A Beginner’s Guide to Northern Circuit Route with Crater Camping

The longer version of the Northern Circuit route gives you two extra days to properly adjust to the altitude before you spend the night at Crater Camp. At an elevation of 5790 m, this is the highest place to stay the night near the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. We will do everything we can to make your Kilimanjaro climb comfortable and special. Few people have been lucky enough to see the night sky from this high up, and it is truly amazing to see the Kilimanjaro Glaciers against the Milky Way. There are always risks with these kinds of climbs, but the Kabira Safaris Team has the knowledge and tools to make sure you are safe at Kilimanjaro Crater Camp.

Kilimanjaro Trek – Northern Circuit

7 Days Northern Circuit Route Itinerary Cost

7 Days Northern Circuit Route Price per person ($ USD)
1 pax 2 -4 pax 5-9 pax 10-16 pax 16+ pax
2,235 2,185 2,135 2,085 2,035

Kilimanjaro Crater Camping Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

When you get to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), you’ll be met by an agent from Kabira Safaris, who will take you to your hotel as part of the package deal. There will be nice rooms, hot water, friendly staff, a swimming pool, and Internet access at the hotel, so you can have a peaceful stay. There will be a meeting with our bosses in the evening, and they will also make sure you are ready to start the climb.

As part of private tour packages, your group will share a ride to and from the airport. For more than one person transfer, there will be extra fees. To avoid extra fees, make sure that the times your group arrives and leaves are the same.

Day 2: Trekking From Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa Camp

Your guide and climbing support team will pick you up at your hotel in the morning for one last meeting. Then you’ll drive for three to four hours to Londorossi Gate, which is where you enter Kilimanjaro National Park from the west (2,250 m/7,380 f).

Get climbing permits and sign up with the search and rescue service quickly. Then, your group will start hiking to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,650 m/8,692 f), which is the first camp on your route. You should bring raincoats or ponchos because the trail goes through a thick tropical forest and it rains a lot of the time.

When you get to camp, our experienced mountain staff will have set up everything you need to rest, pitched your tents, and made you lunch. You will take an acclimatisation walk to Shira 1 Camp after lunch. Then you will return to Mti Mkubwa and be given a hot dinner.

To speed up the process of getting used to the altitude, the acclimatisation hike is a short, easy hike with a small elevation gain. The acclimatisation hikes are very important that you do them. They make it more likely that you will be able to climb Kilimanjaro safely and keep you from getting altitude sickness.

You should really pay attention to these rules from now on because today is your first day at this height:

  • Hold off on drinking booze and caffeine;
  • Over 4 litres of drinking water every day (little by little, often);
  • If you want to avoid getting altitude sickness in the first place, you might want to take a high-altitude rescue medicine. Many mountain hikers take these kinds of pills in the morning, before they start their climb, to ease the pain of altitude sickness. Along with your travel plans, our managers will give you more detailed information. Before the trip, you should talk to your doctor about any allergies or health worries you might have.

As you get used to the high altitude, you may feel uncomfortable at night because your body gets less oxygen than during the day because you breathe less deeply at night. Taking into account the altitude, you may start to feel sick and get a headache. Watch your body and let your guide know if you start to feel any signs of altitude sickness.

Day 3: Trekking From Mti Mkubwa Camp to Shira 1 Camp

You will get up early and eat a big breakfast today. Then you’ll start a slow climb up to an elevation of 3,610 m/11,841 f. This is where you’ll get your first glimpse of the beautiful Shira Plateau and Kibo Volcano.

Moving from Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 (3,610 m/11,841 f), the second high camp, is mostly a simple process that takes five to six hours. You can start getting used to the altitude slowly, which is an important part of a good walk to the Kilimanjaro Crater Camp. Your team of specialists will make you a hot lunch when you get to camp, and you can rest in your tent or take in the beautiful scenery.

Day 4: Trekking From Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp

Today, your group will leave Shira 1 Camp (3,610 m/11,841 f) and make a short hike to Shira 2 Camp (3,850 m/12,628 f), which is the second high-altitude camp. The hike isn’t hard, and you’ll get to see amazing views of Africa and plants that are only found on Kilimanjaro. If the weather is good, Shira 2 Camp is the best spot on the trip to see Mount Meru, which is the fifth-highest peak in Africa.

