The Northern Circuit with Crater Camp
- Trekking & Hiking
- Trekking peaks
our UK team
All trekkers need to organise their own flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). From JRO we will arrange a private transfer to your hotel. That night or early the next morning you will meet your local Kandoo representative and have a full pre-climb briefing.
4WD transfer to Londorossi Park Gate for registration. Our porters prepare and pack our supplies and luggage before we start our ascent along the forest trail to Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite at 2895m. We will stay here overnight.
Our journey continues eastwards across the Shira Plateau with spectacular views of Shira Cathedral. We cross moorland meadow to reach Shira 1 Camp for dinner and overnight camping at 3500m. By now we will be able to see the stunning glaciers of the Western Breach. It will be colder tonight than the previous night with temperatures possibly falling below freezing.
Today we walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral, a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles. There is a tangible sense of wilderness here, especially when the afternoon mists roll in. From our camp near Shira Hut, we take in the unforgettable views of Mt Meru.
We leave the moorland behind now and a gentle grade walk takes us across the high altitude Shira Caldera to Shira Cave with fabulous views of Arrow glacier. We will camp here for the night at 4200m.
We climb out of the Moir Valley and take a short detour to reach the summit of Lent Hills (4700m). After admiring the views we return to the trail and heads eastwards around the Northern Circuit trail. The final section of today’s walk undulates until reaching the location of Pofu Camp.
From Pofu Camp we cross numerous small valleys as the trail continues through a landscape that has increasingly sparse vegetation to eventually reach Third Cave Camp.
Today there is a steady ascent to reach the Saddle, a lunar landscape between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. From here we continue upwards and reach School Hut in the early afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is spent resting and preparing for the summit day.
We start the final and most demanding part of the climb around 7 am on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point. We rest here for a short time before we continue on to Uhuru Peak, passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. After celebrating with a few summit photos we begin our descent into Kibo Crater to camp for the night.
We wake up early to hike to the Crater Rim in time to see the sunrise. From the rim, we descend down to the Millennium camp site. Trekking poles will be needed for the loose gravel going down to Millennium Camp. Later in the evening, we will enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Your final day on the trek. Departing after breakfast, we descend a further 1300m to the Mweka Park Gate to pick up your summit certificates from the Park Headquarters. We will then transfer toy our hotel for a well-earned shower and celebration.
After a much-needed night’s rest we will bid you goodbye. If you have arranged airport transfers with us or a safari / Zanzibar trip, we will collect you from the hotel for your onward journey.
The Northern Circuit is the longest and also the most remote route. The longer itinerary means that it has a good acclimatization profile. You can naturally "walk high, sleep low" which helps with acclimatisation.
Even though you don't have to climb the Great Barranco Wall on this route, you will still have a tough summit night approaching via Gilman's Point. You will be trekking for long periods of time so a good level of fitness and stamina is recommended.
is usually fairly hearty, and includes porridge, sausage, eggs and toast with
marmalade or jam. Of course, you’ll also have hot drinks, generally a choice of
tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Let your guide know if you are still hungry, or
even if you think you could ‘pack in a few more bites’. Our cooks always try to
provide more food than necessary to ensure everyone gets a good meal.
either packed for you, to carry in your rucksack, or we stop for a hot cooked
lunch depending on your itinerary. A typical packed lunch is a boiled egg,
sandwiches, a portion of chicken, crisps, snack bar, fresh fruit and a drink.
Tea is served at the end of the day’s walking, once you get to camp. In
addition to tea and other hot drinks, there are plenty of peanuts, popcorn, biscuits
and snacks to help restore some of the energy you’ve just burned off.
are quite filling. They usually begin with a nice hearty soup, and then a main
course such as chicken curry, spaghetti bolognese, fresh vegetables, and plenty
of rice, pasta or potatoes, followed by a yummy dessert such as pancakes or
banana fritters with maple syrup or nutella!
Please be aware that Tanzania is
still a third world country and cut offs in both water and electricity supply
still happen regularly, and we cannot guarantee that the hotel will have hot
showers during your stay. The hotel will help as far as they can, but these
outages are outside their control.
