Rongai Route Review
by Paul Burn
My Kilimanjaro highlights include sunrise over Mawenzie viewed from Kibo, Uhuru summit, views of Kenya and Mawenzie from all angles; the security we felt because of the competence and care of the guides; walking along the Redmann Glacier and realizing the massiveness of them even though they are small fractions of the glaciers just 100 years ago.
We used Team Kilimanjaro and chose the Rongai route because it is less traveled, more animals possible...
Their equipment was top grade. One small zipper mishap with the mess tent.
We were very well informed of our own equipment needs.
I can't say enough in praise of Deodatus Naali, Joseph Emanuel, and Jakob and Luca who were our guides.
Their actions were all designed to get us to the summit and back while doing no harm to us or the mountain - we are very grateful to them personally.
I worry that the traffic on Kili will increase to such an extent that the mountain will suffer but I appreciate the point of view of the Park Service to protect and defend it from further damage.
Perhaps they will invoke a quota system soon and that will make the experience even more of a privilege.
Food was excellent - Mangos, bananas, oranges, soup, and bread every meal, eggs, vegetables, pasta some meat, popcorn after every trek, coffee, tea - more than enough for each of us.
Our teenager, Taylor, didn't eat right and he took some snacks to supplement the cooking but we write that off as cultural immaturity. The food planning was excellent.
Hiked with 18 kg pack and worked in the gym on cardio and strength. Took trails with steep grades in the Tennessee hills.
Weather and Facilities
The weather was extra special - minimal rain, snow at top was next to us, not on us; everyday was clear and sunny.
Facilities on the mountain - Horombo and Millenium were good. Horombo had showers and heated water. Simba toilets were wretched. Mawenzie Tarn toilet was cleanable - they provided water bucket and broom. Barafu was the same but precariously located near a fall hazard.
Long time walking on 6th day - from Uhuru to Millenium for 7 hours with 1 hour rest at Barafu on descent.
The ascent was 8 hours from Barafu to Uhuru with a rest at Stella Point. The guides knew just how to help us with the ascent - Redbull did wonders.
We took diamox beginning at Mawenzie Tarn on day 3 and that, plus sleep low climb high, eased us out of the pain we expected.
I found it hard to sleep until night 6 but he others were OK.
Gabrielle had a headache for nights 4, 5 and Hannah had some swelling from day 2 on but few complaints about altitude. Pole-pole was well controlled.
Tips and Advice
Take 7 days. Have strong legs. Eat well. Sleep. Pole-pole. Lots of pictures and take daily notes.
Most useful items were space blanket for warmth; boots, arch supports and vaseline for feet; poles for endurance; sunscreen for UV. Kilimanjaro gear - what to pack »
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