Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route
The Rongai route on Mount Kilimanjaro is seven days and camping only; this route is regarded as a lower traffic and easier route compared to those on the southern slopes. It's advantages are a more gradual ascent in terms of terrain which allows for excellent acclimatisation plus we include an additional days acclimatisation so you can enjoy the stunning scenery from Mawenzi camp. The days are shorter and less demanding on the Rongai route.
It takes five days ascending through the forest, onto the heathland and to the summit coming from the NNE side of the mountain and after summiting there are two days of descent and exit through Mweka Gate on day seven. The trip is a great opportunity to see diverse vegetation and wide-eyed views especially from higher camps.
The Rongai Route is a camping trip for an average group size of 5 people (we can take up to a maximum of 25 people but this is usually only for organised private groups; most team sizes are 4 - 6 people) using top quality mountain tents, comfortable mattresses, and qualified guides who work with us full time, porters who carry the bags and equipment, and cooks who provide fresh, tasty food every day. The ratio of guide:climber is 1:2 or 1:3 depending on group size.
Camps and elevations on the Rongai Route
About Mount Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the highest peak in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. At 5895 metres, to climb Kilimanjaro is a great challenge, not to be underestimated, but entirely feasible for the hill walker looking to combine a high mountain adventure with going to Africa.
Kilimanjaro translates to “mountain of the springs” and its unique position just below the equator offers an opportunity to experience five different habitats from bottom to top, which makes an ascent of the mountain undeniably special. In a matter of days you’ll climb Kilimanjaro from the equator to what feels like the Arctic, moving through grasslands, tropical rainforest, alpine meadows, moorlands and desert uplands to snow and ice.
From the start you will have experienced people to talk to in the office, who have all climbed Kilimanjaro before and can give an honest appraisal of the climb. This personal service extends to Tanzania where the MD of Adventure Alternative Tanzania, Castro, will give a team briefing and be on hand all the time. He will introduce you to the guides who all speak good English and understand that this is more than a holiday, it is a personal dream to summit the roof of Africa. Explore our Kilimanjaro trip prep page and Kit List Page for more!
We run our own company in Tanzania which is based in Moshi at the foot of Kilimanjaro called Adventure Alternative Tanzania and our dedicated team provide an excellent service. We provide excellent rates of pay, equipment, training and qualifications in first aid and career development.
All of the guides have been employed for over ten years with us, and they have been qualified in European standards for mountain first aid and altitude medicine. They know how to deal with medical emergencies and speak good English. They are very attentive and after so many years have a good understanding of western needs. They all have the necessary KINAPA cards (Kilimanjaro National Park qualification) and first aid certificates.
Is Climbing Kilimanjaro Right for Me?
Standing on the Roof of Africa is a life-altering experience. However, there's always a little give and take to get there. You might not be used to the way in which things are handled in Tanzania. Sometimes things may seem out of control or chaotic, but things always work out. The people are always friendly and happy to help.
For more information regarding the realities of climbing a mountain. Click here.
Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai route itinerary
- Arrival on day one
- Briefing and rest on day two
- Climb period on days three to nine (arriving back in hotel by mid afternoon)
- Depart on day ten or go on four day/three night safari (Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Manyara - lodge or camping or local hotel)
We can offer scheduled departures to join in with, or private group departures at no extra cost. We have particular experience with managing groups such as charities and families.
