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.
After completing the required registration procedures at the entrance to Londorossi National Park, we proceed to the Lemosho roadhead by driving through a variety of countryside with unobstructed views of the plains. When it rains, the final stretch of the road is of poor quality and is challenging to drive. In these cases, we often begin our trek one or two kilometers below the roadhead. At the beginning of the road, we frequently eat lunch before beginning to walk. It’s a simple day of hiking along a narrow path through a gorgeous, thick forest. We camp at Lemosho Big Tree Camp (2,650 meters), which requires a 2- to 3-hour trek.
We quickly leave the forest behind and move onto the area of enormous heather-covered moorland. To get to the Shira Plateau’s rim, the trail steadily ascends while offering expansive vistas. Particularly if afternoon mists roll in, there is a real sense of remoteness. At “Shira One,” we set up tent in the plateau’s middle (3,550 m). [6-7 hours on foot]
Before arriving at the following camp at Shira Hut, we hike to the top of Shira Cathedral (3,840 m). Near the ragged rim of Shira Plateau and the glaciated dome of Kibo, this campground offers breathtaking views. The views of Mt. Meru floating in the clouds from here are just breathtaking. [5–7 hours on foot]
The main track is followed in the morning to Lava Tower, and for those who are up for it, there is the option to trek up to the abandoned cabin at Arrow Glacier, which is located at a height of about 4,800 meters. Then, from Lava Tower, we proceed to Moir Hut, where we will set up tent (4,200m). [5–7 hours on foot]
We leave the Moir Valley and make a short detour to the 4,375-meter peak of Little Lent hill. We continue on the trail and turn eastward to follow the northern circuit trail after stopping to take in the sights. At this location, the trail winds through a field of rock slabs that clang when trod on. The final portion of today’s hike includes several undulations before arriving at Buffalo Camp (4,150m). The Kenyan plains spread out far below and to the north, giving the camp a sensation of immense spaciousness. [4–7 walking hours]
From Buffalo Camp, we ascend to the top of “Buffalo Ridge” and descend the opposite side to Pofu. A small spring and some greenery are there. Third Cave Camp is finally reached by following the trail eastward across an increasingly arid area (3,900m). [5–7 hours on foot]
The Saddle, a lunar scene between Kibo and Mawenzi peaks, can be reached after a steady ascent. From here, we climb farther until we arrive at the 4,700-meter School Hut Campsite in the early afternoon. Resting and preparation for the summit day take up the remainder of the afternoon. [4-5 hours on foot]
Around midnight, we will begin our trek by torchlight so that we can reach the rim of the crater before daylight. We will reach Gilmans Point (5,685 m) in about five or six hours if we move slowly but steadily up the steep ascent through loose volcanic scree. There, we’ll take a brief break to see the sunrise over Mawenzi. The route to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m) travels west along the crater rim and passes quite near to the breathtaking glaciers and ice cliffs that still make up the majority of the summit region. We descend from Barafu Camp to Millenium Camp after retracing our route around the crater rim to Stella Point (3,800 m). [11–15 walking hours]
A steady descent through a beautiful tropical forest with a well-built trail that is alive with bird singing and has lush undergrowth with significant botanical interest. Our path descends steeply to the Mweka National Park gate (1,650 m). We next proceed 15 minutes further via coffee and banana farms to Mweka village, where our van is waiting, after officially leaving the national park. The pool, the shower, and the drink are all tantalizingly near by! [4-6 hours on foot]
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