Kilimanjaro climb, Rongai route

“Much more than just a Kilimajaro climb, this is an adventure of huge achievement, team spirit and of incomparable views from the top of Africa's highest mountain.”

Highlights

Mount Kilimanjaro | Rongai route | Marangu | Rongai Forest | Kikelewa moorland | Mawenzi | Saddle lunar desert | Gilman's Point | Uhuru Peak | Mandara

Description of Kilimanjaro climb, Rongai route

It’s the world’s highest free-standing mountain and, reaching its 5,895m, Uhuru Peak is one transformative trek, especially taking the world famous Kilimanjaro Rongai route. A ten day small group holiday, trekking with expert guides, this challenging expedition consists of six full days of walking and climbing following the only route up to the summit from the north, close to the Kenyan border.

With full porterage throughout this Kilimanjaro climb, you do need a good fitness level for this tough but extremely rewarding trekking holiday although the Rongai route is, relatively, a more gentle approach than some other routes. The holiday also includes one day for acclimatisation, in the shadow of Mawenzi, one of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones.

The adventure starts in the village of Nale Moru where maize filled farmland quickly merges into the Rongai pine forests through which we climb up to the first camp at 2,600m, known aptly as First Cave. The landscapes keep changing from day to day after that, from the open moorlands that lead up to Mawenzi, the second volcanic peak, the moon like desert landscapes known as the'Saddle' between Mawenzi and Kibo cones, and then the ice fields and cliffs around the summit itself.

The final climb starts in the dark, trekking by torchlight to the rim of the crater at Gillman’s Point ideally to arrive for sunrise. Then it’s a snowy trek along the final path to the world famous Uhuru Peak where you will feel on top of the world. The descent uses the Marangu Route on the south east of the mountain and is at a slow, sustained pace.

Staying in hotels for two nights at the beginning and the end of the holiday, the rest of the trek involves five nights of camping in three man tents, with full service and even private toilet tents provided. Definitely the loos with the best views you will ever find.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Our top tip:
Take a generous supply of toilet roll.
Trip type:
Small group, 4-16 adults.
Activity level:
Challenging/tough.
Accomm:
2 nights hotel, 5 nights camping.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available for a £170 surcharge.
Meals:
All breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners.
Included:
Accommodation, transport, tour leader, park fee.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Kilimanjaro climb, Rongai route

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

Accommodation and Meals:
For the most part of the trip we will be camping. Spending these 5 nights in non-permanent accommodation creates a minimal impact on the environment by saving energy. Our chefs are local people and enthusiastic about sourcing ingredients locally, which keeps money in the area. Whilst trekking, the emphasis is on a varied and well balanced diet with a greater amount of fresh fruit and soup to maximise the daily intake of fluids. For the remainder of the trip, we will be using small, unique hotels or lodges which otherwise may not benefit from the commerce of tourist groups due to their size.

Activity:
Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a trekking trip. It is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively little resources to support. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem and our trip leaders encourage clients not to stray from paths to minimise this. We work with a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy, meaning we have respect for wildlife and the landscape, separate rubbish and take all burnable waste back to a proper disposal place. We also ask that clients consider using biodegradable toiletries and shower at lodges where electricity or solar power is used for hot water.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

A Fair Deal:
We are dedicated to providing fair treatment, wages and working conditions for our guides and porters. Despite wages being the biggest expenditure on ground, there is no temptation to pay less than what is deserved and as a result we pay one of the highest wages on Kilimanjaro. Alongside this, we always make sure there is sufficient food, fuel, shelter and medical attention with sick pay if necessary. The care for our local staff is not restricted to the trekking season: In the rainy months when work is restricted, we fund a project to teach English to porters and other staff in order to improve their career prospects. So far, with the support of our clients, the project has reached over 800 people in Arusha, Magangu and Tarekea.

Campaigning for Change:
Our dedication to local community is not just for those working for us. In Tanzania, we have funded a project which has managed to install 180 smokeless stoves in 9 villages across Geita and to teach over 90 young people how to build and use them. The benefits of this project have been incredible as the new stoves eliminate the myriad of health issues caused by prolonged exposure to smoke and take far less cooking time. There are also environemntal benefits as much less firewood is required to run the new stoves.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

11 Reviews of Kilimanjaro climb, Rongai route

4 out of 5 stars
SHOW
4
5
1
1
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Reviewed on 31 Aug 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It's hard to choose. Reaching the top? Even the tipping ceremony was wonderful, but the last day of the trek was probably the best. Beautiful surroundings and walking easily down hill with new friends knowing that Kilimanjaro had been achieved.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go slowly (pole pole) right from day 1. This helps your body to get ready for the hard summit day... and really believe that you can reach the top.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


40 local people were employed in getting us to the top providing income for skilled and non skilled people. After every camp all litter was picked up and carried with us and by staying on the trail the impact on the mountain was kept to a minimum

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


4 stars. It has been an amazing adventure, but it has also been the hardest thing I have ever done. Our group had marathon runners and 'iron man' people in it and we all agreed on that. Having said that, I could not have asked for better guides/cook/porters/weather and the hotel we stayed in before and after the trek was wonderful.

Reviewed on 22 Aug 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The entire trip was truly a once in a lifetime adventure - every day was exciting.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Learn some Swahili. Be prepared with extra toilet paper and underwear/socks.
Try to keep in mind leaving behind things you don't need (i.e., your hiking boots, extra clothing).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Unfortunately, Kilimanjaro isn't terribly strict w/ a pack it in, pack it out regulation. That being said, I think we did a good job re: a low environmental impact. And we did use a group that is part of the KPAP.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic!

