Rongai: Kilimanjaro Climbing Route Review

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Rongai Route Review

Climbers seeking a more secluded trek up Kilimanjaro should consider the Rongai Route. This route approaches from the rarely-used northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro and descends through Marangu on the west, allowing climbers the chance to traverse the mountain throughout their expedition. Rongai offers climbers a remote trek in pristine wilderness, with a higher chance of spotting wildlife. While the trail is not steep, one of the drawbacks to the Rongai Route is that it has a less than ideal acclimatization profile.

Despite some advertisements that this route begins on the “Kenyan side” of Mount Kilimanjaro, the whole of Africa’s highest mountain is within the borders of Tanzania. The start of the Rongai route is closer to the Kenyan border than other routes, but the entire trek takes place exclusively in Tanzania.

Rongai is one of the few routes to ascend Kilimanjaro through the comfortable shade of coniferous forests instead of a tropical rainforest. Due to its remote nature, there is a higher chance of hikers spotting animals such as gazelles, buffalo and even elephants on this route.

Rongai’s trail gently ascends, avoiding steep hikes and is sometimes recommended for beginners as one of the easiest climbs up Kilimanjaro. However, this also results in a poor acclimatization profile for the Rongai Route: without steep ascents, it is not possible to follow the climber’s mantra of “climb high, sleep low”, which can result in climbers having difficulty at higher altitudes. Altezza addresses this concern by offering an additional acclimatization day to increase chances of success.

Travel Style and Conditions:
Camping
Service Level:
High
Physical rating:
Easy to Medium difficulty
Trip Type:
High-altitude hiking
Age requirements:
10 years
Total Route Length:
44 miles/72 km
Traffic:
Low
Trailhead:
Rongai gate

Rongai Route: Pros and Cons

There are some things to remember while choosing Rongai route:

Advantages:
  • Less crowded
  • Recommended during rainy season
  • Incredible view of Kilimanjaro throughout the climb
  • High chance of spotting wildlife
  • Considerably easy daily hikes
  • Descent via Marangu for a diverse trek
Things to consider:
  • Not ideal for acclimatization, due to overnight camp placements
  • Some find summiting through Kibo Hut camp harder than through Barafu

Kilimanjaro Rongai Route Map

Altezza offers Kilimanjaro treks on the Rongai Route in six- or seven-day adventures. Due to the more flat conditions of this route, which are not ideal for acclimatization, we highly recommend an additional day in order to increase your chances of successfully summiting.

However, those with prior acclimatization (such as a recent Mt Meru climb) or experienced climbers, may prefer the six-day option.

Accommodation on the Rongai route

Accommodations throughout Rongai are at designated overnight camps, where guests stay in Altezza’s special four-season tents.

Altezza provides all camping equipment such as living and dining tents and the climbing crew goes ahead of you so that your tent is ready when you arrive at the end of the day.

The types of tents used along Rongai Route include:

Living tents

High-quality tents built for mountain treks where you will sleep each night. The tents we offer Altezza guests are standard mountaineering tents (like the North Face VE-25 or Mountain Hardwear), or more spacious walk-in “space-stations” for those seeking more comfort on the climb. One of the benefits of the “space-station” style tents are that they are large enough to allow for camp cots for a more comfortable sleep. Each tent sleeps two hikers, but if you prefer your privacy you may pay for a single supplement to have a tent all to yourself.

Why a single supplement? Because an additional porter will need to be employed to carry your tent up the mountain. All Kilimanjaro climbing packages sold by tour operators include twin or even triple accommodation, and the number of crew is calculated accordingly, taking an extra tent means extra trip expenses.

Mess or dining tents

It is in these tents that you will enjoy your delicious meals throughout your trek. Small crews (up to 12 people), often use large space-station-type tents for this purpose. Larger parties may use rectangular-styled mess tents throughout their climb.

Both living and dining tents are made of high-quality, sturdy fabric to minimize the impacts of rain and wind and ensure your entire experience climbing Kilimanjaro is enjoyable.

Dmitry
Climbing Kilimanjaro Expert
“The equipment used largely determines if your expedition is safe and successful. In our climbs, we use only high-quality, branded tents, sleeping bags and other gear from the North Face, Black Diamond, Red Fox, and other well-known manufacturers”

Rongai Altitude Profile

Rongai’s best feature is also its main limitation: the flattened slope of the route. The gentle incline makes for a comfortable and easy hike for beginners, however it also results in overnight camping that does not follow the “climb high, sleep low” approach that is best for high-altitude acclimatization. The daily hikes leading up to the summit are relatively easy, however more climbers struggle with the higher altitude on summit day. To increase your chances of successfully reaching Uhuru Peak via Rongai Route, Altezza highly recommends a 7-day Rongai program to adjust to the higher altitude.

What is the Rongai Route Success Rate?

Sucess rate:
High | 95%

The seven-day Rongai option features a relatively high success rate. The current average for the seven-day itinerary is a 90% success rate, compared to the six-day option which is 75%.

How long does it take to hike the Rongai Route?

There are 6- and 7-day programs. We suggest the longer program for better acclimatization and the highest chance of success.

Rongai route: 8 or 9 days? What to choose?

The 9 day option is actually 7 days + 2 days in a hotel, all arranged in advance by Altezza. This is the best option to choose due to the additional acclimatization, which statistically results in a higher success rate. However, some climbers with prior acclimatization (such as summiting Mt Meru before attempting Mt Kilimanjaro) opt for the 8-day itinerary (6 days + 2 days in a hotel).

What is the Rongai Route Cost?

Because of its remote starting location of Rongai route trailhead - the northern face of Kilimanjaro - this route is a bit more difficult to access. It makes the price slightly higher than on the other Kilimanjaro routes. The higher price, however, is offset by low traffic and one-of-a-kind scenic vistas.

