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9 days Kilimanjaro Climb – Northern Circuit Route

Northern Circuit Route, Kilimanjaro
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Duration

9 Days

Tour Type

Kilimanjaro Trek

Group Size

15 people

Languages

English

Overview

Northern Circuit route is the newest addition to Kilimanjaro trekking routes, providing nearly full circle around this beautiful mountain. On this route you will enjoy quiet, rarely visited northern slopes, and considering the fact that this is the longest route, there will be plenty of time for acclimatization.

This is a huge plus and gives to Northern Circuit highest summit success rate. The route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west,  with the first two days spent trekking through the rainforest up to Shira Ridge, before crossing the Shira Plateau.

The route then heads north and circles clockwise from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp to School Hut, before summiting from the east. Descend is at the Mweka route.

Itinerary

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Day 0: Arrive in Moshi, Tanzania Day 0: Arrive in Moshi, Tanzania

Touch down at Kilimanjaro International Airport, clear arrival formalities and meet Safari Heroes transfer team outside custom area. Enjoy private transfer to your hotel in Moshi where you spend the 1st night.

Day 1: Londorossi Gate – Big Tree Camp Day 1: Londorossi Gate – Big Tree Camp

Your Kilimanjaro adventure starts with a drive from Kindoroko Hotel to the Londorossi Park Gate where you will sign in. You then drive along the rainforest track for around 45 minutes until you reach the Lemosho Glades and the start of the trek. You will walk for 3-4 hours up the stunning rainforest trail – keeping an eye out for the monkeys, sleeping at the Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite for your first night on Kilimanjaro.

Day 2: Big Tree Camp – Shira Camp 1 Day 2: Big Tree Camp – Shira Camp 1

From the Big Tree camp you will follow the trail through the rainforest until it steepens slightly leading you to the moorland zone where you will get your first sight of Kibo. You will cross the Shira Ridge where the trail flattens as you reach Shira Camp 1 which is located next to a mountain stream on the Shira Plateau.

Day 3: Shira Camp 1 – Shira Camp 2 Day 3: Shira Camp 1 – Shira Camp 2

Day three is a gentle walk across the Shira plateau leading you to Shira Camp 2, located on moorland meadows by another mountain stream. A variety of additional walks are available in the afternoon on the plateau making this a good day for acclimatization. If you are feeling tired, use the afternoon to rest around camp.

Day 4: Shira Camp 2 – Moir Camp Day 4: Shira Camp 2 – Moir Camp

Day four is a long trek heading east which passes through the ‘Garden of the Senecios’ and then enters the high alpine desert zone. The morning is spent trekking up to Lava Tower and the iconic Shark’s Tooth rock formation at 4,600 meters, where you will have lunch. After lunch you will join the northern circuit heading down to Moir Camp at 4,200 meters. This is an important day in your trek as you will get to experience high altitude and then sleep low, which is good for the acclimatisation process.

Day 5: Moir Camp – Buffalo Camp Day 5: Moir Camp – Buffalo Camp

Day five involves a moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. Trekkers can take a small detour here to climb the summit of Little Lent Hill at 4,375 meters before returning to the Northern Circuit trail. From here the route follows a series of inclines and declines, skirting around the northern slopes of Kibo to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters).The trek gives great vistas out across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan / Tanzanian border. You will arrive at Buffalo Camp just after midday, where you will have lunch and have time to rest after a long day hiking.

Day 6: Buffalo Camp – Rongai Third Camp Day 6: Buffalo Camp – Rongai Third Camp

Day six starts with a climb up the Buffalo ridge and down into Porfu Camp where lunch is usually served. The route then continues east around the northern slopes to the Rongai Third Cave at 3,800 meters. The trek is shorter than the day before and by now you should be feeling well acclimatized to the altitude. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon.

Day 7: Rongai Third Camp – School hut Day 7: Rongai Third Camp – School hut

Day seven involves a steady incline up and over the Saddle which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. Trekkers then continue walking south-west up to School Hut (4,800 meters). After arriving at School Hut you will be served an early dinner and then you should get some shut-eye as you will be awoken before midnight to start your summit attempt. Remember to prepare all your gear, including warm clothes, insulated water bottles, snacks, headlamp and camera before going to bed.

Day 8: School Hut – Uhuru peak – Millenium Camp Day 8: School Hut – Uhuru peak – Millenium Camp

You will be awoken around 11:30 with hot tea and biscuits and will then begin the steep incline up the slopes of Kibo under the cover of darkness. Your first check-point is Hans Meyer Cave where you will take a short break. The climb steepens as you approach Gilman’s Point (5,681 meters), which will be around 5-6 hours after departing School Hut. Take a moment to enjoy the approaching dawn and incredible view out and across to Mawenzi Peak, but remember you still have 2 hours trekking to reach Uhuru Peak so dig deep for the energy. The slope flattens as you head west around the crater rim and you should arrive at the summit at or just after sunrise. Your stay here will be brief so get as many pictures as you can of the incredible views and surrounding glaciers. You will then retrace your steps back around the carter rim to Stella Point (5,739 meters) where you will turn south and head down the heavily screed slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp (4,680 meters). Most trekkers take a short break here before continuing down to Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) for your final night on the mountain. In total you will be trekking for 14-16 hours on day eight so it is important to pace yourself, remain hydrated and keep your blood sugar levels up. Note: some tour operators return via Gilman’s Point to Horombo Hut using the Marangu Route.

Day 9: Millenium Camp – Mweka gate Day 9: Millenium Camp – Mweka gate

The final day is a short hike through the dense montane rainforest from Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters). At the gate you will need to sign-out with the authorities, who will also provide you with your official certificate – a green certificate for those who made it to Gilman’s Point and a gold certificate for those who reached Uhuru Peak. It is customary to give your guides and porters tips at this point before being driven back to Kindoroko Hotel in Moshi.

Included/Excluded

  • Two nights bed and breakfast accommodation in Moshi Town
  • Full board accommodation on the mountain
  • All park fees
  • Camping equipment (tents, sleeping mats, chairs, tables)
  • Oxygen cylinder - only for emergency
  • English speaking guide
  • Mountain crew (cook and porters)
  • First aid kit and pulse oximeter
  • Bottled drinking
  • Mentioned transfers
  • Sleeping bags
  • Gratuities
  • Beverage
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Flight
  • Laundry
  • All meals and drinks in Moshi town

Tour's Location

Northern Circuit Route, Kilimanjaro
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