The Rongai route is the one and the only route that approaches from the northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro, along the Kenya – Tanzania border. The Rongai route is a moderately challenging trail that offers a gentle approach towards Uhuru Peak, which is the main summit. We strongly recommend the Rongai route as one of the routes for climbers who are first-timers or with less trekking, hiking, and backpacking experience.

Best route when it is raining

Even though we recommend the 8 days Lemosho route as the best overall route, each route is unique on Mount Kilimanjaro in its own unique way. As fo Rongai Route, it is the best route when it is raining because the route runs along the leeward side of Mount Kilimanjaro. This area near the Kenyan-Tanzanian border, Loitokitok to be precise receives very little rain through out the year as compared to all the other routes, making it ideal for the rainy season climbs.

N.B: Rongai trail follows a gentler and flatter slope than the other routes on Mount Kilimanjaro but does not offer climbers the experience of climbing high and sleeping low. Altitude sickness affects climbers more here on the Rongai Route as compared to the other routes and an additional day or extra time for acclimatization is recommended and required.

Rongai is a low-traffic route and the only one that begins from the Kenyan side of Mount Kilimanjaro which borders the Amboseli national park, meaning you will be lucky enough to see some wildlife ( elephants, antelope, zebra, buffalo. Apart from Amboseli’s wildlife, you will as well encounter different vegetation zones of Mount Kilimanjaro like the Rainforest on the way down to Marangu Gate, heath, and moorland including the saddles’ desert-like surroundings on your way up.

Plan your climb on the Rongai route

  • Distance: The Rongai route trail is 72 kilometres (44 miles) long
  • Location: The Rongai route runs from the northeastern side towards the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, near the Kenya – Tanzania border.
  • Height: The accent to Mount Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru peak summit reaches a staggering 5,895 metres (19,341 feet) in height.
  • Trail conditions: Rongai Route’s location on the northeast of Mount Kilimanjaro gets receives less humidity and rain as compared to the southern slopes. Climbers will less likely experience fewer rain conditions.

Rongai route success rate

The highest success rate of reaching the Uhuru peak summit via the Rongai Route is the 7 days Rongai route itinerary that includes an extra day for acclimatization with a success rate of around 80%.  The 6 days itinerary that excludes that extra acclimatization day has a lower summit success rate of 65%.

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  • Do not expect to shower for a week, and make sure you carry a lot of wet wipes.
  • Stay strong and mentally fit even when you encounter challenges on your way up the mountain.
  • You can select your favourite or inspiring songs to keep you company while climbing; especially during the summit night.
  • You will experience altitude sickness, one way or the other no matter how experienced you are. Just be prepared mentally.
  • Consider adding an extra day for acclimatization to minimize the effects of altitude sickness.
  • Also, consider trying out different camping experiences before your Rongai Route climb to get familiar with camping environments.
  • To avoid blisters which might limit your summiting success, try out your boots and add extra insoles for more comfort while walking on the mountain.
  • Take it slow on the mountain and conserve your energy on the mountain. Slow but sure!

About the Rongai route

The Rongai Route is located on the leeward side of Mount Kilimanjaro otherwise referred to as the rain shadow side of the mountain. This side receives less precipitation in the form of rainfall. Even in the rainy season, Rongai receives less rain as compared to the other routes on the Southern side of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The route begins at the Rongai Gate traversing several vegetation and climate zones on mount Kilimanjaro and offering great views of the mountain surroundings.

All along the way to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the snow-capped Kilimanjaro is visible as you follow the scenic route to the summit, Uhuru peak.

The Rongai Route’s descent follows a different approach via the popular Marangu route, which has considerably higher traffic, whereby you are able to see the mountain from both sides.

Rongai Route Map & Location

The northeastern side of the mountain receives much less precipitation than the southern slopes, reducing the likelihood of rain for hikers. Trekkers are also more likely to see the peak in bright, unobstructed light. These factors make the Rongai route, the best route for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro during the rainy season.

Rongai Route Map

Summiting with the Rongai Route and Descent

Summit to Uhuru Peak starts off at night from Kibo Hut, which is a steep slope, and the trail that uses the same trail used by the Marangu Route climbers going past Gilman’s Point towards Uhuru Peak, which is the summit point.

After the summit, going down the mountain, descent for The Rongai Route follows the Marangu trail.