We use only the very best high
altitude mountain tents, Mountain Hardwear Trango 3, to ensure you stay warm,
dry and comfortable on your Kilimanjaro climb. Please bear in mind, these are
proper mountain tents, designed to cope with extreme conditions so don’t expect
to be able to stand up and walk around inside! The dry, dusty conditions on
Kilimanjaro can play havoc with the zips and they can easily jam. Our guides
are armed with WD-40 so just ask them for assistance, rather than trying to
force the zip.
Your meals will be taken in a
separate mess tent where you will be able to sit comfortably, while you relax
and chat to your team mates and enjoy the wholesome food that our cook has
freshly prepared for you. Inside, you’ll be pleased to find a table (of course)
and a proper, comfortable chair with arms. With a full 2 metres of headroom,
even the tallest climbers will be able to stretch a bit, and move about without
hunching over. They are fully waterproof, and regularly withstand the worst
weather Kilimanjaro has to offer. A toilet tent is provided with toilet
Kilimanjaro National Park
operates an absolutely strict limit of 15kg per porter for your main equipment
bag. This limit includes your sleeping bag, even if it is rented from us. This
is more than sufficient for your needs on the mountain. Your bag will be
weighed before you leave the hotel to start the climb and if it is overweight
you will have to take items out and leave them at the hotel. Additional porters
can be hired but they cost $25 per day
PLASTIC BAG BAN
June 2019, Tanzania introduced a ban on all single-use plastic bags. Please support this fight against plastic by using more sustainable
alternatives in your luggage, such as packing cubes and dry bags. Passengers
with plastic bags in their luggage may be asked to surrender them on arrival at
zip-lock bags required to carry liquids and toiletries in cabin baggage on
airplanes will still be permitted.
One question we get asked a lot is 'how fit do I need to be to climb Kilimanjaro? Whilst a high level of fitness will make the climb a lot easier it by no means requires super human fitness. We often take people who have left their fifties well behind them and are not in peak physical condition. In fact, if you are carrying a few extra pounds this is a great way to lose weight! That being said, a solid Kilimanjaro training plan will allow you to better prepare for the climb and give you more opportunity to enjoy yourself when you're on the mountain. What all successful climbers share though is a real Kandoo attitude and that means high levels of grit and determination. Summiting Kilimanjaro is a long slow grind but provided you have the determination to do just one more step even when you are tired we can help you get to the top. If you are comfortable walking for 6-7 hours with an ascent of 1000m then you are certainly fit enough to succeed on Kilimanjaro. Similarly if you can do a full hour spinning, a vigorous aerobics class or can jog at a decent pace for 45 minutes then there is no reason why you can't summit Kilimanjaro. The bare facts about the climb are that you will probably be walking 6-7 hours per day with a rough ascent each day of 1000m.
The best training by far to climb Kilimanjaro is to get your walking boots on and get lots of miles under your belt. Whether this is two to three hours walking locally or full days away on your nearest hills, you just need to clock up lots of hours on your feet as more than anything else it is just walking every day for 7 days that people find tiring. And the best cure for this is to have spent lots of hours just walking.
Hiking practice allows you to understand the stress your joints will be put under and how well you can deal with this. It also allows you to wear in your boots as this takes some time and can often be uncomfortable. Start with a comfortable distance that suits you and slowly try to work your way up to a 5-6 hour trek. If you can do this a few times then you'll be in good stead to climb Kilimanjaro.
Aerobic (or cardio) training will be a key factor in allowing you to climb Kilimanjaro. Aerobic literally means 'requiring free oxygen' and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism.
Aerobic exercise builds up your cardiovascular system allowing you process limited oxygen in a more effective way. This is key for Kilimanjaro as it is a long distance exercise at altitude which will give the body less oxygen per breath.
Aerobic exercise, unlike anaerobic exercise, requires oxygen for elongated periods of time. Examples of aerobic exercise would be lane swimming, long distance jogging, walking and cycling.
