Climbing Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak (5895 m). Northern Circuit Crater Route, 10 days
About This Route
The Northern Circuit is the newest and longest route on Mount Kilimanjaro. It begins in the West at the Londorossi Gate and follows the same path as the Lemosho route for the first two days. After crossing the Shira plateau the path veers north near Lava Tower, following the longer Northern Circuit instead of the more popular Southern Circuit via Barranco Valley The route circles around the quieter northern slopes to the east side of the mountain.
The Northern Circuit is longer than the other trails on Kilimanjaro, taking a minimum of eight or nine days to complete. The eight day trek skips the additional acclimatization day that is usually spent at Shira Camp 2 and continues straight on to Moir Camp.
Day 1: You will be picked up at the Kilimanjaro International Airport and transferred to Parkview In hotel/Kilimanjaro wonders Hotel or any booked 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 is Bed & Breakfast basis.
Day 2: 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: ~5.5km / 3 miles / Trekking time: 3-4 hours / Zone: Rainforest
Day 3: 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: ~8km / 5 miles / Trekking time: 5-6 hours / Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone
Day 4: Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters) to Moir Camp (4,200 meters)
Day three 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 acclimatization process.
Distance: ~15km / 8 miles / Trekking time: 5-7 hours / Zone: Low alpine zone / High alpine zone
Day 5: Moir Camp (4,200 meters) to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters)
Day four 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: ~12km / 7 miles / Trekking time: 5-7 hours / Zone: High alpine zone
Day 6: Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters) to Rongai Third Cave (3,800 meters)
Day five 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: ~8km / 5 miles / Trekking time: 5-7 hours / Zone: High alpine zone and low alpine zone
Day 7: 3rd Cave (3,800 meters) to School Hut (4,800 meters)
Day six 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: ~15km / 8 miles / Trekking time: 4-5 hours / Zone: High alpine zone and glacial zone
Day 8: School Hut (4,800 meters) to UHURU PEAK (5895m) to Crater Camp (5,790m)
Wake before dawn to start your summit approach. You'll reach Uhuru Peak in the early afternoon, when few groups are around. A short descent brings you to Crater Camp, set in soft sands near the famed Furtwangler Glacier. Crater camp is not a route in it's own right but a challenging extension which in principle can be added to any route. It involves sleeping overnight in the bowl of the crater. An amazing experience enjoyed by only a few of the most adventurous climbers.
Distance: ~6km / 3.5 miles ascent / Trekking time: 6-8 hours ascent / Zone: Glacial zone
Day 9: Crater Camp (5,790m) to Millennium Camp (3790m)
In the morning after early breakfast, we begin our descent by returning to Stella Point and then descending on scree slope passing Barafu camp for a short break before heading down to Millennium Camp for a long well-earned rest.
Distance covered: 13.4km / 8.3mi / Approx. time taken: 12 – 15 hours / Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Day 10: Millennium Camp (3790m) to Mweka Gate (1630m)
Today you walk down through the rain forest to Mweka Gate, where we complete park formalities and receive certificates, which you can hang up with pride! We are then met by our vehicles and return to your arranged hotel in Moshi.
Distance covered: 12.1km / 7.5mi / Approx. time taken: 6 hours / Meals: Breakfast & Lunch Included
Day 11, etc.: This day left for your next destination. If you wish, for a fee, you will be additionally offered: climbing Kilimanjaro (5895 m) another route, climbing Mount Meru (4566 m), Safari tours from 2 to 10 days, rest on Zanzibar and other programs. Hotel: Bed &Breakfast