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Rongai Route

Short Overview

Rongai, being the only way to approach Kilimanjaro from the north, goes through the picturesque views of the rainforest and the second highest point of Tanzania – the Mawenzi volcano. Thanks to gradual elevation increase, you will be able to get a good altitude acclimatization and reach safely the highest point of Africa – Uhuru Peak, 5895 meters. Rongai Route has excellent success rates of 85%, 90% for 6 and 7 days climb. Rongai is great for those travelers who have already got high altitude experience and are willing to escape the crowds of other climbers since this route is quite far from the town. The Rongai Route is a perfect way to test your strength and get unforgettable impressions on the distance of 65 km (40 miles).

After completing the necessary registration formalities at Marangu National Park gate, we transfer by Land rover to Rongai. The climb begins from Nale Moru (1,950 m) on a small fields of maize and potatoes before entering pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently, but gently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the beautiful Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp, Rongai One, is at the edge of the moorland zone (2,600 m) with extensive views over the Kenyan plains. [3-4 hours walking

The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the ‘Second Cave’ (3,450 m) with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Kikelewa campsite is in a sheltered valley with giant senesces near Kikelewa Caves (3,600 m) [6-7 hours walking]

A short but steep climb is rewarded by superb all round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4,330 m), spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatization. [3-4 hours walking]

We cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite (4,700 m) at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night! [5-6 hours walking]

We will start the final, and by far the steepest and most demanding, part of the climb by torchlight around 1 a.m. We plod very slowly in the 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 to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo (4,700 m) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshment, we continue the descent to reach Horombo Camp (3,720 m). [11-15 hours walking]

A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Hut (2,700m), the first stopping place at the Marangu route. We then continue descending through lovely lush forest on a good path to the National Park gate at Marangu (1,830 m). [5-6 hours walking]

Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), where you will meet an Palm Africa Tours representative, and transfer to the hotel under the rate. The hotel will provide all the essentials for a comfortable stay: cozy rooms, hot water, polite staff, a swimming pool, and Internet access. In the evening there will be a briefing with our managers, who will also make sure you are ready to begin the climb.

A guide and a mountain support crew will arrive at the hotel in the morning in order to meet you and hold another briefing, after which you will travel by vehicle (roughly 3–4 hours) to Kilimanjaro National Park’s western entrance: Londorossi Gate (2,200 m). After the quick formality of acquiring climbing permits and registering with the search and rescue service, the group continues upwards towards their drop off point by off-road vehicles (reaching 3,500 meters). Here you can see stunning views of the Shira Plateau for the first time.

The route from your drop off point to your first high-altitude camp Shira 2 features a moderate gain in altitude and is not too physically challenging. Due to this, you will be able to properly begin the process of acclimatization. By the time you reach the camp, our professional mountain crew will prepare everything necessary, put tents and cook dinner for you.

This will be your first day at this altitude, so it is strongly recommended you heed the following instructions from this point on:

  • Abstain from consuming alcohol and caffeine
  • Drink over 4 liters of bottled water daily (little by little, frequently)
  • Take a Diamox pill to help alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness. Most mountain climbers take Diamox in the morning, before they start their ascent, in order to reduce discomfort associated with altitude sickness. We recommend you consult your doctor prior to the trip in case of potential allergies.

    At night you may experience discomfort associated with acclimatization to the high altitude: because of a reduction in your waking breathing pattern, your body gets less oxygen than during the day. Taking altitude into account, you may therefore start feeling sick and have a headache. Pay attention to your own body and tell your guide if you start feeling any symptoms of altitude sickness.

    Change in Elevation: Lemosho Glades (3,500 m) — Shira 2 Camp (3,900 m)
    Hiking distance: 11 km
    Hiking time: 5–6 hours

  • After breakfast you will leave Shira 2 Camp (3,900 m) and start your way to the key point of the route: Lava Tower (4,630 m). This section of the route has a lot of ascents and descents that end in a camp at over 4,600 meters. It might be difficult, and you may feel some discomfort, but in order to successfully acclimate to the altitude you have to spend at least 1–2 hours here, so this is where lunch will be.

    Then you will descend to Barranco Camp (3,960 m). Here you can see the famous Barranco Wall, impressive in both its massive size and steepness! Next day you will be climbing it, but don’t worry: it features a very simple hiking trail.