All payments in Tanzania are in USD only. The prices in RUB and EUR are given for informational purposes only.
All payments in Tanzania are in USD only. The prices in RUB and EUR are given for informational purposes only.

Our classic adventures are what the majority of climbers are looking for. The combination of great comfort and high safety standards makes our classic Kilimanjaro hikes enjoyable and memorable. This is the most popular option among our clients.

This climbing package includes everything that a climber may need for the hike - our experienced mountain crews, high-quality group equipment, nutritionist-designed meals. Our safety protocols, though, are the same for all our hiking adventures - only the guides with Wilderness First Responder certification are assigned to lead a party. Other safety measures include a supply of oxygen cylinders, complete medical kits and compulsory medical check-ups (two per day).

The progress of each trekking party is tracked with GPS device. You may share the link with your family and friends, who will be able to monitor your progress in a real-time mode.

Before and after the adventure you will stay in a good hotel with caring staff, hot water, reliable Wi-Fi, restaurant and swimming pool.

5 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8+ pax
Marangu route
Marangu route 7 days
$2 296 $1 869 $1 766 $1 688 $1 665 $1 597 $1 565 $1 547 Details

5-day climbing Marangu route + 2 days in a hotel

Marangu or “Coca-Cola” route is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro today. It is the only route where overnight stays are in huts. This makes Marangu a good option for hiking during the rainy season.

The route takes its start at the south-east of Mt Kilimanjaro. The entrance to the route, Marangu Gate, is quite close to our climbing base at Aishi Machame Hotel. The ride there takes about 1.5 hours.

This route features a well-trodden trail running through all the climate zones - from tropical rainforest to eternal ice, and will also will treat you to scenic African landscapes.

Being the most popular and the least expensive, the route may be crowded in July-September and December - March.

A 6-day option is strongly recommended over the 5-day one for better acclimatization.

5 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
Marangu route
Marangu route 7 days
1 pax
$2 296
2 pax
$1 869
3 pax
$1 766
4 pax
$1 688
5 pax
$1 665
6 pax
$1 597
7 pax
$1 565
8 pax
$1 547
6 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8+ pax
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 8 days
$2 838 $2 242 $2 109 $1 994 $1 938 $1 883 $1 840 $1 819 Details

6-day climbing Lemosho route + 2 days in a hotel

Featuring captivating scenic vistas, pristine wildlife, excellent acclimatization opportunities and low traffic of climbers, Lemosho is our personal first favorite for reaching the roof of Africa.

After a 4-hour long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate you'll find yourself on the western slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, from there the route will take you to the world-famous Shira Plateau. That's where you'll embark on your adventure through all climate zones - from alpine meadows to eternal ice. The climb is smooth and gradual, featuring the highest success rate of all routes on Kilimanjaro.

Six, seven and eight-day programs are available, so you can choose depending on the amount of time at your disposal. Longer programs are always recommended over the shorter ones for better acclimatization.

6 and 7-day Lemosho programs start from a high-altitude drop-off: you’ll be transferred to the elevation of 3,500 m/ 11,500 f by an off-road vehicle and start the hike from there. This is meant to maximize acclimatization transition - the higher you start, the easier your adaptation will be.

Machame route
Machame route 8 days
$2 724 $2 176 $2 033 $1 933 $1 873 $1 822 $1 786 $1 754 Details

6-day climbing Machame route + 2 days in a hotel

The second most popular option among the climbers is the Machame route, also known as “the Whiskey Route”. This route offers a wide variety of views, landscapes and experiences. The starting point of the route, Machame Gate, is only a 20-minute drive from Aishi Machame Hotel. Located on the southern slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, Machame Gate will lead you to the top of Kilimanjaro along the exciting footpath which starts at the tropical forest, then runs through all the climate zones and finishes with the Arctic desert in the summit area.

Camps along the trek are favorably located for a smooth and gradual acclimatization transition process. On the 3rd day Machame Route converges with Lemosho and Umbwe at Barranco camp.

You can choose between a six or seven-day climb. The latter one is highly preferred for better acclimatization transition.

Rongai route
Rongai route 8 days
$2 832 $2 239 $2 105 $1 991 $1 945 $1 880 $1 837 $1 817 Details

6-day climbing Rongai route + 2 days in a hotel

Rongai is the only route starting on the northern slope of Kilimanjaro. Though this part of the Mountain is rarely visited by hikers, it is not less interesting than the popular southern and western slopes. We recommend Rongai to all those who like reclusive hiking experiences.

Getting to the trailhead - Nalemuru Gate - usually takes 3-4 hours from Altezza Lodge or Aishi Machame Hotel.

Rongai is also the only route that passes by Mawenzi, one of the three volcanic cones of Kilimanjaro and the third highest peak in Africa. The way back lies through Marangu,  and thus you will be able to see both sides of the mountain.

Though six and seven-day programs are available, a longer option is recommended for better acclimatization transition.

Marangu route
Marangu route 8 days
$2 607 $2 127 $2 009 $1 920 $1 897 $1 822 $1 788 $1 771 Details

6-day climbing Marangu route + 2 days in a hotel

Marangu or “Coca-Cola” route is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro today. It is the only route where overnight stays are in huts. This makes Marangu a good option for hiking during the rainy season.

The route takes its start at the south-east of Mt Kilimanjaro. The entrance to the route, Marangu Gate, is quite close to our climbing base at Aishi Machame Hotel. The ride there takes about 1.5 hours.

This route features a well-trodden trail running through all the climate zones - from tropical rainforest to eternal ice, and will also will treat you to scenic African landscapes.

Being the most popular and the least expensive, the route may be crowded in July-September and December - March.

A 6-day option is strongly recommended over the 5-day one for better acclimatization.

