Fast gaining ascendancy among avid mountain trekkers Rongai Route is a trek off the beaten track which assures a genuine wilderness experience. Approaching the mountain from the northern side along the Kenyan-Tanzanian border, the trek is marked by the absence of swarming herd of trekkers and allows for a peaceful trekking experience.
The flatter and gentler nature of the Rongai Route make the trek moderately challenging and amenable for inexperienced trekkers. Another thing going in favour of the route is that the northern side receives less precipitation and is drier. The low threat of showers means the inexperienced trekkers won’t have to wade through wet muddy conditions and the deficiencies in their climbing technique wouldn’t be exposed. On the flip side, the even trajectory of the Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro doesn’t yield to the application of climb high/sleep low principles, making acclimatization an issue and Altitude Sickness While Climbing Kilimanjaro is a reality. And to beat that we recommend opting for the longer 7-day itinerary.
There is a discernible lack of scenery on the route but the remoteness of the Kilimanjaro Rongai Route gives you the feeling of the countryside and exposes you to relatively unspoiled wilderness experience-replete with antelopes, elephants and buffalos, birds and colobus monkeys, for a better part of your ascent.
The many caves dotting the Rongai Route will be your night accommodation for that real outdoors feeling. The descent will be via Marangu route on the south side so you get a varied perspective and the best of both sides. Are you ready for the climb, here we mention the Best Time To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro or need more information about your climbing package, contact Lifetime Safaris tod
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On arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, met and assisted. Transfer to the hotel for an overnight rest on bed and breakfast in readiness for the next day’s hit to Kilimanjaro.
Rongai Gate (1950m) – 1st Caves camp (2600m)
Hiking time: 5 hours | Distance: About 8 km’s | Habitat: Montane forest
After you reach the Marangu park gate you will first complete the paperwork and registration formalities before heading to the Rongai trailhead, where you will be briefed by your guide before you start your ascent from Nale Moru village with your porters in tow. You will veer your way through the cultivation zone brimming with maize fields before entering the pine zone. The trail here is steady on a gradient and you will enjoy the beautiful country sights before reaching your destination for the day at First Cave, at about 2,600 meters. Toilets facilities are manageable but there are no huts for accommodation. But water is available just down the trail below First Cave, B,L,D.
1st Cave (2600m) – Kikelewa Cave (3600m) thirteen
Hiking time: 6-7 hours | Habitat: Moorlands
The ascent continues towards Kibo taking the southeastern path to the Kikelwa Cave at 3600 metres soaking in the spellbinding views of Kibo and Mawenzi at the sunset. Kikelewa Caves will be your base for overnight.
Kikelewa Cave (3600) – Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m)
Hiking time: 3-4 hours | Habitat: Moorlands
This short hike on an incline opens up some of the most impressive sights on the trail. As you continue your ascent the heaths give away to barren alpine zones. The Mawenzi Tarn camp sits below the jagged spires of Mawenzi. This is a high altitude area and effects of altitude sickness will definitely show up. Rest, explore the area and give yourself time to acclimatize.
Mawenzi Tarn camp (4330m) – Kibo hut (4700m)
Hiking time: 4 – 5 hours | Habitat: Alpine desert
Continuing our ascent on the eastern trails of Kibo we will trek through the saddle which connects the twin peaks of Maweni and Kibo soaking in their sights till we reach Kibo Hut at (15000ft / 4700 m) after 4-5 hours. Pace yourself well and don’t rush through as the next challenge will be a push to the Uhuru Peak. Make sure you get enough rest and sleep before you haul yourself up at midnight.
SUMMIT ATTEMPT, Kibo hut (4700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo hut (3720m)
Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru, 6 hours to descend to Horombo |Distance: 6 km’s ascent – 21 km’s descent | Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
The ascent to the summit begins at midnight. Today’s trek is by far the toughest challenge you will undertake on the trail. The first part is a steep ascent into darkness negotiating a rocky path to reach Hans Meyer Cave (5,150 m). Your pre-summit goal of Gillman’s Point is now just about an hour of a trek away. The trek to the Gilman point is a tricky one as it’s a steep and zigzag ascent negotiating large rocks which are going to test your mental and physical reserves to the last bit. From Gilman’s point, it’s just about an hour and a half to reach the summit at Uhuru peak. The trail to the Uhuru is laden with snow and scree along the crater’s rim. Once you summit at Uhuru pull out your camera to capture the breathtaking vistas that open up to you and also capture photos with your team to mark a personal milestone. Bask in the glory of your achievement for a few moments and then make your descent towards Horombo hut where you will have your dinner and enjoy a couple of beers reflecting on the triumphs of the day. Overnight accommodation will be in the Horombo Hut.
Horombo hut (3720m) – Marangu Gate (1980m)
Hiking time: 6 hours | Distance: About 27 km’s
This is your last day on Kilimanjaro and after a breakfast you will continue your descent(6 hours) from Horombo Hut passing through Mandara hut (2,700 m) all the way to down reach the Marangu gate; where you will receive your summit certificates(green certificate – Gilman’s Point and gold certificate – Uhuru Peak) from the park office as a recognition of your efforts. After that, you will sign the registration book and mark the end of your climb. You now drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower, and celebrations!! Overnight in the Hotel.
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