The only route that approaches Mt. Kilimanjaro from the north, Rongai route is truly one of the more remote and wild trails on the entire mountain. Despite that however, this route offers trekkers plenty of advantages, making it a very appealing option for those looking for a unique experience on Africa’s tallest peak.
Due to its remote nature, the Rongai Route is amongst the least visited of all of the trails on Mount Kilimanjaro. Those who choose this path will experience peace and quiet for much of the trek, encountering few other climbers prior to reaching the Kibo Camp, at which point the trail merges with the Marangu Route for the final push to the summit. Before that happens however, travelers will often have the path completely to themselves for hours or even days at a time, making this a good choice for those looking for solitude in a unique wilderness setting.
Rongai route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro with a slow, steady climb, giving hikers a chance to acclimatize at a steady rate. This not only makes it one of the easier routes up the mountain, it also increases the success rate substantially. There are few major obstacles to overcome along this trail and the final day before summit day is a short one, giving trekkers a chance to rest, recuperate, and prepare for their climb to the top of Uhuru Peak.
Because the Rongai Route starts on the north side of the mountain, not far from the border with Kenya, it is also the driest route on Kilimanjaro as well. This makes it a good choice for a trek all year round, but especially during the rainy season in April and May. Most of the rain storms tend to stay on the southern side of the mountain, allowing Rongai hikers to stay drier and warmer than those on some of the other, more popular, trails.
Other advantages of choosing the Rongai Route include the potential to spot wildlife, including colobus monkeys, in the first few days of the climb. The campsites are also nicely staggered out across the route, ensuring that hikers spend a similar amount of time on the trail each day. And since the trail goes up the north side and down the south side, travelers get a sense of what Kili looks like from different perspectives.
If there is one criticism of the Rongai Route it is that it may not be as scenic as some of the other routes up Mt. Kilimanjaro. While it is true that the scenery isn’t as varied and dramatic as some of the other trails, there is still plenty to see and enjoy on this path too. And because you’ll encounter so few people, you’ll have an easier time soaking it all in.
Starting from Rongai Gate to the summit and finish at Marangu Gate. For a day-by-day itinerary for the Rongai Route please click on this link: 7 day Rongai Route
|Day||Start||Altitude (m)||Altitude (ft)||Finish||Altitude (m)||Altitude (ft)||Time (hrs)||Distance (km)||Distance (miles|
|1||Rongai Gate||1,950||6,398||Rongai Cave||2,830||9,300||4||8||5|
|2||Rongai Cave||2,830||9,300||2nd Cave||3,450||11,300||3-4||6||4|
|2nd Cave||3,450||11,300||Kikelewa Cave||3,600||11,811||3-4||6||4|
|3||Kikelewa Cave||3,600||11,811||Mawenzi Tarn||4,315||14,160||4||5||3|
|4||Mawenzi Tarn||4,315||14,160||Mawenzi Ridge||4,390||14,400||2-3||2||1|
|Mawenzi Ridge||4,390||14,400||Mawenzi Tarn||4,315||14,160||1-2||2||1|
|5||Mawenzi Tarn||4,315||14,160||Kibo Hut||4,703||15,430||5-6||8||5|
|6||Kibo Hut||4,703||15,430||Uhuru Peak||5,895||19,341||6-8||6||4|
|Uhuru Peak||5,895||19,341||Horombo Hut||3,720||12,205||4-5||16||10|
|7||Horombo Hut||3,720||12,205||Marangu Gate||1,843||6,046||5-7||20||12|
The questions and answers below are specific to the Rongai route.
The Rongai route is considered to be one of the easier routes up Mount Kilimanjaro. The trek is both gradual and steady. However, the Rongai Route does not have a great climb high sleep low profile which makes it arguably more difficult than the Machame or Lemosho routes. The 7 day trek option is highly recommended as it allows for better acclimatization. No technical climbing is required however level of fitness is required.
The exact trekking distance for the Rongai Route is 79km or 49 miles. The shortest number of days required for Rongai Route is 6 days, but by the time you have added on arrival and departure days it is 9 or 10. However, as it’s considered the easiest route on the mountain it is actually best done over 7 days to increase your changes of success.
The summit success rates for the Rongai Route are greatly increased with the longer trek option. Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all operators is 80% for the 7 day trek and a 65% success rate for the 6 day trek. However, We have a 95% summit success rate for both Rongai route treks.
The Rongai Route is the only route that approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the north, near the Kenyan border. The Rongai 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. After passing through rainforest you ascend through moorlands and then up into the high alpine zones before reaching the glacial zone.
July-September is the best time to trek the Rongai route, as the weather is most stable during this period and encountering rain is less likely. That said, since it is close to the equator it is possible to climb the mountain at any time of the year. April and May is the rainy season so this period is best avoided. Because Rongai Route is on the northern side of Kilimanjaro is in a rain shadow, the month of May and November are a good time to do the trek.