It's a 7 day route however can be done in 6 days. It is preferred due to its gradual ascent and unspoiled wilderness.
The Rongai Route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, near the Kenyan border. Rongai's ascent profile is very similar to that of Marangu. It is one of Kilimanjaro's easier routes. The climb to the top is gradual and steady. However, unlike Marangu, this route has low crowds and passes through remote wilderness areas. It is probably the only route where seeing wildlife in the first days is possible.
Rongai is slowly gaining in popularity. You get to view the North side of Kilimanjaro, sleep in tents and have a more gradual climb. Although it starts off with a long drive to the starting point, you will be rewarded by fantastic views and also by the likelihood that you will be the only climbers around on the way up. All your equipment and supplies are carried for you by a team of porters and a cook prepares all your meals. (Click on Map to open larger image).
Recommended Tipping Guidelines:
Those who have climbed Mt Kilimanjaro before know that without the hard work and strength of the mountain crew, one would not be able to fully experience the magnificence of the mountain. At Naomi Grace Tours, we pay our crew more than the salary suggested by the Kilimanjaro National Park and Tanzania Tour Operator Association. However, many crew also heavily depend on tips to support their families. The following are recommended daily rates for the entire group to tip per staff member:
Senior guide - $20 – 30 / day
Assistant guide - $15 – 25 / day
Cook - $12 – 15 / day
Waiter - $10 – 12 /day
Porter - $8 – 10 / day
Summit porter - $12 – 15 / day
Toilet crew - $10 – 12 / day
In general for all Kilimanjaro routes except Marangu you will have*:
1 Climber: 1 senior guide, 1 cook and 3 porters
2 Climbers: 1 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook and 6 porters
3 Climbers: 1 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook and 9 porters
4 Climbers: 2 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook, 1 waiter and 9 porters
For Marangu you will have*:
1 senior guide and 1 cook for each 8 climbers
1 additional assistant guide for each 3 climbers
2 Porters per climber
* These are estimates and actual numbers may vary depending on the needs of the group.
It is ideal to have a tipping ceremony with the climbers and crew on the last day on the mountain. Ideally tips should be given to the individual crew members directly to ensure the full amount of the tip is received.
Below is a sample itinerary for the 6 climb on Rongai route:
6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS ITINERARY:
Day One: Rongai Gate (1,800m/5,900ft) to First Cave Camp (2,600m/8,400ft)
Elevation Gain: 760 meters, 2,000 feet
After an early breakfast in Moshi, drive for approximately 3 hours to the Rongai Gate near the Kenya border. After registering at the gate, begin your climb to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. During the first day, hike through forests where you may see and hear wildlife. Eat lunch on the trail before continuing to the first campsite. Rongai ascends via the less forested northern side of the mountain.
The Rongai Route is one of the least crowded routes on Kilimanjaro because of the long drive to the gate. The Rongai trail is thought to have the best chance of viewing wildlife.
Day Two: First Cave Camp (2,600m/8,400ft) to Kikelewa Camp (3,600m/11,810ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,000 meters, 3,280 feet
During day two hike through Kilimanjaro's moorland. The Rongai route is relatively short and steep, making for shorter hiking times. During this day, view Mawenzi Peak ahead.
Day Three: Kikelewa Camp (3,600m/11,810ft) to Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,330m/14,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 730 meters, 2,390 feet
This day is an acclimatization day, allowing you to hike in the beginning of the day and rest in the afternoon and evening. The hike is relatively short but steep. The Mawenzi Tarn campsite is situated below Mawenzi Peak and offers stunning views of both Mawenzi and Kibo.
Day Four: Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,330m/14,200ft) to Kibo Camp (4,750m/15,580ft)
Elevation Gain: 420 meters/1380 feet
Cross the lunar landscape of the saddle on this day to arrive at the final campsite. Kibo Camp is situated directly below the Kibo cone, giving you views of your final destination.
Day Five: Kibo Camp (4,750m/15,580ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,145 meters, 3,760 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,175 meters, 7,140 feet
Around midnight, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. For the next six hours, hike by the light of your flashlight. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek. The trail is very steep until you reach the crater rim at Gilman's Point.
The hike from Gilman's to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the hike long and tiring. The crater rim hike takes approximately two hours. Upon reaching Uhuru, take photos of your guide and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Horombo Hut.
Day Six: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft)
Elevation Loss: 1,920 meters, 6,295 feet
After breakfast, finish the trek with a descent to Marangu Gate. Your last hike on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through Kilimanjaro's cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent, as the trail can be slippery. Our vehicles will be waiting at Marangu Gate to take you back to Moshi. You will be able to buy t-shirts and sodas at the gate.