7 Days 6 nights
Rongai Route is among the least frequented of all the official routes in Kilimanjaro. With respect to that, the advantage is there will far fewer climbers on the trail for most part of the trek and the woods are as pristine as it could get. But the downside is the topography of the route doesn’t provide much acclimatization opportunities and trekkers can’t follow the “climb high, sleep low” principle.
An additional day at Mawenzi Tarn for acclimatization is hence recommended for highly of successful summit.
But during the rainy season, Rongai route is considered the best route as it is located in the rain shadow of Kilimanjaro and sees substantially less rainfall than its southern counterparts.
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.
Upon your arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, our transfer driver will be waiting for you. He will take you to the Hotel, where the rest of the day is at leisure. You might want to explore the town of Moshi (taxi required) or just relax at the lodge. In the evening you will be briefed by our team on site in preparation of the upcoming trekking tour.
After having an early breakfast, we drive from Moshi to Marangu Gate for permits before taking a short transfer to the Rongai Gate trailhead. The path winds through corn and potato fields and then climbs gently through the forest which is home to a variety of wildlife, including the black and white colobus monkey.
Habitat: Montane Forest
Time: 3 to 4 hours
On this day, you will be trekking through the heather and moorland zones with views of Mawenzi and the vast Kenyan steppes which are nothing short of pictures que. You’ll enjoy your lunch at Second Cave located at 3450 meters. After taking a brief break, you’ll traverse through undulating terrain and reach Kikelewa Camp. From the camp, you can enjoy incredible views after a strenuous day’s climb and experience its peaceful ambiance.
Time: 6 to 7 hours
The hike today is short and steep up a grassy slope. Views of the wilderness area are stunning. As we exit the heath zone and emerge into the Alpine Desert zone, the landscape changes dramatically. Our camp is situated beneath the jagged spires of Mawenzi, at Mawenzi Tarn. The remainder of the day can be spent relaxing or exploring the area.
Time: 4 hours
We will spend a full day at and around Mawenzi Tarn as part of the acclimatization process. There will be plenty to do, and our crew will help arrange short excursions to explore the area.
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. Once here we rest, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.
Habitat: Alpine desert
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. 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 (5685m), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. On the crater rim, you have Gilman’s Point from where you’ll trek to Stella Point (5756m) and finally ascend all the way to Uhuru Peak (5895m) the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
After spending a few moments taking photographs at the roof of Africa and your accomplishment, you will start descending to Kibo Hut. The hike down to Kibo Hut takes about 3 hours. At Kibo Hut will rest and enjoy a hot lunch in the sun. after lunch we descend to Horombo Hut. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Habitat: Alpine desert/ Arctic summit/ Moorland
Time: 7 hours to Uhuru /3 hours back to Kibo/ 3 hours to Horombo.
On our last day, we have a long trek mostly downhill through the tropical rainforest. 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.
Habitat: Montane Forest
Time: 6 to 8 hours
The day is left free to wind down after the trek before your flight home. Depending on flight times you could go and explore Moshi town and grab some souvenirs before heading to the airport.