Kilimanjaro 5895m, Rongai trek
Links: Overview / Machame route / Lemosho route / Mountain focus / Safari extensions
Course overview
Some people prefer to ascend via the Rongai route, which we can also provide for private groups of four people or more. As such, there are no scheduled dates for this trip, but if you have a group, and would like to book, just get in touch as we can list a bespoke course online for you to book immediately.
The pricing is similar to the Machame route, but due to the extra transfer to the north side of the mountain, an extra charge of £100 per person is levied (based on a group of 4).
This is a quieter side of the mountain, closer to the Kenyan border. At the equator the seasons are different, and it is key to avoid the rainy seasons of mid-October to mid-December, and April to June. During these months there is often too much snow on the upper mountain.
This expedition will appeal to those who really want to explore this region and who wish to experience the thrill of high altitude climbing for the first time. This especially appeals to those with aspirations of higher peaks such as Aconcagua or Denali, who are either working towards ascents of the "Seven Summits" (the highest peak on each of the continents), or those who only have Alpine mountaineering or trekking experience.
Mount Meru pre-Kilimanjaro Expedition Itinerary
Tue Fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport, where typically the KLM flight arrives around 19:00. Transfer to the hotel in Moshi, evening meal, expedition briefing, and equipment queries. Night in hotel.
Wed Drive 2½ hours to park gate and ascend to Mirikamba Hut 2520m. This trek through the jungle forests takes c.3 hours. Night in the dormitory style accommodation in the hut, or in a tent at the camp.
Thu Trek up to the Saddle 3566m on Mount Meru, and arrive at Saddle Hut after c.4½ hours. After lunch do an acclimatisation trek to Little Meru 3820m. Return to the Saddle Hut for the night in the hut or camp.
Fri Very early start to reach Rhino Point 3800m after c.1 hour, then after c.6 or 7 hours, you reach the summit 4556m on the crater rim. After summit celebrations, you descend to Mirikamba Hut for the night.
Sat Today it is an easy walk back to the park gate, and the return drive to Moshi for the night, where you meet the other group members, and start the itinerary below from the Sunday. Night in Moshi hotel.
Standard Kilimanjaro Expedition Itinerary
Sat Fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport, where typically the KLM flight arrives around 19:00. Transfer to the hotel in Moshi, evening meal, expedition briefing, and equipment queries. Night in hotel.
Sun Day 1 : Moshi to Nale Muru to Simba Camp 2600m, 3-4 hours, 4 miles, Meals: BLD
After breakfast at your hotel you will meet up with your porters and guides and transfer to Rongai Gate where you will complete registration procedures. The climb begins from the village of Nale Moru at around 1950 metres. Today's walk is about three to four hours, beginning on a small path that winds its way through fields of maize and potatoes before entering pine forest. A gradual ascent through attractive forest brings us to the edge of the moorland zone at around 2600 metres. Extensive views over the Kenyan plains will be a highlight of today's camp. Note that it can be wet in the rainforest. The night is spent camping at Simba Camp.
Mon Day 2: Simba via Second cave to Kikelelewa Camp 3450m, 5-6 hours, 4 miles, Meals: BLD
After breakfast, you will set off at around 8am to head up to the Kikelelwa Caves. Today your walking time will be about six to seven hours. From your overnight campsite a steady ascent is made up to 'Second Cave' at 3450 metres. Here you are rewarded with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern icefields of the crater rim. Leaving the main trail after lunch we travel across the moorland on smaller paths towards the jagged Mawenzi peaks. Tonight we camp at Kikelewa Caves at 3800 metres.
Tue Day 3: Kikelelwa to Mawenzi tarn hut 4350m, 4 hours, 3 miles, Meals: BLD
Today's walk is a shorter one at three to four hours but via alpine decent. After leaving camp a short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by a real sense of wilderness and stunning all round views. Campsite at Mawenzi Tarn at around 4350 metres.
Wed Day 4: Mawenzi tarn hut to Kibo Camp 4750m, 5 hours, 4 miles, Meals: BLD
Hike to Kibo campsite at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent and a very early start!
Thu Day 5: Kibo Camp to Summit and Horombo Huts, 4750m to 5895m to 3720m, 6-8 hours & 5 miles for ascent, 3-4 hours & 6 miles for descent, Meals: BLD
Begin the final and by far the steepest and most demanding part of the climb beginning around 1 a.m. Proceed very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman's Point. Rest here for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. The descent to Kibo is surprisingly fast to the final campsite at Horombo.
Fri Day 6: Horombo Huts to Moshi, 3720m to 1700m, 5-6 hours, 11 miles, Meals: BL
After breakfast, a steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Hut. Continue descending through lush forest paths 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). A vehicle will meet you at Marangu village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha. Don't forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration! Overnight in hotel at Moshi or Arusha.
Sat Day 7: Contingency day, Spent on the Rongai route, Meals: BLD
There is a spare day built into the Rongai intinerary, to use on the mountain where it is required, to allow for your ideal acclimatisation, and the best summit weather window.
Sun Option of morning safari (fees apply) before your airport transfer. The KLM flight usually leaves in the late afternoon, arriving back in the UK on Monday around 06:00, so you could go to work!
ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow the itineraries, but as mountaineering is always weather and conditions dependant, we are sometimes forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, a suitable different route will be attempted, and you will be informed at the first suitable opportunity. Please use this outline course itinerary as a guide to the style of expedition, with good conditions, as it will not necessarily be an exact blueprint for the exact routes and schedule that you will follow on the expedition.

