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Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

The 9-day Kilimanjaro Climb Northern Circuit Route combination is by a wide margin the least-used route, getting you far away from other hikers. This trailhead is at a high elevation, and thus we start slow and easy on this route. Kilimanjaro Climb Northern Circuit Route begins on the Shira Plateau, and the hike across the plateau is said to be one of the most stunningly beautiful hikes in Africa.

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Includes

    • Park fees for the non-residents
    • All activities unless labeled as optional
    • Porters who will help carry your belongings during the ascent
    • A professional driver/guide, a cook & Transport to the park
    • All Taxes/VAT
    • Meals & Drinks
    • Quality tents for sleeping
    • Tent, tables, and chairs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    • Rescue costs

Excludes

    • International/ domestic flights
    • Tips, The Tipping guideline is US20.00 pp per day
    • Personal items (Cancellations, flying doctors, travel insurance, visa fees.)
    • The government imposed an increase in taxes and/or park fees
    • Hotel nights the days before and after the ascent

What to Expect

    • With a high success rate history, expect to make it to the summit
    • Kilimanjaro Climb Northern Circuit Route expect Incredible sceneries
    • Excellent birdwatching opportunities

Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa

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 the trailhead, we begin hiking through an undisturbed forest that winds to the first campsite.

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: RainForest

Elevation: 7,742 ft. to 9,498 ft.

Distance: 6 km/4 miles

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp

We continue on the trail leading out of the rainforest 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.

Hiking Time 5-6 hours

Habitat: Heath

Elevation: 9,498 ft. to 11,500 ft.

Distance: 8 km/5 miles

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Day 3: Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp

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.

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: Heath

Elevation: 11,500 ft. to 12,500 ft.

Distance: 7 km/4 miles

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Day 4: Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower

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.

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Day 5: Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp

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.

Hiking Time: 5-7 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

Elevation: 13,580 ft. to 13,200 ft.

Distance: 12 km/7 miles

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Day 6: Buffalo Camp to Third Cave

As we head up Buffalo Ridge, the terrain becomes increasingly sparse. This route is rarely traveled and we will enjoy its mountain wilderness feel. We trek through remote valleys onto the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro until we arrive at Third Cave.

Hiking Time: 5-7 hours

Habitat: Heath

Elevation: 13,200 ft. to 12,700 ft.

Distance: 8 km/5 miles

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Day 7: Third Cave to School Hut

We climb steadily up and over the “Saddle,” which sits between Kibo and Mawenzi. Continue on to our camp, School Hut. Once here we rest and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

Elevation: 12,700 ft. to 15,600 ft.

Distance: 5 km/3 miles

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Day 8: School Hut to Uhuru Peak

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.

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Day 9: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: RainForest

Elevation: 10,065 ft. to 5,380 ft.

Distance: 10 km/6 miles

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

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