Overview - Kilimanjaro Climb via RONGAI
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro through the Rongai route used to guarantee you and at some point, still is a quiet trek away from the crowds. The Rongai route is promoted as a remote wilderness experience and for much of the year it still is.
But watch out: over the last years Rongai has acquired a great popularity. If you climb Kilimanjaro using the Rongai route during the main season and your climb starts on the normal group departure day, you may find yourself in the middle of a big population.
For that said, still, Rongai remains much softer than the common Machame/ Marangu paths. It also has numerous advantages that should make it one of your first picks:
- Rongai is the easiest route up Kilimanjaro, in certain respects easier than Marangu. Rongai has excellent peak success rates.
- Rongai is the single route that approaches Kilimanjaro starting from the north. You will descend via the Marangu Route on the southern side, so you get to see both sides of the Kilimanjaro mountain.
- The northern side of Kilimanjaro is a lot drier. You are so unlikely to have gush through mud and drizzle on the first 2 days.
A disadvantage is that to get to the other side of Kilimanjaro you have to drive for a couple of hours, and that costs extra dollars. So, Rongai is more expensive than a 6 days trek on Machame or Marangu. On the first day, you will be trekking through fairly open country instead of the dense rainforest. But you’ll see the rainforest on your way down. Sure enough, you will not miss out anything.
Trip Itinerary - 7 Days RONGAI Route
Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), where you will meet our company representative (Manager), and transfer to the hotel under the rate. The hotel will provide all the essentials for a comfortable stay: restful rooms, hot water, and Internet access. In the evening, there will be a briefing with our managers, who will also make sure you are ready to begin the climb.
You will meet your mountain guides and crew in the morning before setting out for Kilimanjaro National Park’s northern entrance: Nalemuru Gate (2,020 m). Here, the chief guide will acquire the necessary permits and finalize search and rescue registrations.
This day’s trek through coniferous forest of Kilimanjaro’s northern slope to Simba Camp is moderate, taking you up to 2,625 m above sea level. Remember not to hurry and maintain a comfortable pace. By the time you reach the camp, our professional mountain crew will have pitched your tents and started dinner preparations.
It is advisable to adhere to the following rules from the very beginning of your climb:
- Stay away from alcohol and caffeine.
- Make sure you drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day, taking it frequently and in small doses.
- The use of Diamox tablets is a good idea as it staves off altitude sickness symptoms. These are taken in the morning before the day’s climb. Consult your family doctor to make sure that you can safely take it.
Do not be unduly alarmed if you experience discomfort during the night- high altitude has this effect on the human body. Nausea and headache are common occurrence on the mountains. However, make sure you alert your guide to any symptoms of altitude sickness.
Elevation Change: Nalemuru Gate (2,020 M) – Simba Camp (2,625 M)
Distance: 8 Km
Hiking Time: 3-4 hrs
Early in the morning after breakfast, the group will depart from Simba Camp to start trekking towards your second-high altitude camp: Second Cave Camp (3,480 m). This route is rather easy and will only take around 3 hours, so when you reach the camp you will still have ample time to rest and explore the surrounding area. After lunch, you will have a couple hours to rest, followed by an acclimatization hike in the direction of Kikelelwa Camp (3,630 m) on a stretch of the Rongai Route at a short distance with a 100-meter gain in altitude, after which you will hike back down to Second Cave Camp.
NB: The acclimatization hike is an easy trek with a slight gain in altitude done in order to speed up the acclimatization process. You should take the acclimatization hikes very seriously. They help increase your chances of successfully summiting Kilimanjaro and save you from the consequences of altitude sickness.
Trekking from Simba Camp to Second Cave Camp:
Elevation Change Simba camp (2,625 M) – Second Cave Camp (3,480 M)
Distance: 4 Km
Hiking Time: 2-3 hrs
Elevation Change: Second Cave Camp (3,480 M) – Kikelelwa Camp (3,580 M)
Distance: 2.5 Km
Hiking Time: 1-2 hrs
After break-fast you will begin trekking to Kikelelwa Camp (3,630 m), where you can see Kibo Volcano at its finest (barring cloudy weather). This will be a relief day, so after lunch you will have time to sleep before the next trekking towards Mawenzi Tarn Camp. In the evening after dinner the guide will check your health condition for each person of the group and give the necessary instructions for tomorrow’s trekking.
Elevation Change: Second Cave Camp (3,480 M) – Kikelelwa Camp (3,630 M)
Distance: 5 Km
Hiking Time: 3-4 hrs
Early wakeup, breakfast and the start of trekking to Mawenzi Tarn Camp, which is situated at the foot of Mawenzi Volcano, Kilimanjaro’s second summit. When you reach the camp, you will have lunch and a two-hour rest, after which there will be an acclimatization hike towards Mawenzi Volcano with a 200-meter gain in altitude, followed by a hike back down to Mawenzi Tarn Camp, where you will have dinner in the evening.
Trekking from Kikelelwa camp to Mawenzi Tarn Hut:
Elevation Change: Kikelelwa Camp (3,630 M) to Mawenzi Tarn Hut (4,310 M)
Distance: 6 Km
Hiking Time: 4-5 hrs
Elevation Change: Mawenzi Tarn camp (4,310) – Mawenzi Volcano (4,510 M)
Distance: 2 Km
Hiking Time: 1-2 hrs
This day will be spent trekking towards Kibo Summit Camp (4,700 m). The landscape will change significantly to give way to a rocky semi-desert. The actual trekking is not very difficult; just remember to stick with an appropriate pace to keep up your strength for the trekking to Kilimanjaro’s summit. When you reach the camp, we recommend you sleep well, avoid strenuous activity, and drink as much as you can, because that very night you will be ascending Uhuru Peak
Elevation Change: Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,310 M) – Kibo Camp (4,700 M)
Distance: 9 Km
Hiking Time: 5-6 hrs
The team will depart School Hut Camp with its elevation of 4,715 m at night. The trek up to Uhuru Peak’s 5,895 m puts more of a strain on your cardiovascular system than your muscles as the high altitude takes its toll on your body despite the moderate gradient of the climb. One guide will be assigned to every two climbers, constantly evaluating their fitness over the duration of this part of the climb. A walk on the nearest glacier can be undertaken upon reaching the summit. The descent to 3,720 m at Horombo Camp will include a 2-hours rest stop at Kibo Camp. It is highly advisable to keep in mind that 9 out of 10 climbing accident happen on the way down, so watch your step!
Elevation Change: Kibo Camp (4,700 M) – School Hut Camp (4,715 M) – Uhuru Peak (5,895 M) – Horombo Camp (3,720 M)
Distance: 21 Km
Hiking Time: 12-14 hrs
The final descent to Marangu Gate’s 1,860 m starts after breakfast. The stop at the gate presents a good opportunity for a last exchange of impressions and memories of the expedition with the whole of your support crew. The climbers will receive their certificates of achievement at our offices before being driven back to their hotel.
Elevation Change: Horombo Camp (3,720 M) – Marangu Gate (1,860 M)
Distance: 18 Km
Hiking Time: 5-6 hrs
Rest in the hotel and transfer to the airport.
Note: Hotel check-out is at 11:00 AM. In case you need a late check-out because of an evening flight, there is the option to extend your hotel stay for an extra fee.