Kilimanjaro Rongai Route
... approaches from the remote northeast, summits from Kibo Hut and descends via the Marangu Trail to the southeast.
The five night variant is by far the most popular. Some people opt to extend to six nights in order to improve altitude acclimatisation, but in reality the advantages are marginal.
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 rigours 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
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.
However it is worth noting that the summit success rate remains significantly higher on longer treks such as those on the Shira
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 5p
... is a non-technical five night private trek, one of our most popular options. It has a very good summit success rate of 88% and decent traffic avoidance, especially for departures Mon/Tue. The price range is USD 1900-3500 depending on the specification level and the number of trekkers.Rongai 6p
... is a non-technical six night private trek, with second extra day added in for altitude acclimatisation, arguably the 'easiest' option on the mountain, but possibly a little dull on the first three days. It has a very good summit success rate of 89% and decent traffic avoidance, especially for departures Tue/Wed. The price range is USD 2200-3950 depending on the specification level and the number of trekkers.