One crucial thing we tell our customers is don't rush up the mountain! Trying to ascend too quickly is a huge mistake. Our porters can often be heard saying "Pole Pole", meaning 'Slow Slow' in Swahili. Because of the altitude your body needs time to adjust - no matter your fitness levels! However, having a good cardiovascular system will help with this, but it wont prevent it. Kilimanjaro is not a sprint, it's a marathon! We recommend putting the slowest hiker to the front of the group.
Depending on fitness, we recommend a 3-6 month Kilimanjaro training plan. Your hiking practice will help, but we also suggest running 6-12km three times a week. If you're using a treadmill remember to set a slight incline.
Any Kilimanjaro training plan should also include strength training. Although not as important as your aerobic training, strengthening your upper body, core and, in particular, your legs, will greatly increase your chances of success. You'll be on your legs at least 7 hours a day, you therefore need them to be strong enough to take the punishment.
To strengthen your legs we recommend doing the following exercises:
Remember when doing these exercises to keep watch of your technique. Exercises done with poor technique will more often than not harm you instead of help you.
Building upper body and core strength is also crucial as you'll not only be standing for hours, but you'll also be carrying gear.
We recommend the following exercises to strengthen your upper body and core:
Remember to stretch after all exercise sessions! Increasing flexibility will allow your body to recover more quickly overnight after trekking all day. No one wants to trek for 7 hours after waking up with stiff joints aching all over!
Most sports injuries occur due to poor stretching. This is particularly true on mountains where repetitive movements over tough terrain put a lot of stress on joints and muscle. To loosen your muscles and increase suppleness we recommend adopting a regular stretching regime. Spend 10 minutes every morning stretching your main muscle groups.
So get that date with destiny booked, put on your boots and get out there walking!
Just as important as physical stamina is mental stamina and attitude. There always comes a point (most often during summit night) that you will want to quit and just head back down the mountain. Keeping a positive attitude and digging deep to push through is incredibly important and a valuable skill.
Training your mental stamina is no easy thing, but there are ways to accomplish it. You essentially need to construct an activity that pushes your body to what it thinks is its limit, then you need to push past that to reach your goal.
A great way to achieve this is long distance running such as half marathons and full marathons. A marathon will push you to your limit whilst having an achievable goal in sight - the finish line. If you can do this with a friend or training partner then all the better as you will both push each other to achieve more. Remember, it's that final push when your head is telling you to stop that will allow you to get into the state of mind required to scale Kilimanjaro.
Please Note that not all hotels can accept
card payments so you may need to use an ATM to access funds.
also find on your summit attempt that some of the porters accompany the group
to provide additional assistance. This is an additional task that they carry
out in order to support you having the best chance of reaching the summit.
Please show your appreciation for any help you receive by tipping these porters
directly. We would suggest an extra tip of $20.
tipping announcement will take place on the last night on the mountain when all
the crew will gather together to celebrate with you. One representative from
your group should say a few words of thanks, which will be translated by the
lead guide into kiSwahili.
recent thefts on Kilimanjaro, we no longer advise our clients to carry cash
with them during the climb, so the actual tip money will be presented when you
return to your hotel. Your group will be supplied with envelopes to assist with
the distribution of tips – one envelope for the porters and a separate envelope
that you can use to tip your lead guide, assistant guides and cook. Three
porter representatives will come to the hotel to accept the tip envelope on
behalf of all the porters, and they will distribute the money themselves.
decided to rent gear, then below is a list of equipment available. Just let our
team know what you’d like to hire at your Pre-Climb Briefing. All payments
are made locally in US Dollars (cash only).
These items must be packed in
your main equipment bag. They should not be attached to the outside, as we are
not responsible if items fall off when the bags are being carried up the
mountain. The sleeping bags weigh approximately 2.6kg each
– thermal or fleece base layer (x1)
trousers – light or medium weight (x2) – convertible trousers work well
hard shell trousers – ski pants work fine
optional but it can be muddy in the rainforest and dusty higher up
Want to add flights or create a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!Contact us