Opened comparatively recently, the Rongai route begins from the northeast, near the border with Kenya. Perhaps not as scenic as some other routes, it nevertheless features truly unspoilt rainforest and attractive landscapes.
Black and white colobus monkeys are often seen in the mountain forest zones, with elephants occasionally encountered on the high moorlands. With a profile similar to the popular Marangu Route, but with less trekkers, this is a slow, gradual but challenging ascent up the king of Africa's mountains. Accommodation on the climb is in tented camps - real mountain adventure!
With our experienced, knowledgeable and, above all, passionate staff, we take care of all the complex and important arrangements for the ascent of this legendary mountain, essential to giving you the best Kilimanjaro hike experience. Happy climbing, indeed!
Reaching the summit! Experiencing that incomparable 'roof of the world' feeling lower numbers of trekkers add to the feeling of being in the wilderness Stunning views as you ascend unspoilt rainforest dedicated guides, porters and cooks - a great team to help you on your way
Your first night is to be spent at Venice hotel in Arusha. If you have chosen to be picked-up by us from Kilimanjaro International Airport, your Rhino Explorer driver will be waiting to meet and welcome you and take you to your Lodge in Arusha to relax after your flight.
After an early breakfast at your Lodge (07.00), we depart one hour later and arrive at the Nalemuru Gate for around 13.00, when we take our picnic lunch. Once we have completed registration, you've met the trekking team who will accompany you up the mountain and the porters have loaded up, we are ready to start the trek. Our starting altitude is at 2000 metres and today we will ascend up to 2670 metres, beginning our approach from the north-east. The vegetation at first is pine, as well as some vegetable fields, but you briefly enter lush forest where colobus monkeys can sometimes be seen. After the forest, the landscape changes to heathland with its huge heathers. We aim to reach Simba Camp by 17.00, as our walking distance today is only 6km and our walking time is around 3 hours. Dinner at Simba Camp will be at 19.00.
Your 07.00 breakfast is followed by today's 08.00 departure. Our walking distance in total is 16km and we have an ascent of just over 1000 metres. We would expect to spend about 6.5 to 7 hours walking today, covering a distance of 16km. At the start, notice how the once-large heathers become smaller as you climb and the trees become fewer and further between. Behind you, you can see over the border to Kenya if the weather is good. The path is a steady, steep and dusty ascent. A picnic lunch is eaten at 13.00, before you continue in a south-easterly direction with the craggy peak of Mawenzi in front of you. The path crosses moorland and there is less ascent than you have experienced this morning, but overall this is a long day. At the end of the afternoon's walk, you should reach camp at around 17.00 and dinner will be served at 18.00.
You have the luxury of a later (08.00) breakfast and a slightly later departure. Today, after leaving Kikelelwa at 09.00, we have a very short day of walking - at just over 3km � but we have to ascend over 600 metres and we take between 3.5 and 4 hours to complete the stage. The scenery and views on this route are truly wonderful. You will notice how the vegetation disappears as you climb. On arriving at the campsite around 13.00, it will be time for a hot lunch. Some people like to use the afternoon to acclimatize, and if you are lucky enough to experience clear weather then the views of Kibo can be spectacular. In any event, the setting for this camp is truly beautiful. Dinner is served at 18.00.
After a 07.00 breakfast and departure from Mawenzi at 08.00, we set off on today's 9km walk, which will take you from an altitude of 4300 metres up to the 4720 of Kibo. Expect to spend around 4.5 to 5 hours walking on the stage today. We begin the day westwards, then cross the ridge and proceed downwards and along the edge of The Saddle. You won't see much vegetation today, but it is not unknown for an eland to be sighted � amazing at this altitude. Equally incredible are the views today, the favourite day of many trekkers. On the way, you stop for your picnic lunch at midday, before continuing the climb to Kibo, which we would expect to reach by 15.00. Dinner is served at the early time of 17.30: an early bedtime is recommended, ready for your summit day.
Our schedule for our 'Summit Day' is very different. Rising at 23.00, we take our tea and biscuits (23.30) before a midnight departure. Today, we have around 1175 metres to climb, on what will be our toughest day, with around 13 hours of actual walking time and a distance of 21km. Our expectation is to reach the summit from 07.00 onwards. We begin on a rocky path, and then climb via a series of zig-zags which get ever smaller. Our reference points on our ascent today are, first, William's Point (5131 metres), Hans Meyer Cave (5258 metres) and then Gillman's Point (5719 metres). The focus today is on walking slowly. On reaching the top, we take time to celebrate the successful climb, take photos and congratulate ourselves, then make the descent to return to Kibo hut for about 11.00 and take a very well-deserved, two-hour rest and enjoy a welcome hot lunch. Setting off again at 14.00, we continue our descent until we reach Horombo for about 17.00. Dinner will be served 19.00.
Enjoying our breakfast at our now-familiar time of 07.00, we take the chance to thank our hard-working guides and porters at the 'Tipping Celebration'. We depart from Horombo and start our descent down towards Marangu Gate, stopping at Mandara for a hot lunch at around midday. Marangu Gate is reached by around 16.00, and today's section is around 20km which takes 6.5 to 7 hours of walking time. Having reached Marangu Gate, you will be presented with your certificate, recognising your tremendous effort. We then return by vehicle to Arusha, to the comfort of your Lodge, for your overnight stay and some deserved relaxation. Or perhaps, if you still have some energy, you can celebrate your wonderful achievement. After all, you have just climbed Africa's highest mountain!
After a good night's rest at your lodge, you will take breakfast ready for the scheduled check-out by 10.00. (If you wish to remain in the hotel during the day, please advise us of this when you book your trip and we will inform you of the cost for day room which ends at 18:00hrs, and then make the booking on your behalf.) If you have booked a transfer to the airport, you will be collected from your hotel and dropped off at the airport. For those travellers who have booked to go on safari, our Rhino Explorer guide will be meeting you in the evening to provide you with a briefing.
After a good night's rest at your lodge, you will take breakfast ready for the scheduled check-out by 10.00. (If you wish to remain in the hotel during the day, please advise us of this when you book your trip and we will inform you of the cost for day room which ends at 18:00hrs, and then make the booking on your behalf.) If you have booked a transfer to the airport, you will be collected from your hotel and dropped off at the airport. For those travellers who have booked to go on safari, our oasis wild guide will be meeting you in the evening to provide you with a briefing.
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