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Kilimanjaro-Climb Northern Circuit

Northern Circuit 9 Days

Description

NORTHERN CIRCUIT  9 DAYS

The 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 climbing 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.

Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa

Elevation: 7,742 ft to 9,498 ft

Distance: 6 km/4 miles

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: Rain Forest

We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours, where you will complete entry formalities. Then drive to the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival at trailhead, we begin hiking through undisturbed forest which winds to the first camp site.

DAY 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp

Elevation: 9,498 ft to 11,500 ft

Distance: 8 km/5 miles

Hiking Time 5-6 hours

Habitat: Heath

We continue on the trail leading out of the rain forest and into a savannah of tall grasses, heather and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. As we ascend through the lush rolling hills and cross several streams, we reach the Shira Ridge before dropping gently down to Shira 1 Camp. Here we catch our first glimpse of Kibo across the plateau.

DAY 3: Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp

Elevation: 11,500 ft to 12,500 ft

Distance: 7 km/4 miles

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: Heath

We explore the Shira Plateau. It is a gentle walk east on moorland meadows towards Shira 2 Camp. The heath zone displays abundant wildflowers and unique Senecio trees.

DAY 4: Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower

Elevation: 12,500 ft to 15,190 ft

Distance: 7 km/4 miles

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

Lava Tower to Moir Hut

Elevation: 15,190 ft to 13,580 ft

Distance: 7 km/4 miles

Hiking Time: 2-3 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

We continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower – a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. Then we divert from the main trail to Moir Hut, a little used site on the base of Lent Hills. A variety of walks are available on Lent Hills making this an excellent acclimatization opportunity. Shira Plateau is one of the highest plateaus on earth.

DAY 5: Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp

Elevation: 13,580 ft to 13,200 ft

Distance: 12 km/7 miles

Hiking Time: 5-7 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

We trek out of Moir Valley with a moderately steep climb, then hike to the summit of Lent Hills before returning to the main trail. The path crosses a rock field and gently undulates before reaching Buffalo Camp. This section of the trail offers great views across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border.

DAY 6: Buffalo Camp to Third Cave

Elevation: 13,200 ft to 12,700 ft

Distance: 8 km/5 miles

Hiking Time: 5-7 hours

Habitat: Heath

As we head up Buffalo Ridge, the terrain becomes increasingly sparse. This route is rarely travelled and we will enjoy its mountain wilderness feel. We trek through remote valleys on to the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro until we arrive at Third Cave.

DAY 7: Third Cave to School Hut

Elevation: 12,700 ft to 15,600 ft

Distance: 5 km/3 miles

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

We climb steadily up and over the “Saddle,” which sits between Kibo and Mawenzi. We continue on to our camp, School Hut. Once here we rest, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.

DAY 8: School Hut to Uhuru Peak

Elevation: 15,600 ft to 19,341 ft

Distance: 6 km/4 miles

Hiking Time: 6-8 hours

Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

Elevation: 19,341 ft to 10,065

Distance: 12 km/7 miles

Hiking Time: 4-6 hours

Habitat: Artic

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s point (18,600 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

DAY 9: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

Elevation: 10,065 ft to 5,380 ft

Distance: 10 km/6 miles

Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: Rain Forest

On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

Tour Includes:

  • 2 Nights accommodation bed and breakfast  in Moshi (before & after the climb)
  • Quality mountain  tents
  • Professional, experienced, mountain guides
  • All Park fees
  • Rescue Fees
  • Bottled oxygen, for emergency rescue only
  • All Fresh, nutritious  meals while on the Mountain
  • Arrival and Departure transfers
  • Guides, Porters, Cook salaries and park fees
  • Mess  tents with table and chairs
  • Camping Mattress

Added charges:

  • Extra night or acclimatization on the mountain $300 single person.

