- Climbing: Northern Circuit route 8-day climb
Arrival date: 07.02.2017
Departure date: 16.02.2017
Climbing start: 08.02.2017
Climbing finish: 15.02.2017
Northern Circuit is the newest route on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is the longest way to Uhuru Peak and thus, less attended. The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning from rainforest on the western slope of Shira Plateau, passing through the northern part of Kilimanjaro massif, ending up on the eastern slope. Northern Circuit is also the only route that makes an arc of 270°, that allows you to see the Kibo Volcano from different perspectives and admire other beautiful sceneries when you traverse the mountain. That is one of the reason why this route is highly popular among professional photographers. Moreover, since the expedition takes 8 days, you are able to get a proper acclimatization in order to summit Uhuru Peak in good health.
Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), where you will meet an Altezza Travel representative, and transfer to the hotel under the rate. The hotel will provide all the essentials for a comfortable stay: cozy rooms, hot water, polite staff, a swimming pool, and Internet access. In the evening there will be a briefing with our managers, who will also make sure you are ready to begin the climb.
Note: Check-in starts at 2:00 PM.
A guide and a mountain support crew will arrive at the hotel in the morning in order to meet you and hold another briefing, after which you will travel by vehicle (roughly 3–4 hours) to Kilimanjaro National Park's western entrance: Londorossi Gate (2,200 m). After the quick formality of acquiring climbing permits and registering with the search and rescue service, the group continues upwards towards their drop off point by off-road vehicles (reaching 3,500 meters). Here you can see stunning views of the Shira Plateau for the first time.
The route from your drop off point to your first high-altitude camp Shira 1 features a small gain in altitude and is not too physically challenging. Due to this, you will be able to properly begin the process of acclimatization. By the time you reach the camp, our professional mountain crew will prepare everything necessary, put tents and cook dinner for you.
This will be your first day at this altitude, so it is strongly recommended you heed the following instructions from this point on:
- Abstain from consuming alcohol and caffeine
- Drink over 4 liters of bottled water daily (little by little, frequently)
- Take a Diamox pill to help alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness. Most mountain climbers take Diamox in the morning, before they start their ascent, in order to reduce discomfort associated with altitude sickness. We recommend you consult your doctor prior to the trip in case of potential allergies.
At night you may experience discomfort associated with acclimatization to the high altitude: because of a reduction in your waking breathing pattern, your body gets less oxygen than during the day. Taking altitude into account, you may therefore start feeling sick and have a headache. Pay attention to your own body and tell your guide if you start feeling any symptoms of altitude sickness.
Change in Elevation: Lemosho Glades (3,500 m) — Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m)
Hiking distance: 4 km
Hiking time: 1 hour
Departing from Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m) and a light trekking towards the second high altitude camp: Shira 2 Camp (3,810 m). This trek is not difficult and you will be able to enjoy spectacular views of Africa and the unique flora of Kilimanjaro and the surrounding area. Shira 2 Camp is the best place on the trip to see Mount Meru (the fifth summit of Africa), weather permitting.
When you arrive to camp you will have lunch, and after a two-hour rest everyone will complete an acclimatization hike towards Lava Tower Camp that features a 300-meter gain in altitude.
Trekking from Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp:
Change in Elevation: Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m) — Shira 2 Camp (3,810 m)
Hiking distance: 7 km
Hiking time: 3–4 hours
Change in Elevation: Shira 2 Camp (3,810 m) — Destination point en route to Lava Tower (4,110 m)
Hiking distance: 2 km
Hiking time: 1–2 hours
After breakfast you leave Shira 2 Camp (3,810 m) and start trekking for the day towards the route's key feature: Lava Tower (4,630 m). This section of the route has a lot of highs and lows that end in a camp at over 4,600 meters. It will be hard, and you may encounter some discomfort, but in order to successfully acclimate to the altitude you have to spend at least 1-2 hours here, so this is where lunch will be offered.
After lunch you will trek a little higher, after which there is a gradual descent to Moir Hut. This camp is located on the way to the northern part of Kilimanjaro.
Note: If one or more participants feel sick, the group may refrain from passing the Lava Tower and adjust the route, following instead the road for porters. In this case you will not reach an altitude of 4,630 meters, getting up only to a maximum of 4,400 meters.
Change in Elevation: Shira 2 Camp (3,810 m) — Lava Tower (4,630 m) — Moir Hut (4,200 m)
Hiking distance: 14 km
Hiking time: 5–7 hours
On this day you will have a rather long but at the same time easy trek. After a short steep climb out of Moir Valley you will start going around the northern slope of Kilimanjaro, and just like on the way to Lava Tower the path will be full of highs and lows, without any steep gains in altitude. This route passes close to the border with Kenya, so you will be treated to amazing views of the Tsavo and Amboseli Valleys.Change in Elevation: Moir Hut (4,200 m) — Buffalo Camp (4,020 m)
Hiking distance: 12 km
Hiking time: 5–7 hours
You will finish trekking up the northern slope of Kilimanjaro and stop for the night in 3rd Cave Camp, where the route will meet up with the traditional Rongai route. On this day the trekking will be shorter than on the day before, and by this time your body will already have become completely acclimated to an altitude of 4,000 meters, which will contribute to your general feelings of well-being.
