The Rongai Route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, which is also close to the Kenya border. It is also the only route which has lesser crowds. Rongai route has a more slope than other Kilimanjaro routes. It is one of the preferred routes for those looking for an alternative to other popular routes before Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, for those who would like a more remote hike, and for those who are climbing during the rainy season as the northern circuit has lesser rainfall. Rongai is a moderately difficult route, and is highly recommended, especially for those with less backpacking experience. It’s passes through true wilderness areas for nearly the entire way. However, the decent is made via Marangu route. Scenically Rongai Route is more beautiful because it travels through an unspoiled rain forest and remote wilderness area. Rongai route is ideal for one who is confident in their ability to hike over steeper paths. You can avoid the crowd via Rongai route if you are a quiet trekker.
The Rongai route descends through the Marangu route and use the tents not the huts of Marangu route.
The Rongai route ascends Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern side of the mountain, along the border between Tanzania and Kenya. It’s retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north. The Rongai route use the scree summiting path from Kibo hut to Gilman’s point and descend via the Marangu route.
In 8 day Rongai route, hike through a true wilderness area towards the jagged Mawenzi Peak, then cross a barren desert saddle, before climbing up Kibo’s eastern crater wall.
Welcome to Tanzania! Upon your arrival into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), and after clearing customs and immigration, you will be met by your Tanzania Tribe Safari representative who will transfer you to your Hotel in Arusha. In the evening your guide who will brief you on your upcoming trek and do an equipment check to make sure you have all the necessary mountain gear. The missing gear can be rented on this day.
Elevation (ft): 1950m to 2600m
Hiking Time: 5 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will be picked up from Arusha and driven to the Marangu Gate. At the gate, the porters will organize and pack the belongings for the hike while you and your guide register with the Tanzania National Park (TANAPA). You will then be transferred by vehicle to the Rongai trailhead, which is 2.5 hours away from the Managu Gate. The trail begins in the tall cornfields then leads into the pine forest. This trail has a gradual ascent and allows hikers to enjoy their surroundings. About halfway up the trail you will have a lunch break and you will reach the 1st Caves Camp (2600m) in the late afternoon or early evening. The porters and chef, who move very fast up the mountain, will reach camp before you and set up your tents, boil drinking water, and prepare snacks for your arrival. After washing up, a hot dinner will be served. For overnight, mountain temperatures may drop to freezing so be prepared!
Elevation (ft): 2600m to 2600m
Hiking Time: 6-7 hours
Following a hot breakfast, hikers will continue their ascent to Kikelewa Cave (3600m). The trail passes Second Cave (3450m) and this is a good spot to take a lunch break. Similar to the first night, your tents will be set up prior to arriving at camp and the porters will prepare drinking and washing water for you. You will enjoy evening snacks then dinner prepared by our chef. Be prepared for a cold night as temperatures drop below freezing at this exposed camp.
Elevation (ft): 3600m to 4330m
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
On this day, hikers will enjoy a short, yet steep trail to Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4330m). In the moorland, you will spot exotic plants, including giant lobelia and groundsel. At camp, hikers will enjoy spectacular views and allow their bodies to acclimate. Hot dinner and washing water will be prepared for hikers as they enjoy the magnificent sunset.
Elevation (ft): 4330m to 4700m
Distance: 15 – 18km
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
After breakfast, hikers will continue ascending east for a half-day hike to Kibo Hut. Kibo is located in the “Saddle,” which refers to the area located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo in an alpine desert. There is no water at this camp, but hikers can buy mineral water and soft drinks at the camp office. An early dinner will be served so hikers can rest before attempting the summit the same night. Your guide will brief you in detail on how to prepare for summit night. Get to sleep by 19:00!
Elevation (ft): 4700m to 5895m to 3720m
Hiking Time: 8 hours
Habitat: Stone scree / ice-cap summit
Your guide will wake you around 23:30 for tea and biscuits. You will then begin your summit attempt. The trail is rocky up to Hans Meyer Cave (5150m). You continue your ascent to Gillman’s point (5681m). Reaching this section is an impressive achievement as the trail is steep, rocky, and at high altitude. Gillman’s is located on the crater rim. From this point, you will usually experience a snow covered trail until you reach the summit, Uhuru Peak (5895m). Reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is a lifetime accomplishment! You will be able to spend a short time on the summit taking photographs and drinking tea before the descent to Barafu begins. The hike down to Kibo Hut takes about 3 hours
At Kibo Hut, you will rest and enjoy a hot lunch in the sun. After eating, you will continue descending down to Horombo Hut (3720m). You will have a dinner, wash, and rest soundly at the hut after a strenuous day.
Elevation (ft): 3720m to 1980m
Hiking Time: 6 hours
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am), we continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. At Stella Point (18,600 ft), you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. At Uhuru Peak, you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Faster hikers will see the sunrise from the summit.
From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
After breakfast and rest, we will Transfer you to Kilimanjaro International Airport for those returning home.