge into the Alpine Desert zone, the landscape changes dramatically. The remainder of the day can be spent relaxing or exploring the area.

INCLUDED: 
— Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Elevation: 3,600m/11,811ft to 4,316m/14,160ft
Hiking time:
 
3-5 hours
Distance: 5 km/ 3 miles
Zone: Alpine Desert

Overnight at Mawenzi Tarn

Day 5: Acclimatization day at Mawenzi Tarn

This extra day is meant for acclimatization and can be spent hiking on Mawenzi Ridge. The unique landscape offers motivating views of Kibo and Mawenzi. After spending a few moments exploring the area we head back to Mawenzi Tarn for camp.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Mawenzi Tarn to Mawenzi Ridge
Elevation:
4,316m/14,160ft to 4,389m/14,400ft
Hiking time:
 
1-3 hours
Distance: 2 km/ 1 mile
Zone: Alpine Desert

Mawenzi Ridge to Mawenzi Tarn
Elevation:
 4,389m/14,400ft to 4,316m/14,160ft
Hiking time:
 
1-2 hours
Distance: 2 km/ 1 mile
Zone: Alpine Desert

Overnight at Mawenzi Tarn

Day 6: Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut

Today, we climb gradually, then cross the Lunar desert of the Saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. Our camp, Kibo Hut, sits at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. There is no running water at Kibo Hut. The remainder of the day is spent resting and relaxing. Enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Elevation: 4,316m/14,160ft to 4,703m/15,430ft
Hiking time:
 
5-7 hours
Distance: 8 km/ 5 miles
Zone: Alpine Desert

Overnight at Kibo Hut

Day 7: Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit, a steep climb over loose volcanic scree, some well-graded zigzags, and a slow but steady pace. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s point (5,669m/18,600ft), we will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

After spending a few moments to appreciate your accomplishment and take pictures in the plains of Africa, we descend to Horombo Hut. Later in the evening, enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak
Elevation:
4,703m/15,430ft to 5,895m/19,341ft
Hiking time:
6-8
 hours
Distance: 6 km/ 4 miles
Zone: Arctic

Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut
Elevation:
5,895m/19,341ft to 3,734m/12,250ft
Hiking time:
4-6
 hours
Distance: 16 km/ 10 miles
Zone: Heathland

Overnight at Horombo Hut

Day 8: Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate

On our last day, after breakfast, we start our descent. We have a long trek, mostly downhill through the tropical rainforest, passing the Mandara Hut down to the Marangu gate. Once at the park headquarters at Marangu gate, we collect our summit certificates. A vehicle will meet us here and drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Elevation: 3,720m/12,205ft to 1,843m/6,046ft
Hiking time:
5-7
 hours
Distance: 20 km/ 12 miles
Zone: Rainforest

Overnight at Moshi Hotel

Day 10: Depart Moshi/ Airport Transfer

Today is departure day and there are no scheduled activities. At the appropriate time, a representative will pick you up and take you to the airport for your return home or to your next destination.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast 
— Airport Transfer

ITINERARY DISCLAIMER

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However, it is subject to change and does not form a contract between parties. While it is our intention to adhere to the route described, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary, and on occasion, it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. Occasionally, our itineraries change due to weather or other circumstances that are beyond our control. This includes regulations surrounding COVID-19. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and are subject to vary.

  • Our local travel partner for the Mount Kilimanjaro Trek is a Moshi-based, family-owned company whose mission is to not only give you a meaningful and exciting adventure but to also positively contribute to the well-being of local communities by increasing job opportunities to boost the local economy. They also encourage environmental conservation and regeneration practices and participate in mountain clean-up efforts and tree-planting activities in collaboration with the local government and various NGOs. Furthermore, they proudly support the Nguzo Women’s Foundation, a grassroots non-profit in the Hai District of the Kilimanjaro region, whose initiatives include providing menstrual kits and health education to young girls in six government primary schools. In addition, they have taken proactive steps to create opportunities for female guides and porters on their team.
  • All of our guides have at least 10 years of experience on the mountain, and all have extensive training in first-aid, mountain rescue, flora, fauna, and geology, and all have been certified in Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness Emergency Medicine, and Heartsaver CPR. 
  • Our itinerary allows you to spend two nights at Horombo Huts, which helps you to acclimatize and reach the summit without altitude problems. 
  • Although no mountaineering experience is required, a good level of physical fitness is necessary to tackle Mt Kilimanjaro. You’ll need to be comfortable walking 6-8 hours uphill a day. The distances may not be long, but the altitude makes it harder than your average uphill hike. 
  • Sections of this trek take you above 9200 ft (2800 m), where it is common to experience altitude sickness.
  • You will need to limit the weight of your duffel bag and its contents to be carried by the porters on the climb to 15 kg (32 lbs) or less. Extra luggage, including clean clothes to wear after your climb can be left at the hotel in Moshi.
  • Temperatures at night can get very low when you’re above 3500 m, so clothing and a sleeping bag made for this kind of climate are essential. You can rent this at the beginning of your trip if you don’t have your own. 
  • You must be prepared to share the huts along this route with between 3 and 11 other people who may be of a different gender. Guests are supplied with mattresses and pillows, but you must supply your own sleeping bag (available to rent). The huts have communal dining halls and basic washrooms and we also provide a private, portable toilet for our guests. 
  • Daily meals during the hike include breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. Breakfast is generally between 7:30 and 8:00 am, and departure from the huts/camp is at 9 am after a medical checkup. Lunch is mid-day, a hot drink, and a snack are around 4 pm, and dinner is at 7 pm. Summit morning is different: full breakfast at 11:30 pm, start hiking at midnight or sometimes 1 am. 
  • The food on the mountain consists of such staples as pasta, potatoes, meats, and stews. Vegetarian and vegan diets can be accommodated. For more specific requirements, please contact us to discuss. All dietary requirements need to be specified prior to arrival. 
  • Most daily hikes take from 4-7 hours and the pace is slow with a rest at least once every hour and plenty of time to take photos and enjoy the view. When you arrive at the campsite, you will find your tents already set up and your bags ready to collect. 
  • Hiking for several days without a shower can be tough – be prepared for some dust and dirt. A mask, wet wipes, and a face cloth may become your best friends!
  • Hiking insurance is mandatory for this trip. This should cover high-altitude trekking of at least 19,340 ft and should be on a ‘non-reimbursement’ basis so the insurer will pay for the hospital bills immediately, as opposed to claiming when you get home. We strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance which provides coverage for trip interruption, flight cancellation, and loss of baggage. 
  • We are aware of the negative impacts of travel and we choose our travel partners based on their commitment to social development and environment preservation. Our guides are responsible for ensuring that the guests understand the nature of the environment that they are in and minimize the impact they may have. 

Level 5: Challenging

Our Challenging Trips are intended for physically fit individuals who are seeking a challenging experience. Previous trekking experience is not required for Mount Kilimanjaro, but you should be able to hike 6-8 hours a day at a moderate pace over hilly terrain with a light day pack. To ensure that you are physically and mentally fit and capable of attempting your Kilimanjaro challenge, we would highly advise you to start training at least 3-4 months before your tour date.

Once we receive your inquiry, we will reach out with a calendar invite in order to schedule a time to talk about your trip. A 25% deposit is required once the itinerary is approved. Payment is due in full 90-days prior to the start date of your trip. 

From $3170

For group size of 2-4 people

Inquire About This Trek

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