Change in Elevation: Buffalo Camp (4,020 m) — 3rd Cave Camp (3,870 m)
Hiking distance: 8 km
Hiking time: 4–6 hours
On this day you will be trekking to the School Hut Summit Camp (4,750 m). The actual trekking is not very hard, so remember to just choose an appropriate pace in order to keep your strength up for the trekking to Kilimanjaro's summit. When you reach the camp, we recommend you sleep well, avoid strenuous activity and drink as many fluids as you can, because that very night you will complete the trekking to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m).
Change in Elevation: 3rd Cave Camp (3,870 m) — School Hut (4,750 m)
Hiking distance: 5 km
Hiking time: 4–5 hours
Night departure from School Hut (4,750 m) and the start of your trekking to Kilimanjaro's summit: Uhuru peak (5,895 m). Technically the climb is relatively simple; however, the most challenging part is the high altitude. Each pair of climbers will get a personal guide for the entire ascent to monitor your physical and mental conditions. After your successful ascent to Uhuru Peak, you can descend to the nearest glacier if desired. Then you will descend to Barafu Camp, on the south side of Kilimanjaro. After a two-hour rest and lunch you will continue trekking down to Millennium Camp (3,820 m).
Note: Don't forget that 90% of all accidents occur during the descent, including all broken arms and legs. Please pay attention to your feet, as there is a high risk of damaging your toenails.
Change in Elevation: School Hut (4,750 m) — Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) — Millennium Camp (3,820 m)
Hiking distance: 6 km
Hiking time: 6–8 hours
The camp is situated in a tropical rainforest. When you wake up, you will feel relief from the reduction of the height and the satisfaction of reaching the summit. After a warm breakfast, you will head for the park's exit: Mweka Gate (1,650 m). After your descent the whole group will gather to congratulate you, followed by offering you a chance to share your opinions on the climb in the guestbook. Lastly, we will present you with your commemorative certificates in our office and provide you a transfer back to the hotel.
Change in Elevation: Millennium Camp (3,820 m) — Mweka Gate (1,650 m)
Hiking distance: 12 km
Hiking time: 4–5 hours
Rest in the hotel and transfer to the airport.
Note: Hotel check-out is at 11:00 AM. In case you need a late check-out because of an evening flight, there is the option to extend your hotel stay for an extra fee.
Tour price includes (climbing):
- Meeting at Kilimanjaro International Airport;
- Transfer to the hotel — Aishi Machame Hotel / Altezza Lodge in Moshi*;
- Accommodation prior to the climb (including breakfast; sharing a twin room);
- Transfer to the trail head;
- Professional mountain crew. All guides have "Wilderness First Responder" and "Wilderness First Aid" certificates, along with over 7 years of experience in climbing. Each participant will be provided with a porter (who can carry up to 15 kg of personal baggage);
- Kilimanjaro National Park permits;
- Kilimanjaro National Park rescue fees;
- Camping/hut fees;
- 3 square meals daily. The menu includes different soups, garnishes, several types of fish and meat, fresh fruit and vegetables; vegetarian options are available upon request;
- Modern The North Face VE-25 tents**;
- Oxygen systems and pulse oximeters;
- First aid kit;
- Warm and comfortable sleeping pads (2 inches thick);
- Group equipment (dining tent, table, chairs, crockery and cutlery);
- Meeting the group at the National Park exit and transfer to the hotel;
- Accommodation after the climb (including breakfast; sharing a twin room);
- International certificates for a successful ascent;
- Return transfer to Kilimanjaro airport.
* Basic tour package price includes sharing a twin room. If you need a single bed accommodation only, you should contact a manager a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the start of the tour.
** During the climb you will share a tent with 1-2 other climbers, depending on the number of participants. If you need an individual tent, please, contact our manager. Single accommodation at sleeping huts on Marangu is impossible.
Tour price excludes (climbing):
- Airline tickets;
- Visa fee;
- Lunch and dinner at the hotel (before and after the ascent);
- Personal gear rentals;
- Tips for the mountain crew (200–250 USD per person);
- Mountaineering insurance.
Experienced mountain guidesWe hire only professional mountain guides certified as “Wilderness First Responder” and “Wilderness First Aid” with 7+ years of successful climbing experience!
Modern outfit and equipmentWe use only modern outfit and equipment from The North Face and Black Diamond in our Kilimanjaro expeditions. These brands were successfully tested in harsh Himalayan and Arctic environments.
Safe climbsFor extra safety, we equip our groups with oxygen systems, satellite phones, radio stations and medical kits.
Customized meal plansIndividual diet for every climber allows us to ensure the highest quality standards
No agents involvedOur prices are free from commissions and markups. Our team is located in the heart of Tanzania and we personally control everything here.
More than 200 successfully expeditions annually!In 2015, 577 climbers from EU and USA climbed the highest point of Africa with us!
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