The Northern Circuit is Shrike's newest route on Kilimanjaro. We take 11 days to traverse the entire mountain, trekking over the untouched northern slopes. On this track, the views are nothing short of spectacular and unpopulated; it is true wilderness, and rarely trekked. Because of the longer duration, you will acclimatize well, making your summit easier, and truly rewarding.
Day 1: Moshi
A Shrike Safaris representative will pick you up in Arusha city or perhaps Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and transfer to Moshi town, best-known as the gateway to the roof of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. Once in Moshi, your tour guide will meet, greet and brief you about your trek to Kilimanjaro. He will also make sure that you have taken all the gear necessary for the trek. In case you are missing important equipment, it can easily be hired in Moshi.
Day 2: Umbwe Cave
9,700-ft/ 2,956-m | 5-6 hours
After breakfast we have a short drive from our hotel to the Umbwe Gate at 4,590 ft., passing through villages with small banana groves and coffee plantations. After signing in at the gate, we follow the winding trail up through the rainforest. We climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers beneath the massive tree canopy. The path offers some spectacular views of deep gorges and glimpses of Kilimanjaro off in the distance. Our scenic camp is perched between huge trees and thick undergrowth.
Day 3-4: Barranco
12,950-ft/ 3,950-m | 4-5 hours.
Not far from camp, you'll notice that the forest starts thinning out. We find more rocky terrain with undergrowth and trees draped with witches beard. We follow the ridge, gaining altitude, occasionally seeing Kibo peak towering in the distance. As we approach Barranco, the path flattens out a bit and then descends into Barranco camp.
We spend 2 nights at Barranco to acclimatize. On our extra day, we hike up approximately 1,500 ft. - to help us acclimatize - for a beautiful view of the Barranco and its unusual flora, such as Senecio and Lobelia.
Day 5: Shira Caldera
13,200-ft/ 4,023-m | 4-5 hours
After breakfast, we begin our trek out of the Barranco, climbing out of the canyon up towards Lava Tower, with Kibo peak towering over our right shoulder. The trail from Lava Tower takes us downhill into the Shira Caldera, where we camp for the night.
Day 6: Moir Camp
13,650-ft/ 4,160-m | 5-6 hours
After breakfast, we hike northeast across the Shira Plateau towards Moir camp, tucked away at the end of a massive gorge, at the foot of a giant lava flow. We enjoy a hot lunch at Fisher Camp, which is only a couple of hours from our destination.
Day 7: Pofu Camp
13,180-ft/ 4,017-m | 6-7 hours
From the foot of Kibo Peak, we start our traverse of the northern slopes with a climb up to the Lent Mountains, towering two thousand feet above our campsite. The desert zone is stark, yet beautiful as we make our way to our spectacular lunch spot at 14,500 ft. Then we trek downhill to Pofu camp.
Day 8: Third Cave
13,000-ft/ 3,963-m | 5-6 hours
After breakfast, we continue eastward. Mawenzi peak starts getting closer, and the Kibo Saddle comes into view as our trail intersects with the Marangu route. Kibo Peak and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim perch over our right shoulder. We descend to Third Cave Camp.
Day 9: Kibo Hut
15,520-ft/ 4,730-m | 4-5 hours
We cross the far northwestern section of the Kibo Saddle, which sits between Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. Even though our elevation gain is 3,200 ft., we are well acclimatized to the altitude having spent the last few days hovering in the 14,000 ft. level. The climb up the western part of the saddle up to Kibo hut is fairly strenuous, as we trek up the scree slope.
Day 10: Summit - Uhuru Peak | Crater Camp
Summit: 19,340-ft/ 5,895-m | 7-8 hours
Crater Camp: 18,700-ft/ 5,600-m | 1-2 hours
We repack our gear, taking only what we'll need for the night in the crater. Today's the toughest day, with the most stunning views of Mawenzi, the Kibo Saddle and the plains below. We slowly wind our way up over the rocky outcrops and scree until we reach the rim of the crater at Gillman's Point. After lunch on the rim, we push for the summit. The view from the summit is dramatic. The weather and altitude determine how long we stay here. After our summit celebration, we descend to our crater camp for the night. The camp faces the Furtwangler Glacier.
the last night on Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Day 11: Mweka Camp
10,400-ft/ 3,170-m | 8-9 hours
After breakfast, you can take a short hike up to the Ashpit Aat 19,000 ft., where fumaroles are evidence of Kilimanjaro's dormant volcanic state. We then head downhill to Mweka Camp, where we enjoy our last night on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Day 12: Mweka Gate | Moshi
Mweka Gate: 5,500-ft/ 1,676-m | 3-4 hours
Moshi: 3,000-ft/ 914-m | 30 minute drive
In the morning we have a 3-4 hour walk down to the gate, where the Shrike vehicles meet us and take us back to the hotel and a well-earned shower. In the evening we celebrate our success in true Shrike style! This is the last time to see your porters, it is recommended to tip them at this point. The Shrike vehicle will meet you and drive back to your hotel for a hot shower and some. You will enjoy a farewell dinner with your guides.
Day 13: Moshi
Depart Tanzania, or continue on your wildlife safari. Shrike Safaris takes you through some of the most spectacular wildlife reserves on the planet. You stay in hand-picked lodges and camps in the SERENGETI, at the NGORONGORO CRATER, TARANGIRE & LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK. Click here