Rongai, being the only way to approach Kilimanjaro from the north, goes through the picturesque views of the rainforest and the second highest point of Tanzania – the Mawenzi volcano. Rongai is great for those travellers who have already got high altitude experience and are willing to escape the crowds of other climbers since this route is quite far from the town.
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will be picked up from Arusha(1400m and driven to the Marangu Gate 1980m. At the gate, the porters will organize and pack the belongings for the hike while you and your guide register with the Tanzania National Park Tanapa. You will then be transferred by vehicle to the Rongai trailhead, which is 2.5 hours away from the Managu Gate. The trail begins in the tall cornfields then leads into the pine forest. This trail has a gradual ascent and allows hikers to enjoy their surroundings. About halfway up the trail you will have a lunch break and you will reach the 1st Caves Camp (2600m) in the late afternoon or early evening. The porters and chef, who move very fast up the mountain, will reach camp before you and set up your tents, boil drinking water, and prepare snacks for your arrival. After washing up, a hot dinner will be served. For overnight, mountain temperatures may drop to freezing so be prepared!
Meals & Drinks:
Following a hot breakfast, hikers will continue their ascent to Kikelewa Cave (3600m). The trail passes Second Cave (3450m) and this is a good spot to take a lunch break. Similar to the first night, your tents will be set up prior to arriving at camp and the porters will prepare drinking and washing water for you. You will enjoy evening snacks then dinner prepared by our chef. Be prepared for a cold night as temperatures drop below freezing at this exposed camp.
On this day, hikers will enjoy a short, yet steep trail to Mawenzi Tarn Camp (4330m). In the moorland, you will spot exotic plants, including giant lobelia and groundsel. At camp, hikers will enjoy spectacular views and allow their bodies to acclimate. Hot dinner and washing water will be prepared for hikers as they enjoy the magnificent sunset.
After breakfast, hikers will continue ascending east for a half-day hike to Kibo Hut. Kibo is located in the “Saddle,” which refers to the area located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo in an alpine desert. There is no water at this camp, but hikers can buy mineral water and soft drinks at the camp office. An early dinner will be served so hikers can rest before attempting the summit the same night. Your guide will brief you in detail on how to prepare for summit night. Get to sleep by 19:00!
Your guide will wake you around 23:30 for tea and biscuits. You will then begin your summit attempt. The trail is rocky up to Hans Meyer Cave (5150m). You continue your ascent to Gillman’s point (5681m). Reaching this section is an impressive achievement as the trail is steep, rocky, and at high altitude. Gillman’s is located on the crater rim. From this point, you will usually experience a snow covered trail until you reach the summit, Uhuru Peak (5895m). Reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is a lifetime accomplishment! You will be able to spend a short time on the summit taking photographs and drinking tea before the descent to Barafu begins. The hike down to Kibo Hut takes about 3 hours.At Kibo Hut, you will rest and enjoy a hot lunch in the sun. After eating, you will continue descending down to Horombo Hut (3720m). You will have a dinner, wash, and rest soundly at the hut after a strenuous day.
You will wake up early in the morning (midnight to 2:00 am), and you will continue your way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You will head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. At Stella Point (18,600 ft), you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are likely to ever see (if the weather permits). From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. At Uhuru Peak, you’ll have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. From the summit, you will now make your descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut Campsite, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, you will enjoy your last dinner on the mountain.
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