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KILIMANJARO NORTHERN CIRCUIT ROUTE - KILIMANJARO HIKE
The Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit route is one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro, offering nearly 360 degrees of beautiful scenery including the quiet, rarely visited northern slopes. As the longest route on Kilimanjaro, the Northern Circuit also has the most acclimatization time and the highest summit success rate. Thus, the Northern Circuit route is highly recommended. The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate. From there, the first two days are spent trekking through the rainforest 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 made via the Mweka route.
Kilinge Adventures we offers the Northern Circuit as a nine-day group climb or private climb. A 10-day variation that includes an overnight at Crater Camp is available as a private climb by special request. Crater Camp is a unique place. At 18,865 feet above sea level, it is the highest campsite on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is located just 475 feet below the summit. We offer the opportunity to stay at Crater Camp on the Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes. This option will add one day to the standard itineraries making them the 9 Lemosho Crater Route and 10 days Northern Crater Route.
We leave for the summit during daylight hours and stay at Crater Camp after the summit for better acclimatization. On all other Kilimanjaro routes, only the guides and clients summit while the rest of the mountain crew remains at high camp (i.e. Barafu). Using Crater Camp requires significantly more effort on our part as the entire mountain crew, along with all of the expedition equipment, has to ascend 4,000 feet higher than they normally would. Therefore, there is considerable added cost to do a Crater Camp route. From Crater Camp, one can take an optional one-hour hike to Reusch Crater, or simply explore the areas around Furtwangler Glacier. Reusch Crater is a magnificent sight. It is almost perfectly circular and the ash pit measures 400 feet (120 m) deep and 1,300 feet (400 m) wide. This is rarely seen by tourists. The video below puts the size of the ash pit and crater into perspective.
- 3 Meals while on the mountain + evening tea with popcorn or peanuts.
- 3-4 porters per climber, which includes porters to carry up to 30 lbs of your personal gear.
- Airport pick up and drop off
- Fair wages for the mountain crew as approved by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority (KINAPA), Kilimanjaro Association of Tour Operators (KIATO)
- Hot water for washing up daily and treated water for drink while climbing.
- Kilimanjaro certificate for your successful summit attempt.
- Medical insurance and emergency insurance
- Medically qualified mountain guides, cooks and porters
- Orientation meeting in Moshi and gear check as well.
- Oxygen Cylinder
- Professionally guided tour
- Twice a day medical health checkup, monitoring with pulse-oximeter and stethoscope with basic first kit
- Unlimited bottled water
- Entry visa for Tanzania
- Laundry Services
- Other International flights
- Personal expenses
- Services not specifically stated in the itinerary
- Tips to mountain crew
- Unlimited bottled water
- Visa arrangements
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
- Day 7
- Day 8
- Day 9
Moshi to Londorossi Gate (2,350m) to Mti Mkubwa (2,750m)
Walking Time: 3 hours Distance: 7 km Altitude Gain: 450m
Wake up early and invigorated for the upcoming journey to the foot of the Kilimanjaro Northern circuit route. After eating a hearty breakfast at the hotel, you’ll leave Moshi for the Londorossi Park Gate in the West. The 3-hour drive will take you off the beaten path for a remarkable cultural experience, traversing the fascinating townscapes of Boma N’gombe among the native people of Sanya Juu. After arriving at your destination, you’ll register with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities while our team assembles all your gear and supplies. Meet and get to know the rest of your support team, including our friendly chefs. Our guides will then drive you further up the mountain to the starting point of your trek. On the first leg of your journey, you’ll move through untamed wilderness brimming with ancient and exotic botanical species. Black and White Colobus Monkey peer down from the lush rainforest canopy while you catch a glimpse of larger mammals like the elephant or buffalo. Your final destination for the day is the Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,750 m) where you’ll rest and recuperate.
Mti Mkubwa (2,750m) to Shira Camp 1 (3,550m)
Walking Time: 6-7 hours Distance: 10 km Altitude Gain: 800m
Wake up on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro to begin the longest and most spectacular day of trekking so far. You’ll pass through the last sections of rainforest before entering the majestic barren landscape of the Low Alpine moorland zone. Marvel at rare flora species, including enormous violet lobelias and wild vegetation. Venture across the massive Shira Plateau, the collapsed vestiges of an ancient volcanic crater. You’ll then cross over the Shira Ridge towards the slopes of Shira Camp 1 (3,600 m), where you’ll set up for the night.