Accommodation & upgrades

On your first and last night in Tanzania, you are based in a comfortable hotel in Moshi on a half board basis (evening meal, bed and breakfast). We vary the hotels that we use, but we always try to ensure that you stay in a hotel with a swimming pool and stay in twin rooms. Airport transfers to and from either hotel are included in the expedition price. The two hotel nights are half board, so your evening meal, bed and breakfast is included.
I just wanted to say a big thank you to you, Evance and the Icicle team for the great experience we had climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. The trip could not have gone better, from the initial help with kit, training and preparation to how we were looked after in Tanzania. Evance was superb and from picking us up at the airport he always ensured we were well briefed as to what would be happening each day. On the mountain Evance and his team were incredibly professional, keeping a close eye on us and making sure we were fit for each day. The camps were always well placed and the food was excellent considering how far we were from resupply. The route and days we spent on the mountain meant we felt little if any altitude sickness and on the summit night, when alot of climbers turned back due to the strong winds, he guided us safely to the summit perfectly timed for the sunrise on our fathers 70th birthday. It capped a perfect week. We would definitely recommend Icicle in the future to anyone wanting to climb Kilimanjaro.
Adam, Michael & Jolyon B , Kilimanjaro
Hotel in centre of Moshi Typical room in the Moshi hotel Swimming pool of the Moshi hotel
Course Prices
Kilimanjaro Rongai
7 days guiding, 9 days in total
(Standard Kilimanjaro trip)
£1099 (or £1899 with park fees)
Kilimanjaro + Mt Meru
11 days guiding, 13 days in total
(Kili Rongai trip plus 4 day Mt Meru ascent)
£1999 (or £3099 with park fees)
Secure online booking system
Standard Course Inclusions: 1) Kilimanjaro guides for daily leading, 2) Icicle rep if a mixed scheduled group (not a bespoke or private group) has ten or more clients, 3) Pre expedition Info Booklet, 4) Equipment discount voucher for in UK, 5) All mountain tent accommodation in Africa on a full board basis, 6) Two nights hotel on a half board basis, 7) Road transport in Africa to national parks and airport transfers, 8) All costs for expedition leaders, local guides and porters, 9) Personal certificate for all those who reach the summit, 10) We provide all communal equipment such as tents and cooking kit (you provide your own clothing, walking boots, and sleeping bag with mat).
Exclusions: 1) Air travel to & from Kilimanjaro International airport, 2) Travel insurance, 3) Bar / restaurant bills & tips, 4) UK and foreign airport taxes, optional trips, souvenirs and tips, 5) Peak permit for Kilimanjaro / Meru parks, 6) Optional day safari on last day, 7) Your personal laundry, telephone calls, and any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 8) Extras before course: personal activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
Icicle expedition kit bag for FREE
All those booking on this trip are entitled to a free Icicle expedition kit bag. This tough c.65 litre capacity kit bag is designed for full expedition usage and is made out of durable fabric, and features carry straps. It normally retails at £50. Postage within the UK is included in the prices. If you live overseas, it's not a problem at all. We'll let you know the price for postage. Want a second bag? Order another, click here.
Upgrade options
Flights UK to Kilimanjaro
From £600 (inc. airport taxes)
Icicle is fully bonded with ATOL, and so we are able to offer flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport. This is served by KLM, and flights from the UK are via its main hub at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. See our ATOL licence, details.
National Park Fees
Valid for 2018
Kili Machame c.£800
Mount Meru c.£300
We do not force clients to have these obligatory park fees included in the prices, as they are paid locally in US Dollars, and some clients may benefit from the exchange rates by opting to pay these directly at the park gate(s). Note that we only accept Park Fee upgrades for trips during the current year, to allow for price changes by the Tanzanian National Parks which are made annually.
Client feedback


