Northern Circuit Route
The Northern Circuit Route is a Kilimanjaro favorite because of its longer acclimation time (nine days) and gentler slope. The Northern Circuit Route starts at the Londorossi Gate on the west side of the mountain. You will spend your first day climbing to Mti Mkubwa Camp ("Big Tree Camp"). On the way to your first camp, you will walk in cultivated and native forests. You will likely see white and black Colobos monkeys, as well as blue monkeys. The slope for day one is gentle, with little difficulty. Just a few hills here and there.
During Day Two, the terrain becomes steeper, but there is no "monkey business" (scrambling). You will start in the rain forest and break out into the Moorland Zone after one and one-half to two hours. As you climb, you will see vast wheat and potato plantations, Mount Meru, and other beautiful views of Tanzania. You will spend the night at Shira I Camp. If the skies are clear, you will have a spectacular view of Mount Kilimanjaro to the northwest. You will also have the pleasure of hearing your Kilimanjaro staff regale you with songs and dance. Participation is encouraged!
On Day Three, you will walk in open space. The terrain slopes gradually upward as you head to Shira II Camp. Along the way, you will pass the Shira Cathedral, and this will also be your first opportunity to really start acclimatizing to high altitude by climbing high and sleeping low. At Shira Cathedral, you will be rewarded with a stunning view of the Machame Rain Forest. Some trivia: The Shira Cathedral was the first mountain to erupt in Kilimanjaro thousands of years ago.
Day Four will continue with the "climb high, sleep low" acclimation technique. After breakfast, you will head from Shira II up to Lava Tower for a lunch stop. This will be the highest altitude you have reached thus far in your trek, so you will likely feel the effects. After lunch, you will continue to Moir Hut for the night.
On Day Five, you will venture from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp. Today, you will be in the Alpine Desert Zone, which is dry and treeless, affording you the opportunity for great views across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border.
Day Six involves a trek to Third Cave, continuing through the Alpine Desert Zone. This area is not heavily used, and therefore you will not encounter the crowds that are seen on other, more popular routes.
On Day Seven, your destination is School Hut (base camp) at 15,600'. Your landmark for the day is the Saddle that sits between Kibo Peak and Mawenzi Peak. Depending on your progress, you will likely eat an early dinner and start preparing yourself for summit night. Your guides will give you detailed instructions for summit night before you retire for the evening.
On Day Eight, depending on you and your group's progress, your staff will wake you around 11:00 pm to midnight, with your summit bid starting once your guide clears you for departure. Though short in length, this leg of the trek is the most difficult because of the high altitude. After your summit celebration and photo taking opportunity, you will head back down through Millennium Camp, where you may stop for lunch or a nap or both. After that, we recommend that you stay the night at Millennium, or if you're feeling particularly energetic, you can descend further to Mweka Camp.
On Day Nine, you will wake and eat breakfast and enjoy your staff's rendition of the Kilimanjaro and Jambo songs. After that, this is the proper time to tip your staff. (See Tipping Guidelines.) Make sure you show your appreciation for the excellent service and their hard work! You will then start your final descent to Mweka Gate. At Mweka Gate, you will eat a hearty lunch, drink Kilimanjaro beer and/or soft drinks, and have the opportunity to gift some of your gear and clothing to the staff.
Following lunch, you will receive your certificate if you successfully summited, and we will provide transportation back to your hotel, after which you can arrange for safari, an excursion to Zanzibar, or something else tailored to your needs.