Rongai Route – The Only Northern Approach Trail on Kilimanjaro - Mountain IQ

Rongai Route – The Only Northern Approach Trail on Kilimanjaro

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This page provides a comprehensive and impartial guide to climbing Kilimanjaro via the Rongai Route.

Please note: We are not a tour operator, but we can put you in touch with our recommended partner, see details below.

As this is a very long and detailed article on the Rongai Route, we recommend using the quicklinks below to navigate to the sections that interest you most. Alternatively, bookmark this page for future reference.

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Rongai Route

Overview

The Rongai Route is the only trail which starts on the Northern, or Kenyan side of Mount Kilimanjaro, and it receives the least traffic of all the guided trails up the mountain (except for the Northern Circuit). As the Northern side of the mountain is less inhabited and touristy, trekkers will experience unspoilt wilderness and possibly see large wildlife such as antelope, elephant and buffalo.

The Rongai Route, while flatter than other Kilimanjaro routes, does not offer hikers the opportunity to climb high and sleep low, and therefore it can be difficult for trekkers to acclimatize properly. While the Rongai route can be climbed in six days, it is highly recommended that trekkers take seven or eight days to experience this beautiful trail, allowing their bodies extra time to acclimatize.

As the Northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro receives less rain, trekkers are more likely to have clear, unclouded views of Uhuru Peak.

Rongai Pros and Cons

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    Only Northern approach to Kilimanjaro
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    Relatively quiet trail with amazing panoramic views of Kilimanjaro
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    Good summit success rates on the 7-day variation
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    Long drive to the start point

Rongai Route Map

The map illustrates the Rongai Route, which begins on the Northern (Kenyan) side of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The summit approach is via Gilman's Point on the eastern side of Uhuru Peak. 

Descent is via the Marangu route.

Rongai-Route-Map

Rongai Altitude Profile

The schematic diagram shows the altitude profile for the six-day Rongai Route.

7-day trek, climbers spend an additional acclimatization day at Mwenzi Tarn before continuing on.

Rongai-altitude

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Rongai Itinerary

While a trekker's best chance of success lies with the seven route, the Rongai Route is also operated as a six-day trek. Below is a detailed itinerary for the six-day route. For details on the longer variations, see the Route Variations section below.

Click each day to read more...

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Rongai Route Variations

The Rongai route can be climbed as a six, seven or eight-day trek. For the seven-day trek, climbers spend an additional acclimatization day at Mwenzi Tarn before continuing on. Eight-day trekkers will also spend a night at Rongai Second Cave on day two before continuing on to Kikelewa Camp.

Video Overview

Watch this video summary of the seven-day Rongai Route assembled in 2011 by Brian Reilly. It gives a great flavour of the varied landscape and terrain of Mount Kilimanjaro. It also includes some great music and snapshots of the local culture.

Get a Kilimanjaro Trek Quote

We do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote from our recommended partner click Get a Quote.

Recommended Guidebook

mount-kilimanjaro-guide

Mount Kilimanjaro: Trekkers Guide to the Summit

Mount Kilimanjaro: Trekkers Guide to the Summit is a practical and super insightful guidebook that has been used by 1000s of climbers as an authoritative resource to prepare for Mount Kilimanjaro.

The book is available on Amazon Kindle or an eBook version can be downloaded here.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the Rongai Route cost?

Are permits required for the Rongai Route?

When is the best time to trek the Rongai Route?

Is altitude sickness a risk?

How difficult is the Rongai Route?

What gear do I need?

What travel insurance do I require?

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