Kilimanjaro - Remote Northern Circuit & Wildlife Safari

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A beautiful and challenging route to summit the highest mountain in Africa on the full moon combined with a drive-fly wildlife safari through Tanzania's magnificent National Parks

Details

Duration: 16 Days
Starts in: Tanzania
Group Size: 2-15

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Join Arusha, trip briefing

Today is an arrival day. If you choose to fly into Kilimanjaro Airport we recommend a private transfer to Arusha where the rest of the day is at your leisure. (With prior arrangement, airport pick up and private transfers to the hotel are available from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), or simply make your own way by taxi. Note that taxis are scarce after about 18:00hrs. We stay at the Moivaro Coffee Lodge or similar (or Ilboru Safari Lodge in 2018) which has spacious rooms, a pool, and restaurant. This afternoon at 16:30, you will meet the rest of the group and your guide for a trip briefing.

Drive to Londorossi, to Lemosho Big Tree Camp (2,650 m)

After completing the necessary registration formalities at Londorossi National Park gate, we drive through varied farmland with open views over the plains to reach the Lemosho roadhead. The last section of the road is of poor quality and difficult to drive after rain, sometimes we start walking a kilometre or two below the roadhead. We often have our lunch at the roadhead before starting to walk. It is an easy day of walking up a small path through beautiful and lush forest. We camp at Lemosho Big Tree Camp (2,650 m); [2-3 hours walking]

To Shira One camp (3550m)

We soon leave the forest behind and enter the moorland zone of giant heather. The trail climbs steadily with wide views to reach the rim of the Shira Plateau. There is a tangible sense of wilderness, especially if afternoon mists come in! We camp in the centre of the plateau at “Shira One” (3,550 m). [6-7 hours walking]

To Shira Hut camp (3840m)

We walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral before reaching the next camp at Shira Hut (3,840 m). This campsite has stunning views, close to the glaciated dome of Kibo and the jagged rim of Shira Plateau. The views from here of Mt. Meru floating on the clouds are simply unforgettable. [5-7 hours walking]

To Moir Hut (4200m)

In the morning we follow the main trail up to Lava Tower, and for those feeling strong there is a possibility to climb up to the ruined hut at Arrow Glacier around 4,800m. We then continue from Lava Tower to reach our campsite at Moir Hut (4,200m). [5-7 hours walking]

To Buffalo Camp (4,150m)

We climb out of the Moir Valley and take a short detour to reach the summit of Little Lent hill at 4,375 metres. After admiring the views we return to the trail and head eastwards around the northern circuit trail. Here the trail passes through a field of rock slabs that clink as they are walked on. The final section of today's walk undulates until reaching the location of Buffalo Camp (4,150m). At the camp there is a huge feeling of space as the Kenyan plains stretch out far below to the north. [4-7 hours walking]

To Third Cave Camp (3,900m)

From Buffalo Camp we climb up to the top of 'Buffalo Ridge' and drop down the other side to reach Pofu, nearby the is a small spring and some vegetation. The trail continues eastwards through a landscape that has increasingly sparse vegetation to eventually reach Third Cave Camp (3,900m). [5-7 hours walking]

To School Hut Campsite (4,700m)

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 Campsite (4,700m) in the early afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is spent resting and preparing for the summit day. [4-5 hours walking]

Summit day (5,896 m) to Millenium Camp (3,800 m)

We will start our ascent by torchlight at about midnight so that we can be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. On selected Non-Exclusive departure dates each month, the climb will be particularly beautiful as we ascend in the light of the Full Moon. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded zig-zags and a slow but steady pace will take us to Gilmans Point (5,685 m) in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. The trail leads west along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. We retrace our steps along the crater rim to Stella Point and then descends down through Barafu Camp to reach Millenium Camp (3,800 m). [11-15 hours walking]

Descend to Mweka, then to Arusha

A sustained descent on a well constructed path through lovely tropical forest alive with birdsong and boasting lush undergrowth with considerable botanical interest. Our route winds down to the National Park gate at Mweka (1,650 m). Here we sign out from the national park before walking on for a further 15 minutes through coffee and banana farms to Mweka village where our vehicle awaits. The shower, the beer, and the swimming pool are tantalizingly close! [4-6 hours walking]. Accommodation: Moivaro Coffee Lodge (or Ilboru Safari Lodge in 2018) or similar.

To Tarangire National Park, game drive

After breakfast, we will drive to Tarangire National Park (approx 2- 3 hours) where we will have lunch on arrival. Later in the afternoon we will spend time game viewing within the park. This area has the largest population of elephants in northern Tanzania, with approximately 2000 sighted along the river at certain times of the year. In the dry season, (July–November) most of the wildlife in the Tarangire ecosystem migrates to the permanent water of the Tarangire River. The lush green shores of the river are a big attraction to many varieties of wildlife, so they offer fantastic game viewing. Dry baobab and acacia trees are scattered widely throughout Tarangire National Park and these provide an ideal home to over 500 species of birds. Most people who have visited East Africa give fabulous accounts of their safaris in this national park, which is famous for both its flora and fauna. Accommodation: Migunga Tented Camp, or Tarangire Sopa Lodge (4 star upgrade) or similar.

