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Northern Circuit Route 10 Days

Safari tour package: A custom, tailor-made, private safari
Prices: $2800 - $3200
Includes internal flights: No
Length of safari: 10 days
Best months: All year
Countries visited: Tanzania Tanzania
Parks visited: Kilimanjaro
Activity level: Extreme - Technical climbing (Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru)
Safari type:
Northern Circuit Route is the newest and the longest route to Mt. Kilimanjaro, making it the most successful route for the summit. The route offers a 360-degree view of Mt. Kilimanjaro making it the most spectacular views of the diverse region. Northern Circuit is the longest route to climb Kilimanjaro, and offers unparalleled acclimatization opportunities, making it one of the safest routes. The trail begins at the Londorossi Gate on the west and pursues the same path as the Lemosho Route on the first two days. However, the path turns north near LavaTower after crossing the Shira Plateau, and circles clockwise from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp to School Hut, before summiting the peak from the east. Descend is made via the Mweka route. It is highly recommended to take the northern circuit route as it provides the beautiful landscape of Mt Kilimanjaro with the highest acclimatization rate which is the most important factor for a successful summit.

Arrive

Our driver will meet you at Kilimanjaro International Airport for pick up and transferred to your hotel in Moshi town, you will meet your guide who will brief you on your upcoming trek and do an equipment check to make sure you have all the necessary mountain gear. Gear which is missing can be rented on this day. Overnight at your arranged Hotel.

  • Hotel: Bed & Breakfast

Day 1:  Londorossi Gate (2,100 meters) – start point 2,360 meters to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,820 meters)

The Northern Circuit Route begins at Londorossi Gate (2,100 meters) in the West, the same start point as the Lemosho Route. The drive to Londorossi Gate takes approximately two hours from Moshi and considerably longer from Arusha. Registration with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities occurs at the gate and then you will be driven further up the mountain to the trailhead starting point. Most tour operators serve lunch here before the short first day trek to MtiMkubwa Camp (2,820 meters) begins. You may get lucky and spot large wildlife like elephant and buffalo that sometimes emerge from the rainforest onto the path as you trek towards your first camp. Dinner will be served when you reach MtiMkubwa Camp.

  • Distance covered: ~5.5km / 3 mi
  • Trekking time: 3hours - 4hours
  • Zone: Rainforest

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,820 meters) to Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters)

On day two you will spend the first hour trekking through the last section of rainforest path before entering the low alpine moorland zone which follows up onto the Shira Plateau. The trek is relatively short and gradual, ending at Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters).

  • Distance covered: ~8km / 5 mi
  • Trekking time: 5hours - 6hours
  • Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone

Day 3: Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters) to Shira Camp 2 (3,850 meters)

On day three the trek crosses the Shira Plateau from Shira Camp 1 to Shira Camp 2. Nine day trekkers usually spend the night at Shira Camp 2 where they will join trekkers from the Machame Route. At Shira Camp 2 it is worth trekking a little higher up the plateau to enjoy the stunning view across the valley below and Western Breach of Kilimanjaro above. The plateau is exposed so be prepared for a cold night with temperatures getting below zero. Note: Trekkers on an eight day hike will continue east up the Shira Plateau ridge and on to Lava Tower (4,600 meters) and then back down via the Northern Circuit to Moir Camp (4,200 meters).

  • Distance covered: ~7km / 4 mi
  • Trekking time: 3hours - 4hours
  • Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone

Day 4: Shira Camp 2 (3,850 meters) to Moir Camp (4,200 meters)

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 (see map above). 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.

  • Distance covered: ~14km / 8 mi
  • Trekking time: 5hours - 7hours
  • Zone: Low alpine zone / High alpine zone

Day 5: Moir Camp (4,200 meters) to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters)

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.

  • Distance covered: ~12km / 7mi
  • Trekking time: 5hours – 7hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone

Day 6: Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters) to Rongai Third Cave (3,800 meters)

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 acclimatised to the altitude. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon.

  • Distance covered: ~8km / 5mi
  • Trekking time: 3 hours
  • Hotel: Bed &Breakfast

Day 7: 3rd Cave (3,800 meters) to School Hut (4,800 meters)

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.

  • Distance covered: ~15km / 8mi
  • Trekking time: 4hours - 5hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone and glacial zone

Day 8: School Hut (4,800 meters) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) and then onto Millennium Camp (3,950 meters)

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. Note: some tour operators return via Gilman’s Point to Horombo Hut using the Marangu Route.

  • Distance covered: ~6km / 3.5 miles ascent and 10.5km / 6 mile
  • Trekking time: 6-8 hours ascent and then 4-6 hour descent
  • Zone: Glacial zone and all preceding zones

Day 9: Millennium Camp (3790m) to Mweka Gate (1630m)

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 guide and porter tips before being driven back to your hotel in Moshi.

  • Distance covered: ~10km / 6.5 mi
  • Trekking time: 3hours - 4hours
  • Zone: Rainforest Zone

Day 10: Depart Tanzania

The day is left free to wind down after the trek before your flight home. Depending on flight times you could go and explore Moshi town and grab some gift before heading to the airport. Our vehicle will be ready to take you to the airport at your time.

  • Hotel: Bed & Breakfast

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