Umbwe route
Umbwe route 8 days
$2 744 $2 196 $2 053 $1 953 $1 905 $1 842 $1 806 $1 790 Details

6-day climbing Umbwe route + 2 days in a hotel

Daring experienced climbers seeking adventure and challenge will find just what they want on Umbwe. A short steep climb traversing all the climate zones - from tropical rainforest to eternal ice - will put your strength and endurance to the test. Like no other route on Kilimanjaro Umbwe gives a sense of achievement to those who reach the summit.

Your first day on the mountain will start from Umbwe Gate and continue with a lengthy trek to the first camp on your way - Umbwe camp. In spite of the challenge that Umbwe poses to hikers, well thought-out location of camps will contribute to proper acclimatization.

The trek through Umbwe is available only as a 6-day program. Recommended only to experienced hikers in good physical shape.

6 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 8 days
1 pax
$2 838
2 pax
$2 242
3 pax
$2 109
4 pax
$1 994
5 pax
$1 938
6 pax
$1 883
7 pax
$1 840
8 pax
$1 819
Machame route
Machame route 8 days
1 pax
$2 724
2 pax
$2 176
3 pax
$2 033
4 pax
$1 933
5 pax
$1 873
6 pax
$1 822
7 pax
$1 786
8 pax
$1 754
Rongai route
Rongai route 8 days
1 pax
$2 832
2 pax
$2 239
3 pax
$2 105
4 pax
$1 991
5 pax
$1 945
6 pax
$1 880
7 pax
$1 837
8 pax
$1 817
Marangu route
Marangu route 8 days
1 pax
$2 607
2 pax
$2 127
3 pax
$2 009
4 pax
$1 920
5 pax
$1 897
6 pax
$1 822
7 pax
$1 788
8 pax
$1 771
Umbwe route
Umbwe route 8 days
1 pax
$2 744
2 pax
$2 196
3 pax
$2 053
4 pax
$1 953
5 pax
$1 905
6 pax
$1 842
7 pax
$1 806
8 pax
$1 790
7 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8+ pax
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 9 days
$3 131 $2 485 $2 329 $2 205 $2 145 $2 084 $2 037 $2 020 Details

7-day climbing Lemosho route + 2 days in a hotel

Featuring captivating scenic vistas, pristine wildlife, excellent acclimatization opportunities and low traffic of climbers, Lemosho is our personal first favorite for reaching the roof of Africa.

After a 4-hour long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate you'll find yourself on the western slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, from there the route will take you to the world-famous Shira Plateau. That's where you'll embark on your adventure through all climate zones - from alpine meadows to eternal ice. The climb is smooth and gradual, featuring the highest success rate of all routes on Kilimanjaro.

Six, seven and eight-day programs are available, so you can choose depending on the amount of time at your disposal. Longer programs are always recommended over the shorter ones for better acclimatization.

6 and 7-day Lemosho programs start from a high-altitude drop-off: you’ll be transferred to the elevation of 3,500 m/ 11,500 f by an off-road vehicle and start the hike from there. This is meant to maximize acclimatization transition - the higher you start, the easier your adaptation will be.

Machame route
Machame route 9 days
$3 017 $2 419 $2 253 $2 143 $2 078 $2 024 $1 984 $1 952 Details

7-day climbing Machame route + 2 days in a hotel

The second most popular option among the climbers is the Machame route, also known as “the Whiskey Route”. This route offers a wide variety of views, landscapes and experiences. The starting point of the route, Machame Gate, is only a 20-minute drive from Aishi Machame Hotel. Located on the southern slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, Machame Gate will lead you to the top of Kilimanjaro along the exciting footpath which starts at the tropical forest, then runs through all the climate zones and finishes with the Arctic desert in the summit area.

Camps along the trek are favorably located for a smooth and gradual acclimatization transition process. On the 3rd day Machame Route converges with Lemosho and Umbwe at Barranco camp.

You can choose between a six or seven-day climb. The latter one is highly preferred for better acclimatization transition.

Rongai route
Rongai route 9 days
$3 125 $2 482 $2 325 $2 202 $2 152 $2 081 $2 035 $2 018 Details

7-day climbing Rongai route + 2 days in a hotel

Rongai is the only route starting on the northern slope of Kilimanjaro. Though this part of the Mountain is rarely visited by hikers, it is not less interesting than the popular southern and western slopes. We recommend Rongai to all those who like reclusive hiking experiences.

Getting to the trailhead - Nalemuru Gate - usually takes 3-4 hours from Altezza Lodge or Aishi Machame Hotel.

Rongai is also the only route that passes by Mawenzi, one of the three volcanic cones of Kilimanjaro and the third highest peak in Africa. The way back lies through Marangu,  and thus you will be able to see both sides of the mountain.

Though six and seven-day programs are available, a longer option is recommended for better acclimatization transition.

7 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 9 days
1 pax
$3 131
2 pax
$2 485
3 pax
$2 329
4 pax
$2 205
5 pax
$2 145
6 pax
$2 084
7 pax
$2 037
8 pax
$2 020
Machame route
Machame route 9 days
1 pax
$3 017
2 pax
$2 419
3 pax
$2 253
4 pax
$2 143
5 pax
$2 078
6 pax
$2 024
7 pax
$1 984
8 pax
$1 952
Rongai route
Rongai route 9 days
1 pax
$3 125
2 pax
$2 482
3 pax
$2 325
4 pax
$2 202
5 pax
$2 152
6 pax
$2 081
7 pax
$2 035
8 pax
$2 018
8 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8+ pax
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 10 days
$3 509 $2 770 $2 577 $2 437 $2 369 $2 300 $2 247 $2 232 Details

8-day climbing Lemosho route + 2 days in a hotel

Featuring captivating scenic vistas, pristine wildlife, excellent acclimatization opportunities and low traffic of climbers, Lemosho is our personal first favorite for reaching the roof of Africa.

