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Climb the world’s tallest freestanding mountain via our most spectacular trek, circumnavigating it with a day-time summit bid and a magical night of camping on the crater at 18,500ft!

Trip Information

Kilimanjaro: The Grand Traverse

A Northern Circuit trek: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 9 Days in Mountain

A near circumnavigation of Kilimanjaro, this trek truly defines the ultimate Kilimanjaro adventure in every sense of the word. It will take you on a full exploration of this iconic peak along a route few others tread at a rate that suits you, culminating in a day time approach to the crater rim winding through a wall of lava fields, a rare night spent within the volcanic crater and a final push to the summit at dawn, arriving in good time to admire the sunrise and avoid the crowds at the summit.

Also known as the “Northern Circuit route”, this itinerary takes you on the road less traveled and traverses near 360 degrees around the north face covering all of the remote northern slopes of the mountain affording climbers views into neighboring Kenya and its landscape with abundant wildlife few other Kili trekkers get to experience. This is also the longest route, taking 9 full days to ascend and one day down the mountain.

Because of its length, it’s also the safest and most successful route up Kilimanjaro with an average summit success rate of over 95%! If you have that extra time and getting off the busier touristy highways is probably the best formula for a successful Kilimanjaro experience. In physical sense, the longer you give time for your body on the mountain, the more time it has to adapt and acclimatize to the altitude.

This fascinating track beneath the magnificently sunlit Northern Ice fields of Kilimanjaro, travels along the northern slopes and crosses a whole series of rock ribs and gullies that runs all the way down to a part of the Rongai trail’s cave camps and Mawenzi Tarn at the foot of Mawenzi peak. The climbers then turnaround and crosses the lunar-like landscape of the Saddle back to higher elevations for the summit attempt.

This trek maintains a wide range of altitude from anywhere between 3400-4300m throughout the most of its length before heading to the arctic zone, providing walkers plenty of time to get their bodies adjusted to a climb high-sleep low concept. If you’re looking for more privacy, less crowd noise and quiet nights, it is fairly easy to come by in this route.

Due to the longer time spent in wilderness camps, Wanderlust’s itinerary offers climbers maximum comfort by including upgraded walk-in height tents for much larger private space, porter support all the way up to the Crater camp accommodation at an elevation of 5700m with cooked meals and a night well rested and an opportunity to celebrate the summit at Uhuru peak with a leisurely ascend of less than 200m.

Kilimanjaro: The Grand Traverse

A Northern Circuit trek: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 9 Days in Mountain

Day 1: Kilimanjaro Airport – Arusha, Tanzania

Late evening arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport outside Arusha, where we are met by the Wanderlust Trip Leader and drive about 45 minutes to our lodge in Arusha. We head direct to enjoy a late dinner and a relaxing shower before settling in for the night. Hotel: Ilboru Safari Lodge, Arusha. (3 nights)

Day 2: Arusha – Wanderlust Community Projects

After breakfast, we spend a relative easy and axingday today. We will take time to visit two community projects of Wanderlust. First is a visit to the local village school and kindergarten in Olmuringiringa village under the care of Arusha Children’s Trust, a local charity we support. We meet the children, volunteers and teachers to learn about the project, watch a tribal cultural show with music and dances and participate in a ceremony where each group member will hand over a pre-ordered wooden desk and bench specially built using local materials and labour. They come with your name and hometown stenciled! Lunch in town.

On our return to the lodge, we stop to show you another Wanderlust’s favorite support projects, The Neema House, a rescue center for orphaned, abandoned, and at-risk babies in Arusha, Tanzania, an initiative of Michael and Dorris Fortson, former US missionaries with a long history of service in Tanzania. A portion of Wanderlust’s profits from this adventure are used to support both NGO’s by way of essential needs and materials.

Relax by the pool and beautifully manicured gardens at the lodge. In the evening, meet our local head guide for a briefing and gear check-up to prepare you for the challenging days ahead. You will separate your Kili gear from your safari items (your safari baggage is left in the luggage room at the lodge). A welcome dinner at the hotel.

