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9 Days, 8 Nights

The following is day by day itinerary of the quietest and scenic route on Kilimanjaro, the Lemosho Northern Circuit route. Important things to note on the itinerary are the elevation gains, the distance to be covered each day, and notable features or things to do each day. This itinerary takes the same trails as the standard Lemosho route until day 4 where the Northern Circuit route is taken instead of the usual Southern Circuit. The descend is through the Mweka Gate.


Day 1 – Londorosi Gate (2250 meters) to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2650 meters):

Africa Nature Photography will pick you up from your hotel in Moshi or Arusha and transfer you to the starting point – the Londorosi gate. At the gate you will register for the climb and immediately after you are cleared for the trek, you will start your trek following instructions from your head guide.

It will be a beautiful day as you hike through a beautiful thick forest where you will be able to spot some wild animals. If you are lucky you may spot elephants and buffalos. Today’s final destination is Mti Mkubwa Camp where you will have your hot dinner. In the afternoon you should have stopped somewhere and had a packed lunch.

Distance: 7km

Trekking time: 3-4 hours

Zone: Tropical Rainforest

Altitude gain: 400 meters

Day 2 – Mti Mkubwa Camp (2650 meters) to Shira 1 Camp  (3,610 meters):

After breakfast at the camp, you will start this trek towards Shira 1 Camp, leaving the tropical rainforest zone and enter the Heath zone. You will have your first great view of Kibo peak after you have crossed the Shira Ridge.

Distance: 8km

Trekking time: 5-6 hours

Zone: Tropical Rainforest then Heath zone

Altitude gain: 960 meters

Day 3 – Shira 1 Camp (3,610 meters) to Shira Camp 2 (3,850 meters)

Today’s hike is full of great views as you will be exploring the Shira plateau. You will see the beautiful Senecio trees also called Senecio Kilimanjari. The campsite can be crowded as today you will be joining trekkers from the Machame Route. Your guide may talk you for a walk to see the Western Breach of Kilimanjaro above Shira Camp 2. The plateau is wide-open so be prepared for a cold night with temperatures getting below zero.

Distance: 7km

Trekking time: 3-4 hours

Zone: Low Alpine Desert zone/ High Alpine Desert zone

Altitude gain: 240 meters.

 Day 4 – Shira 2 Camp (3,850 meters) to Moir Hut (4,200 meters)

After breakfast, you will start a long and tough trek leaving the Shira plateau towards the Moir Hut Camp. From Shira 2 Camp you first go up to Lava Tower before going down to Moir Hut to spend the night. The hike is long so your lunch will be dished mid-way, at Lava Tower and it will be hot lunch.

Distance: 10 km

Trekking time: 6-8 hours

Zone: Low Alpine Desert zone/ High Alpine Desert zone

Altitude gain: 590 meters.

Day 5 – Moir Hut Camp (4200 meters) to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters)

After breakfast, we will leave the Moir Valley for a long hike that has a series of inclines and declines to find our way to the northern slopes of Kibo before reaching the Buffalo Camp. The beginning of today’s hike will be fairly steep so watch your steps. Interesting things you can expect to see along the way are the plains of Kenya. We expect to arrive at the camp in the afternoon hence you where you will find your hot lunch ready. If the weather is clear, you will have great views of Kibo Peak at this very quiet campsite.

Distance: 12 km

Trekking time: 5-7 hours

Zone: High Alpine Desert zone

Altitude loss: 400 meters then attitude loss of 700 meters

Day 6 – Buffalo Camp (4020 meters) to Third Cave (3,800 meters)

Another day of hiking towards a lower altitude. To aid you with acclimatization, your guide may take you up to the Buffalo ridge before going down to find your way to Rongai Third Cave. Today’s hike is fairly simple and will leave you with a feeling of being well acclimatized.

Distance:  8 km

Trekking time: 5-7 hours

Zone: High Alpine/ Low Alpine desert

Altitude loss: 220 meters

 Day 7 Third Cave  (3,800 meters) to School Hut (4,800 meters)

Today you will have a decent elevation gain of 1,000 meters as you navigate your way up to the base camp called School Hut. You will have a steady climb up and over the Saddle which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. We will then continue walking southwest up to our final destination of the day, the School Hut. Expect this base camp to be very quiet as it is seldom used by trekkers. At the base camp, you will have an early dinner before you rest to prepare yourself for the summit attempt.                   

Distance:  10 km

Trekking time: 5-6 hours

Zone: High Alpine desert zone

Altitude gain: 1000 meters

Day 8 – School Hut (4,800 meters) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) and then Mweka Camp (3,100 meters):

This is the day you have been waiting for. Your mental and physical stamina are going to be tested to the limit. You will start summit night at around 11:00 PM or 12:00 AM depending on how your head guide sees it fit. Important tip, put your snacks and bottle of water under your first layer jacket. After you have checked that you are well dressed and have all trekking gears for the summit attempt, you will start the steep slope in a pole pole style (slowly slowly).

Your important stopping point before Uhuru Peak is Gilman’s point (5685 meters) which is on Kibo’s crater rim. At Gilman’s point, you will take some time to rest (5 minutes maximum) and refuel with a snack. We will start the final push moving very slowly to finish to remaining 200 meters to Uhuru Peak.

After the Uhuru summit, a tough descent will be waiting for you. You will descend to the base camp, rest a little bit, then descend further to Mweka Camp. We chose to descend to Mweka Camp(3100 meters) to give you a chance to relax well and have enough oxygen unlike the other option of resting at Millenium Camp (3950 meters) which is still higher compared to Mweka Camp.

Distance:  Total 11.5 km to the summit and back to the base camp, then from base camp to Mweka Camp it will take approximately 11 km

Trekking time: 6-8 hours to the summit, then another 6-7 hours back to the base camp. From base camp to Mweka Camp you may spend 5-8 hours.

Zone: Glacial zone and all preceding zones.

Altitude gain: 1222 meters, altitude loss: 2795 meters.

 Day 9 – Mweka Camp (3,100 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters):

After your breakfast at Mweka Camp, you will start a final descend to the exit gate. The walk on this day is through a tropical rainforest. At the Mweka Gate, you will have to sign out and be handed certificates of completion. If you successfully reach Stella Point you will be handed a green certificate. If you successfully reached Uhuru peak, a gold certificate will be handed to you. After all administrative procedures have been completed at Mweka Gate, you will be transported to your hotel.

Distance:  Total 10 km

Trekking time: 3-4 hours.

Zone: Moorlands at Mweka Camp then

descending to Montane forest zone at Mweka gate.

Altitude loss: 1460 meters

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