An important thing to remember when it comes to hiking a mountain such as Kilimanjaro is that while one route might be considered 'easier,' it always depends on the hiker and their skills. In the case of Africa's largest mountain - which is actually a dormant volcano - the Rongai route has long been hailed as one of the easiest ways to summit this monster of a climb.

Kilimanjaro sits at an altitude of 19,341 feet, which is only 10,000 feet closer to earth than Mount Everest, by comparison. Therefore, acclimatization, endurance, and tolerating the elements are all relevant concerns when climbing Kilimanjaro for the first time. And, if you are, it's best that you find yourself on the Rongai route rather than any other.


Traffic And Time Spent On The Rongai Route

Interestingly enough, although the Rongai route is the easiest way to the top of Kilimanjaro, it's also one of the least crowded treks. The reason for this is likely due to the fact that it's somewhat less scenic (save for the views from the top). Since the Rongai route is the only trail on the north side of the mountain, its views are not what they are from the south side, which is home to more scenic vistas and, by extension, longer and more challenging ascents. It begins from the border of Kenya and takes trekkers through some wooded environments before joining up with the Marangu Route. On the way down, trekkers will likely take the Marangu route so it's not entirely viewless.

It's recommended that trekkers spend at least seven days on this trail but a total of eight days is even better. In terms of acclimatization, the trek up the mountain is steady and consistent, with gradual inclines. That's why the route is recommended for beginners and those who do not have high-altitude or long-haul trek experience. In regard to the weather, the Rongai route is often the best in that respect. As opposed to the south side routes, Rongai gets far less precipitation and remains dry much of the year. The rainy season in the region is from April to May and October through December, so Rongai is a good choice for anyone who's planning a trip during this time.

Related: Why The Everest Base Camp Trek Is A Better Climb Than Everest Itself

A Breakdown Of The Seven-Day (Guided) Trip

For most people, booking a tour of Kilimanjaro is the best way to see this magnificent mountain.

Booking a trip via the Rongai route will run trekkers somewhere around several thousand, with everything they need to be included in the trip from food to mattresses to sleep on. Over the course of seven days, this is what trekkers can expect:

  • Day 1: Trekkers will start at the base of Kilimanjaro via the Rongai Gate. However, permits must first be acquired at the Marangu Gate which is roughly two hours from the village in Nale Moru, where the hike officially starts. On the way to Simba Camp, trekkers will be treated to gorgeous views over the plains in Kenya.
  • Day 2: This is the first day that trekkers will have their first real taste of ascending Kilimanjaro with an almost four-mile day hike. The end goal is Kikelewa Camp, which will bring trekkers past Second Cave and views of the Kibo summit. Views of the Eastern ice fields will also be visible, and Kikelewa Camp is in a sheltered part of the mountain.
  • Day 3-4: Another five and a half (roughly) miles from Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Camp will result in a short day, with trekkers able to rest during the second half. This is also where they will spend a full two days for acclimatization purposes, with a short hike toward Mawenzi. Here, trekkers will also have great mountain views.
  • Day 5: Another almost six miles will bring trekkers to the Kibo Hut from Mawenzi Tarn. This takes hikers straight to the base of the massif, where they'll have a bit of rest before pushing for the final summit of Kilimanjaro.
  • Day 6: The last two days of the Kilimanjaro climb are the longest because this is when trekkers will be summiting Uhuru Peak. The goal is almost four miles up and then just over nine miles back down to Horombo Hut.
  • Day 7: The final day trek for most people includes a whopping 12.5 miles back down to the entrance gate. Trekkers will end up back in Mweka, which actually puts them within a 30-minute drive back to Moshi. Therefore, even though the actual trek back down is exhausting, the ride back takes no time at all, and visitors to Kilimanjaro are free to relax and rest in the days following.

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