After a 4-hour long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate you'll find yourself on the western slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, from there the route will take you to the world-famous Shira Plateau. That's where you'll embark on your adventure through all climate zones - from alpine meadows to eternal ice. The climb is smooth and gradual, featuring the highest success rate of all routes on Kilimanjaro.

Six, seven and eight-day programs are available, so you can choose depending on the amount of time at your disposal. Longer programs are always recommended over the shorter ones for better acclimatization.

6 and 7-day Lemosho programs start from a high-altitude drop-off: you’ll be transferred to the elevation of 3,500 m/ 11,500 f by an off-road vehicle and start the hike from there. This is meant to maximize acclimatization transition - the higher you start, the easier your adaptation will be.

Northern Circuit
Northern Circuit 10 days
$3 509 $2 770 $2 577 $2 437 $2 369 $2 300 $2 247 $2 232 Details

8-day climbing Northern Circuit + 2 days in a hotel

The longest and the newest route on Mount Kilimanjaro, Northern Circuit, is known for excellent acclimatization and breathtaking views of the Kilimanjaro northern slopes. For the present moment a very limited number of travelers have set foot on this trail, and the route is hardly ever crowded.

It is recommended to those who enjoy long trekking experiences in remote wilderness with a minimal number of other trekkers around.

It takes at least eight days to climb Kilimanjaro through the Northern Circuit which is why the route boasts a very high success rate. A 9-day extended version with crater camping is also available for an incredible wilderness adventure on Africa’s highest volcano.

8 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 10 days
1 pax
$3 509
2 pax
$2 770
3 pax
$2 577
4 pax
$2 437
5 pax
$2 369
6 pax
$2 300
7 pax
$2 247
8 pax
$2 232
Northern Circuit
Northern Circuit 10 days
1 pax
$3 509
2 pax
$2 770
3 pax
$2 577
4 pax
$2 437
5 pax
$2 369
6 pax
$2 300
7 pax
$2 247
8 pax
$2 232
10 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8+ pax
Kilimanjaro Crater route
Kilimanjaro Crater route 12 days
$4 265 $3 851 $3 767 $3 708 $3 649 $3 605 $3 582 $3 564 Details

10-day climbing Kilimanjaro Crater route + 2 days in a hotel

The extended version of Northern Circuit route includes two extra days to get proper acclimatization before overnighting at Crater Camp. Situated close to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro at the altitude of 5790 m, this is the highest overnight possible at the equator, so we will do our utmost to make your Kilimanjaro climb comfortable, as well as unforgettable. Only a lucky few can lay claim to having seen the night skies at this altitude and they are indeed a sight to behold: Kilimanjaro Glaciers against the backdrop of the Milky Way! While such ascents are never without their risks, the Altezza Travel Team has both the expertise and equipment to ensure your safety at Kilimanjaro Crater Camp.

10 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
Kilimanjaro Crater route
Kilimanjaro Crater route 12 days
1 pax
$4 265
2 pax
$3 851
3 pax
$3 767
4 pax
$3 708
5 pax
$3 649
6 pax
$3 605
7 pax
$3 582
8 pax
$3 564
The climb cost includes:

Transfers:

  • Pick-up and drop-off at Kilimanjaro International Airport;
  • Transfer to the trailhead - entry gate to Kilimanjaro National Park;
  • Pick-up at the exit from Kilimanjaro National Park and transfer to the hotel;

Entry fees:

  • All park fees collected by the Kilimanjaro National Park ( conservation fees, camping fees, crew fees, vehicle fee, rescue fee and all other fees collected by the Tanzania National Parks Authority).

Accommodation:

  • One night at 3* hotel (Aishi Machame Hotel or Altezza Lodge) before the expedition and one night after; The hotels have everything for your comfortable stay - caring staff, nice rooms, reliable Wi-Fi, restaurant and swimming pool);
  • Tented accommodation on Mount Kilimanjaro (modern, comfortable 4-Season tents North Face VE-25 or Altezza Kilimanjaro Tents).

Please note:

All accommodation is on sharing basis (i.e. you will be sharing with your travel companion a twin/double room in the hotel and a tent during the hike. If you travel alone, we will match you with a same-sex adventurer).

Meals:

  • Breakfast in the hotel before and after the hike;
  • All meals on the hike. Our Kilimanjaro diet includes energy-rich and highly nutritious meals prepared by our professional high-altitude cooks.A typical diet on Kilimanjaro includes different soups, garnishes, several types of fish and meat, fresh fruit and vegetables; vegetarian/gluten-free/halal options are available at no extra cost;
  • All drinks on the hike (coffee, tea, hot chocolate and water).

Hiking and safety equipment

  • 4-inch (10-cm) thick and comfortable sleeping mats;
  • All group equipment (spacious and comfortable dining tent, camping table and chairs, crockery and cutlery);
  • Oxygen cylinders and oximeters;
  • GPS-tracking service;
  • Complete medical kits.

Climbing crew:

  • Professional guides, licensed by Kilimanjaro National Park. All our guides are the holder of Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness First Aid certifications. All our guides have 7+years of successful mountaineering experience;
  • Dedicated support crew (assistant guides, camp master, porters, cooks, etc.).
The climb cost excludes:
  • Airline tickets;
  • Visa fee;
  • Lunch and dinner at the hotel (before and after the ascent);
  • Personal gear rentals;
  • Tips for the mountain crew (200–250 USD per person);
  • Mountaineering insurance.
All payments in Tanzania are in USD only. The prices in RUB and EUR are given for informational purposes only.

