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Kilimanjaro Rongai
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Kilimanjaro Rongai Route treks

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... follow a 5 or 6 night trail which approaches from the north-east and represent the best shorter options on the mountain.

Shorter treks of this nature are usually best suited to trekkers who are slightly less confident about their fitness and ability to cope with the rigors of sleeping out on the mountain, or who are unable to commit the amount of time or money needed for a longer trek.

Rongai experiences approximately a tenth of the traffic of either the Marangu and Machame trails. Having said that, most of the traffic is clustered around the Sunday and Monday departures, so choose another start day if you really want to maximise the chances of having the place to yourself.

The route also offers much better altitude acclimatisation than other shorter routes, largely thanks to the third night spent up high at Mawenzi Tarn and the afternoon hike up towards 4500m on the jagged subsidiary peak of Mawenzi. Some people opt to extend the trek to six nights in order to improve acclimatisation, although the advantages are marginal.

However it is worth noting that the summit success rate remains significantly higher on longer treks such as those on the Shira and Lemosho trails.

Some people regard the Rongai Trail as being not quite as scenically varied as those longer and more strenuous western routes, although in truth the sections around Mawenzi Tarn and across The Saddle are particularly cool.

A slight disadvantage of the Rongai Route comes on the summit day. The trails from the west and south-west all summit from Barafu Camp, whereas Rongai and Marangu both summit from Kibo Hut. Although the altitudes are comparable, the trail from Kibo reaches the crater rim further round from the summit, meaning that trekkers need to walk an additional 700m of gradual uphill. This might not sound like much, but at these altitudes it represents a not inconsiderable additional effort. Since reaching the crater rim is sufficient to gain a summit certificate, a good number of people choose to turn back at this point, more so than on other routes. That said, since the introduction of ALTOX Personal Oxygen Systems, the proportion of our trekkers continuing to the summit has increased considerably.

Another disadvantage is that the last two days of this route share the same trail with the potentially busy Marangu Trail, although by this stage most trekkers are less concerned about the aesthetics and more focused on just getting down.


Recommended Rongai Route trek variants ...

Rongai 5g ... is a high specification non-technical five night group trek on this route, one of our most popular options, with a summit success rate of 88% and a guide price of USD 2100. Treks depart for the mountain throughout the main trekking seasons 15DEC/10MAR and 05JUN/10NOV, for groups of up to fifteen trekkers. It usually runs once per week, departing for the mountain on Sunday, but during high demand periods an extra departure is often added on Monday.

Rongai 5p ... is a high specification non-technical five night private trek on the same route, which tends to work out slightly more expensive for 1-4 trekkers, slightly lower cost for 5+ trekkers. The summit success rate is also 88%. Treks can start any day of the year, subject to availability.


Other Rongai Route trek variants ...

Rongai 5e ... is a budget non-technical five night group trek on the same trail, with a summit success rate of 77% and a guide price of USD 1700. Only suitable only for trekkers for whom price is the overriding consideration.

Rongai 6p ... is a high specification non-technical six night private trek on the same route, but with second extra day added in for altitude acclimatisation, with a summit success rate of 89% and a guide price of USD 2300-2600, depending on the group size. Arguably the 'easiest' option, but possibly a little dull on the first three days. Treks can start any day of the year, subject to availability.
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