10 Days / 9 Nights - Package, Kilimanjaro 6 Day Rongai Trek / 3 Day Safari
The Rongai Route is more scenic than the Marangu Route, easier than the Machame Route, and the success rate on the Rongai is very high. Unlike the Marangu Route where you sleep in huts, on the Rongai you sleep in tents (tents are included), and the porters will pitch your tent for you. Meals are served in a dinner tent or on a blanket outside. The Rongai starts on the north side of the mountain just south of the Kenyan border, and is one of the least traveled routes. The Rongai joins the Marangu for the summit climb, then you descend the Marangu Route on the mountain’s southeast side, so you see Kilimanjaro from many view points.
There are two versions of this trek – a direct 6-day itinerary, and a 7-day itinerary that takes a longer route. The more expedient 6-day itinerary is described below and the longer variation is described in the extra days section.
Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the Hotel or similar hotel in Moshi for your overnight.
Moshi (915 m/3,000 ft) to Nale Muru (1,950 m/6,400 ft) to Simba Camp (2,750 m/9,020 ft) 9 km, 4 hours Montane Forest,
Your day starts early with breakfast and a briefing. Transfer by Land Rover through many villages and coffee plantations for 4-5 hours to the attractive wooden village of Nale Muru (1,950 m/6,398 ft). After signing in and preparing the porters, you begin the hike on a wide path winding through fields of maize and potatoes, then enter the pine forest. You then start to climb gently but consistently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. The forest begins to thin and Simba Camp (2,600 m/8,530 ft) is near the “First Cave” at the edge of the moorland zone with extensive views over the Kenyan plains.
Simba Camp (2,750 m/9,020 ft) to Second Cave (3,450 m/11,320 ft) 7 km, 3-4 hours Moorland, Your morning walk is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave. En route, you will enjoy superb views of Kibo and the eastern ice fields on the crater rim.
Second Cave (3,450 m/11,320 ft) to Third Cave (3,870 m/12,700 ft)10 km, 4 hours,
Your continuing steady ascent takes you up to the Third Cave. Closer now, the eastern ice fields on the crater rim continue to draw you upwards. On this day, be careful to notice any signs of altitude sickness.
Third Cave (3,870 m/12,700 ft) to Kibo Huts (4,695 m/15,400 ft)8 km, 5 hours Alpine Desert,
Today, you hike up to the Kibo Huts at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall, and this is where you join the popular Marangu Route. Plan on doing your hike early in the day, then resting in preparation for your final ascent. Prepare your equipment and warm clothing for your summit climb, then turn in early.
Summit Day Kibo Huts (4,695 m/15,400 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft) to Horombo Huts (3,690 m/12,100 ft) 4 km up, 14 km down 10-15 hours Alpine Desert,
Wake at midnight to a light breakfast, then prepare for your summit ascent. The goal is to climb before dawn so that you can reach Uhuru Peak shortly after sunrise. Leave at 1 AM, switchback up steep scree or possibly snow, and reach Gilman’s Point on the crater rim at 5,861 m/18,640 ft between 5 and 7 AM. Here, views of the fabled crater and its icecaps greet you. Another 2 hours of hiking along the crater rim near the celebrated snows take you to Kilimanjaro’s true summit, Uhuru Peak, by 9 AM. This is Africa’s highest point, and you would have to travel more than 3,000 miles toward the Himalayas to find a higher peak! Be sure to have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends. After your summit stays, descend back to the Kibo Huts, have lunch, rest, collect your things, and recross the saddle to the Horombo Huts. Eat dinner and get some well-deserved sleep!
You do the beginning of this climb in the dark with headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is, by far, the most difficult part of the trek. Slowly slowly, or, “pole pole,” and an optimistic attitude will get you there!
Horombo Huts (3,690 m/12,100 ft) to Marangu Gate (1,830 m/6,000 ft) to Moshi (890 m/2,920 ft) 18 km, 5-7 hours
Wake as usual, pack, and descend through the moorland to the Mandara Huts. Have lunch there then continue your triumphant recessional down through lush forest to the park gate, which you should reach around 2 or 3 PM. Remember to tip your guides, cooks, and porters, since you will be leaving them here. A vehicle will take you back to the Hotel or similar hotel in Moshi, where it is definitely time for celebration!
Drive from Moshi to Lake Manyara National Park, which takes about 4 hours. After having a picnic lunch in Manyara, you start a late afternoon game drive, which is the best time to view animals in this park. When you approach it from the East Rift Valley escarpment looms on the horizon forming an impressive back droid to the lake. In the tall trees of the ground water forest, monkeys leap from branch to branch, on the escarpment elephants stand in the shade of a baobab. Other animals frequently seen are zebras, impalas, monkeys, giraffes, buffalos, hippos, and others. Overnight at the Hotel or similar hotel – full board.
Enjoy a half day game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater. This is the best place in Tanzania to see black rhino as well as the pride of lions that includes the magnificent black-maned males. There are lots of colorful flamingoes and a variety of water birds. Other game that you may see includes leopard, cheetah, hyena, other members of the antelope family, and small mammals. Drive back to the Hotel for lunch. In the late evening, you can walk through coffee plantations to enjoy watching birds and waterfalls. Return to the Hotel for dinner and overnight.
The drive from the Hotel to Tarangire National Park takes three hours. This park is spectacular in the dry season when many of the migratory wildlife species come back to the permanent waters of the Tarangire River. Huge herds of wildebeest, zebras, elephants, elands, and oryx gather to stay in Tarangire until the onset of the rain when they migrate again to good grazing areas. Then, in the late evening drive back to the Hotel in Moshi.