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9 Days Northern Circuit – Kilimanjaro

Created with Sketch. Northern Circuit, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
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Duration

9 Days

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

Unlimited

Languages

English

Overview

The Northern Circuit is not just the newest official route to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro, it is also the longest and most beautiful. And remember the longer the route, the higher the chance of overall success. If you have the time and the cost does not deter you then the full Northern Circuit route is a fantastic route and certainly one of the most enjoyable ways to climb Kilimanjaro. You circle most of the mountain at nearly 4000 metres, allowing unequalled 360-degree views of this majestic and highly diverse region. It is the longest route by which to climb the mountain and provides unequalled acclimatization opportunities. This also makes it one of the safest and most successful routes.

Trip Highlights

  • A new (and fantastic) route up Kilimanjaro
  • Access to Kilimanjaro remote northern slope
  • A nine day ascent, with excellent acclimatization
  • Views from nearly all sides of Kilimanjaro
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Itinerary

Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa
Elevation: 7,742 ft to 9,498 ft
Distance: 6 km/4 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours, where you will complete entry formalities. Then drive to the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival at trailhead, we begin hiking through undisturbed forest which winds to the first camp site.
DAY 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp
Elevation: 9,498 ft to 11,500 ft
Distance: 8 km/5 miles
Hiking Time 5-6 hours
Habitat: Heath

Our second day on the mountain, will see us travel over the massive Shira Plateau, the eroded remains of the third and most ancient of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic vents. We continue on the trail leading out of the rain forest and into a savannah of tall grasses, heather and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. As we ascend through the lush rolling hills and cross several streams, we reach the Shira Ridge before dropping gently down to Shira 1 Camp. Here we catch our first glimpse of Kibo across the plateau.
DAY 3: Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp
Elevation: 11,500 ft to 12,500 ft
Distance: 7 km/4 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Heath

we will take a short hike to the summit of awe-inspiring Shira Cathedral, one of the most amazing natural landmarks on Kilimanjaro. We explore the Shira Plateau. It is a gentle walk east on moorland meadows towards Shira 2 Camp. The heath zone displays abundant wildflowers and unique Senecio trees.
DAY 4: Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower
Elevation: 12,500 ft to 15,190 ft
Distance: 7 km/4 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Lava Tower to Moir Hut
Elevation: 15,190 ft to 13,580 ft
Distance: 7 km/4 miles
Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

We continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower – a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. Then we divert from the main trail to Moir Hut, a little used site on the base of Lent Hills. A variety of walks are available on Lent Hills making this an excellent acclimatization opportunity. Shira Plateau is one of the highest plateaus on earth.
DAY 5: Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp
Elevation: 13,580 ft to 13,200 ft
Distance: 12 km/7 miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

We trek out of Moir Valley with a moderately steep climb, then hike to the summit of Lent Hills before returning to the main trail. The path crosses a rock field and gently undulates before reaching Buffalo Camp. This section of the trail offers great views across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border.
DAY 6: Buffalo Camp to Third Cave
Elevation: 13,200 ft to 12,700 ft
Distance: 8 km/5 miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Heath

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. As we head up Buffalo Ridge, the terrain becomes increasingly sparse. This route is rarely travelled and we will enjoy its mountain wilderness feel. We trek through remote valleys on to the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro until we arrive at Third Cave.
DAY 7: Third Cave to School Hut
Elevation: 12,700 ft to 15,600 ft
Distance: 5 km/3 miles
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

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.We climb steadily up and over the “Saddle,” which sits between Kibo and Mawenzi. We continue on to our camp, School Hut. Once here we rest, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.
DAY 8: School Hut to Uhuru Peak
Elevation: 15,600 ft to 19,341 ft
Distance: 6 km/4 miles
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours

Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp
Elevation: 19,341 ft to 10,065
Distance: 12 km/7 miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Artic

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s point (18,600 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
DAY 9: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
Elevation: 10,065 ft to 5,380 ft
Distance: 10 km/6 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

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 the Hotel in Arusha or Moshi.

Included/Excluded

  • Quality, waterproof, four-season private mountain
  • 2 Nights accommodation
  • Professional, experienced, mountain guides:
  • All Park fees
  • Rescue fees
  • All meals while on the Mountain
  • Arrival and Departure transfers
  • Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
  • Quality Mess tents with table and chairs:
  • Large portions of fresh, healthy, nutritious food:
  • Clean, purified drinking water:
  • Crisis management and safety procedures:
  • Fair and ethical treatment of porters:
  • Sleeping Mattress:
  • Emergency Evacuation
  • Tanzania Visa: $50 per person on arrival
  • Personal Expenses (e.g. laundry, telephone, beverages, etc.)
  • Meals not listed above
  • Optional Tours (short or long safari after your climb etc)
  • Tips for guides and porters and any items of personal nature.
  • International and domestic flights
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • Sleeping bags and personal items
  • Airport transfers
  • Accommodation and meals in Moshi

Tour Categories

Mount Kilimanjaro

Durations

Multi day

Languages

English

Tour's Location

Created with Sketch. Northern Circuit, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

FAQs

What can I expect on a typical safari day?
This is your safari trip, your adventure! You decide how you want to spend your time on this vacation. If you would like to spend a full day on safari, you are definitely welcomed to do so. Visa Expeditions does not restrict your mileage, fuel or how much time you want to be on safari. While some days you may decide set out by sunrise, other days you can have a slower-paced breakfast before starting your daily exploration. Simply sit down with your guide to plan your day and meals the night before. Your guide will have plenty of suggestions, but of course, the decision is yours.
What to Bring on Safari
Safaris are casual vacations! Dress comfortably and pack lightly. As you will be spending most of your safari viewing in the vehicle, loose-fitting and light coloured clothing is recommended. Avoid dark colours (i.e. black, dark blue) as they tend to attract unwanted attention from insects such as the tsetse fly.
What are the park fee regulations?
All park fees and conservation fees have a 24 hours limit. We plan your itinerary according to the park permits paid. Your safari driver guide will brief you the night before and provide suggestions regarding your schedule. Please note that any penalty fee resulting from the client’s wish to extend their stay will be at the guest’s expense.
Am I allowed to walk around the national parks?
It is recommended to stay inside your vehicles at all times when you are in the national parks unless your driver-guide find a safe area to stop for lunch or to stretch your legs. If you are keen on hiking, there are guided walks that are available in Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro. Within the Serengeti National Parks, long walks are not permitted during to conservation reasons, however, some lodgings will offer short walks near the lodge or camp.
Will there be wildlife roaming at the camps and lodges?
It is important to never assume that any of the animals encountered on your game drive are tame. Though attacks by wild animals are unusual, nothing in the African wilderness is predictable. While you are staying in your safari lodges and camps, it is important to be especially cautious and aware of your surroundings as many of these areas are not fenced and contain wildlife roaming freely. If you have children with you, keep them in sight and do not let them wander alone. At smaller tented lodges, you will always be escorted to and from your tent for dinner or during the night. Should you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to raise them to the staff or your guide.
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