- Tour Overview
- Tour Plan
- Kilimanjaro Climbing Cost
- Tanzania Destinations
- Similar Tours
Kilimanjaro Climb via 7 Days Rongai Route
Rongai route begins in the northern side of Kilimanjaro Mountain, 45km from Moshi town or 69km from Arusha. Rongai is stated to be one of the most beautiful routes that start from the Northern side, In comparison to others this is the easiest route and its popularity has been increasing tremendously over the years. The route host a variety of spectacular landscapes together with different plants and animal’s species which make it one of the best sought after route of the Northern side. The typical duration for this trip is 6 days. But mostly the hikers prefer to take one day more, i.e., the 7 days to make the success rate higher. Rongai is scenically more beautiful than that of Marangu, and the difference is that when Marangu offers the hut facilities, the Rongai offers the tents to rest and make the overnight stay. At the end of each day you would find your tents pitched by the porters.
This route starts on the north side of the mountain just south of the Kenyan border and is one of the least traveled routes. The route merges with the Marangu for the summit climb. The descend follows the Marangu route on the mountain’s southeast side, so you will be able to Kilimanjaro from many points. There are two versions of this trek- a direct 6 day itinerary and a 7 day itinerary that takes a longer route. You can choose to attempt the summit via Mawezi Tarn Hut or via School Hut which is also referred to as the Outward Bound Hut. The former is longer and more popular. Prior acclimatization is suggested in order to attempt the latter successfully.
- All Government taxes and levies including 18% VAT.
- All meals while on the mountain
- All transfers to the mountain and back to your Moshi hotel
- Beautifully illustrated souvenir map
- Community Development Fund
- Conservation Fund
- Fair Wages
- Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
- Kilimanjaro Certificates after Trek
- Kilimanjaro National Park Entrance fees
- Large portions of fresh, healthy, nutritious food
- Medical insurance and emergency insurance
- Quality mess tents with table and chairs
- Quality, waterproof, four seasons private mountain sleeping tents
- Laundry Services
- Other International flights
- Personal expenses
- Services not specifically stated in the itinerary
- Tips to Mountain Crew
- Visa arrangements
- Day 0
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
- Day 7
- Day 8
You will be picked up at the Kilimanjaro International Airport and transferred to your arranged hotel in Moshi town. You will meet your guide who will brief you on your upcoming trek and do an equipment check to make sure you have all the necessary mountain gear. Gear which is missing can be rented on this day.
- Driving distance: 55 km/miles,
- Driving Time: 1hour
- Habitat: Cultivated zone
- Hotel: Bed and Breakfast
Moshi/Marangu to Rongai Gate (Nalemoru) to Simba Camp
Drive to the attractive wooden village of Nalemoru (about 4 hours including a stop to get permits at Marangu). After signing in and preparing the porters, you will begin the hike on a wide path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently but gently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone with extensive views over the Kenyan plains.
Elevation: 2000m to 2650m,
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours,
Habitat: Montane Forest,
Simba Camp to Second Cave
The morning hike is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave with superb views of Kibo and the eastern ice fields on the crater rim.
Elevation: 2650m to 3450m,
Walking Time: 3-4 hours,
Second Cave to Kikelewa Camp
Head out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. The campsite is in a sheltered valley with giant Senecios nearby.
Elevation: 3450m to 3600m,
Walking Time: 2-3 hours,
Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Turn Hut
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb views. Leave the vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Turn, spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatization.
If you are spending an extra day on the mountain, you will camp for two nights here. You can hike up and around Mawenzi for your acclimatization hike.
Elevation: 3600m to 4330m,
Walking Time: 3-4 hours,
Mawenzi Turn hut to Kibo Hut
Cross the lunar desert of the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent very early.
