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Northern Circuit Route Kilimanjaro

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Northern Circuit Route Kilimanjaro

The Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route is considered to be one of the most scenic and least traveled routes to the peak of Africa's highest mountain. Stretching over a distance of approximately 96 kilometers, this route provides a unique and challenging experience for climbers as it traverses through diverse landscapes and allows for ample acclimatization time. In this article, we will delve deeper into the details of the Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route and explore why it should be at the top of every adventurer's bucket list.

Why Choose the Northern Circuit Route?

Compared to the more popular routes such as the Machame and Marangu, the Northern Circuit Route offers a longer and more gradual ascent, allowing for better acclimatization and a higher success rate of reaching the summit. The route also passes through varying terrain, from lush rainforest to alpine desert, which makes for a more diverse and interesting trek. Furthermore, as this route is less traveled, it provides a quieter and more remote experience for climbers.

Route Description

The Northern Circuit Route starts on the western side of Kilimanjaro at the Londorossi Gate and takes approximately 8-9 days to complete. The first few days involve a slow ascent through the lush rainforests of the Lemosho Glades, where trekkers may spot a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, birds, and even the occasional elephant. As the route continues, it passes through the moorland zone, characterized by vast open spaces and rocky outcrops.

On the fourth day, the route begins to merge with the more popular Lemosho and Machame routes, before veering off to the northern side of the mountain. This is where the Northern Circuit Route differs from the others and showcases its stunning scenery, with panoramic views of the mountain and the surrounding valleys. The ascent continues through the alpine desert and reaches its highest point at the Uhuru Peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1 – Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,750m)
Day 2 – Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp (3,500m)
Day 3 – Shira 1 to Moir Hut (4,200m)
Day 4 – Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp (4,020m)
Day 5 – Buffalo Camp to Rongai 3rd Cave (3,800m)
Day 6 – Rongai 3rd Cave to Kibo Hut (4,700m)
Day 7 – Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak (5,895m) and then back down to Horombo Hut (3,700m)
Day 8 – Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate (1,800m)

Tips for a Successful Northern Circuit Trek

1. Train and prepare both physically and mentally for the challenging but rewarding trek ahead. This includes practicing long-distance hiking and carrying a heavy backpack.

2. Ensure that you have proper gear and clothing suitable for varying weather conditions, as temperatures can change drastically as you ascend.

3. Follow the golden rule of climbing Kilimanjaro – "Pole Pole" – which means "slowly slowly" in Swahili. This will enable your body to acclimatize properly and prevent altitude sickness.

4. Stay hydrated throughout the trek by drinking plenty of water and switching to electrolyte drinks to replenish lost salts and minerals.

5. Take advantage of the longer acclimatization time on the Northern Circuit Route by taking short hikes around the camps during rest days.

Training and Preparation for the Northern Circuit Route

As the Northern Circuit Route is a longer and more challenging route, it is essential to prepare and train for the trek beforehand. This includes cardiovascular exercises such as running, cycling or swimming, as well as strength training to build endurance. It is also recommended to practice hiking with a fully loaded backpack to get used to the weight and improve your stamina.

Packing Essentials for the Northern Circuit Route

Some essential items to pack for the Northern Circuit Route include:

- Waterproof hiking boots
- Thermal layers for warm and cold weather
- Waterproof and windproof jacket and pants
- Gloves and a beanie
- A good quality sleeping bag rated for cold temperatures
- Trekking poles
- Headlamp
- High SPF sunscreen
- Water purification tablets
- First aid kit

Challenges and Highlights of the Northern Circuit Route

The Northern Circuit Route poses several challenges, including a longer duration and varying terrain. Altitude sickness is also a possibility, which is why proper acclimatization is crucial.

However, these challenges are outweighed by the highlights of the route. These include stunning views of the mountain and the surrounding landscape, wildlife sightings, and a sense of remoteness and solitude on the less-traveled path.

Cost and Accommodation Options on the Northern Circuit Route

The cost of the Northern Circuit Route trek varies, depending on the tour operator and the level of comfort you prefer. Accommodation options include camping in designated campsites or staying in rustic mountain huts. Some tour operators also offer luxury camping options, with larger tents and more amenities.

Final Thoughts on the Northern Circuit Route

The Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route is a less-traveled but incredibly rewarding trek that offers a unique experience and breathtaking views of the mountain. With proper preparation, training, and a sense of adventure, conquering this route will undoubtedly be a highlight for any avid hiker and nature lover. So why not lace up your boots and take on the Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route on your next adventure?

Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park