Our premium Kilimanjaro adventures include certain extra features, such as spacious walk-in tents, advanced meal plan on the hike, portable shower and toilet, camp cots, insurance package, satellite phone for staying in touch with family and friends and some other upgrades on Kilimanjaro. It is the highest quality service a luxury-focused climber can get here.

Safety protocols for the premium adventures include mandatory Wilderness First Responder Certification of all our guides, oxygen cylinders, medical kits and compulsory medical check-ups (two per day). Helicopter evacuation insurance package is also included in the cost price.

Before and after your trip you will be staying in a 5* hotel in Arusha (full board basis), where a special celebration dinner will be served at the end of your trip.

5 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8+ pax
Marangu route
Marangu route 7 days
$6 049 $4 558 $4 381 $4 077 $4 061 $3 858 $3 866 $3 764 Details

5-day climbing Marangu route + 2 days in a hotel

Marangu or “Coca-Cola” route is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro today. It is the only route where overnight stays are in huts. This makes Marangu a good option for hiking during the rainy season.

The route takes its start at the south-east of Mt Kilimanjaro. The entrance to the route, Marangu Gate, is quite close to our climbing base at Aishi Machame Hotel. The ride there takes about 1.5 hours.

This route features a well-trodden trail running through all the climate zones - from tropical rainforest to eternal ice, and will also will treat you to scenic African landscapes.

Being the most popular and the least expensive, the route may be crowded in July-September and December - March.

A 6-day option is strongly recommended over the 5-day one for better acclimatization.

5 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
Marangu route
Marangu route 7 days
1 pax
$6 049
2 pax
$4 558
3 pax
$4 381
4 pax
$4 077
5 pax
$4 061
6 pax
$3 858
7 pax
$3 866
8 pax
$3 764
6 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8+ pax
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 8 days
$7 367 $5 457 $5 178 $4 828 $4 767 $4 526 $4 523 $4 393 Details

6-day climbing Lemosho route + 2 days in a hotel

Featuring captivating scenic vistas, pristine wildlife, excellent acclimatization opportunities and low traffic of climbers, Lemosho is our personal first favorite for reaching the roof of Africa.

After a 4-hour long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate you'll find yourself on the western slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, from there the route will take you to the world-famous Shira Plateau. That's where you'll embark on your adventure through all climate zones - from alpine meadows to eternal ice. The climb is smooth and gradual, featuring the highest success rate of all routes on Kilimanjaro.

Six, seven and eight-day programs are available, so you can choose depending on the amount of time at your disposal. Longer programs are always recommended over the shorter ones for better acclimatization.

6 and 7-day Lemosho programs start from a high-altitude drop-off: you’ll be transferred to the elevation of 3,500 m/ 11,500 f by an off-road vehicle and start the hike from there. This is meant to maximize acclimatization transition - the higher you start, the easier your adaptation will be.

Machame route
Machame route 8 days
$7 235 $5 380 $5 092 $4 757 $4 706 $4 469 $4 472 $4 337 Details

6-day climbing Machame route + 2 days in a hotel

The second most popular option among the climbers is the Machame route, also known as “the Whiskey Route”. This route offers a wide variety of views, landscapes and experiences. The starting point of the route, Machame Gate, is only a 20-minute drive from Aishi Machame Hotel. Located on the southern slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, Machame Gate will lead you to the top of Kilimanjaro along the exciting footpath which starts at the tropical forest, then runs through all the climate zones and finishes with the Arctic desert in the summit area.

Camps along the trek are favorably located for a smooth and gradual acclimatization transition process. On the 3rd day Machame Route converges with Lemosho and Umbwe at Barranco camp.

You can choose between a six or seven-day climb. The latter one is highly preferred for better acclimatization transition.

Rongai route
Rongai route 8 days
$7 361 $5 454 $5 174 $4 825 $4 774 $4 530 $4 527 $4 390 Details

6-day climbing Rongai route + 2 days in a hotel

Rongai is the only route starting on the northern slope of Kilimanjaro. Though this part of the Mountain is rarely visited by hikers, it is not less interesting than the popular southern and western slopes. We recommend Rongai to all those who like reclusive hiking experiences.

Getting to the trailhead - Nalemuru Gate - usually takes 3-4 hours from Altezza Lodge or Aishi Machame Hotel.

Rongai is also the only route that passes by Mawenzi, one of the three volcanic cones of Kilimanjaro and the third highest peak in Africa. The way back lies through Marangu,  and thus you will be able to see both sides of the mountain.

Though six and seven-day programs are available, a longer option is recommended for better acclimatization transition.

Marangu route
Marangu route 8 days
$6 825 $5 145 $4 920 $4 578 $4 530 $4 312 $4 309 $4 174 Details

6-day climbing Marangu route + 2 days in a hotel

Marangu or “Coca-Cola” route is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro today. It is the only route where overnight stays are in huts. This makes Marangu a good option for hiking during the rainy season.

The route takes its start at the south-east of Mt Kilimanjaro. The entrance to the route, Marangu Gate, is quite close to our climbing base at Aishi Machame Hotel. The ride there takes about 1.5 hours.

This route features a well-trodden trail running through all the climate zones - from tropical rainforest to eternal ice, and will also will treat you to scenic African landscapes.

Being the most popular and the least expensive, the route may be crowded in July-September and December - March.

A 6-day option is strongly recommended over the 5-day one for better acclimatization.

Umbwe route
Umbwe route 8 days
$7 255 $5 400 $5 112 $4 777 $4 726 $4 489 $4 492 $4 357 Details

6-day climbing Umbwe route + 2 days in a hotel

Daring experienced climbers seeking adventure and challenge will find just what they want on Umbwe. A short steep climb traversing all the climate zones - from tropical rainforest to eternal ice - will put your strength and endurance to the test. Like no other route on Kilimanjaro Umbwe gives a sense of achievement to those who reach the summit.

