This path is less travelled than the southern ones, so you’ll have a far better chance of reaching the summit in 9 days.
If you haven’t done much trekking at high altitudes, but still want to give it a shot, the Northern Circuit can be completed in nine days. Hikers with more experience may wish to take on the Northern Circuit’s more challenging 8-day ascent.
Londorossi Gate is the starting point of the ascent, and it is located at an elevation of 2,360 metres on the far western side of the mountain. It travels the same path as the Lemosho route, which means it goes through a beautiful jungle full of rare plants and animals. The next summit is located at Shira Ridge, the third and last peak of the mountain.
The Northern Circuit proper begins after you head north from that point, after crossing the famous Shira plateau and passing the magnificent Shira Cathedral. Less people venture to the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro, making it a more peaceful and tranquil place to summit. Clear days allow for expansive views across Kenya’s Amboseli Plains. After connecting with the Rongai and Marangu trails to the east, hikers can make the final push to the peak via Gillmans Point. As opposed to retracing your steps back down the same path you took to get there, you will be taking the Mweka trail back down after you reach the peak.
Arrival and Departure: Kilimanjaro International Airport
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, you will be warmly welcomed by one of our experienced drivers and your Mountain Guide who will escort you to your reserved hotel in Arusha Town.
Overnight at Zawadi House on Bed and Breakfast
Height (ft): 3,000 ft/4921ft to 7,380 ft to 6,560 ft to 9,020 ft
Distance: 18 km,
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitation: Montane Forest
Drive from Arusha to the Londorossi Park Gate. From here follow a forest track in a 4WD vehicle for about 11 km/7 mi (45 minutes) to Lemosho Glades and a possible campsite. From the Glades, walk for 3 hours along beautiful forest trails to the Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite.
Height (ft): 9,498 ft to 11,500 ft
Distance: 8 km/5 miles
Hiking Time: 5 – 6 hours
Crossing the Shira Plateau to the east, we are treated to breathtaking views of the Shira Cathedral. To get to Shira 1 Camp, where we will spend the night at an altitude of 3,500 metres and eat and relax, we must first traverse a moorland meadow. At this point, we should be able to get a good look at the Western Breach’s breathtaking glaciers. Tonight will be much chillier than last night, and we might even see temps below freezing.
Height (ft): 11,500 ft to 12,500 ft
Distance: 7 km/4 miles
Hiking Time: 3 to 4 hours
We will climb the massive rock buttress known as Shira Cathedral, which is topped by a series of sharp pinnacles and spires, today. When the afternoon mists sweep in, you might really feel like you’re out in the wilderness. The views of Mt. Meru from our campsite near Shira Hut are quite breathtaking.
Height (ft): 12,500 ft to 15,190 ft 15,190 ft to 13,580 ft
Distance: 7 km/4 miles 7 km/4 miles
Hiking Time: 3 to 4 hours 2 to 3 hours
Habitation: Alpine Desert
Now that we’ve left the moors behind, we’ll be hiking across the high-altitude Shira Caldera to the Shira Cave, where we’ll have spectacular views of the Arrow glacier. At 4200 feet, our campsite for the night will be ideal.
Height (ft) : 13,580 ft to 13,200 ft
Distance: 12 km/7 miles
Hiking Time: 5 to 7 hours
Habitation: Alpine Desert
Leaving the Moir Valley behind, we make a relatively direct ascent to the top of the Lent Hills (4700m). After taking in the scenery, we make our way back to the Northern Circuit trail and continue eastward. The remaining stretch of today’s hike is a gradual uphill climb to Pofu Camp.
Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro’s northern side, you’ll spend the night in 3rd Cave Camp, where your route will intersect with the classic Rongai route. Day two of the journey is shorter than day one because your body has fully adapted to the 4,000 metre altitude by now, which will have a positive effect on your mood and energy levels.
As of today, you should be on your way to the School Hut Summit Camp (4,750 m). The hiking itself is not difficult; pick a reasonable pace to preserve your energy for the last push to the peak of Kilimanjaro. There is no time to waste after you reach camp; that night you will reach the summit of Uhuru, so get plenty of rest, don’t push yourself, and drink lots of water
(5,895 m).Depending on the season and recent storms, you may encounter snow on your remaining hike along the rim to Uhuru Peak.
The hours between midnight and two in the morning are filled with anticipation of the new day. Getting through this section is the most taxing on your body and mind.
We keep moving between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers, trying to keep warm and focused on the incredible sense of accomplishment that awaits us at the peak. Following a series of switchbacks, head northwest to reach the crater’s rim at Stella Point. As a thank you for your brief stay, the sunrise will be breathtaking. Early risers on the trail can be rewarded with a sunrise atop the mountain. From here, the final hour-long hike to Uhuru Peak is almost certainly going to be through snow the whole way.
Step by step, you’ve made it to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and Africa’s highest point, Uhuru Peak.
Following the obligatory group photo, toasts, and (perhaps) happy tears, everyone takes a breather to reflect on the momentous occasion. We break for lunch and a short rest in Barafu before continuing our precipitous descent to Mweka Camp. For the unforgiving rough gravel and volcanic ash, gaiters and trekking poles are must-haves. You’ve earned a good night’s sleep before your final summit.
After a well-deserved breakfast, it is a short, scenic, 3-hour hike back to the park gate. Don’t give your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely, but do remember to tip your staff at the gate. At Mweka Gate, you can sign your name and add details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Climbers who reached Stella Point are issued green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak receive gold certificates.
From the Mweka Gate, you will continue down to the Mweka Village, possibly a muddy, 3 km, 1-hour hike if the road is too muddy for vehicles. In the Mweka Village, you will be served a delicious hot lunch after which you are driven back to Arusha for an overdue hot shower and comfortable night in a nice hotel.
Overnight at Zawadi House on Bed and Breakfast
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Airport for your onward flight.
“End of service”.
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