|1||1830m||n/a||This is our advertised date for the start of the trip and is the day which you should arrive into Tanzania. Most people fly into Kilimanjaro airport either directly or via Kenya. Others travel overland from Kenya. The advertised date is the date you should arrive and we can collect you from Kilimanjaro airport or assist you to travel from Kenya. Overnight in Keys Annexe Hotel in Moshi Town.|
|2||1830m||n/a||Briefing day in Moshi Town, meet the AA Tanzania staff and have time for hiring equipment or relaxing in the hotel.|
|3||2800m||3hr drive, 4hrs walking||We depart early in the morning and drive around Kilimanjaro to the North side where the Rongai Gate is. It takes about 3hrs but offers some great views. After registering at the gate and sorting gear for the porters we then walk through the forest for 4hrs to reach Camp 1 at 2800m. This is a great day for seeing wildlife.|
|4||3600m||6hrs||Today we move out on to the moorland of Kilimanjaro and have a longish day at 6hrs up to Camp 2 which is near Kikelewa Cave at 3600m.|
|5||4330m||5hrs||Today we are on open ground which at times can be steep as we make our way up to camp at the Mawenzi Tarn (4330m).|
|6||4330||varies||Today is a rest and acclimatisation day at the tarn. You can relax at camp or go on some walks in area. This part of the mountain is beautiful and the views are stunning.|
|7||4730m||4hrs||4hrs open ground walking today with amazing views via the Saddle to reach camp near Kibo Hut at 4730m|
|8||5985m then 3800m||12hrs||Night-time ascent on rock and scree, occasional snow, to the crater rim and the summit. Cold temperatures with windchill. We summit via Gilmans Point (5680m), which is 5 hrs up scree and a further 2 hrs to summit (5985m) and descend to Horombo Hutb at 3800m (total 12 hrs).|
|9||1830m||4hrs||We then descend to Marangu Gate, along an easy path back into and through the forest for 4 hours. We then transfer by road back to the hotel where a hot shower awaits!|
|10||n/a||n/a||Either start your safari or depart for home.|
Distance for Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai route
The entire climb and descent covers just over 38 - 50 miles depending on which route you choose and the routes traverse the mountain, except for the Marangu which requires ascent and descent on the same path. Generally speaking each day will take about 5 hours of walking, and the distance reduces as you go higher. To put the summit day into context, it is pretty much the same as climbing Ben Nevis in one day from a starting altitude of 4200 metres.
Height gains on the Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai route
Day Start Level Daily High Point Sleep Level
Day One 1830m 2800m 2800m
Day Two 2800m 3600m 3600m
Day Three 3600m 4330m 4330m
Day Four 4330m 4730m 4330m
Day Five 4330m 4730m 4730m
Day Six 4730m 5985m 3800m
Day Seven 3800m 3800m 1830m
When to Climb –
Kilimanjaro can be climbed all year round. The main seasons are traditionally December to March and June to October, and these are popular times to climb with temperatures in Moshi averaging 22 degrees C and summit temperatures around - 7 degrees C. The rains are in April, May and November but nowadays climate change has changed this pattern and some times the rains don't come or come at differing times of year. During the rains we run our Rongai climbs as the northern side of the mountain is more sheltered at that time. December is getting warmer again with clear skies. Do check the information on weather and also full & new moons to decide on your preferred time to visit.
Full and new Moon dates
|Month||2020 New Moon||2020 Full Moon||2019 New Moon||2019 Full Moon|
|10||6||21 Super FM|
|Feb||23||9||5||19 Super FM|
|July||20||5||12||17 Lunar Eclipse|
|Aug||19||3||1 & 30||15|
|Oct||16||2 & 31||28||14|
Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route cost £1955.00
- Accommodation in Moshi for 3 nights in the Keys Annexe Hotel (twin, B&B)
- Jeep or coach transport to the mountain gate from and to Moshi
- Park fees, camping fees and park rescue fees
- Park certified guides (ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 depending of team size) and company reps
- Porters and cooks, plus equipment and tents for them
- All camping equipment including sleeping tents with mattresses
- Expedition administrator, translator and Manager
- Meals on the mountain - fresh food, 3 meals per day
- International airfare to Kilimanjaro Airport
- Airport transfers (£40 / $50 per vehicle one way) must be requested in advance through the office - pay in advance or cash in-country
- Tanzanian Visa - $50 for most passports & $100 for USA citizens, purchased on arrival
- Vaccinations and malaria tablets
- Personal expenses
- Travel insurance est £40
- Lunch and dinners in Moshi
- Tips ~ £80 paid in local currency only to Castro for distribution at exit gate
We only run 7 day trips, since any less is dangerous for a peak just short of 6000 metres (equivalent to Camp 1 on Mount Everest). Current National Park and camping fees are USD$110 per person per day, which makes Kilimanjaro an expensive peak to visit. Reducing the number of days may make the price cheaper but the chances of summiting reduce to around 50% and it is more likely you will suffer from altitude sickness.