The 7 Day Rongai Route Itinerary

This itinerary allows us to spend 7 days and 6 nights on the mountain. It will take you 5 and a half days to climb and just 1 and a half days to descend! The path enters from the east and follows the Rongai route through the Mawenzi Tarn in the foothills of Kilimanjaro’s magnificent Mawenzi – a subsidiary summit. You’ll stay here for a day to acclimate before going on to the peak. The additional day at Mawenzi includes walking across a region of breathtaking landscape, which greatly improves the route’s success rates.

Rongai Route 6 & 7 Day Tours

Frequently asked questions

Below are the frequent and important questions concerning the Rongai Route climb

The only route on the Kenyan side of the mountain, the Rongai route up Kilimanjaro is the flattest of all the routes. But it makes it more difficult to sleep low and climb high. This route takes between six and eight days to finish.

Most climbers are required to pay Mount Kilimanjaro fees, which are usually used to maintain the Kilimanjaro national park and the mountain. All the fees are included in our itineraries as all Tranquil Kilimanjaro are all-inclusive Kilimanjaro tours.

Tranquil Kilimanjaro crew and driver will pick you up at the airport to your recommended hotel before and after your Mount Kilimanjaro climbing tour. Travellers flying into Tanzania from the UK, the US, Australia or Canada and various parts of the world can find sources for best flight options to Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Make sure you cross-check to make sure you have packed the correct climbing gear which may include various compulsory items like waterproof gear, headlamps, hiking boots, non-disposable water bottles and more items which can be found here.

Even though you can climb the Rongai Route all year round, the best months are during the months of January–March and June–October while the less favourable months of climbing the Rongai Route are the wet and cold months of April, May and November. During these wet months, make sure your packing list contains waterproof gear.

Check out our Mount Kilimanjaro gear list

Remember, the more you are fit, the better, any physical training you partake will come in handy, to make your climb enjoyable and somehow easier. If your goal is to summit by reaching Uhuru Peak, you will have to train harder.

The Rongai Route scenery has less traffic hence is one of the unexplored wilderness. Since the route lies along the northern side of Kilimanjaro it is located near the Kenya – Tanzania border where the Amboseli National Park is located, the Rongai Route scenery brings along the fascinating wildlife views of the Amboseli. You have a higher chance of seeing wildlife on the Rongai Route than any other route. You also enjoy eye-catching sceneries as you pass the different vegetation and climatic zones of the Kilimanjaro, which include, moorlands, high alpine zones and eventually the glacial zone.

The average Rongai Route success rate is 80% but only if you choose the 7-day trek which includes an extra day for acclimatization. The 6 day Rongai Route itinerary excludes the extra acclimatization day has a success rate of  65%.

The whole Rongai Route distance from the beginning of the trail from the gate to the summit is 72km or 44 miles.

How difficult is the Rongai route?

The Rongai route is not difficult to climb and is categorized among the easier routes to access Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit.

The Rongai trail slope is somehow flatter, easy to climb while the climb is both gradual and consistent. However, the Rongai Route does not follow the ‘walk high, sleep low’ principle which makes it a challenge, causing altitude sickness. Compared to Machame or Lemosho routes in terms of acclimatization, the Rongai Route is somehow not friendly unless you add an extra acclimatization day. Tranquil Kilimanjaro offers both 6 and 7-day climbs, with the 7 days being the better option as it offers an extra acclimatization day.  You are required to be fit physically even though the route does not demand much from climbers but the trails are strenuous.

If you don’t intend to climb the dreaded Great Barranco Wall then  Rongai Route should be your choice.

Advantage of using the Rongai Route, the Pros

The Rongai route is one of the rarely used routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. This means that traffic towards the summit will be considerably low as few climbers access this route as you explore the virgin wilderness and beautiful scenery that will marvel you. Since the route runs along the Kenyan border near the Amboseli national park, you might see some wildlife roaming nearby.

Rongai Route Disadvantages, the cons

On the Rongai route, you cannot follow the “climb high, sleep low” principle of mountain climbing which means you are like to suffer more from altitude sickness because the terrain of the Rongai Route does not make it easy to acclimatize.

There is a solution for this however as you can add an extra day for acclimatization at Mawenzi Tarn on our 7-day climb itinerary.