Once everyone gets to camp, they will eat lunch. Then, after a two-hour break, they will all go on an acclimatisation walk up 300 metres (984 feet) to Lava Tower Camp. Remember that acclimatisation walks are very important, and this one has a beautiful view from the top.

Day 5: Trekking From Shira 2 Camp to the Lava Tower And Descent to Moir Hut

You will start your walk to Lava Tower (4,600 m /15,088 f) after breakfast. You will leave Shira 2 Camp (3,850 m /12,628 f). The route is harder than the hikes from the previous days because it has more steep climbs and descents. Even though it might be harder on your body than the day before, it’s a great way to get used to the high elevation. After a tough morning, lunch is served on top of Lava Tower, giving you one to two hours to rest and unwind.

You will walk a little higher after lunch and then slowly lower yourself to Moir Hut. You can get to the northern part of Kilimanjaro from this camp.

Day 6: Trekking From Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp

Today you have a long but mostly easy walk planned. To leave Moir Valley, you will have to go up a short but steep hill. Then you will get closer to the northern slope of Kilimanjaro. This walk has more ups and downs, but no big changes in elevation. The Tsavo and Amboseli Valleys will look beautiful from this path, which is close to the border with Kenya.

Day 7: Trekking From Buffalo Camp to 3rd Cave Camp

The hike up the northern slope of Kilimanjaro will end at 3rd Cave Camp, where you will spend the night. This is where your trail will meet up with the usual Rongai trail. The trekking will be shorter today, and your body should already be fully used to being at an elevation of 3,800 m (12,464 f), which will make you feel better and improve your overall health.

Day 8: Trekking From 3rd Cave Camp to School Hut Hut

On this day you will be trekking to the School Hut Summit Camp (4,800 m /15,744 f). The actual trekking is not very hard, so remember to just choose an appropriate pace in order to keep your strength up for the next day. When you reach the camp, we recommend you sleep well, avoid strenuous activity, and drink as much water as you can, because tomorrow your group will trek into the crater.

Day 9: Trekking from School Hut to Crater Camp

One of the most challenging days of your journey will be ahead of you. A hearty breakfast is waiting for you when you wake up, so you can start the day on the right foot.

The effort put in to reach the rim of the crater is rewarded handsomely. Glaciers and snow from long ago will greet you with awe. Continue climbing to the Ash Pit if you so desire; it will take around 90 minutes. Alternatively, you can save this exploit for tomorrow. The campsite is bone-chillingly cold, and there’s a good chance that snow will fall overnight. You are one of the lucky few who have climbed to the top of the crater and slept on top of Africa if you are now there. Eating a hot lunch and dinner will provide you energy, but it’s also crucial to attempt to cut back on physical activity.

Day 10: Trekking From Crater Camp to Uhuru Peak And Down to Mellennium Camp

Around 5:30 in the morning, you’ll be up and about, and before the sun comes up, you’ll have a hearty breakfast.

Snow is likely, so bundle up in thick clothing and be ready to slog through. On a technical level, this is not a very challenging section of the climb. The high altitude, though, makes even the most mundane tasks appear daunting.

Members of the climbing party will work in pairs, with a guide keeping tabs on each to ensure everyone’s well-being. In little over two hours, you will go to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa, and witness a breathtaking sunrise. Staying at the summit for too long could be challenging due to the cold and exhaustion, so be sure to check the weather forecast before you set out.

The descent to Millenium Camp via Barafu will then begin.

Day 11: Descent From Mellennium Camp to Mweka Gate

In the middle of a tropical rainforest is the camp. The descent will be a relief when you wake up, and the accomplishment of reaching the peak will be a source of satisfaction. You will be led to the park’s exit, Mweka Gate, which is 1,640 m /5,379 f, after a hearty meal. When you’ve finished descending, everyone will be there to cheer you on and give you an opportunity to write your thoughts about the climb in the guestbook. Finally, we will arrange for a transfer to take you back to your hotel once we have presented you with your commemorative certificates at our office.

Day 12: Departure

Rest in the hotel and transfer to the airport.

Time to check out of the hotel is 11:00 AM. You can choose to prolong your hotel stay for an additional cost if you require a late check-out due to an evening flight.