I am now back at work after the trip to Kili with you recently. It was brilliant! All logistics were seamless – Evans and the crew were superb, the food was great, and we all summitted. What could be better!

David Fletcher , Kilimanjaro

Thank you so much for your meticulously organised and operated expedition. Everyone in the group reached the top. Also, your local team was great

Tom Beesley , Kilimanjaro

An unforgettable holiday for all the right reasons. Watching the sun rise across the plains from the summit was amazing. You have a great local team, who love working for you, and looking after us so well

Samantha Budd , Kili & Mt Meru
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Acclimatisation on Kili
Unlike some operators, we avoid the infamous four or five day summit dashes, as this gives you a very low chance of summiting, and a very high risk of mountain sickness.
As you can see from the altitude graphic below, our expeditions spend seven days on the mountain and four days around 4000m before the summit bid.
 
Our acclimatisation programme works. We are very aware of the symptoms and effects of altitude sickness (AMS), and will be briefed on this.
Climate change on Kili
The weather patterns on Kilimanjaro are changing, and the icefields are shrinking. Generally it is not necessary to use an ice axe or crampons on the mountain. The typical weather at present is clear mornings, then an afternoon cloud build up (often with short shower), then the clouds break in the evening and over night. This pattern explains why the day of the summit bid commences at midnight to take advantage of the clear skies.
The summit crater icefields on Kilimanjaro, lit by the sunrise on the summit day
Groups and experience
Our formula is to restrict the group sizes, so that there are a maximum of 10 clients. The small group sizes enable us to run specialist ascents, where the group can bond well, and each expedition member has great access to all the Icicle staff, local guides and porters. On the summit day the guiding ratio is one guide per two clients. This is more intimate than the mass group commercial style expeditions run by some operators, where the individuals needs and speeds cannot be catered for. Although you require no previous mountaineering experience for this expedition, you are advised to be a competant trekker who is familiar with up to six hour days with 1300m height gains. As you will note from the itinerary, this expedition is quite intensive in order to ensure your acclimatisation. Upon booking you will be sent an expedition dossier & training training schedules.
Group photo at the Lava Tower (4600m), with the head local guide Evans on the right
Guides and porters
For every two clients on an expedition, we use one local guide and up to three porters. The porters carry these tents and the sleeping bags, as well as the mess / cook tents and food, so you need not worry about carrying any major loads each day. When you stay in camps on Kilimanjaro, the tents are high quality tents designed for altitude use, such as the Mountain Hardwear Trango series tents. The porters pitch and strike the tents for you each day. At each camp site on the mountain, there are basic toilet facilities. We recommend you carry only a 20 litre bag at most, the size of a typical day sack for hillwalking in the UK. Evans is the Icicle head local guide, and he is ably supported by other guides such as John, McMillan and Rushtal. We ensure that all the guides and porters are suitable fed and clothed, and have forged close links with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistant Project (KPAP), www.kiliporters.org.
The team of local porters and some of the guides that are used on each expedition
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.



Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor. Many people opt for this service, and it is an integral part of what we offer, as we are keen to ensure that you are prepared as possible, and that you select a course that is suitable for you. It makes it easier and more enjoyable for you and us, if you are on the right trip.
 


 
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