Shira Camp 1 (3,550m) to Shira Camp 2 (3,840m)
Walking Time: 3-4hours Distance: 8km Altitude Gain: 290m
After devouring a hot steaming breakfast, you’ll continue your scenic trek across the exposed moorland zone. Few visitors have frequented this section of Kilimanjaro so you’ll get to fully experience its untouched beauty. Emerging from the Shira Plateau, you’ll be greeted by a truly stunning view of the peak of Kilimanjaro before reaching Shira Camp 2 (3,810 m). The rest of the day will involve free time to explore the spectacular surrounds, including the landmark Shira Cathedral, a grand buttress of rock surrounded by pinnacle and spire formations. Your local private guide will also lead brief excursions to aid each person’s acclimatization process.
Shira Camp 2 (3,840 m) to Moir Hut Camp (4,200 m)
Walking Time: 5-7 hours Distance: 14km Altitude Gain: 610m
The fifth day of the Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit route will take you east into the High Alpine desert zone. Here the Lemosho Route connects with the popular Machame Route before you leave for a more secluded trail. You’ll get to marvel at curious desert plant species and view the iconic Shark’s Tooth volcanic rock formation on the way to Lava Tower. This part of your journey involves gradual exposure to much higher altitudes, consolidating your acclimatization process. The end of the day sees you heading towards the Moir Camp (4,200 m), situated behind the magnificent Lent Hills. There you’ll put up your feet up and enjoy a steaming hot meal.
Moir Hut Camp (4,200 m) to Buffalo Camp (4,020 m)
Walking Time: 5 – 7 hours Distance: 12km Altitude Loss: 180m
Wake up to the refreshing mountain air in the high altitude Kilimanjaro slopes. You’ll have breakfast, gather your gear, and climb out of the Moir Valley. A short detour sees you reach the summit of Lent Hills to admire the views before rejoining the Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit trail. Journey along rolling terrain that incline and decline, taking you around the northern slopes of Kibo before reaching Buffalo Camp. Set up for the night at a stunning campsite with the spacious Kenyan plains stretching out below you.
Buffalo Camp (4,020 m) to Third Cave (3,870 m)
Walking Time: 5 - 7 hours Distance: 8km Altitude Loss: 150m
Your Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit adventure continues with a revitalizing morning climbing up to the top of ‘Buffalo Ridge’. After stopping for lunch, you’ll continue eastwards through High and Low Alpine scenery passing increasingly sparse and rare vegetation. The day’s journey ends after circumventing the northern slopes to reach the Rongai Third Cave Camp. By this stage of the trek, you’ll be fully acclimatized to the high altitude.
Third Cave (3,870 m) to School Hut (4,800 m)
Walking Time: 4 - 6 hours Distance: 6km Altitude Gain: 930m
This is the final leg of the trip before your last ascent up to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. The highlight of the day will be the trek up and over The Saddle, a lunar landscape that lies between the Kibo and Mawenzi Peaks. You’ll then head southwest to School Hut (4,800 m) to rest in preparation for the end of your amazing journey. Your guides will thoroughly check all your gear and supplies in preparation for an early morning start.
School Hut (4,800 m) to Mweka Camp (3,060 m)
Walking Time: 11 – 15 hours Distance: 19km Altitude Gain:1095m Altitude Loss: 2835m
Your last morning on the Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit route will get off to an early start. You and your guides will travel through the darkness towards Kilimanjaro’s main crater rim at Gilman’s Point. There you’ll rest before the final push, passing spectacular ice cliffs and glaciers. You’ll arrive at the Mount Kilimanjaro summit just in time to catch the sunrise, the most spectacular of nature’s backdrops. Share the sense of exhilaration and accomplishment with your guides and support team. Soak in the beauty of the view before retracing your steps down the crater rim. Then you’ll descend on the Mweka Route towards the last stop on your journey – Mweka Camp.
Mweka Camp (3,060 m) to Mweka Gate (1,640 m) to Moshi
Walking Time: 3 – 4 hours Distance: 10km Altitude Loss: 1420m
The last hike is a short one and will lead us to Mweka Gate. Your Kilinge Adventures team will proudly issue you with a Gold Summit Certificate and celebrate. Our drivers will be in the nearby village to transport you to the hotel for a hot shower, soft mattress and set of clean clothes.