Ngorongoro Crater

Today is a long but rewarding day, filled with scenic driving and fabulous wildlife viewing. We leave early this morning for a 3 - 3.5hr drive up the Rift Valley escarpment to Ngorongoro Crater. At nearly 2300m on the Crater rim, the mornings are brisk and low cloud sometimes covers the area. Please bring some warm clothing as it can be cold here. We drop down into the Crater for a day of game viewing, including a picnic lunch. The World Heritage listed Ngorongoro Crater is one of the last refuges for the endangered black rhino in northern Tanzania; the rhino population here is carefully protected and they are quite commonly seen. With over 30,000 animals, the 100 sq km caldera of the Ngorongoro Crater is a natural amphitheatre for wildlife with its permanent water source and varied habitats. We drive to our accommodation back up on the rim of the Crater in the late afternoon. Accommodation: Crater Forest Tented Camp, or Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (4 star upgrade) or similar.

Masai village and Olduvai Gorge, to Serengeti National Park and game drive

On our way to the Serengeti National Park we visit the world famous Olduvai Gorge, where our earliest ancestors were discovered by Professor Richard Leakey. We will also visit a Masai boma (village) to learn about Masai traditions and way of life.The hills and plains en route are home to wildlife as well as the Masai people and we are likely to see both on our journey. After passing through the Serengeti park gate we have opportunity to see a variety of wildlife as we game drive our way to our accommodation. We begin to get an idea of the vastness and remoteness of this incredible park as we travel across the savannah to our base for the next two nights. Accommodation: Kati Kati Tented Camp, or Serengeti Serena Lodge (4 star upgrade) or similar. (NOTE: Kati Kati is a semi-permanent tented camp operating from December - March and from June - October. Outside of these months, an alternative property will be used which may attract a small surcharge)

Serengeti National Park, game drives

We spend a full day in the Serengeti National Park, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage area for its wildlife and natural beauty. Mornings and late afternoons are the best times for wildlife spotting, as the animals retreat to the shade of trees to escape the heat of the day. We will follow this pattern to make the most of the time when wildlife is most active. We will wake with the sun and generally return to our camp or lodge after sunset, with time in the middle of the day to relax. Depending where we find most game, we may take a picnic lunch and stay out all day or return to our accommodation over lunch for a siesta before going out again in our 4WD safari vehicle to explore the different habitats found within the park. Famed for its annual migration, the Serengeti offers amazing game viewing at any time of the year: herds of buffalo, groups of elephant and giraffe, zebra, eland, topi, kongoni, impala and gazelle, among other wildlife. We hope to experience a blazing Serengeti sunset, with silhouetted acacia trees, to top off a magical day. Accommodation: Kati Kati Tented Camp, or Serengeti Serena Lodge (4 star upgrade) or similar. (NOTE: Kati Kati is a semi-permanent tented camp operating from December - March and from June - October. Outside of these months, an alternative property will be used which may attract a small surcharge)

Early morning game drive, fly to Arusha

We will enjoy one last early morning game drive in the Serengeti before transferring to the Seronera airstrip for a 11:00 flight back to Arusha. (Please note that flight schedules are subject to change and availability.) On arrival in Arusha we will be met at the airport and transferred to our accommodation. There is time for an optional visit to a cultural market en route if you wish. Accommodation: Moivaro Coffee Lodge (or Ilboru Safari Lodge in 2018) or similar.

In Arusha, trip concludes

In Arusha, after breakfast at your hotel, the trip arrangements end.

Additional Information

Climbing the highest mountain in Africa on the Northern Circuit route is a draw card for any avid trekker, but especially with a full moon summit! Mt Kilimanjaro (5895m), being a free-standing mountain, commands panoramic views of the surrounding plains. Having nine days to acclimatise and encountering limited numbers of fellow trekkers, this route is truly remote and one for the trekking enthusiast. Commencing from the western side, catch a glimpse of Mt Meru floating on the clouds from the Shira Plateau before traversing the less visited northern flanks to enjoy fabulous vistas across vast Kenyan lowlands. Then, approaching the summit from the east in the light of the full moon, experience the tremendous feeling of space generated before standing on the top of Africa. Finally, a descent to the south completes an almost-circumnavigation of the mountain. This less-visited northern route provides opportunity for a truly remarkable adventure to the top of Kilimanjaro. Before or after ascending Kilimanjaro, we indulge in an all encompassing fly-drive safari highlighting the best game parks in northern Tanzania including huge herds of elephants in Tarangire, the spectacular World Heritage listed Ngorongoro Crater, visits to a Masai village and the renowned paleolithic site of Olduvai Gorge, and culminating in the distinctive scenery and abundant wildlife in the world famous Serengeti National Park.

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