Rongai

Climber stories up the Rongai route.

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Climber Stories & Advice

  1. Don Page
    October 19, 2012 | Permalink

    I just returned from my first hike up Kilimanjaro. We chose the Rongai route as you get to see both sides of the mountain and sleep in tents. Good Earth Tours was the outfitter and did a good job. We took 4 days to hike up staying at Simba Camp, Kikelwa Camp, Mawenzi Tarn and then Kibo. Mawenzi Tarn was a great last camp as we hiked up the Mawenzi Peak above camp enjoying great view and then coming down to sleep lower. The hike from Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo was great as the trail to Gilman’s Point was in view the entire time!

    After resting at Kibo until about midnight, the trek to Uhuru Peak started. We had GREAT weather with little wind and no rain or snow. Getting to Gilman’s was a long and very slow climb. All you read about the scree and last bolder field is correct, it is very taxing and requires focus on the goal. From Gilman’s to Stella Point and then on to Uhuru Peak is demanding but less steep – you need to be prepared for the 1.5 hours to continue to the highest peak.

    Making the highest point is a great feeling and the view of the ice fields, clouds and valleys below are thrilling. However, for me the hike down to Kibo proved to be the most challenging due to my knee. I was not able to “ski the scree” down, instead hiking all the switchbacks thus adding a great deal of time and mileage to the descent. This was one of, if not the hardest desent I have done! Then after a short rest at Kibo, because my desent took so long, we continued down the Marangu trail about 7 miles to Horombo Hut and our final night on the trail. The next day was a long descent, for me on a very sore knee, to Marangu gate.

    This was an amazing hike and tested my physical and mental capabilities.

    • ddorr
      October 19, 2012 | Permalink

      Don,
      Great update. Thanks for sharing your own Kilimanjaro Adventure. Glad you made it to the summit and back safely. If you have any photos, please let us know. I’d love to see what the route looked like for you.

      Thanks,
      –Daniel

  2. Steve Williamson
    November 9, 2011 | Permalink

    Did Rongai in October 2008. We paid for an extra day to acclimate. The sales people said the extra day would be at 14 000 feet to get used to higher altitude before the final hike up . But our guide insisted that we hike to 14000 and return to the same 12800 elevation to sleep for a second night. We felt a bait and switch that was for the convenience of the guide, not for benefit. However, our guide was insistent and he proved to be right. Sleeping at higher elevations is how people get sick. The other key to success is to learn to walk sloooooow-leeeeee. I thought the guide was always telling me to slow down because he thought I’d wear out. But the guide was training our muscle memory–to make walking slowing and breathing in synch–so that when we started the final night hike from 15400 to 19400 that we would have the discipline needed. We made it to the top. people who were hiking faster did not. Lesson learned: listen to the guide; do what the guide says; do only what the guide says.

    • Annette
      September 11, 2013 | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your story. My husband and I are still planning our trek, with the Rongai route as our preferred, with an extra night of sleeping lower than a previous night. Don’t see many outfitters offering this option, but, with your comments in mind, I think that’s what we’ll do.

      Now, I guess planning proceeds to a short safari portion of our trip. Thanks again for your advice!

      • ddorr
        September 11, 2013 | Permalink

        Good luck Annette! I think you’ll really enjoy it. I did Rongai as a 7 day climb and loved it. That iconic view of Kilimanjaro and the Kibo summit formation is amazing. If you haven’t done so already, please join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kissingkilimanjaro to share your adventure and inspire others.

  3. March 31, 2010 | Permalink

    I loved this route. Climbing up the northern side mean we only saw one other group for the first 4 days and it was really dry with lots of sun and great views of the mountain. We also ascended pretty slow and steady, so I felt like I had lots of energy to tackle the summit by the time we got to Kibo camp. The other great thing was we went up via Rongai and then down via Marangu. So on the way down we got to spend a full day in the thick rain forest, see monkey and another side of the mountain. It was really cool to see the different sides of Kilimanjaro.

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