Day 3: Mt Meru Acclimatization Hike -Arusha National Park

Our full day hike takes us into the lush cedar and podocarpus forests of Mount Meru, set within Arusha National Park. The hike is a great way to acclimatize to the altitude and we’ll also have a good chance of seeing the unique black-and-white colobus monkeys of the park and perhaps bush-buck or giraffe along with a host of avian life. Our hike also offers impressive views of the dramatic ash cone of Mt. Meru’s summit. On our hike, we will reach an altitude of ……….m approximately, which would allow our bodies a sufficient test and adjustment for the longer and higher altitude hikes in the days ahead. Enjoy a picnic lunch during the hike. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4: Arusha – Londorossi Gate (2100m) – Morum Barrier Trail Head(34000m) – Shira I Camp (3600m)

A morning drive of about 3-4 hours takes us from Arusha to Londorossi Gate in Kilimanjaro National Forest Reserve, with its plantations of pine and cedar.

We meet our mountain guides and the porter team and register at the Londorossi gate office, and drive another hour through the dense rain forest to the Morum Gate trail head on the edge of the Shira Plateau located at an elevation of 3400m. We stop for picnic lunch at the trail head.

After lunch, start the hike at an altitude of 3400m, with a gradual ascent through heather and mooreland. Enter the lush rainforest and listen to the sounds of many exotic birds. Spot monkeys such as the black and white colobus – these monkeys are black with a long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail. This portion of the route is a quite different from the traditional Shira plateau route, and is perfect for climbers seeking a more private hiking experience. Spend the day in the gorgeous and fascinating forested slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, most of which is considered to be a rainforest zone. Your destination today is the Shira I Camp. Once at camp, enjoy a hot dinner with your fellow trekkers. Total of 1-2 hours hiking/ Elevation gained: 200 metres

Day 5: Shira I Camp (3600m) – Moir Camp (4200m)

Today is a steady and easy-paced acclimatization day that takes us a little higher on the Shira Plateau through heath and moorland zones and view the giant senecios, lobelias, groundsels, and helichrysums that grow at this altitude. The walk reaches the broad upland desert allowing you to explore beneath the Northern Ice fields, an area almost totally invisible to other routes with unusual views of Kibo. We then reach our camp Moir Hut (4200m) and lunch. After lunch there is the option to relax in the camp site or take a further acclimatization hike to the summit of the Lent Hills (4700m) a bit more strenuous walk only few privileged visitors get in this remote corner of Kilimanjaro. Dinner and overnight at Moir Camp. Total of 5-6 hours hiking/ Elevation gained: 600 metres

Day 6: Moir Camp(4200m) – Pofu Camp(4000m)

Enter a different world by following the Northern Circuit Trail around to the northwestern side of the mountain. The dry slopes of Kibo drop toward Kenya and Amboseli National Park. The only signs we see of other travelers will be game trails, fresh signs of Cape buffalo and eland, the largest of Africa’s antelope. Pofu, our camp for the night, is the Swahili word for eland.

Today’s walk is perhaps the longest and steepest ascent so far, a relentless struggle up a barren slope as we climb out of the Moir Valley with a short detour to reach the summit of Lent Hills at 4375m. After admiring the views from the summit, we hit the trail again and head eastwards around the northern circuit trail. Note how the character of each valley is different to its neighbours, with some decorated with everlastings, others blanketed in heathers, and still others virtually pure, lifeless desert. From here the route follows a series of inclines and declines, skirting around the northern slopes of Kibo to Pofu Camp, arriving just after midday, where you will have lunch and have time to rest after a long day of hiking. Lunch, dinner and overnight at Pofu Camp. Total of 6-7 hours hiking/ Elevation loss: 200 metres

Day 7: Pofu Camp(4000m) – Rongai Second Cave(3400m)

