8 Days Kilimanjaro Climbing Northern Circuit route.
This special route combination is by a wide margin the least-used route on Kilimanjaro, getting you far away from the madding crowd. The trailhead is at high elevation, and thus we start slow and easy on this route. The trail begins on the Shira Plateau, and the hike across the plateau is said to be one of the most stunningly beautiful hikes in Africa.
Early on we leave the tourist trails and head off across the north side of the mountain, facing Kenya and the famous Amboselli National Park. The spectacular hike along the northern circuit affords opportunities to see some animals; possible elephant, buffalo, eland, and signs of many other animals. Along this way we won’t see other tourists, only following cairns which signal the route.
For the first four days we traverse the valleys and ridges of the entire north side of the mountain between 12,000’ (3,650 mt.) to 14,000’ (4,265 mt.), and on day 5 the trail reaches the base of Mawenzi, the second highest peak of Kilimanjaro- it’s jagged rock spires reaching 16,893’ (5,149 mt.). From here we trek across the magnificent saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo Peak.
From the seldom used Outward Bound camp we depart to the summit, where the trail joins with the Marangu (Coca-Cola) Route high on the mountain.
This trek is designed to get you closer to nature, and to benefit from plenty of acclimatization time, the most diverse and complete ‘grand traverse’ of Kilimanjaro from west to east, and by far the most remote trails.
The accommodation is in mountain tents and dining is in our mess tents. Toilet tents with convenient and sanitary portable flush toilets are set up at all camps.
Arrive at the air port and then transfer to hotel on time for an evening meal and to check your mountain gear and to discuss the trip, especially any queries you may have about it.
Day 1: –MOSHI TO MORUM BARRIER GATE (12,362 ft./ 3,768 mt.) TO SHIRA 1 CAMP (12,200 ft./ 3,720 mt.)
Departure from Moshi to Morum Barrier Gate (there after another hour to reach the trailhead). Upon arrival at trail-head, eat lunch, then commence through heather and moorland which lead to the first camp, (which is a descent) only about 1-2 hours of trekking. The view of Kibo from across the plateau is stunning.
Day 2: –SHIRA 1 CAMP ~ MOIR CAMP (13,800 ft. / 4,205 mt.)
Trek across the Shira plateau, east toward Kibo’s glaciered peak. Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth, averaging 12,500 feet. We immediately veer away from the tourist trails toward thee northeast edge of the Plateau to reach Moir Camp. The trek is about 4-5 hours over easy terrain. Moir camp is an isolated and seldom used camp affording views over the Shira Plateau.
Day 3: –MOIR CAMP ~ BUFFALO CAMP (13,200 ft./ 4,025 mt.)
Begin the morning trek heading out of the moorland and into the stark alpine desert, on a steep ridge off the main trail, and begin our venture on the Northern Circuit Route. The total trekking time is about 5 – 7 hours. From the Pofu Campsite you will enjoy a magnificent view into Kenya’s wild lands to the north.
Day 4: – BUFFALO CAMP ~ KIKELEWA CAVES CAMP (11,800 ft. 3600 m)
Proceed onward through valleys and over ridges through the alpine desert and moorland, continuing our circuit to the east, enjoying a vast mountain wilderness to ourselves. Trekking time today is 5 – 7 hours.
Day 5: –KIKELEWA CAVES CAMP ~ MAWENZI TARN CAMP (14,160 ft./ 4,315 m)
Trek 3-5 hours steadily upward to reach a placid mountain tarn (lake) at the foot of the majestically rising steep ridges of Mawenzi, Kilimanjaro’s second highest volcano. The camp here is nestled along the tarn in a protected alcove with magnificent views towards the steeply rising rocks of Mawenzi.
Day 6 : –MAWENZI TARN CAMP ~ OUTWARD BOUND CAMP (15,585 ft./ 4,750 m)
The trekking time today is 5 – 7 hours, though a relatively easy hike across the wide saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. The trek takes you across the massive saddle- the crossing is impressive and the landscape spectacularly stark. The temperatures turn cold as you near the foot of Kibo, reaching Outward Bound Camp after 5-7 hours of trekking. Prepare all your gear for the day ahead, and turn in early to rest. A resupply of fresh food and supplies will reach camp on this afternoon.
Day 7: OUTWARD BOUND CAMP ~ UHURU PEAK (19,340 ft./ 5,895 m) Millennium CAMP (10,200 ft./ 3,110 m)
A midnight wake-up call is the start of a long trek. You begin trekking at 1am up the winding path of endless switchbacks. From your camp to the rim of the crater (Gillman’s Point (18,750 ft./ 5,712 m)) to Uhuru Peak, the trekking time is about 7 – 8 hours. The slope is steep, with switchbacks, over loose rock and scree with some boulders as you near Gilman’s Point. You will stop at Hans Meyer cave on the way, the famous place where Kilimanjaro’s first western climber described in his journals. Once you arrive at Gilman’s Point at the edge of the crater, the trail to the summit is less demanding, and is reached after a further 1½-2 hours along the snowy crater rim (depending on the season). After a short time at the summit, re-trace your steps back to Gilman’s Point, then summon your strength again for further descent to Mweka Camp for the night.
Day 8: MWEKA CAMP ~ MWEKA GATE (6,000 ft. /1,830 m)
Descend straight to the gate (2-3 hours), where you’ll have lunch and will be awarded climbing certificates.