Elevation: 4330m to 4750m,
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours,
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Kibo Camp to Summit and Horombo Hut
Very early in the morning (midnight about 2am), commence the climb to the summit on steep and heavy scree or snow up to Gilman’s Point located on the crater rim (elevation 5700m). Continuing ascend to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point in Africa. There are unbelievable views at every turn. Have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends and family. From here we descend, stopping for lunch and a rest at Kibo before continuing on to the Horombo encampment.
The beginning of this climb is done in the dark and requires 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 with many switchbacks. Going slowly “pole pole” and an optimistic attitude will get you there!
Elevation: 4700m to 5895m & down to 3700m,
Distance: 6km up & 15km down,
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours up & 15km down,
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate, to Moshi/Marangu
After breakfast, a steady descent takes us down through moorland to the Mandara Hut. Continue descending through lush forest path to the National Park gate at Marangu. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy). Our vehicle will meet you at Marangu gate to drive you back to your Hotel in Moshi/Marangu.
Today, you may opt to relax at the hotel or choose to extend your holiday by continue with safari (i.e Ngorongoro and Serengeti) but if not our driver will transfer you to the Airport to connect with your flight back home.
Elevation: 3700m to 1700m,
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours,
Hotel to Kilimanjaro International Airport
Today you will be transferred to Airport or continue with other plans.
The true price of a cheap Kilimanjaro climb
If you are planning for Kilimanjaro Climbing Adventure and you have many quotes with variable prices, you might be confused and worried!
What does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro and what should a Kilimanjaro climb cost you?
The prices for Kilimanjaro climbs vary wildly. To climb Kilimanjaro can cost you anything from $1000 to $4000 and above.
(There are some operators advertising cheap Kilimanjaro climbs that cost below $1200. Don't go there. Actually, don't go below $1700. You'll see why.)
That is the cost of your Kilimanjaro climb itself. It does not necessarily include you accommodation before and after, it definitely does not include the equipment you need to buy, the vaccinations, the flight...
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is not a cheap holiday!
Of course you try to save money where you can. The temptation is big to go hunting for the cheapest Kilimanjaro climb.
DON'T! Do not start your search for a Kilimanjaro climb by looking at the cost first.
If you do, you may end up paying the ultimate price, or someone else may have to pay it for you...
Every year both climbers and porters die on Kilimanjaro. Needlessly.
Also, was it really such a great buy if you then fail to make it to the summit? Would you really feel good to know that children have to go hungry or aren't able to continue their education, just so you could save a few bucks?
I didn't think so.
Few tourists are aware why the cost of climbing Kilimanjaro is so high and where the budget operators cut corners to drop the prices. Let's look at where your money actually goes, what you pay for, and why.
The true cost of a Kilimanjaro climb
Several hundred climb operators are competing for business on Kilimanjaro, which has resulted in a cut throat price war. Good for you, you may think. Drops the prices.
Well, sure, it does,. But if operators drop prices they also have to cut expenses to stay profitable.
The steep Kilimanjaro National Park fees are something that nobody can change. For a six day/five night camping trek you pay about $800 in fees alone!
So where can operators save? And how does it affect you?
The links and information below will shed some light on that.
The very first place where budget Kilimanjaro operators will cut costs is staff expenses. And I am not talking about the lovely lady in the office who takes your booking. I am talking about the porters.
Booking a cheap Kilimanjaro climb? The money you save is coming straight out of the pockets of your Kilimanjaro porters, and porters' wages are not the only place where money is saved at their expense. Read that page before you book a cheap Kilimanjaro climb!
Of course, all other staff on a budget climb are also paid less and treated with less respect. Few staff on Kilimanjaro climbs have permanent or at least reliable employment. Most of them freelance.
If someone does not get decent pay, does not get appreciated and has no idea who he will work for next time, how do you think that affects their motivation? How much will they care if you reach the summit or not? And whether you enjoy the experience or not?
Also, your safety depends on how many guides/assistant guides are on your team and how well trained they are by the company.