Your first day on the mountain will start from Umbwe Gate and continue with a lengthy trek to the first camp on your way - Umbwe camp. In spite of the challenge that Umbwe poses to hikers, well thought-out location of camps will contribute to proper acclimatization.

The trek through Umbwe is available only as a 6-day program. Recommended only to experienced hikers in good physical shape.

6 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 8 days
1 pax
$7 367
2 pax
$5 457
3 pax
$5 178
4 pax
$4 828
5 pax
$4 767
6 pax
$4 526
7 pax
$4 523
8 pax
$4 393
Machame route
Machame route 8 days
1 pax
$7 235
2 pax
$5 380
3 pax
$5 092
4 pax
$4 757
5 pax
$4 706
6 pax
$4 469
7 pax
$4 472
8 pax
$4 337
Rongai route
Rongai route 8 days
1 pax
$7 361
2 pax
$5 454
3 pax
$5 174
4 pax
$4 825
5 pax
$4 774
6 pax
$4 530
7 pax
$4 527
8 pax
$4 390
Marangu route
Marangu route 8 days
1 pax
$6 825
2 pax
$5 145
3 pax
$4 920
4 pax
$4 578
5 pax
$4 530
6 pax
$4 312
7 pax
$4 309
8 pax
$4 174
Umbwe route
Umbwe route 8 days
1 pax
$7 255
2 pax
$5 400
3 pax
$5 112
4 pax
$4 777
5 pax
$4 726
6 pax
$4 489
7 pax
$4 492
8 pax
$4 357
7 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8+ pax
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 9 days
$7 968 $5 899 $5 564 $5 185 $5 107 $4 853 $4 841 $4 705 Details

7-day climbing Lemosho route + 2 days in a hotel

Featuring captivating scenic vistas, pristine wildlife, excellent acclimatization opportunities and low traffic of climbers, Lemosho is our personal first favorite for reaching the roof of Africa.

After a 4-hour long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate you'll find yourself on the western slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, from there the route will take you to the world-famous Shira Plateau. That's where you'll embark on your adventure through all climate zones - from alpine meadows to eternal ice. The climb is smooth and gradual, featuring the highest success rate of all routes on Kilimanjaro.

Six, seven and eight-day programs are available, so you can choose depending on the amount of time at your disposal. Longer programs are always recommended over the shorter ones for better acclimatization.

6 and 7-day Lemosho programs start from a high-altitude drop-off: you’ll be transferred to the elevation of 3,500 m/ 11,500 f by an off-road vehicle and start the hike from there. This is meant to maximize acclimatization transition - the higher you start, the easier your adaptation will be.

Machame route
Machame route 9 days
$7 978 $5 893 $5 525 $5 150 $5 075 $4 820 $4 810 $4 667 Details

7-day climbing Machame route + 2 days in a hotel

The second most popular option among the climbers is the Machame route, also known as “the Whiskey Route”. This route offers a wide variety of views, landscapes and experiences. The starting point of the route, Machame Gate, is only a 20-minute drive from Aishi Machame Hotel. Located on the southern slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, Machame Gate will lead you to the top of Kilimanjaro along the exciting footpath which starts at the tropical forest, then runs through all the climate zones and finishes with the Arctic desert in the summit area.

Camps along the trek are favorably located for a smooth and gradual acclimatization transition process. On the 3rd day Machame Route converges with Lemosho and Umbwe at Barranco camp.

You can choose between a six or seven-day climb. The latter one is highly preferred for better acclimatization transition.

Rongai route
Rongai route 9 days
$8 111 $5 970 $5 609 $5 219 $5 144 $4 882 $4 866 $4 721 Details

7-day climbing Rongai route + 2 days in a hotel

Rongai is the only route starting on the northern slope of Kilimanjaro. Though this part of the Mountain is rarely visited by hikers, it is not less interesting than the popular southern and western slopes. We recommend Rongai to all those who like reclusive hiking experiences.

Getting to the trailhead - Nalemuru Gate - usually takes 3-4 hours from Altezza Lodge or Aishi Machame Hotel.

Rongai is also the only route that passes by Mawenzi, one of the three volcanic cones of Kilimanjaro and the third highest peak in Africa. The way back lies through Marangu,  and thus you will be able to see both sides of the mountain.

Though six and seven-day programs are available, a longer option is recommended for better acclimatization transition.

7 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 9 days
1 pax
$7 968
2 pax
$5 899
3 pax
$5 564
4 pax
$5 185
5 pax
$5 107
6 pax
$4 853
7 pax
$4 841
8 pax
$4 705
Machame route
Machame route 9 days
1 pax
$7 978
2 pax
$5 893
3 pax
$5 525
4 pax
$5 150
5 pax
$5 075
6 pax
$4 820
7 pax
$4 810
8 pax
$4 667
Rongai route
Rongai route 9 days
1 pax
$8 111
2 pax
$5 970
3 pax
$5 609
4 pax
$5 219
5 pax
$5 144
6 pax
$4 882
7 pax
$4 866
8 pax
$4 721
8 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8+ pax
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 10 days
$8 610 $6 361 $5 962 $5 552 $5 455 $5 187 $5 165 $5 022 Details

8-day climbing Lemosho route + 2 days in a hotel

Featuring captivating scenic vistas, pristine wildlife, excellent acclimatization opportunities and low traffic of climbers, Lemosho is our personal first favorite for reaching the roof of Africa.

After a 4-hour long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate you'll find yourself on the western slope of Mt Kilimanjaro, from there the route will take you to the world-famous Shira Plateau. That's where you'll embark on your adventure through all climate zones - from alpine meadows to eternal ice. The climb is smooth and gradual, featuring the highest success rate of all routes on Kilimanjaro.

