Altitude: From 1,950m at Nale Moru, to 5,895m at Uhuru Peak, descend to Marangu Gate at 1,830m
Trek Length: 77 km over 6 days
Kilimanjaro is one of earth’s most impressive natural wonders. For any serious walker, reaching the summit of this extinct volcano will be one of life’s most memorable achievements. On this Kilimanjaro trekking holiday you’ll follow the Rongai Route, one of the easiest and most scenic routes. Hiking for 6 days you’ll be accompanied by your own private local mountain guide, porters and a cook.
Nights are spent under canvas, camping on the mountain in dramatic wilderness locations. More scenic than the Marangu Route and easier than the Machame Route, the success rate on the Rongai is high, especially with the inclusion of an extra acclimatisation day. Your porters will pitch your tent and carry your luggage/equipment. Meals are served in either a dinner tent or outside if the weather is fine.
Starting on the north side of Kilimanjaro, close to the Kenyan border, Rongai is one of the least-trekked routes. This route joins the Marangu Route for the final summit climb, and the descent is down the Marangu Route, so you’ll get the chance to see Kilimanjaro from many different perspectives.
As you gain altitude you’ll walk through five distinct climatic zones, from the lower slopes through rain forest, over heath and moorland to high alpine desert and finally scree slopes to Gilman’s Point. If you’re feeling up to it, you can make the final push to Uhuru Peak, reaching 5,895m and the highest point in Africa.
Reaching the top of Kilimanjaro for sunrise is not the only reward – there are outstanding views to be seen on the way, unique plant life, flora, animals and birds. After your trek you’ll have the chance to relax at your hotel pool and enjoy an optional game drive in the exceptionally scenic Arusha National Park.
Specialist Tanzanias' Climb Kilimanjaro – Rongai Route departs every day throughout the year (except during the rainy season months of April and May when we feel the success and enjoyment of a climb may be affected by adverse weather conditions/rain). Private group departures can be arranged with reasonable notice to secure necessary Kili permits.
Day 1: Your Kilimanjaro climb holiday starts at check-in to your Moshi hotel. Nestled at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania, Moshi is the coffee producing center of the country and gateway to one of the most iconic mountains on our planet. Tonight you will receive a pre-trek briefing and can make any final preparations for your climb. Accommodation: Bristol Cottages (or similar).
Day 2: After transferring by 4x4 through villages and coffee plantations to the trek start point at the attractive wooden village of Nale Moru (1,950 m) you will complete entry formalities for Kilimanjaro National Park, then meet your guides and porters. Today’s walk is 9 km long and usually takes 3-4 hours.
You’ll start your walk by following a path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently, but gently through lush montane forest vegetation that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the beautiful Kilimanjaro Black and White Colobus monkey. The forest thins out and the first camp comes into view at the edge of the moorland zone (2,600m) with extensive views over the Kenyan plains. Accommodation: Camping at First Cave. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: This morning's walk is a steady ascent up to the 'Second Cave' (3,450m) with superb views of Kibo and the eastern icefields on the crater rim. After lunch you'll 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. You'll arrive at your second camp, located in a sheltered valley close to Kikelewa Caves (3,600m. 17 km are covered today, taking between 6 to 7 hours. Accommodation: Camping at Kikelewa Caves. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Acclimatisation day. This morning you'll walk a short, steep climb up grassy slopes and be rewarded with superb all-round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. Shortly after you leave the vegetation behind, you reach the Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m), which is situated in a spectacular cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. After your hike, you can spend the afternoon exploring this exciting area or resting up. Today’s walk covers 7 km and usually takes 3-4 hours. This extra acclimatisation day is just what your body needs. Accommodation: Camping at Mawenzi Tarn. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Today you'll cross the lunar landscape of the "Saddle" – a wide, flat area with the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi looming overhead. Views from here can be exceptional and you’ll see numerous giant groundsels – amazing trees which grow up to 5 meters high. Your campsite is located at the bottom of Kibo crater wall, which you'll reach by early afternoon (4,700m). Distance covered is around 8 km, taking about 5 to 6 hours. Accommodation: Camping at Kibo at bottom of crater wall. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: You will be woken around midnight to walk through the night. This is primarily because you need the time to reach the summit and still be able to descend in daylight. Also, walking at night is easier with cold or frozen ground underfoot. With an altitude gain of 1,195 metres of vertical height (on a slope averaging 27%) and a loss of 2,195 metres, this is a challenging day for everyone.
To begin with the trail swings back and forth up a steep scree slope. The air will be bitterly cold and with a sky full of stars and only your breathing to help focus your mind, your summit attempt is an event you will never forget. The halfway point is Hans Meyer Cave (5,150 m), a good place for a rest.
After the Cave, the path becomes steeper as it zig-zags up towards Gillman’s Point. Most climbers arrive at Gillman’s Point (5,680 m) in time for sunrise around 6:30 am – generally considered to be the finest sunrise on earth with amazing views looking down on the plains below. If you feel up to it, the true summit is Uhuru Peak (5,895 m), a further 3 hours round-trip with gentler gradients and easier terrain.
The descent from Gillman’s Point is fairly rapid, taking about 2 hours. Most climbers take a short rest at Kibo before descending to Horombo to camp for the night, arriving late afternoon. Accommodation: Camping at Horombo. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Today is a long but easy 18 km hike (5-7 hours) down the Marangu Route, passing through Mandara to Marangu Gate and Kilimanjaro National Park headquarters. After saying farewell to your guide and porters at the gate, you will be transferred to your Moshi hotel for a final night. Accommodation Bristol Cottages (or similar). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Optional safari in Arusha National Park; trip ends. Depending on your onward travel arrangements there may be time to take an optional safari game drive in Arusha National Park. One of Tanzania’s smallest wildlife reserves, Arusha National Park is well worth a visit. Despite its lack of big cats, it does offer first sightings of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, warthog, waterbuck, baboons, monkeys, flamingos and numerous other bird species.
Your Specialist Tanzania Kilimanjaro Trek ends upon check out from the hotel. Includes: (B).
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Africa Tanzania Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Mountain/Rock Climbing