Kilimanjaro Climb – Rongai Route
Marangu to Marangu
With its gentle gradient and sense of unspoilt wilderness, the Rongai Route approaches Kilimanjaro from the north and is less crowded than the most popular trails. We trek through farmlands, forest and alpine moorlands as we approach the beautiful summit cone. This route allows an extra day for acclimatization under the imposing spires of Mawenzi, before the arduous final ascent. The final climb begins in darkness but our reward is an incomparable dawn vista over the sweeping East African plains.
Trek Africa's highest mountain | Follow the lesser-used Rongai Route | Watch sunrise over the summit crater rim
- Two nights comfortable hotel
- Five nights full service camping
- All breakfasts, six lunches, five dinners
- Tour leader
- Kilimanjaro park fee
Level of support:
Day 1: Start Marangu.
There will be a trip briefing this afternoon/evening. Please bring your passport, insurance details and air ticket details. The briefing will cover all aspects of your trip and will include the distribution of any hired equipment you have booked.
Day 2: Begin ascent through Rongai Forest (2600m).
After completing the necessary registration formalities, we transfer by road to Nale Moru (1,950m) to begin our climb on this unspoilt wilderness route. The first day is only a half-day walk on a small path that winds through farmland and pine plantations. It is a consistent but gentle climb through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. We reach our first overnight stop by late afternoon at the edge of the moorland zone (2,600m). Approx 3-4 hours walking.
Day 3: Climb to Kikelewa moorland (3600m).
The morning walk is a steady ascent up to 'Second Cave' (3,450m) with superb views of the Eastern icefields on the rim of Kibo, the youngest and highest of the three volcanoes that form the entire mountain. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi, the second of Kilimanjaro's volcanoes. Our campsite, which we reach in late afternoon, is in a sheltered valley near Kikelewa Caves (3,600m). Approx 6-7 hours walking.
Day 4: Steady ascent beneath Mawenzi (4330m); afternoon acclimatisation.
A steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb panoramas of the Kenyan plains to the north. We leave vegetation behind close to Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m), spectacularly situated in a cirque beneath the towering cliffs of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or to explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatisation. Approx 3-4 hours walking.
Day 5: Cross lunar desert of the 'Saddle' to Kibo, at the bottom of summit cone (4750m).
We leave our attractive campsite to cross the lunar desert of the 'Saddle' between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite (4,700m) at the bottom of the Kibo Crater wall by early afternoon. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night! Approx 5-6 hours walking.
Day 6: Early start to reach Gillman's Point in time for sunrise over the crater rim; on to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa (5895m). Descend to Horombo (3720m).
We will start the final, and by far the steepest and most demanding part of the climb by torchlight at around midnight. It will be extremely cold as we walk very slowly in 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 along the snow-covered rim to the true summit of Uhuru Peak (5,895m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo Hut (4,700m) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshments and rest, we continue descending to reach our final campsite at Horombo (3,720m). This is an extremely long and hard day, with between 11 and 15 hours walking at high altitude.
Day 7: Continue descent to Mandara and Marangu.
A sustained descent with wide views across the moorland takes us into the lovely forest around Mandara (2,700m), the first stopping place on the Marangu route. The trail continues through semi-tropical vegetation to the national park gate at Marangu (1,830m). We leave the local staff to return to our hotel in Marangu by mid-afternoon for a well-earned rest and a much needed shower and beer! Approx 5-6 hours walking.
Day 8: End Marangu.
Depending on the time of your return flight the day can be spent resting in the hotel garden or exploring the village for souvenirs. There is a highly recommended but optional village walk that explores Marangu for half a day. This village is a fascinating mixture of small but fertile coffee and banana farms, friendly Chagga people, and some beautiful scenery with waterfalls and magnificent views.
Operated by Exodus Travels. Prices will be quoted in CAD. Departure dates available year round, prices may vary, please contact us for details. Other conditions may apply Trip style Active Challenging/Tough. Activity level: Tough.
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