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching the summit.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


NB:-
Make sure you read all the small print, such as you are not covered for falling ill (Operator never mention this)
You do not need a yellow fever jab which cost 45.00
Take plenty of toilet roll
Do not be pressurised to provide tips (you are under immense pressure to provide)
Do not book with this operator (they let me down on a number of issues including contacting me back when I needed support and advice. Refused to ring me back despite spending nearly £2,000 on this adventure.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes my adventure benefited local people.
However the environment was not protected as everywhere you went there were bits of litter, toilet roll everywhere.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


7/10

Reviewed on 31 Oct 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Most memorable will be reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro, not without the expert help from the guides, especially Dae. The team were fantastic, helpful, professional, considerate, and made everything as comfortable as possible, they were brilliant.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do exactly what it says on the can .....follow all instructions and you'll be fine. Practice putting your equipment and clothing for Kilimanjaro climb in and out of your bag, Make sure you know where everything is when you might need it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Local people were employed to take gear up the mountain, so they had employment. Disappointed that the amount of money going into the country for this purpose does not seem to be used to improve the 'drop toilets' and better equip some of the porters.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent, no faults, everything went as expected, if not more.

Reviewed on 02 Aug 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The staff and guides which made getting to the top of Kili possible. They were fantastic. Very well organised, happy, knowledgeable and we became great friends.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


To do what the guides recommend, get to know them, and enjoy what’s to come because the guides and staff and the personality of the mountain. Don’t go over board with the gear that you bring, a lot of people take too much with them.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes I feel it benefited local people as we stayed in the hotel (a local business) and spent a lot of money. I would like to thing that the environment was taking care of and well respected.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


5 star trip... loved every second of it.

Reviewed on 05 Mar 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The most memorable was meeting and making friends with our fellow trekkers, and sharing their highs and lows during the trip.
The most exciting part was reaching Uhuru Peak with my wife . I cried like a baby as I approached the sign. There were tears from everyone. Brilliant.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Prepare yourself properly. Physically and mentally. Summit night you will battle with both of these.
The toilets are a bit grim so you have to be prepared to put up with the sights and smells of the toilet tent.
Listen to your guides as they are very experienced.
We all got sunburned on the backs of our hands during the trip very badly . This was due to holding walking poles.
Try to protect your hands either with total sun block or a pair of thin silk gloves.
Get sun block on at midnight on summit night. It sounds stupid but the glaciers and surface snow will burn you badly.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I suppose it did as the hotel used local produce to feed it's guests.
Also guests buy lots of souveniers from local people and visited the local village attractions such as the waterfall and the museum.
It was sad to see how the everyday person on the street has to live. Between the airport and the hotel you can really see how hard it is for the Tanzanian people to scrape together a living.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was the hardest thing we have ever done, much mentally tougher than we thought. But reaching the summit was worth all the struggle. A true adventure and a great life experience.

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Getting to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro! The guides were just fantastic and there is no way that we could have done it without them. From singing to wiping my mouth when I puked up everywhere!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Not many - I guess read up on it if you can. Research the altitude sickness just so you know what might be coming.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutely. Even though their pay is minimal we provided 40 porters with work. It must be one of the better paid jobs in the area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


11 out of 10. Fantastic. Couldn't have enjoyed it more!

Reviewed on 08 Oct 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Actually reaching the very top, Uhuru Peak, of Kilimanjaro.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


For the Kili trek, I would recommend taking a nail brush (you won't believe how filthy your hands and nails get), aluminium drinking bottles as they can be used as hot water bottles at night and hiring a down jacket, sleeping mat and sleeping bag from the company as they are all good quality stuff and saves having to pack them.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, the porters are paid a fair wage and what gets carried up gets carried down too.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent!!

Reviewed on 07 Oct 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The sense of achievement and team unity when reaching the summit.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for a very dusty environment and to ensure you listen to the advice from the guides.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. Well organised with great interaction from all involved designed to give you the best experience.

Reviewed on 22 Jun 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The guides, porters and fellow travellers.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Speak to someone who has participated.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent

Reviewed on 24 Jan 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching Gillman's point, seeing the sunrise and the rays bounce off the clouds below.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Bring waterproof clothing.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We provided employment and also supplemented this by good tips. We were also careful not to leave any litter, although an earlier group left a trail of sweet papers behind them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The holiday was everything I expected of it. Rental of plastic waterproof trousers for 25 dollars) was very expensive; one could have bought a pair cheaper. Also the 1/2 Safari to Arusha was a rip off at $110, with no lunch and only approx 30 mins drive from the airport.

Read the operator's response here:

We welcome feedback from our travellers and are glad to hear this passenger enjoyed this trip. Unfortunately this passenger’s luggage did not turn up and they had to rent clothing from a shop for their climb. $25 for waterproof trousers is a standard price for hiring such equipment locally. They were helped to rent the clothing they needed but had to pay the going price from the shop which was not affiliated with our services and so outside our control.

The costs for the half day Arusha safari are primarily made up of park fees and vehicle hire. Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park, and lions absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas may be seen slinking around in the late afternoon, where there is the largest concentration of giraffe of any other park in East Africa. As it is an easy 60 kms from Kilimanjaro International Airport it can easily be visited in the course of a half-day outing.

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