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Less crowded because of its remote location the route offers trekkers a unique wilderness experience where it is possible to see large wildlife like antelope, elephant and buffalo. As there is typically less moisture on this side of the mountain you are less likely to encounter rain and have more unclouded views of the peak. While it is flatter, it does not give the climb high sleep low option and therefore recommended to select more days for acclimatization.
The Rongai route is one of the easier routes up Kilimanjaro. Rongai is the only route to approach Kilimanjaro from the north and the descent is via the Marangu Route.Summit night from Kibo Hut is steep and follows the same path taken by the Marangu route which passes Gilman’s Point to Uhuru Peak.
After completing the necessary registration formalities at Rongai National Park gate. The climb begins on a small path that winds through the pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently, but gently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the beautiful Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp, Rongai One, is at the edge of the moorland zone (2,600 m) with extensive views over the Kenyan plains. [2-3 hours walking]
This is only a morning walk up to the campsite at ‘Second Cave’ (3,450 m). The walk is a steady ascent with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern icefields on the crater rim. The afternoon can be spend enjoying the view over the Kenyan plains or doing a short acclimatisation walk up towards Third Cave. [3-4 hours walking]
We now leave the main trail and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Our campsite is in a sheltered valley with giant senecios near Kikelewa Caves (3.600 m) After lunch, there is time to explore the valley or to rest. [3-4 hours walking]
A short but steep climb is rewarded by superb allround views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m), spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatisation. [3-4 hours walking]
We cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite (4,700m) at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night! [5-6 hours walking]
We will start the final, and by far the steepest and most demanding, part of the climb by torchlight around 1 a.m. We plod very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point (5,685 m) We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo (4,700 m) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshment, we continue the descent to reach our final campsite at Horombo (3,720 m). [11-15 hours walking]
A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Hut (2,700m), the first stopping place at the Marangu route. We then continue descending through lovely lush forest on a good path to the National Park gate at Marangu (1,830 m). [5-6 hours walking]