12-Day Itinerary - 9 Days Climbing: $6,380
(Overnight in Crater)
On Tusker's Kili 360 Northern Circuit route we traverse the untouched northern slopes. On this trail the views are nothing short of spectacular; it is true wilderness, and rarely trekked. Because of the longer duration, you acclimatize well, making your summit easier, more fun and truly rewarding.
After arriving at Kilimanjaro airport, you check into the hotel. We spend two nights in Moshi allowing you time to regenerate and meet with your guides as they give you a detailed climb orientation and gear check.
9,170-ft/2,795-m • 2.5 miles/4 km • 3-4 hours
We enter Kilimanjaro National Park and check in at the Londorossi Gate located on the western side of Kilimanjaro. Our trek today will be along a little used track through the montane forest.
In places the vegetation is so untouched that it grows right across the trail. The flora and fauna are richer here than on the other more popular routes through the rain forest. Our first camp is in the rain forest at Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree).
11,500-ft/3,505-m • 5.2 miles/8.4 km • 7-8 hours
After breakfast we leave the glades, and start climbing towards the heath and moorland zone. We traverse the steep ridge into the Shira Caldera, a high altitude desert plateau.
Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro's volcanic cones - now eroded - and is filled with lava flow from Kibo Peak. Weather and volcanic action have decimated the crater rim. Today you'll get your first views of Kibo peak.
13,650-ft/4,160-m • 6.3 miles/10 km • 7-8 hours
After breakfast we hike east across the Shira Plateau past the Shira Cathedral towards Moir camp, tucked away at the end of a massive gorge, at the foot of a giant lava flow.
On the way to camp we enjoy a hot lunch at Fisher Camp, which is only a couple hours from our destination.
13,180-ft/4,017-m • 5.6 miles/9 km • 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.
12,912-ft/3,936-m • 4.2 miles/6.7 km • 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 are perched over our right shoulder. We descend to Third Cave Camp.
15,520-ft/4,730-m • 6.2 miles/10 km • 4-5 hours
We cross the far northwestern corner 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 at the 14,000 ft. level. The climb up the western part of the saddle up to Kibo hut is fairly strenuous up the scree slope, with lots of gravel and loose rocks underfoot.
Summit: 19,340-ft/5,895-m • 3.75 miles/4.5 km • 7-9 hours
Crater Camp: 18,700-ft/5,700-m • 1.5 miles/2.4 km • 1.5 hours
Today's the toughest day, with the most stunning views of Mawenziand the Kibo Saddle below. We slowly wind our way up to the crater rim and make our push to the summit. The view is dramatic.
After our celebrating our achievement, we slowly trek to our camp on the crater floor. Climbers may choose not to camp in the crater, and descend to a lower camp.
10,400-ft/3,170-m • 8.3 miles/12 km • 8-9 hours
After a hot breakfast we hike up to the Ash pit for spectacular views, where fumaroles are evidence of Kilimanjaro's dormant volcanic state.
We then start our descent to Mweka Camp, where we enjoy our last night on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Mweka Gate: 5,500-ft/1,676-m • 5.3 miles/8.5 km • 4-5 hours
Moshi: 3,000-ft/914-m • 30 minute drive
In the morning we have a 4-5 hour walk through the rainforest down to the gate where we sign out of the national park.
The Tusker vehicles meet us and take us back to the hotel to a well-earned shower and celebration.
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Tusker Trail runs many Kilimanjaro climbs each month.
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