The Rongai route is 1 out of 7 Kilimanjaro routes, which boasts a summit success rate of roughly 80% and covers a hiking distance of nearly 81 kilometers (approximately 50 miles), as indicated in the 1:10,000 scale map below. Unlike the 5-day Marangu, the 6-day Umbwe, the 7-day Machame or the 8-day Lemosho routes, the Rongai route is the only trail that invites less precipitation, during the wet seasons, making it accessible to trek all year round.
Map of Rongai Route
Rongai Route on Kilimanjaro Mountain
Mountain climbing through the Rongai route on Kilimanjaro, up to a summit height of about 5,895 meters (roughly 19,341 feet), offers views of incredible landscapes covered in rocks, snow and vegetation.(2)(3)(4) The Rongai route is remotely surrounded by 1,688 square kilometers of montane forest, within Kilimanjaro National Park, which is located approximately 57 kilometers from Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Its unique geological location offers rare sightings of large mammals such as the African Bush Elephant.
1. Altitude, Elevation Gain and Distance from Rongai Gate to Marangu Gate (Coca-Cola Route): 7-Day Itinerary
The 7-day Rongai itinerary starts the climb at an altitude of 1,950 meters (about 6,398 feet), by the Rongai gate, and covers a round distance of nearly 81 kilometers (approximately 50 miles) at an elevation gain of about 790 meters.(5)(6) However instead of descending down the Mweka route, like many 6-day or 7-day Kilimanjaro routes, the Rongai route comes down the Marangu Route (Coca-Cola route), where there are 3 established huts with 60 bunk beds.
- DAY 1 – Rongai Gate to Rongai Cave (6,398 ft to 9,300 ft)
- DAY 2 – Rongai Cave to Second Cave to Kikelewa Cave (9,300 ft to 11,300 ft)
- DAY 3 – Kikelewa Cave to Mawenzi Tarn (11,811 ft to 14,160 ft)
- DAY 4 – Mawenzi Tarn to Mawenzi Ridge to Mawenzi Tarn (14,160 ft -14,400 ft)
- DAY 5 – Mawenzi Tarn to Kibo Hut (14,160 ft to 15,430 ft)
- DAY 6 – Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut (15,430 ft to 19,341 ft)
- DAY 7 – Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate (12,205 ft to 6,046 ft)
2. Rongai Route’s Success Rates Among Tour Operators
The 7-day Rongai route has a summit success rate of 80% and is considered to be one of the easiest Kilimanjaro routes in 2023, among the top 4 tour operators.(7) That’s because the trail covers a long distance of nearly 81 kilometers (approximately 50 miles), which results in minimal elevation gains for hikers to easily adjust. The trail is ranked fourth place, right between the 6-day and 7-day Machame routes, as well as below the 8-day Lemosho route and the 9-day Northern Circuit route.
3. Ranking The Level Of Difficulty Of The 7-Day Rongai vs Lemosho Route (8 Days)
The 7-day Rongai route on Kilimanjaro is ranked fourth place, lower than the Machame route, has a difficulty scale of nearly 1 climbing grade (Yosemite Decimal System), a hiking distance of 81 kilometers (approximately 50 miles), an average elevation gain of 790 meters per day, a climbing success rate of roughly 80% and an average cost of $2,500. The 8-day Lemosho route, on the other hand, is ranked second place and has a hiking distance of 71 kilometers (roughly 43 miles), an average elevation gain of 530 meters per day, a summit success rate of about 92% and an approximate difficulty scale of 1, 2 and 3 climbing grades, while costing around $2,300.(8)
4. 6-Day Umbwe vs Rongai Route
The 6-day Umbwe route on Kilimanjaro has a price of about $2000, while the 7-day Rongai route has an average cost of $2500.(9) When their climbing performances are compared, the 7-day Rongai route has a leading summit success rate of 80% in contrast to the 60% climbing success rate attributed to the 6-day Umbwe route, which is similar to the abandoned Shira route.
5. 6-Day Machame vs Rongai Route
The 7-day Rongai route, located about 42 kilometers from the border of Kenya, has a hiking length of 81 kilometers (approximately 50 miles) and a climbing success rate of roughly 80%, while the 6-day Machame route has a summit success rate of roughly 73% and a hiking distance of nearly 62 kilometers (roughly 37 miles). (10) Both routes have about 5 established campsites for accommodation.
6. Open Group Prices and Private Trek Costs
The 7-day Rongai route has a starting price of $2340, on a group tour, and costs $2,550 on private treks.
7. Getting To Kilimanjaro Region
The Kilimanjaro region has a population of 1,640,087 and is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, which is located 54 kilometers from Moshi town, the region’s capital.(11) To get to this particular 1 out of 31 administrative regions in Tanzania, you’ll need to catch a ride heading to Moshi Municipal, where you’ll be able to settle at a local district of Tanzania near the mountain.