    Note: If one or more participants feel sick, the group may refrain from passing the Lava Tower and adjust the route, following instead the road for porters. In this case you will not reach an altitude of 4,630 meters, getting up only to a maximum of 4,400 meters.

    Change in Elevation: Shira 2 Camp (3,900 m) — Lava Tower (4,630 m) — Barranco Camp (3,960 m)
    Hiking distance: 12 km
    Hiking time: 6–8 hours

    Early wakeup, breakfast and the start of summiting Barranco Wall (we recommend you leave the camp as early as possible to avoid crowds of the other groups). Hiking up the gorge wall is not difficult and only takes around an hour. After the climb you can have a rest and take photos in front of the Kibo volcano.

    Then you start a more difficult hike to Karanga Camp, which features numerous ascents and descents during the route, but don’t worry: our guides are experts at choosing an optimal pace for the group. After reaching the camp you will be offered warm lunch. After a couple of hours you will have to complete an acclimatization hike in the direction of Barafu Camp with a 300-meter gain in altitude, and then descent back down to the camp.

    Note: The acclimatization hike is an easy trek with a slight gain in altitude done in order to speed up the acclimatization process. You should take the acclimatization hikes very seriously. They help increase your chances of successfully summiting Kilimanjaro and save you from the consequences of altitude sickness.

    Trekking from Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp:
    Change in Elevation: Barranco Camp (3,960 m) — Karanga Camp (4,035 m)
    Hiking distance: 5 km
    Hiking time: 4–5 hours


    Acclimatization hike:
    Change in Elevation: Karanga Camp (4,035 m) — Destination point en route to Barafu Camp (4,270 m)
    Hiking distance: 2.5 km
    Hiking time: 1–2 hours

    In the morning after breakfast you begin your way to Barafu Summit Camp (4,640 m), the starting point for a night summiting Uhuru Peak (5,895 m). Our team will set up a camp for you ahead of time, including tents and sleeping bags, so you can relax. After regaining strength, you have to complete an acclimatization hike towards the intermediate Kosovo Summit Camp (4,800 m) and then back to Barafu Camp, where you will be served a hot dinner. It is better to spend the remainder of the day resting and sleeping before night summiting.

    Departure from Barafu Camp (4,640 m) at night and the start of summiting Kilimanjaro: Uhuru Peak (5,895 m). Technically the climb is relatively simple; however, the most challenging part is the high altitude. Each pair of climbers will get a personal guide for the entire ascent to monitor your physical and mental conditions. After your successful ascent to Uhuru Peak, you can descend to the nearest glacier if desired. Then you will return to Barafu Camp and after a 2-hour rest continue your descent to Millennium Camp (3,820 m). Note: Don’t forget that 90% of all accidents occur during the descent, including all broken arms and legs. Please pay attention to your feet, as there is a high risk of damaging your toenails.

    Change in Elevation: Barafu Camp (4,640 m) — Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) — Millennium Camp (3,820 m)
    Hiking distance: 15 km
    Hiking time: 8–12 hours

    The camp is situated in a tropical rainforest. When you wake up, you will feel relief from the reduction of the height and the satisfaction of reaching the summit. After a warm breakfast, you will head for the park’s exit: Mweka Gate (1,650 m). After your descent the whole group will gather to congratulate you, followed by offering you a chance to share your opinions on the climb in the guestbook. Lastly, we will present you with your commemorative certificates in our office and provide you a transfer back to the hotel. Change in Elevation: Millennium Camp

    3,820 m) — Mweka Gate (1,650 m)
    Hiking distance: 12 km
    Hiking time: 4–5 hours
    Hiking time: 8–12 hours

    Included in the price
  • Game safari to national park as specified
  • Price quoted per person sharing in US dollars
  • Professional English speaking safari and tour guide / driver
  • All game viewing activities specified
  • Excluded from the price
  • Any sightseeing
  • excursions and optional activities other than those specified
  • Entry visas
  • International flights
  • Laundry
  • Please
  • read our Terms and Conditions
  • Tips and gratuities to safari crew – recommended: 15-20 USD per day to safari driver
  • 10 – 15 USD per day to safari cook
  • Travel insurance
  • Itinerary Note All prices are subject to change if Tanzanian National Park Entry fees change! US Dollar notes from the years before the year 2006 are not accepted in Tanzania.