The Rongai Route is the only route on Kilimanjaro that starts in the north near the border to Kenya, the furthest away from an airport of all Kilimanjaro National Park gates. This makes it much less visited than other routes, providing for a true wilderness experience during your summit approach.
The Rongai Route descends along the Marangu Route in the south east, providing for a cross-over experience with views of the north, east and south of Mount Kilimanjaro and its surroundings.
While the Rongai Route can be completed through a short and direct approach of the summit in only 5 days, or sometimes extended over 6 days, we recommend the longer 7-day Rongai Route Itinerary with a detour to Mawenzi in the east of Kibo. This allows more time to acclimatize to the thin air and improves your summit success chance.
More info about the Rongai Route
The Rongai Route on Kilimanjaro that ascends from the north, near the border to Kenya. This makes it much less visited than other routes, providing for a true wilderness experience.
However, we recommend the longer 7-day Rongai Route Itinerary with a detour to Mawenzi in the east of Kibo. This allows more time to acclimatize to the thin air and improves your summit success chance.
If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-track wilderness experience, then the Rongai Route on mount kilimanjaro is an excellent option. At least, if you are pre-acclimatized or used to high altitudes and looking for a challenge.
The Rongai Route is also a good choice during rainy season as the northern slopes tend to attract less rain than the southern slopes. However, there is no guarantee. You might be lucky and have a mostly dry climb, or it might still rain a lot even on the northern slopes. There’s really no way to predict the amount of rain at the time of your booking.
If solitude is what attracts you to the Rongai Route, and you are open to considering a longer climb of 8 days or more, then we recommend that you also consider the 8-day Grand Traverse or 8-day Northern Circuit for a more varied scenery and beneficial altitude profile.
The Rongai Route is much less visited than other routes, providing for a true wilderness experience during your summit approach.
Furthermore, as one of the less popular routes, you may feel more comfortable as you will be having more privacy, quiet campsites and unspoilt wilderness.
This allows more time to acclimatize to the thin air and significantly improves your summit success chance.
This route provides an authentic wilderness experience, however, the scenery and the altitude profile are not as good as the Machame route.
However, the Rongai Route doesn't include the dangerous Western Breach, which we recommend avoiding at all times. The Rongai Route does not include the Barranco Wall either.
And although the route offers unique authentic wilderness away from the crowds, the scenery and panoramic views are not as good as the Machame route.
The Rongai route altitude profile is poor because it starts at a high altitude and offers little opportunity to acclimatize. The shorter route you choose, the lower your summit success chance and the higher the risk of getting altitude sickness.
On the 7-day route, however, you significantly increase your summit success chance due to a larger detour that offers the opportunity to acclimatize.
The Kilimanjaro Rongai route is one of the less popular routes for many climbers but not all of them.
It's starting gate is in the north of Kilimanjaro near the Kenyan border. As a consequence, it's the longest drive from an airport to all of the Kilimanjaro entrance gates. This makes the Rongai route less popular amongst the majority of climbers.
Therefore, it never gets crowded on the Rongai route and this is exactly the reason why it is it is ideal for climbers who are looking for an off-the-beaten-track experience away from the crowds.
The biggest cause of fatality on Kilimanjaro is altitude sickness. Therefore, the safest route will be the one which allows for the best acclimatization.
The Northern Circuit and Grand Traverse are the longest routes on Kilimanjaro. They also offer plenty of opportunities to climb high and sleep low. This is the best way to get your body used to the high altitude and reduce the severity of altitude sickness. Therefore, they have the highest summit success rates.
However, on any route, it is most important that you don't push beyond your limits and follow an experienced guide who will assist with descent if required. If you do so, all the popular routes may be considered more or less equally safe or risky.
Besides acclimatization, the routes that avoid the dangerous Western Breach are definitely safer than the routes that don't. To go even further, some routes also avoid the Barranco Wall. Therefore, the Northern Circuit, the Grand Traverse and the Rongai route could be deemed safest.