Tour Excludes

  • Tanzania Visa: $50 per person on arrival and $100 for U.S. nationals
  • Lunch or dinner at the hotel
  • Personal Expenses e.g.( laundry, telephone, beverages, etc.)
  • Optional Tours e.g. (short safari after your climb etc)
  • Tips and any items of personal nature.
  • Mountain equipment (e.g sleeping bag
Note: When packing your gear, the best clothing for trekking is either wool or synthetic materials, as this is quick-drying and can keep heat in better. The optimum clothing for trekking is layering, as it allows for easy temperature regulation as you ascend or descend. We suggest a base layer, then a mid-layer such as a sweater, followed by a fleece jacket or similar, then a windproof and waterproof jacket. For your bottom half, thermal underwear, hiking pants then windproof and waterproof layers are recommended.

• Trekking Poles: adjustable poles
• Trekking Boots: comfortable trekking boots or mid-top hiking shoes
• Socks: minimum 3 pair thick mountaineering socks and 3 pair liner socks
• Short Underwear: a 1-2 pair of synthetic short underwear
• Long Underwear: 1-2 pair lightweight long underwear pants and shirts
• Long Underwear: 1 pair of heavy expedition weight long underwear
• Trekking Pants: nylon pants worn during warm days
• Soft Shell Jacket: a hooded jacket
• Soft Shell Pants: for trekking and climbing
• Insulated Jacket: PrimaLoft or down
• Expedition Down Parka: a hooded down jacket with 800 minimum down fill
• Insulated Pants: PrimaLoft or down, these should have full side zippers
• Hard Shell Jacket: to be worn in wet conditions
• Hard Shell Pants: to be worn in wet conditions, these pants should have full side zippers
• Headlamp: bring extra batteries
• Warm Hat: a warm fleece or wool hat
• Balaclava: to cover your face and neck on windy days
• Sun Hat: a baseball style sun camp
• Buff: 1-2 of these to wear around your neck & face to block the wind, UV rays, dust
• Glacier Glasses: wrap around style sunglasses with dark lenses
• Goggles: with dark lenses
• Soft Shell Gloves: 1 pair
• Shell Gloves with Insulated Liner: 1 pair
• Shell Mittens with Insulated Liner: 1 pair
• Trekking Backpack: a 20-40 liter backpack
• Sleeping Bag: rated to at least -20 °F (down is preferable over synthetic)
• Compression Stuff Sacks: for reducing volume for your sleeping bag and down jacket
• Self-Inflating Pad: a full-length air mattress
• Closed Cell Foam Pad: full length is best
• Sunscreen: SPF 50 or stronger
• Lips creen: SPF 30 or stronger
• Water Bottles: 2 bottles with 1-liter capacity each
• Water Bottle Parkas: to keep your water from freezing
• Pee Bottle: 1+ liter capacity recommended
• Pee Funnel: for women
• Knife: optional
• Toiletry Bag: toothpaste, toothbrush, baby wipes, etc.
• Hand Sanitizer: 2 small bottles
• Hand Warmers / Toe Warmers: 1-2 sets of each for summit day
• Trash Compactor Bags (3): to line stuff sacks and separate gear
• Camera: lightweight with extra batteries
• Travel Clothes: for days in Arusha or on safari
• Large Duffel Bag with Lock: for transporting all personal gear during the climb, waterproof is best
• Small Duffel Bag: to store items in the hotel
• Small Personal First Aid Kit: athletic tape, band-aids, Ibuprofen, Moleskin, blister care products, personal medications, cough drops, etc.

Medications:
• Acetazolamide (Diamox) for altitude illness, antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin or Azithromycin for gastrointestinal or respiratory illness, Ibuprofen for muscle soreness, Pepto Bismol for loose stool, Excedrin for headaches, anti-nausea medications, etc.

Climbing Snacks:
• Electrolyte Replacement Drink Mix: bring a supply for 6 days
• Energy Gel: single serving gel packs such as GU, Clif Shot, Powergel, etc.
• Energy Bars: Power Bar, Cliff Bar, etc.
• Candy Bars: Snickers, Mars, Twix, Milky Way, etc.

Note: A refillable water bottle/flask is required for the trek, no plastic or disposable bottles are allowed on the mountain and they may be confiscated prior to the hike.

 

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