12 Days Northern Circuit With Crater Camp

Route Overview

The Northern Circuit is the longest and prettiest ascent path on Mount Kilimanjaro, and it is also the newest. The Lemosho route is used during the ascent’s first three days. The route then takes a northerly turn and travels along the actual Northern Circuit until it meets the Rongai route to the east. Its round of the mountain provides virtually 360 degree vistas, making it a fantastic route in terms of isolation. Unparalleled opportunities for acclimatization are offered by the longer path. Crater Camp, located at 5730 meters, is a good alternative for climbers who are confident in their ability to acclimate properly because it is a nearly unspoiled and unexplored wilderness.

Route Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

To get to Kilimanjaro International Airport, every hiker must arrange their own flights (JRO). We will set up a private transfer for you from JRO to your hotel. You will meet your local Tito Tanzania agent that evening or early the next morning and receive a thorough pre-climb briefing.

  • Transport: Private transfer (0.8 hour, 40 km)
  • Accomodation: Hotel

Day 2: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa Camp

Transfer in a 4WD to the Londorossi Park Entrance to register. Before we start our ascent up the woodland trail to Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite at 2895m, our porters prepare and load our provisions and bags. We’ll spend the night here.

  • Transport: 1.7 hours, 80 km
  • Hiking time: 3 – 4 hours
  • Ascent: 535 m
  • altitude: 2895 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 3: Mti Mkubwa Camp to Shira 1 Camp

Shira Cathedral is magnificently visible as we travel farther east on the Shira Plateau. To get to Shira 1 Camp for dinner and overnight camping at 3500m, we cross a moorland meadow. The beautiful glaciers of the Western Breach will be visible by now. Tonight will be significantly colder than last night, with potential lows below zero.

  • Hiking time: 5 – 6 hours
  • Ascent: 605 m
  • altitude: 3500 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 4: Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp

Today, we go up to the top of Shira Cathedral, a massive rock outcropping encircled by sharp spires and pinnacles. This place exudes a real sense of remoteness, especially in the late afternoon. Our camp is close to Shira Hut, and we enjoy the breathtaking views of Mount Meru from there.

  • Hiking time: 3 – 4 hours
  • Ascent: 310 m
  • altitude: 3810 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 5: Shira 2 Camp to Moir Hut

We now leave the moorland behind and travel at a gentle grade to Shira Cave, which offers stunning views of the Arrow glacier, across the high altitude Shira Caldera. Here at 4200m, we’ll set up camp for the night.

  • Hiking time: 6 – 7 hours
  • Ascent: 390 m
  • altitude: 4200 m
  • Accomodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 6: Moir Hut to Pofu Camp

We leave the Moir Valley and ascend Lent Hills, taking a brief side trip (4700m). We return to the route and circle around the Northern Circuit trail to the east after taking in the vistas. The last part of today’s walk includes some incline before arriving at Pofu Camp.

  • Hiking time: 7 – 8 hours
  • Ascent: 500 m
  • Descent: 680 m
  • altitude: 4700 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 7: Pofu Camp to Third Cave Camp

The trail continues through a landscape with sparser and sparser vegetation from Pofu Camp to Third Cave Camp, passing through numerous tiny valleys.

  • Hiking time: 6 – 7 hours
  • Descent: 60 m
  • altitude: 4020 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 8: Third Cave Camp to School Hut

To get to the Saddle, a lunar scene between Kibo and Mawenzi peaks, there is a steady ascent today. From this point on, we climb more until we arrive at School Hut in the early afternoon. Resting and preparation for the summit day take up the remainder of the afternoon.

  • Hiking time: 5 – 6 hours
  • Ascent: 830 m
  • Max. altitude: 4790 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 9: School Hut to Uhuru Peak to Crater Camp

In order to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point, we begin the final and most difficult portion of the climb at around 7 am on a switchback track through loose volcanic scree. We take a brief break here before moving on to Uhuru Peak, passing very near the breathtaking glaciers and ice cliffs that still make up the majority of the summit region. After taking a few summit shots to celebrate, we start the descent into Kibo Crater, where we’ll set up camp for the night.

  • Hiking time: 7 – 8 hours
  • Ascent: 1105 m
  • Descent: 165 m
  • altitude: 5895 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 10: Crater Camp to Millennium Camp

To make it to the Crater Rim in time to view the sunrise, we get up early. We walk down to the Millennium camp site from the rim. For the loose gravel heading down to Millennium Camp, trekking poles are required. We will have our final meal on the mountain later in the evening before a well-deserved rest.

  • Hiking time: 7 – 8 hours
  • Descent: 1903 m
  • altitude: 5730 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 11: Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate

The last day of your trek. After breakfast, we continue our descent of 1300 meters to the Mweka Park Gate where you may pick up your summit certificates from the Park Headquarters. After that, we’ll travel to our hotel to have a well-deserved shower and celebrate.

  • Transport: Private transfer (0.6 hour, 17 km)
  • Hiking time: 5 – 6 hours
  • Descent: 2027 m
  • altitude: 3827 m<br>Accomodation: Hotel
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 12: Departure

We’ll say farewell after a much-needed night of sleep. If you have scheduled a safari or Zanzibar tour with us, we will pick you up from the hotel for your next destination.

  • Transport: 0.8 hour, 40 km
  • Meals included: Breakfast

Day 13: Ngorongoro to Arusha to Kilimanjaro Airport

We’ll drive to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area’s amazing wildlife arena after an early breakfast. The crater, which is more than 260km2 (100 miles2) in size, was created about 2-3 million years ago when a sizable volcano erupted and collapsed on itself. It is currently the world’s largest preserved volcanic caldera. With more than 25,000 huge mammals living there, it is common to witness all five members of the “Big Five” (elephant, rhinoceros, lion, tiger, and leopard) in a single day.

We will depart for Arusha in the late afternoon to catch a flight out of Kilimanjaro. You will need to reserve a flight that departs after 9pm because we anticipate arriving back in Arusha by 5pm. If not, we may book you a hotel room in Arusha for an extra night.

  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch

Booking Now

    Items included:

    • Professional, experienced, mountain guides:
    • All Park fees
    • Rescue fees
    • All meals while on the Mountain
    • Arrival and Departure transfers
    • Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
    • Quality Mess tents with table and chairs
    • Large portions of fresh, healthy, nutritious food
    • Clean, purified drinking water
    • Crisis management and safety procedures
    • Fair and ethical treatment of porters
    • Flying Doctors insurance (AMREF) during the safari

    Items excluded:

    • International Flights
    • Alcoholic and soft drinks not included
    • Visa fees
    • Tips
    • Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
    • Travel insurance
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