- Crater Camp Route - Northern Circuit -
At 18,865 feet above sea level, it is the highest campsite on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is located just 475 feet below the summit. Crater Camp is a unique place. We offer the opportunity to stay at Crater Camp on the Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes. This option will add one day to the standard itineraries making them the 9 Lemosho Crater Route and 10 day Northern Crater Route.
We leave for the summit during daylight hours and stay at Crater Camp after the summit for better acclimatization. On all other Kilimanjaro routes, only the guides and clients summit while the rest of the mountain crew remains at high camp (i.e. Barafu). Using Crater Camp requires significantly more effort on our part as the entire mountain crew, along with all of the expedition equipment, has to ascend 4,000 feet higher than they normally would. Therefore, there is considerable added cost to do a Crater Camp route.
From Crater Camp, one can take an optional one hour hike to Reusch Crater, or simply explore the areas around Furtwangler Glacier. Reusch Crater is a magnificent sight. It is almost perfectly circular and the ash pit measures 400 feet (120 m) deep and 1,300 feet
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa
Elevation: 7,742 ft to 9,498 ft
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Distance: 6 km | 4 miles
Habitat: Rain Forest
We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours, where you will complete entry formalities. Then drive to the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival at trailhead, we begin hiking through undisturbed forest which winds to the first camp site.
Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp
Elevation: 9,498 ft to 11,500 ft
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Distance: 8 km | 5 miles
We continue on the trail leading out of the rain forest and into a savannah of tall grasses, heather and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. As we ascend through the lush rolling hills and cross several streams, we reach the Shira Ridge before dropping gently down to Shira 1 Camp. Here we catch our first glimpse of Kibo across the plateau.
Day 3: Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp
We explore the Shira Plateau. It is a gentle walk east on moorland meadows towards Shira 2 Camp. The heath zone displays abundant wildflowers and unique Senecio trees.
Day 4: Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower to Moir Hut
Shira 2 Camp to Lava TowerElevation: 12,500 ft to 15,190 ft Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Lava Tower to Moir HutElevation: 15,190 ft to 13,580 ft Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
.Distance: 7 km | 4 miles Habitat: Alpine Desert
.Distance: 7 km | 4 miles Habitat: Alpine Desert
We continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower – a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. Then we divert from the main trail to Moir Hut, a little used site on the base of Lent Hills. A variety of walks are available on Lent Hills making this an excellent acclimatisation opportunity. Shira Plateau is one of the highest plateaus on earth.
Day 5: Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp
We trek out of Moir Valley with a moderately steep climb, then hike to the summit of Lent Hills before returning to the main trail. The path crosses a rock field and gently undulates before reaching Buffalo Camp. This section of the trail offers great views across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border.
Day 6: Buffalo Camp to Third Cave
As we head up Buffalo Ridge, the terrain becomes increasingly sparse. This route is rarely travelled and we will enjoy its mountain wilderness feel. We trek through remote valleys on to the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro until we arrive at Third Cave.
Day 7: Third Cave to School Hut
We climb steadily up and over the “Saddle,” which sits between Kibo and Mawenzi. We continue on to our camp, School Hut. Once here we rest, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.
Day 8: School Hut to Uhuru Peak to Crater Camp
School Hut to Uhuru PeakElevation: 15,600 ft to 19,341 ft Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Uhuru Peak to Crater CampElevation: 19,341 ft to 18,865 ft Hiking Time: 0.5-1 hours
.Distance: 6 km | 4 miles Habitat: Arctic
.Distance: 1 km | 0.6 miles Habitat: Arctic
During normal morning hours, we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. We ascend for several hours at a slow but steady pace while taking frequent, but short, breaks. The trail turns into heavy scree as we make the steep climb to the crater rim. At Gilman’s Point (18,600 ft), we see the summit sign in the distance. We continue the around the crater rim until finally we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
We then descend a short distance to Crater Camp, where the rest of the staff will join us to set up camp. There is an option to hike to Reutsch Crater and the ash pit, or simply explore the areas around Furtwangler Glacier. Sleeping at this high altitude can be dangerous. Serious AMS can develop if adequate altitude acclimatization has not been achieved so the guides will monitor you very closely.
Day 9: Crater Camp to Mweka Camp
From Crater Camp, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Day 10: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.
Please note all trip prices are based on our own Company costs, fees, and supplier prices in effect at the time of booking. We reserves the right to alter trip prices should inflation, cost of fuel, labor, materials, or exchange rates change. If the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) raises park fees, or any hotel, lodge, camp or any other service provider raises their rates, We reserves the right to require additional payment from the client.