Six, seven and eight-day programs are available, so you can choose depending on the amount of time at your disposal. Longer programs are always recommended over the shorter ones for better acclimatization.

6 and 7-day Lemosho programs start from a high-altitude drop-off: you’ll be transferred to the elevation of 3,500 m/ 11,500 f by an off-road vehicle and start the hike from there. This is meant to maximize acclimatization transition - the higher you start, the easier your adaptation will be.

Northern Circuit
Northern Circuit 10 days
$8 778 $6 445 $6 019 $5 594 $5 506 $5 215 $5 189 $5 044 Details

8-day climbing Northern Circuit + 2 days in a hotel

The longest and the newest route on Mount Kilimanjaro, Northern Circuit, is known for excellent acclimatization and breathtaking views of the Kilimanjaro northern slopes. For the present moment a very limited number of travelers have set foot on this trail, and the route is hardly ever crowded.

It is recommended to those who enjoy long trekking experiences in remote wilderness with a minimal number of other trekkers around.

It takes at least eight days to climb Kilimanjaro through the Northern Circuit which is why the route boasts a very high success rate. A 9-day extended version with crater camping is also available for an incredible wilderness adventure on Africa’s highest volcano.

8 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
Lemosho route
Lemosho route 10 days
1 pax
$8 610
2 pax
$6 361
3 pax
$5 962
4 pax
$5 552
5 pax
$5 455
6 pax
$5 187
7 pax
$5 165
8 pax
$5 022
Northern Circuit
Northern Circuit 10 days
1 pax
$8 778
2 pax
$6 445
3 pax
$6 019
4 pax
$5 594
5 pax
$5 506
6 pax
$5 215
7 pax
$5 189
8 pax
$5 044
10 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax 7 pax 8+ pax
Kilimanjaro Crater route
Kilimanjaro Crater route 12 days
$7 878 $7 024 $6 756 $6 672 $6 576 $6 483 $6 456 $6 538 Details

10-day climbing Kilimanjaro Crater route + 2 days in a hotel

The extended version of Northern Circuit route includes two extra days to get proper acclimatization before overnighting at Crater Camp. Situated close to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro at the altitude of 5790 m, this is the highest overnight possible at the equator, so we will do our utmost to make your Kilimanjaro climb comfortable, as well as unforgettable. Only a lucky few can lay claim to having seen the night skies at this altitude and they are indeed a sight to behold: Kilimanjaro Glaciers against the backdrop of the Milky Way! While such ascents are never without their risks, the Altezza Travel Team has both the expertise and equipment to ensure your safety at Kilimanjaro Crater Camp.

10 days climbing + 2 days in a hotel
Kilimanjaro Crater route
Kilimanjaro Crater route 12 days
1 pax
$7 878
2 pax
$7 024
3 pax
$6 756
4 pax
$6 672
5 pax
$6 576
6 pax
$6 483
7 pax
$6 456
8 pax
$6 538
The climb cost includes:

Transfers:

  • Meet-and-greet service at Kilimanjaro
  • Airport VIP Lounge on arrival and departure
  • Pick-up and drop-off at Kilimanjaro International Airport;
  • Transfer to the trailhead - entry gate to Kilimanjaro National Park;
  • Pick-up at the exit from Kilimanjaro National Park and transfer to the hotel.

Entry fees:

  • All park fees collected by the Kilimanjaro National Park ( conservation fees, camping fees, crew fees, vehicle fee, rescue fee and all other fees collected by the Tanzania National Parks Authority).

Accommodation:

  • One night at Legendary Lodge 5* (Arusha) before the expedition and one night after. The hotel has the highest service standards to be found in Northern Tanzania;
  • Tented accommodation on Mount Kilimanjaro (modern, comfortable 4-Season tents walk-in Altezza Kilimanjaro Tents).

Please note: 
By default, you will be sharing a tent with your travel companion. Single occupancy in tents is available upon request.

Meals:

  • Full Board in the hotel;
  • All meals on the hike. Our Kilimanjaro premium diet features upgraded, nutritionist-designed meal plan with different soups, garnishes, several types of fish and meat, fresh local and imported fruits and vegetables; vegetarian/gluten-free/halal options are available;
  • All drinks on the hike (juices, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and water);
  • Bottled water for the whole climb;

Hiking and safety equipment

  • 4-inch (10-cm) thick and comfortable sleeping mats;
  • Camping cots;
  • All group equipment (spacious and comfortable dining tent, camping table and chairs, crockery and cutlery);
  • Sleeping bag Mountain Hardwear Lamina Z Flame (Comfort -15℃);
  • Portable toilet;
  • Portable shower;
  • Oxygen cylinders and oximeters;
  • Insurance package, which covers helicopter evacuation;
  • GPS-tracking service;
  • Complete medical kits;
  • Satellite phone.

Climbing crew

  • Professional guides, licensed by Kilimanjaro National Park. All our guides are the holder of Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness First Aid certifications. All our guides have 7+years of successful mountaineering experience;
  • Dedicated support crew (assistant guides, camp master, porters, cooks, etc.).
The climb cost excludes:
  • Airline tickets;
  • Visa fee;
  • Personal gear rentals;
  • Tips for the mountain crew (300–350 USD per person).

Dates and Prices

Rongai Route Gallery

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dima is a Tanzania-based travel expert with multiple Kilimanjaro hikes under his belt. He contributed his knowledge and skills to many notable expeditions, including Wings of Kilimanjaro 2019, BASE-jump trip with Red Bull, National Geographic trips and many other adventures.

At Altezza Travel Dima is the Kilimanjaro Expeditions Coordinator. Every year he supervises the departure of over 1500 Kilimanjaro trekkers, appoints the guides and makes sure that everything goes as planned before, during and after the expedition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How busy is the Rongai Route?

