Rongai Route

Mount Kilimanjaro


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 8 (we can take up to a maximum of 25 people but this is usually only for organised private groups; most team sizes are 6 - 8 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 1:4.

Adventure Alternative has been running treks / climbs of Kilimanjaro for over two decades, and with our own company in Tanzania, we have a reputation for integrity and safe, successful trips. We run climbs of Kilimanjaro every month and our summit success rate is 95%.

Our staff are professional, qualified and experienced. We look after them excellently and in turn they look after you excellently! Our prices are land based and all inclusive including all park fees - there are no hidden kitties or fees. We do not charge additional fees by season and the price you see is the price you pay. We are a professional and ethical mountaineering company and can ensure you a wonderful and enjoyable climb of Mt Kilimanjaro.


Kilimanjaro from Adventure Alternative on Vimeo.

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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)


DayElevationTravel TimeInfo
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.

When to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Peak seasons are traditionally January 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 greatly. The Rongai route is the favoured route dueing May and Novemeber as the north side of the mountain suffers less during the rainy season. December is getting warmer again with clear skies and the Rongai route tends to be sheltered in November from the rains. Do check the information on weather and also full moons to decide on your preferred time to visit.

Full Moon on Kilimanjaro

Many people prefer to climb during the full moon with a summit a day before or up to 2 days after. The reason being is purely down to the experience of summiting under the light of the moon (if it's not cloudy). There is no doubt that summiting with the path lit by moonlight and the white of the glaciers shining at you is great, however the downside of this experience is that is a very busy time on the mountain and at the camps. We have a number of full moon dates on our schedule and details can be found below. We also have a number of trips which avoid this busy time.

Full Moon: 24th July Machame climb and the 21st Aug on Lemosho

Scheduled dates are shown below but you can create your own private trip very easily (min 4 people but smaller groups can be accommodated at a supplemental charge), and personalise it in your Booking Page with an add-on trip, for example one of our popular safaris to the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. The Booking Page also allows you to add your flights and personal arrangements, such as hiring equipment or ordering a car to pick you up.

Routes The majority of our climbs are on the Machame (7 days), Rongai (7 days) or the Lemosho route (8 days). The dates below all refer to the Rongai route.

Other notable dates in 2015:
Valentines Day Summit: 6th Feb 2014 (Lemosho 8 day)
New Years Eve / Day Summit: 25th Dec
Moving Mountains Trust Charity Kilimanjaro Climb 25th Sept. Click here for Details


Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai Route cost from £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 - £10/€15 per person one way
  • 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


A deposit of £250 is required on booking to secure your place and we ask that the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 4 weeks prior to your departure. When you book with us you're given your own secure online account which you can access 24/7. Through this account you can edit your booking, add flight, health, insurance and dietary details and also make interim payments. We make payments as flexible as possible and you can choose, if you wish, to pay a bit off your trip fee whenever it suits you.


Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and a strong stance on tourism in a developing country. We don’t want to be so expensive to run fewer trips and have our staff idle, but on the other hand we believe that running cheap trips that promote the practise of skimming budgets would result in the porters getting next to nothing, which is something we cannot consider.

Additionally we will 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 potentially dangerous.

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):

Sports Travel Insurance


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.


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.

Kit List

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 equipment in Moshi directly from Castro. We do have some equipment in our store, but there are also many rental shops in the town. Prices vary, and you can bargain. It is hard to source a good rental sleeping bag, this is best borrowed, bought or rented at home.

Why Us

  • We are a mountain company run by mountaineers!
  • We are an award-winning company
  • We have a 95% success rate to the summit
  • All our guides are personally trained by Gavin Bate, Company Director, mountaineer and Everest guide
  • 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
  • We employ full time staff, offering job security and good benefits, and we are continually improving our quality service year on year
  • All the staff in our UK office have climbed Kilimanjaro so you can chat to people who understand what it's like to go up for the first time, before you go.
  • We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company supports sustainable development in Tanzania and Kenya in a real way.
  • Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains.
  • Financial security guaranteed as we are bonded with ABTOT
  • We are members of Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.
  • Our staff only work for Adventure Alternative.

Extra Info

Mount Kilimanjaro Rongai route more information

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

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.


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.

All of the guides have been employed for over ten years with us, and they have been trained to our high standards personally by Director and high altitude climber Gavin Bate, who has climbed Kilimanjaro over forty times and is a guide on Mt Everest. 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.

We give our staff in excess of the recommended wage and we are a Responsible Partner for the International Mountain Explorers Connection (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project). We provide clothing, food and tents for all of our staff and have proven policies for payment and tipping. This means that you are not hassled by people looking for handouts at the end of the trip, and the staff themselves are happier. We also provide a development programme for the guides and cooks, including first aid training and regular visits from International Mountain Leaders to help improve service and mountain management. If you want to climb Kilimanjaro then you can be assured that you are with a great, proven and experienced team!

 Groups, such as charities or clubs, can easily create their own trip in the Booking Section and personalise any details according to their preference. The Booking Page becomes a live trip summary for any number of people in a group, and it allows our staff in Tanzania to monitor the arrangements. We also offer group discounts and charity offers so do contact us for details.

Local Provider for Mount Kilimanjaro

Local provider for this trip is Adventure Alternative Tanzania, managed by Castro Kapela. We provide full employment for our subsidiary company alongside excellent rates of pay, equipment, training and career development.



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Key Information
  • Duration 10 days
  • Numbers 4 - 15
  • Altitude 5985m
  • Distance 82km
  • Challenge Moderate
  • Comfort Camping
Tanzania information
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