Rongai is the only route starting on the northern slope of Kilimanjaro. Though this part of the Mountain is rarely visited by hikers, it is not less interesting than the popular southern and western slopes. We recommend Rongai to all those who like reclusive hiking experiences.
Getting to the trailhead – Nalemuru Gate – usually takes 3-4 hours from Altezza Lodge or Aishi Machame Hotel.
Rongai is also the only route that passes by Mawenzi, one of the three volcanic cones of Kilimanjaro and the third highest peak in Africa. The way back lies through Marangu, and thus you will be able to see both sides of the mountain.
Though six and seven-day programs are available, a longer option is recommended for better acclimatization transition.
A guide and a mountain support crew will arrive at the hotel in the morning in order to meet you and hold a quick briefing, after which you will travel by vehicle to Kilimanjaro National Park’s northern entrance: Nalemuru Gate (2,020 m). After the quick formality of acquiring climbing permits and registering with the search and rescue service, the group will start trekking up to Simba Camp (2,625 m). Your trek this day will be moderate and take you through coniferous forest up Kilimanjaro’s northern slope. Remember not to hurry and always keep a comfortable pace. 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:
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.
Early in the morning after breakfast, the group will depart from Simba Camp to start trekking towards your second high altitude camp: Kikilewa Camp (3,630 m) where you can see Kibo Volcano at its finest (barring cloudy weather). This trekking is more physically demanding than the previous one, so once you are in the camp, full rest is recommended.
Early wakeup, breakfast and the start of trekking to Mawenzi Tarn Camp, which is situated at the foot of Mawenzi Volcano, Kilimanjaro’s second summit. When you reach the camp, you will have lunch and a two-hour rest, after which there will be an acclimatization hike towards Mawenzi Volcano with a 200-meter gain in altitude, followed by a hike back down to Mawenzi Tarn Camp, where you will have dinner in the evening.
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.
Change in Elevation: Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4,310 m) — Destination point en route to Mawenzi Volcano (4,510 m)
Hiking distance: 2 km
Hiking time: 1–2 hours
This day will be spent trekking towards School Hut Camp (4,715 m). The landscape will change significantly to give way to a rocky semidesert. The actual trekking is not very difficult; just remember to stick with an appropriate pace to keep up your strength for the trekking to Kilimanjaro’s summit. When you reach the camp, we recommend you sleep well, avoid strenuous activity, and drink as much as you can, because that very night you will be ascending Uhuru Peak (5,895 m).
Night departure from School Hut Camp (4,715 m) and the start of your trekking to Kilimanjaro’s summit: Uhuru peak (5,895 m). The trekking will be moderate from a physical standpoint, but the altitude presents a much more serious problem. For the entire length of the trekking each pair of climbers will be accompanied by their own guide, who will be monitoring your stamina and mental resolve. After your successful ascent to Uhuru Peak, you can descend to the nearest glacier if desired. Then you will return to Kibo Camp and after a two-hour rest continue your descent to School Hut Camp (3,720 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.
You will be offered a warm breakfast in the morning, after which we will head for the Kilimanjaro National Park’s exit: Marangu Gate (1,860 m). After your descent the whole group will gather to congratulate you, and then you will have the chance to share your opinions on the trip in the guestbook. Lastly, we will present you with your commemorative certificates (in our office) and provide you a transfer back to the hotel.