Northern Circuit in 8 days

Tanzania

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25

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Overview

The Northern Circuit is the newest route up Kilimanjaro and also the longest. Because of its length, the Northern Circuit has the highest summit success rate. The route follows the same as the Lemosho Route for the first two days and then veers off to circle around the quieter northern slopes to the east side of the mountain. Northern Circuit approaches the summit via Gilman's Point before descending on the same route as the Machame and Lemosho.

Included/Excluded

  • Quality, waterproof, four-season private mountain sleeping tents
  • All Park fees Airport transfers Rescue fees
  • Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
  • Large portions of fresh, healthy nutritious food
  • Emergency oxygen
  • All meals while on the Mountain
  • Clean, purified drinking water
  • Accommodation in tents and hotels as indicated in the itinerary
  • Camping equipment – tents, sleeping mattress and camping furniture
  • Portable toilet and toilet tent
  • Flights
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Tips Personal spending monies for souvenirs etc.

Tour Plan

DAY 1

Hotel to Mti Mkubwa Camp

After breakfast and briefing, drive to Londorossi Park Gate (about a 3-hour drive). From here a forest track requiring a 4WD vehicle leads to Lemosho Glades. Walk along forest trails to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite.

Elevation: 1830m/6000ft to 2650m/8700ft
Distance: 6km/4mi
Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
Meals: Lunch and Dinner

DAY 2

Mti Mkubwa Camp to Shira 1 Camp

After breakfast, we continue as the trail gradually steepens and enters the giant heather moorland zone. After several streams are crossed we continue over the Shira Ridge then gently downwards to Shira 1 camp located by a stream on the Shira Plateau.

Elevation: 2650m/8700ft to 3500m/11,500ft
Distance: 8km/5mi
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Moorland
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 3

Shira 1 Camp to Moir Camp

After breakfast, a gentle hike across the plateau leads to Shira 2 camp on moorland meadows by a stream. We will continue with a trek heading east which passes through the ‘Garden of the Senecios’ and then enters the high alpine desert zone, then you will join the Northern Circuit heading down to Moir Camp.

Elevation: 3500m/11,500ft to 4200m/13780ft
Distance: 14km/8mi
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Habitat: Moorland
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 4

Moir Camp to Buffalo Camp

Today, we encountered a moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. We can do an optional hike to 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.

Elevation: 4200m/13,780ft to 4020m/13,188ft
Distance: 12km/7mi
Walking Time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: High Alpine
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 5

Buffalo Camp to Rongai Third Cave

We start the day 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. The trek is shorter than the day before and by now you should be feeling well acclimated to the altitude. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon.

Elevation: 4020m/13,188ft to 3800m/12,467ft
Distance: 8km/5mi
Climbing Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: High Alpine
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 6

Third Cave to School Hut

Today 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. 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.

Elevation: 3800m/12,467ft to 4800m/15,748ft
Distance: 15km/8mi
Climbing Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 7

School Hut to Uhuru Peak to Millennium 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 crater 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.

Elevation: 4800m/15,748ft to 5895m/19,340ft
Down to 3950m/12,959ft
Distance: 6km/3.5mi up / 11km/6mi down
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours up / 5-6 hours down
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

DAY 8

Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate to Hotel

After breakfast we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. 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).

Monkey Adventures vehicle will be waiting for you at Mweka gate to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (around 60 minutes).

Elevation: 3950m/12,959ft to 1680m/5500ft
Distance: 10km/6mi
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Forest
Meals: Breakfast

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