Rongai Route up Mount Kilimanjaro

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Rongai Route

Year Round Ascents

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Kilimanjaro by the Rongai Route
9 days Grade B  Fully Porter Supported
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After the Marangu Route this is the second easiest route to take to ascend Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa with its two main summits, the craggy Mawenzi, 5149m, and the 'flat-topped', glaciated Kibo, 5896m. The Saddle, a 5km wide, high-altitude, semi-desert separates the two. From the summit glaciers, screes, cliffs, afro-alpine moorland then forests lead down to the cultivated foothills. The Rongai route takes you at a gentle pace through these dramatically different zones.

The Rongai Route was formerly used by the Oloitokitok Outard Bound school. Now access from Kenya is virtually impossible and the route involves 4 hour drive from Moshi to Nare Moru town. Shortly beyond lies the Park Gate at about 2150m. The route can be done in 6 days going directly to Kibo Hut from where the final ascent is made or a more beautiful alternative is to do it in 7 days going to Kibo Hut via Mawenzi Tarn Hut. The latter route can be done in 6 days by a very strong group. Accommodation throughout is in tents.

For the ascent to Uhuru Peak from Kibo Hut a very early start is made since the scree is easier to climb when frozen and the views from the crater rim at dawn can be spectacular. Ski sticks are useful when ascending the scree to the summit.

This is a tough walking trip but within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas.

Via Mawenzi Tarn 7 day programme - recommended
1. Arrive Springlands hotel (B&B).
2. Drive 4 hours to the Rongai Gate. Walk to Simba Camp at 2650m, 2-3 hrs. The walk is initially through plantations then rain forest and finally bush country.
3. Walk to 2nd Cave at 3450m, 3 hrs. A gentle day through bush then heathers.
4. Gentle rising traverse through moorland over several ridges to Kikelea Caves, 3600m, 3 hours.
5. Moorland then screes to Mawenzi Tarn Hut, 4330m, 3-3 hrs.
6. Easy angled screes slopes lead across the Saddle to Kibo Hut, 4700m, 4-5 hrs.
7. Very early start for the summit on steep scree up to Gillman's Point (5681m) which is on the crater rim. Continue around the rim (which will take about two hours if you are fit) to Uhuru Peak (5895m) the highest point in Africa. Descend to Kibo Hut for tea and biscuits or soup and then down to the thicker air an relative warmth of Horombo hut.
8. Descend to Marangu gate. Drive back to the hotel (B&B).
9. Depart after breakfast.

The 7 day Rongai Route via Mawenzi Tarn offers a beautiful and gentle route to Kibo Hut. The direct route can be done in 6 days, is less beautiful, but equally gentle with relatively short days and no great height gains except on the ascent day.

This route can be ascended omitting 2nd Cave making the second day long and quite demanding.
Via Mawenzi Tarn (6 days, strong groups only)Day 3 in this programme combines day 3 and 4 of the 7 day programme. Day 3 then will involve about 7 hrs walking with lunch at the 2nd Cave. This option is only suitable for a strong group.

The programme is available all the year round.

Included in the cost:
All park fees, guides, porters, cook, accommodation and food except the hotel is on a Bed and Breakfast basis.

Not included in the cost:
Tips, airport transfers, extra drinks, meals other than breakfast, at the hotel.

See also hotel details and facilities, safari extensions, Zanzibar extensions, weather.

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Kilimanjaro Trek area

Kilimanjaro from Saddle
Kibo from the Saddle

Mawenzi from the Saddle

Route Map
route diagram

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ALW 15/5/03