Treks up the unique Rongai Route known to be more scenic than the Marangu Route, easier than the Machame Route, and the success rate on the Rongai is very high. Unlike the Marangu Route where you sleep in huts, on the Rongai you sleep in tents (tents are included), and the porters will pitch your tent for you. Meals are served in a dinner tent or on a blanket outside. 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 viewpoints. There are two versions of this trek – a direct 6-day itinerary, and a 7-day itinerary that takes a longer route. The more expedient 6-day itinerary is described below and the longer variation is described in the extra day’s section.
Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the Hotel in Arusha/Moshi for your overnight.
Day 2 Nale Muru to Simba Camp, 4 hours
your day starts early with breakfast and a briefing. Transfer by Land Rover through many villages and coffee plantations for 4-5 hours to the attractive wooden village of Nale Muru (1,950 m/6,398 ft). After signing in and preparing the porters, you begin the hike on a wide path winding through fields of maize and potatoes, then enter pine forest. You then start to climb gently but consistently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the beautiful Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey. The forest begins to thin and Simba Camp (2,600 m/8,530 ft) is near the “First Cave” at the edge of the moorland zone with extensive views over the Kenyan plains.
Day 3 Simba Camp to Kikelewa Camp, 6 hours
the morning walk is a steady ascent up to the ‘Second Cave’ (3,450m) with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Our campsite is in a sheltered valley with dramatic views near Kikelewa Caves (3.600m)
Day 4 Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn, 5 hours
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb all around views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4,330 m.), spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatization.
Day 5 Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut, 4 hours
We cross the lunar desert of the broad saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo Hut (4,750 m.) at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent after a very short night!
Day 6 Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak to Horombo Huts, 14 hours
Wake at midnight to a light breakfast, then prepare for your summit ascent. The goal is to climb before dawn so that you can reach Uhuru Peak shortly after sunrise. We will start the final part of the climb and by far the steepest and most demanding by headlamp at 1 a.m. We plod very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point (5,685 m.) We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip to UhuruPeak (5,896 m.), passing close to the spectacular ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo (4,700 m.) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshment, we continue the descent to reach our final campsite at Horombo (3,720 m) for dinner and a well-deserved sleep.
Day 7 Horombo Huts to Marangu Gate, 5 hours
Wake as usual, pack, and descend through the moorland to the Mandara Huts. Have lunch there then continue your triumphant recessional down through lush forest to the park gate, which you should reach by 3pm. Remember to tip your guides, cooks, and porters, since you will be leaving them here. A vehicle will take you back to the Hotel in Arusha/Moshi, where it is definitely time for celebration!
– Full board accommodation on the climbs and BB in Arusha
– All park entry fees, hut fees, rescue fees, Guide and porter’s fees.
– Knowledgeable Mountain Guide and porters on climbs for professional trekking.
– Transport to and from the mountain gates.
– Cook and all kitchen utensils on the climb
– Service of an English speaking mountain guide (Tanzanian)
– Crew allowances and park entry fees – Government taxes
– Mountain Gears, (available for hire, $10@ item per trip)
– Visa, Travel Insurance and Intl. flights
– Extras i.e. drinks, laundry, telephone and internet
– Departure tax if any
– Tips to the Crew (highly recommended)