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Avoiding the more crowded Marangu and Machame routes, Rongai approaches the mountain from the north. The Rongai route starts just south of the Kenya-Tanzania border and has been almost unused for many years because the area was considered ‘sensitive’. Now open for climbing once again, experienced guides consider this ascent to be both easier and more beautiful than the main Marangu trail. The Rongai route begins in attractive farmland and delightful forest, with the possibility of wildlife viewing, and passes through several different climate zones, adding considerably to the interest of the trek. We also add an extra day to the standard five-day itinerary to ensure maximum acclimatisation and give ourselves the best possible chance of enjoying the magnificent scenery. Recent National Park statistics indicate that the chance of reaching the summit increases by at least 30% if an extra day is spent acclimatising. The deviation to Mawenzi Tarn is very beautiful and on a little used trail through moorland. This route retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north.
Day 1 – Moshi
Collection from Kilimanjaro airport, and transfer to Springlands Hotel located in Moshi Town close to the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Here you will have a climb briefing and time to prepare and overnight. Overnight at Springlands Hotel on a bed and breakfast basis.
Day 2 – Climb to Forest Edge Camp
After completing the necessary registration formalities at the National Park gate, we transfer to the start of the Rongai Route. The climb begins from the attractive wooden village of Nale Moru (1,950 m.) on a small path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering 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 Forest Edge camp is at the edge of the moorland zone (2,600 m.) with extensive views over the Kenyan plains. (3-4 hours walking).Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis.
Day 3 – Climb to Kikelewa Camp
The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the ‘Second Cave’ (3,450 m.) with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern icefields on the crater rim. After lunch, we 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.) (6-7 hours walking).Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis.
Day 4 – Climb to MAwenzi Tarn Camp
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb all round views and a tangible sense of total wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4,330 m.), 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). Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis.
Day 5 – Climb to School Camp
We cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach School Campsite (4,750 m.) 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). Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis.
Day 6 – Summit Day! Descend to Horombo Camp
We start the final day by torchlight at around 1 am. This is by far the steepest and most demanding part of the climb. Plodding very slowly in the darkness along a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree, we head for the crater rim and 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 refreshments, we continue the descent to reach our final campsite at Horombo (3,720 m.). (11-15 hours walking). Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis
Day 7 – Descend to National Park Gate – Moshi
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). When you finish the climb, there will be a vehicle waiting to meet you and transfer you back to your hotel in Moshi. Overnight at Springlands Hotel on a bed and breakfast basis.
Day 8 – Depart
Day at leisure including lunch before your final transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport airport for departure flight. We are happy to arrange a post climb safari or time to relax on the beaches of Zanzibar.