Hopefully you will have a great Kilimanjaro climb in good weather and without any complications. But if things turn pear shaped, the one thing you want to be sure of is that your Kilimanjaro guide is one of the best!
A trick of the trade to make Kilimanjaro climbs LOOK cheap is to not include all costs up front. I already mentioned porter wages and tips on the Kilimanjaro porters page, but there are other costs and fees that can be dropped. You will still have to pay the money when you get there! Read carefully about what is included in a climb when comparing prices and be wary of those hidden costs.
Another place where money can be saved is equipment and food. Neither is a luxury!
This is not about comfort for softies and weaklings. This is about making it to the summit or not. If you can't sleep at night because you are cold and miserable, then you won't be making it to the summit.
Quality equipment that keeps you warm and dry even in the worst weather costs money. And there is so much other equipment, for the kitchen, the mess tent and more, that budget operators can leave behind to cut costs. It makes the trek physically harder on you and decreases your chances to reach the summit.
The cost of food on a Kilimanjaro climb is not a major factor. Food can be bought cheaply in Tanzania. But carrying food up the mountain costs money. So the quality fresh stuff, the fruit and vegetables, are the first to get cut from the shopping list of a budget operator.
You need quality food to sustain you for the rigour of the six or more days ahead of you. It should be high in fluids and high in carbohydrates. (Important at altitude!)
And it should taste good! You will have no appetite. Loss of appetite is one of the symptoms of being at altitude. But you have to eat. Your body needs the fuel! So the food better be nice. You want your operator to pay attention to this.
How well is the cook trained? And the rest of the staff? What about food hygiene? Training costs money.
Don't be surprised if you end up with a bad case of traveller's diarrhea if climbing with a budget operator. It happens very easily and it doesn't exactly increase your summit chances.
And what about the rubbish? Do you think a budget operator will spend money on making sure it is all carried back down the mountain again? Or voluntarily spend money on clean up crews? Just wait till you see the busier trails and campsites on the mountain.
Environmentally responsible behavior also costs money.
There are a thousand little things where a budget operator can cut corners and save money. I haven't mentioned a fraction of them and most of them you will never notice or be aware of. The things I can make you aware of may seem like little things to you, something you'll cope with, something you can do without. But it adds up!
What it comes down to is that your chances of reaching the summit and your chances of coming back down alive increase and decrease with the cost of your Kilimanjaro climb.
You want to book a climb that is run by mountaineers, people who understand mountains, who understand the risks and know how to manage them. People who care about you, about how much you'll enjoy the trek, about their staff and about the mountain.
You will not find those people for $1200. In fact, you won't find them for under $1700. For a six day Kilimanjaro climb, booked in advance, that is the absolute minimum cost that you should budget for, and you will be sacrificing quality of experience at that level (e.g. you will be climbing on a more crowded or less scenic Kilimanjaro route).
Kilimanjaro climbs that cost less are guaranteed to cut corners. But not every climb above $1700 is guaranteed to be a quality, safe one! Not by a long shot. You better do some thorough research if you want to book in that range!
There are other factors that determine the final cost of your Kilimanjaro climb and that allow you to save some money.
The larger the climb group, the lower the price per person. There are operators who put over 20 people in one group. Add to that at least two porters per person, cooks, assistant guides and guides... And you have a whole army trekking up that mountain! I think I'd rather spend a few dollars extra...
A private climb with two people is very expensive, but a group of up to twelve people is bearable and affordable. At least that's how I experienced it.
What will also determine the overall cost is the route you'll be taking.The more scenic and less crowded routes are more expensive. That's discussed in the section about Kilimanjaro climb routes. So $1700 might be a half decent climb up the Marangu route, but you won't be finding that on the Lemosho route.
And last but not least, booking from overseas is more expensive than booking when you get there. BUT, you have the piece of mind of knowing when your trek will depart, that it will indeed depart, and you have the time to do research and ensure you are with a responsible operator. (About 90% of Kilimanjaro climbers book from overseas.