We include three support staff to each member plus one guide for every four members which is the Park requirement. We do not operate kitties and we use a very good hotel in town with which we have built up a strong relationship for the past ten years.
We have our own license to operate tours on Mount Kilimanjaro and are a member of the local Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators.
We advise you to take out your insurance as soon as possible to cover potential events that might cause you to cancel your trip.
You need to ensure that you have a policy which covers trekking to 5895m, but it does not need to cover technical climbing. You should bring with you a copy of your policy and ensure your tent mate knows where you keep it. It is also worth bringing a photocopy of your passport and to keep it separate to your own documents just in case you lose your passport. Many of our clients use (click banner):
Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai route fitness and terrain
This is a trek to climb Kilimanjaro with no technical requirements, but it does offer a mountain experience which includes camping and being outdoors all the time, and walking uphill every day for a week for an average of 5 or 6 hours per day. Any regular hill walker will find climbing Kilimanjaro within his or her capabilities, but also remember that you will be sleeping and eating on the mountain too. The cumulative effect will be tiring and you should mentally prepare for a week of sleeping in a tent and living outdoors.
A training programme should include regular hill walking with a small pack of around 10 kgs, or regular visits to the gym for the final two months before departure. Work on strengthening calf and thigh muscles and exercise your cardio-vascular stamina on a step machine or cross trainer, but remember this is a holiday and not a forced march! Don't approach it as if you are training for a marathon, and remember it can be dangerous to over train.
The secret of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro is to go slowly and enjoy the scenery, drink well, eat well and sleep well. A regular, consistent and slow pace will ensure the proper acclimatisation. Statistically the biggest proportion of failure occurs with young, fit males who go too fast and ignore the simple rules. It’s not a race or a competition!
Operate on the principle that if you look after yourself well during the first five days, then the sixth 'summit day’ will be a big challenge but not dangerous. We cannot condone the people who push themselves beyond the bounds of safety and wear the badge of hardship as a medal of honour, perpetuating the image that getting to the summit has an element of masochism to it! “This is just an example of bad mountaineering”, says Director Gavin Bate, “We want people to be clear-headed on the summit, with the strength to come all the way back down again! Drink lots of liquid, eat every meal and go slowly all the way – this is the mantra that my staff will say to you over and over again”.
Terrain on Mount Kilimanjaro
The terrain on Kilimanjaro varies throughout; in a period of seven days, traversing the mountain over 50 miles, ascending from 2000m to 5895m and back down, you will pass through cultivated farmland, equatorial forest and alpine heath, across a lunar-like volcanic desert and up to a glaciated summit. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb and there are no precipitous drops along the way, no rock climbing or specialist equipment needed.
The paths are in good condition and well trodden; some are steeper than others and you will most likely meet people all along the way though the Rongai is a quiet route in terms of traffic. On summit day the path is mostly screed, which can be loose and unrelenting, especially on the descent when your knees will probably suffer.
Experience needed for Mount Kilimanjaro
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a non-technical trek but it does offer a full mountaineering experience. Experience in hill walking is a benefit but not absolutely necessary, since this is a supported climb. You will have however be outdoors constantly and living in tents so any sort of experience with camping will be useful.
It is not necessary to have any experience of high altitude to climb Kilimanjaro, and there is nowhere in the United Kingdom or Ireland to possibly train for it. The important factor will be to go slowly and allow your metabolism to adapt to the lower air pressure and the thinner air.
