On the Northern Circuit trek, which takes 9 days to complete, almost everyone reaches the peak. You can complete it in 8, but 9 is a little more laid back. This is a wonderful addition to the Northern Circuit route because it is for mountain enthusiasts as well as for climbers looking for isolation, which is difficult to find on Kilimanjaro.
Upon arriving in Moshi, Tanzania, you will be greeted by the awe-inspiring sight of Mount Kilimanjaro. This bustling town serves as the gateway to your trek. After settling into your accommodation, you will meet with representatives from the trekking company for a pre-climb briefing. They will provide important information about the route, safety measures, and what to expect during the journey. Take this day to rest, acclimatize to the new surroundings, and mentally prepare for the adventure that lies ahead.
The trek officially begins at the Marangu Gate, where you will undergo registration and meet your guide and porters. The first leg takes you through the lush and vibrant rainforest. As you ascend, you’ll be surrounded by exotic flora and fauna. Keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of monkeys, birds, and other wildlife. The hike to Mandara Hut typically takes around 4 to 5 hours. At the hut, you’ll find basic accommodation with bunk beds and shared dining facilities.
Leaving the rainforest behind, the path leads you into the moorland zone. The landscape changes, and you’ll notice the vegetation becoming sparser and more rugged. The hiking duration is around 5 to 6 hours, depending on your pace and group’s condition. Along the way, you may catch glimpses of the summit, Kibo, in the distance. The day’s journey culminates at Horombo Hut, where you’ll spend the night. This hut is situated at an elevation of about 3,720 meters (12,205 feet).
Acclimatization is crucial for your chances of a successful summit attempt. This day is dedicated to helping your body adjust to the increasing altitude. You’ll embark on a relatively shorter hike to Zebra Rocks, located at around 4,020 meters (13,189 feet). After spending some time there, you’ll return to Horombo Hut for a second night at the same altitude. This strategic acclimatization will enhance your readiness for the challenging ascent to come.
As you continue your ascent, the terrain becomes harsher and more barren. Today’s hike will take you to Kibo Hut, situated at the base of the Kibo summit cone. The duration of this trek is approximately 5 to 6 hours. Upon reaching Kibo Hut, you’ll have some time to rest, eat, and prepare for the most critical part of the journey – the summit attempt, which will begin in the early hours of the next day.
The summit day begins at midnight with the long and challenging climb to Uhuru Peak, the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet). This portion of the trek typically takes 6 to 8 hours. The ascent is grueling, but the reward of witnessing the sunrise from the roof of Africa is unparalleled. After reaching the summit, you’ll descend back to Kibo Hut for a brief rest and nourishment. From there, you’ll continue down to Horombo Hut, where you’ll spend your final night on the mountain, celebrating your remarkable achievement.
The last day of the trek involves descending through the rainforest back to the Marangu Gate. The hike typically takes around 5 to 6 hours. Upon arrival at the gate, you’ll complete the check-out formalities and receive your summit certificates, commemorating your accomplishment. Your trekking adventure concludes here, and you’ll be transferred back to Moshi, where you can rest, reflect on your incredible journey, and bid farewell to the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro.
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