Rongai is one of the least busy routes, making it an ideal option for those who are after a secluded Kilimanjaro trek and are hoping to spot the maximum amount of wildlife on the mountain.

Rongai Route vs. Machame

Rongai and Machame are very different routes, and are almost completely on different ends of the spectrum in terms of popularity and crowds: Machame is one of the most popular routes and has high traffic, while Rongai is less-frequented with fewer hikers.

Other differences between these two hikes are that they ascend through different sides of the mountain (Rongai from the north, Machame from the south). Also, Rongai’s summit through Gilman’s Point is considered to be more challenging than Machame’s approach to the peak.

Rongai Route begins in a cool coniferous forest, while Machame treks through tropical rainforest, making this a more taxing hike. Rongai, on the other hand, descends through the Marangu Route which also passes through tropical rainforest, but at the end of your trek.

Rongai vs Marangu

While these two routes are quite different, Rongai and Marangu merge at the final summit. The Rongai Route also descends through Marangu’s trail, making for a diverse expedition that offers trekkers the chance to experience more of Mount Kilimanjaro with an ascent and descent through different trails. While they have a shared ending, Rongai’s trailhead begins at the northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro, while Marangu starts in the east.

Marangu is the busiest of all Kilimanjaro treks, whereas Rongai is one of the less-frequented and more quiet routes available on Kilimanjaro. Due to the remote nature of the trek, Rongai is slightly more expensive than Marangu.

Climbers sleep in huts along Marangu Route, which is sometimes preferred during the rainy season. Alternatively, while Rongai is an exclusively camping route, it is also a great option during the rainy season as the northern side of the mountain gets significantly less rain than other routes.

All Marangu Route itineraries (5- or 6-day treks) are more physically challenging than Rongai. Rongai offers one of the easiest hiking options up Kilimanjaro, due to a gentle slope of the trail and no steep incline

Rongai vs Lemosho

Some of the similarities between Rongai and Lemosho routes include that both options have recommended 7-day programs, which are an excellent choice for novice climbers. Also, both routes have low-traffic throughout the trek.

However, Lemosho Route features a better acclimatization profile than Rongai due to the opportunities to ‘climb high, sleep low’. Another difference between these two treks are their starting locations: Rongai begins in a shaded forest, while Lemosho’s trek starts in an open plateau: both are amazing experiences, so choose based on your personal preference.

Lemosho’s route takes a western approach to Mount Kilimanjaro, and Rongai climbs the northern side of the mountain. In the rainy season, Rongai is a much better option for drier climbing than Lemosho.

Rongai vs Northern Circuit

Rongai is one of the few routes offering the option to traverse the mountain from north to east. However, if climbers want to circuit almost all of Mount Kilimanjaro, then they should consider the Northern Circuit Route. Keep in mind, Northern CIrcuit is the longest route (the shortest available program is an 8-day itinerary), and thus does come at a higher price point.

Hiking on the Northern Circuit Route presents more challenges than Rongai (which is often considered the easiest of Kilimanjaro climbs), however, there is a better acclimatization profile for Northern Circuit because of the locations of the camps throughout this route. As it is a longer trek, there is also more hiking on the Northern Circuit climb than on the Rongai Route.

What is the best time to hike Rongai?

Any time of year Rongai Route is a good choice for climbers.

The Rongai Route is the only Kilimanjaro route which climbs to the peak of Kilimanjaro from the north. One of the main draws of climbing from this direction is that it receives significantly less rain than other areas of the mountain during the rainy season. If you’re considering a climb during the months of March-June, or early December, then Rongai may be a great option for you.

Year-round, this trek is beautiful and is especially appealing to climbers who want to avoid the high-traffic routes such as Marangu and Machame.

How hard is the Rongai Route?

Summiting the highest mountain in Africa is a challenge and each route presents unique difficulties. The Rongai Route is considered to have easy daily hikes, but less than ideal acclimatization. New climbers, or those seeking a trek without steep inclines should consider the 7-day Rongai itinerary. Altezza recommends climbing groups give themselves an additional day to adapt to the high altitude and increase their chance of reaching the summit. Rongai Route is a great option for climbers who are willing to ‘climb smarter, not harder’ and allow themselves to properly acclimatize. To understand more about the importance of acclimatization, check out our in-depth article here.

For experienced climbers, or those with prior acclimatization to higher altitudes (such as a recent Mt Meru trek) might consider the 6-day Rongai option.

For adventure-seekers not totally confident in their fitness level, consider our Lemosho Route (7 days) for another option that might better suit you.

Conclusion - Why Choose Rongai Route to Hike Kilimanjaro

The Rongai Route to summit Mount Kilimanjaro is an excellent option for climbers during the rainy season, or those who want to avoid the crowds on more popular routes. Rongai Route offers hikers the chance to hike more of the mountain as they traverse from north to west, all with a higher possibility of spotting wildlife due to its remote nature.

Climbers should keep in mind Rongai’s daily treks are less challenging than many other hikes on Kilimanjaro, but it has a poor acclimatization profile due to the location of overnight camps. Therefore, teams should consider adding an additional day for acclimatization and increased chance of reaching Uhuru Peak through Rongai Route.

Reviews

Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes

There are six routes leading to the peak of Kilimanjaro. Each route has something special to offer. Some are known for great acclimatization, others for epic panoramic landscapes. Two of them - Lemosho and Machame - are our favorites.They combine great acclimatization transition and high scenic value. Though Machame is sometimes crowded, Lemosho is always a great choice. You should not, however, think that the other routes are bad. Despite the fact that acclimatization on other routes may be more challenging, the hiking experiences are nevertheless unique.