The Rongai Trailhead is Kilimanjaro's only route beginning from the north side and crossing the mountain. It is used by few trekkers. It joins with the Marangu Route on the final ascent to the summit on the fourth day, but otherwise few others are seen along the way. This route affords the opportunity to witness up-close the Mawenzi volcano, the second highest peak of Kilimanjaro, and the magnificent saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo Peak. Due to the rugged terrain and the very limited acclimatization time, fitness plays a huge role in the enjoyment and success of this trek. Each day you see many changes of vegetation and scenery, due to the rising terrain and decrease in precipitation. The accommodation is in mountain tents and dining is in our mess tents. Toilet tents with convenient and sanitary portable flush toilets are set up at all camps.
Itinerary (5 days / 4 nights on Kili):
Briefing Your guides will meet you at your hotel in Arusha or Moshi for a detailed briefing of the climb. Accommodation: hotel in Arusha or Moshi (D)
Transfer to Loitokitok gate (2000 m) - hike to Rongai 1 Caves camp (2830 m) Departure from Arusha will be at around 7:30 am for Loitokitok gate (ca. 4 hrs transfer), where you will complete the entry formalities and have lunch. You start trekking through fields and dense mountain rain forest to your first camp in the heather. 3-4 hrs trekking.
Accommodation: Rongai 1 Caves camp (B, L, D)
Rongai 1 Caves - Rongai 2 (3450 m) or Rongai 3 Caves camp (3950 m) About 4-5 hrs trekking through heather and moorland brings you to the second caves where you have lunch. If the weather is clear, Mawenzi will be in plain view - a stunning sight. Enjoy stopping to observe an exoctic heather-zone vegetation along the trail. If you are still very fit, you might continue to the Rongai 3 caves camp (ca. 2-3 hrs trekking), otherwise you stay overnight here.
Rongai 2 (or 3) - Outward Bound camp (4,750 m) From Rongai 2, it's about 5-7 hrs, from Rongai 3 about 3-5 hrs trekking, first through moorland and then into the highland desert, until you arrive in the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. The landscape grows more impressive and spectacular as you gain altitude. Prepare all your gear for the night ahead and turn in early to rest.
Accommodation: Outward Bound camp (B, L, D)
Outward bound camp - Gilman's Point (5712 m) - Uhuru Peak (5895 m) - Horombo camp (3110 m) A hot drink will arrive very early this morning. At about 1 am , you start trekking towards the rim of the crater, which you reach at Gilmans's Point (5,712 m) and from there to Uhuru Peak (7-8 hrs). The following descend to Horombo Camp is about 6-8 hrs. At the start of the trek at 1 am, temperatures usually be between -10 and 0 deg. and seomwhere between -12 deg. C (10 deg. F) to -23 deg. C (-10 F.) on or near the summit just before dawn. The slope is steep, with switchbacks, over loose rock and scree with some boulders as you near Gilman's Point. You will stop at hans Meyer cave on the way, the famous place that Kilimanjaro's first western climber described in jis journals. Once at Gilmans's Point (after ca. 5-6 hrs) at the edge of the crater, the trail becomes less steep and Uhuru Peak is reached after 1.5-2 hrs trekking along the usually snowy crater rim. After descending to Kibo hut, there is a pause for rest and food, then it's another 3-4 hrs to reach Horombo Camp. Total trekking time: 13-16 hrs.
Accommodation: Horombo camp (B, L, D)
Final descend - Transfer to Arusha It's a relaxed 5-6 hours trek straight down to Marango Gate, where you'll have lunch. After receiving your certificates and saying goodby to many of your crew, we'll bring you to the KIA lodge, where you can use day rooms for a shower, change cloths etc. In the afternoon, return to Arusha (or Moshi).
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