ADVENTURE ALTERNATIVE SUPPORT
The staff will carry your main bag up to a maximum weight of 15 kgs plus all the tents, kitchen equipment, food, fuel, tables and chairs. They will cater for all the group needs, providing excellent meals and putting up the tents. The guides will also brief you daily on the climb.
Castro Capelo is our operations manager in Moshi and Director of Adventure Alternative Tanzania. He organises all the staff, equipment, permits and hotel arrangements. You will have his telephone number, or the staff at the hotel desk can call him for you. He is organiser, translator, problem-solver, advisor and the main link between you and the UK office. He talks to the guides every day on the mountain and can make arrangements while you are up high.
You also have continued support from the main office in Northern Ireland. Should a problem arise of significant proportion then you only need to call us.
Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai route kit list
- Waterproof day sack of about 30 -40 litres for carrying your daily needs
- Duffle bag for your main clothing and equipment (to be carried by porter)
- Sleeping bag rated down to -10° Celsius or more if you get cold easily
- Sturdy hiking boots with ankle support, and a sole that does not bend too easily. Gore-Tex lined fabric boots are fine but not quite as warm as leather. Gaiters are advised also.
- Waterproof windbreaker and trousers, preferably breathable, with a hood and big enough to accommodate several layers beneath
- Down jacket or a heavy duty fleece for warmth especially on summit night
- Thermal underwear or long johns for summit night
- Balaclava or insulated warm hat, insulated gloves or mittens and thermal inner gloves
- Sun hat, sun lotion, SPF lip screen and sunglasses
- Trekking clothes - trousers and shorts, shirts and T-shirts, jumper or midlayer fleece, underwear and several pairs of hiking socks, trainers or sandals
- Water bottle and/or camelback (take a protective cover for the mouthpiece) and water purification tablets (optional, iodine-based is fine)
- Head torch with spare batteries
- Trekking poles (especially useful for coming down from the summit)
- Personal wash kit include a nail brush, moisturising cream, a small towel, tweezers, soap, nail clippers and wet wipes
- Variety of waterproof bags - for dirty clothes, sleeping bag and things to keep dry
- Personal first aid include aspirin, Nurofen, plasters, Germolene, Immodium, strepsils and prescription medicines for possible gastric problems
- Passport, insurance papers, spending money, air tickets, 2 pin (round) plug adaptor, spare batteries for digital cameras, reading books, diary, pen
You can rent sleeping bags directly from us and add them when booking, or by logging into your account at a later date. It's also possible to hire other equipment in Moshi directly from our staff such as walking poles, torches or anything that you may have forgotten.
Why us for climbing Kilimanjaro?
We run our own company in Tanzania which is based in Moshi at the foot of Kilimanjaro called Adventure Alternative Tanzania and our dedicated team provide an excellent service.
- We are a mountain company run by mountaineers
- We take safety on Kilimanjaro seriously and our staff are trained to deal properly with emergencies
- We have a 95% success rate to the summit because of a seven day minimum policy which assists proper acclimatisation
- All our guides are personally trained by Gavin Bate, company director, International Mountain leader with over twenty years of experience guiding trips to the Greater Ranges
- We do not outsource our trips to the cheapest local operator. Instead we run our own company in Tanzania and invest in our staff directly. Our guides have worked with for us for over a decade.
- All the staff in our UK office have climbed Kilimanjaro so you can chat to people who understand what it is like to go up for the first time, before you go. We spend time on the phone and we are happy to make personal visits to meet groups or individuals where possible. We provide all the Kilimanjaro facts, under the gloss!
- We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company supports sustainable development in Tanzania and Kenya in a real way. We have won the World Responsible Tourism Awards twice now.
- Financial security is guaranteed as we are fully financially bonded so your money is secure
You can book your Adventure Alternative holiday for as little as £100.00 and pay the balance in as many instalments as you like. Choose a scheduled date or contact us for private dates, a bespoke itinerary or more trip details.
- Duration 10 days
- Numbers 4 - 15
- Altitude 5985m
- Distance 82km
- Challenge Moderate
- Comfort Camping