Home » mountain trekking » Northern Circuit Route » Northern Circuit Route 9 days
Today is an acclimatisation day and you will continue along a steep ridge passing the Great Barranco Wall passing below the Heim Glacier and through the alpine desert of the Karanga Valley where you will have views of the summit from many different angles.
Your trek will begin in the forest; however, you will soon leave it behind, taking a steep track into a zone of giant heather and volcanic rock. This is a full day ascending the lush rolling hills below the Shira Plateau. Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones. The trail begins to ease as you reach the edge of the plateau, reaching camp after 5-6 hours. The view of Kibo across the plateau is incredible.
Trek across the Shira Plateau with an optional climb to Shira Cathedral (3,880m). Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth. The day finishes with a gradual climb to Shira 2 Camp. Trekking time without the optional excursion is approximately 3 hours. Including acclimatisation to the peak of Shira Cathedral will add approximately 1 hour.
Your climb today will take you steadily up and over the expansive ridge lines of high desert to Lava Tower. The trek to the base of the tower, a 300-foot-high volcanic plug, takes around 4-5 hours. From Lava Tower head north west beginning your circuit of Kibo, the almighty summit cone of Mount Kilimanjaro. Moir Huts is an isolated and seldom used camp, affording views over the Shira Plateau. Total trekking time approximately 6-7 hours. An alternative would be to take a gentle ascent across the alpine desert to Moir Huts in the morning and spend the afternoon on a guided trek of the nearby Lent Group, a series of wind eroded parasite cones from which you can gaze down to the plains of Kenya.
Today you will delve more deeply into the stark alpine desert. If you chose not to explore the Lent Group yesterday, take a short detour to the top of Little Lent Hill (4,375m/14,350ft) in the morning before regaining the trail to Buffalo Camp. The total trekking time today is approximately 5 – 7 hours covering a distance of 12km.
Proceed onwards passing valleys and hiking ridges, through alpine desert and moorland, continuing your circuit towards the east. This rarely traveled route allows you to enjoy the vast mountain wilderness in peace. Trekking time today is 5 – 7 hours.
Climb steadily to reach the saddle, a lunar landscape between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. From here, continue upwards to reach School Hut Campsite in the early afternoon. The remainder of the day is spent resting and preparing for your summit ascent, which will begin in the early hours of the morning. Despite the short distance of 5km covered, trekking time is approximately 4-5 hours due to the high altitude and steep incline.
Around midnight, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. For the next six hours, hike by the light of your flashlight. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek. The trail consists mostly of steep switchbacks, with a rocky section known as Jamaica Rocks to scramble over as you approach the crater rim at Gilman’s Point (5,756m). The hike from here to Uhuru Peak is gradual and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude however makes it feel long and tiring. After summit celebrations descend from the rim at Stella Point, to Barafu Camp and then straight down to Mweka Hut, with lunch served on the way. This part of the descent takes about 6 hours, covering new terrain. Enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.
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