The Rongai 9 Day trip follows the same route as the Rongai 8 Day trip except that there is an additional acclimatization day on Day 5. The route begins in Moshi when you arrive on day 1 at Stella Maris Lodge. The climb begins at the remote, northern side of Kilimanjaro, near the Kenyan border. We hike through a true wilderness area towards the jagged Mawenzi Peak, then cross a barren desert saddle, before climbing up Kibo’s eastern crater wall.
The Rongai route is a more gradual ascent, and is therefore preferred by those with little or no backpacking experience, but is equally enjoyable for even the most hardened trekkers. As mentioned above, an additional acclimatization day on Day 5 is added. During this day, we will do additional acclimatization hikes around and up to the saddle towards Camel’s Back.
Our trips begin and end at Stella Maris Lodge in Moshi. Clients may arrive at any time on day one. There is a pre-trip meeting at 6:00 PM. Private transfers from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) to Stella Maris Lodge can be arranged.
Elevation and Mileage
- Elevation (Feet)
- Distance (Miles)
- Elevation (Feet)
- Distance (Miles)
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Arrive anytime at Stella Maris Lodge in Moshi, Tanzania. With prior arrangement, airport pickup and private transfers to the Stella Maris Lodge are available from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), or simply make your own way by taxi. We will gather in the evening for a pre-climb briefing and an equipment check. We will also confirm you have the appropriate mandatory medical coverage and travel insurance.
We take a ride to Marangu to complete the necessary registration formalities, before transferring by SUV to Rongai. The climb begins from Nale Moru (6,400 ft) on a small path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering a pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently, but gently through an attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail. The forest begins to thin out at the edge of the moorland zone. Then, we take in the expansive views over the Kenyan plains as we arrive at our first campsite at Rongai One Camp (8,500 ft). [3-4 hours walking]
The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave (11,300 ft) with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern Icefields on the crater rim. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out and head southeast across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Our campsite is in a sheltered valley, decorated with giant senecios near Kikelewa Caves (11,800 ft). [6-7 hours walking]
A short but steep climb is rewarded by superb all-around views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (14,200 ft), spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatization. [3-4 hours walking]
We have an additional day to acclimatize. We explore the area with a walk up onto the Saddle towards Camel’s Back. We return back to camp at Mawenzi Tarn (14,200 ft). [2-3 hours walking]
We cross the lunar desert of the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo Hut (15,400 ft) at the bottom of the crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for an early morning final ascent. [5-6 hours walking]
We start the final and most demanding part of the climb by torchlight around 1 a.m. We plod very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point (18,600 ft). We rest here for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three-hour round trip to Uhuru Peak (19,345 ft), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo Hut (15,400 ft) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshments, we continue the descent to Horombo Huts (12,200 ft). [11-15 hours walking]
A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Huts (8,900 ft). We then continue descending through lovely lush forest on a good path to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate at Marangu (6,000 ft), where we are transferred back to Stella Maris Lodge in Moshi. [5-6 hours walking]
After breakfast, we can arrange for a private transfer or taxi to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).