9 Day Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Trek
This less frequented route approaches from the north. You'll have great views across the Amboseli Plains in Kenya, letting you climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and game view at the same time! Passing through alpine meadows and giant vegetation, we camp near mountain caves before joining the steep route to the summit. The descent follows the southern Marangu Route, allowing you to trek right over Kilimanjaro!
The Rongai Route retains a sense of untouched wilderness which is lost on some of the more popular routes. This remote and less frequently used path is the second easiest route to Kilimanjaro's peak. While it is still a tough route, with steep paths at times, it is within the limits of a fit individual and affords some marvellous views over the Amboseli Plains (in neighbouring Kenya) with genuine possibilities for wildlife viewing.
Our trek begins in rainforest until approx 2500m where foliage turns to giant heathers and moorland grasses, supporting animals and birdlife. As we approach the Mawenzi Tarn, vegetation becomes more sparce and we begin to close in on the snow line and the jagged pinnacles of Mawenzi. Just above this we reach a desert of scree before arriving at School Camp near Kibu Hut. This is our last camp before the summit and close to where all summit routes combine. The descent is by the Marangu Route on the southern side.
Accommodation on the mountain is in portable tents pitched by the porters, in bush camps with few facilities. Access to the trek start is 2-3 hours by vehicle from Moshi. The return is approximately 30 minutes.
Please Note: This tour has an acclimatisation day added to day 3 of the trek, making it a 9 day tour. This extra day on the mountain is recommended if you are unaccustomed to trekking at high altitudes, as it allows your body to adjust which can increase your chance of reaching the summit.
Please Note: This tour can also start and finish in Moshi. Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is situated a 40 minute drive from the Moshi hotel and we can easily arrange for you to be collected at the airport on arrival.
Brief ItineraryDay 1: Transfer from Nairobi to Moshi Day 2: Trek to First Cave - 2800m Days 3 & 4: Trek to Kikelewa Cave - 3600m Day 5: Trek to Mawenzi Tarn Hut - 4330m Day 6: Trek to School Camp - 4750m Day 7: Trek to Uhuru Peak - 5895m / Descend to Horombo Hut - 3700m Day 8: Trek to Marangu Gate Day 9: Transfer from Moshi to Nairobi
Day 1: Transfer from Nairobi to Moshi
From Nairobi we travel by scheduled bus to Moshi. You will be collected between 07:15 - 07:30 (selected departure points only) and you should arrive in Moshi in the late afternoon. The shuttle crosses the Athi Plain and continues to the border point at Namanga. Once formalities are complete we continue to Arusha where you may be asked to change buses for the final drive 80km to Moshi. The remainder of the day is at leisure - to relax and prepare for the following days' trekking.
Day 2: Trek to First Cave - 2800m (4-5 hours) (B / L / D)
After breakfast and a briefing from your guide, we leave Moshi, passing Marangu Village at the southern side of the mountain and drive around the entire eastern side of Kilimanjaro to Tarakea and Rongai village, near the Kenyan border. After formalities at the park gate we begin our trek. Today is a steady paced walk, climbing through the rainforests of the lower slopes, ringing with birdcall. We ascend in the jungle and emerge into heather and grassy moorlands at around 2500m. Our first camp is at 'First Cave'. On arrival we have a well earned tea or coffee and there's time to unpack and rest before dinner in the early evening.
Days 3 & 4: Trek to Kikelewa Camp - 3600m (6-7 hours) (B / L / D)
After breakfast we continue our trek. From the 'First Cave', our trail continues through the Kikelewa moor, a great walk on sunny mornings. After lunch on the moor, we leave the main trail and strike out on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. As we trek, we gradually ascend to Kikelewa Cave, our stop for the night, where there are spectacular views of the plains of Kenya below to the north and of the Mawenzi Tarn above.
The following day we remain at this camp to allow time for your body to adjust to the high altitude. By letting your body adjust you are increasing your chances of making the summit. Today you can either rest or take a simple day walk on this part of the mountain with a guide.
Day 5: Trek to Mawenzi Tarn Hut - 4330m (4 hours) (B / L / D)
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb all round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We reach camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4330 m) situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon is free to rest or explore the surrounding area. Staying at this height for the rest of the day is a great aid to altitude acclimatisation.
Day 6: Trek to School Camp - 4750m (4-5 hours) (B / L /D)
Setting off this morning we soon leave the last of recognisable vegetation and reach a barren, rocky landscape just beneath the snowline. We spend our day crossing the lunar desert of scree between Mawenzi and Kibo, named 'The Saddle', reaching School Camp by mid to late afternoon. This is situated at the bottom of the Kibo Crater wall. The remainder of our day is spent resting and we plan to take early dinner and an early night's sleep this evening, in preparation for the final ascent.
Day 7: Trek to Uhuru Peak - 5895m (6-7 hours) followed by descend to Horombo Huts - 3690m (5-6 hours) (B / L /D)
We begin our push to Uhuru shortly after midnight, in order to get to the summit by sunrise. This final assault is aimed at Gillman's Point, on the crater rim at 5685m which usually takes 5-6 hours. The ascent involves a slow walk up increasingly steeper slopes in often sub-zero temperatures, and is the most challenging part of the trek. Once making Gillman's Point there is the option - time and energy permitting - of continuing on to Uhuru Peak at 5895m, Africa's highest point. Although not as strenuous as the stretch to Gillman's Point it can take over an hour to get there! For those who make it, the summit time can be enjoyed with a short rest and appreciation of the panoramic views from the Roof of Africa! We then begin our descent to Kibo Hut before proceeding along the Marangu route to Horombo Hut where we camp overnight. Today is a long day but it's immensely rewarding to have spent such time amid the dramatic terrain of Kilimanjaro's lofty peaks.
Day 8: Trek to Marangu Gate (4 hours) (B / L)
Today after breakfast it's a short scenic 3 hour hike back to the park gate, where we tip our guides and porters together and successful climbers receive their certificates. From the gate it's an hour hike along a mud road to the local village where after a rewarding hot lunch we drive back to Moshi for showers and a rest. Dinner is not included tonight to allow people to take a quick dinner at the hotel and spend more time to relax and reflect upon what has just been achieved.
Day 9: Transfer from Moshi to Nairobi (B)
After a relaxed morning we board a scheduled shuttle bus back via Arusha, to Nairobi. The expected time of arrival back in the Kenyan capital is 18:30 - 1930. The tour ends on arrival.