Winding through a forest of towering Dendrosenecio kilimanjari, proceed upward over expansive ridge lines in the alpine desert and moorland, continuing our circuit to the east, enjoying a vast mountain wilderness to ourselves. Enjoy the extraordinary views as you pass massive volcanic formations scattered throughout the fields of scree. We eventually join the Rongai route and gradually descend to Rongai Second Cave Camp where you’ll camp above this lunar landscape in a remote location where you may even catch a glimpse of Kenya’s vast badlands. Lunch, dinner and overnight at Rongai Second Cave camp. Total of 6-7 hours hiking/ Elevation loss: 600 metres

Day 8: Rongai Second Cave Camp(3400m) – Kikelewa Caves Camp(3675m)

After breakfast we set out in a north easterly direction to cross the alpine desert, where you will find little more than a few tufts of grass, some everlastings, and bright yellow daisy-like flowers alongside the trail. The air will feel cooler, but the equatorial sun is still intense, so keep applying your sunscreen! We will take the opportunity to explore some of the rock overhangs, large boulder formations and even a smaller volcanic towers that are along the route as you acclimatize. We will pitch camp at Kikelewa Camp site for a late lunch and then explore the cave during an afternoon hike. Dinner and overnight. Total of 3-5 hours hiking/ Elevation gain: 275 metres

Day 9: Kikelelwa Caves Camp (3675m) – Mawenzi Tarn Hut (4302m)

From Kikelelwa Camp heading to Mawenzi Tarn Hut Camp is a short day less than 4 km steep ascend of over 600m passing through moorland vegetation to the barren region, The Mawezi Tarn Hut is situated in a stunning setting next to a placid lake at the foot of Mawenzi—Kilimanjaro’s second highest volcanic cone—this alcove offers spectacular views of the summit’s cathedral-like spires. We will have a hot lunch at the camp and rest. Dinner and overnight. Total of 5-6 hours hiking/ Elevation gain: 627 metres

Day 10: Mawenzi Tarn Hut (4302m) – School Hut (4790m)

We will leave our attractive campsite and start the trek across the lunar desert of the “Saddle” that sits between Mawenzi and Kibo. As we approach Kibo you will notice a considerable drop in temperature. We pass by Kibo Huts, a busy dormitory type accommodation used by Marangu and Rongai route hikers as we continue to the School Hut, also known as the Outward Bound Camp, in an effort to avoid the large crowds that will make their mid night summit bids from Kibo Huts. After lunch we will retire to our tents to get some rest so that you will be well rested for our exciting summit attempt tomorrow. Dinner and overnight at School Hut. Total of 5-6 hours hiking/ Elevation gain: 417 metres

Day 11: School Hut (4790m) -Gilman’s Point – Crater Camp(5700m)

Wake before dawn to start the final and most demanding part of the climb on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point. We rest here for a short time to enjoy the spectacular views over Mawenzi. Push further west to the Stella point on the crater rim, before descending to the caldera towards the Crater camp set in soft sands near the retreating vertical ice walls of the Furtwangler Glacier. Take lunch at the camp and the afternoon is spent relaxing at this unique high altitude camp. We take short walks with one of our guides to the ice fields, the inner crater and ash pit, a wonderful photo opportunity. Dinner and overnight at Crater Camp. Total of 8-10 hours hiking/ Elevation gain: 910 metres

Day 12: Crater Camp(5700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Mweka Camp(3100m)

After breakfast, we make a two-hour hike up the final 200m to Uhuru Peak, the true summit of Kilimanjaro. We arrive early when you may be the only group there, before the clouds close in, so we usually have terrific views of Africa stretching out in all directions. Unlike other routes to Uhuru Peak, which require starting summit climbs at midnight, our short, pre-dawn hike allows us to fully enjoy the summit experience with the entire continent spread out below us.

After celebrating our achievement, we then make a steep, rigorous descent along the crater rim to Stella Point and down the Barafu Route for about two hours, enjoy a well earned brunch and a short break, then begin the descend via the Mweka Route for another three or four hours to our last overnight camp at Mweka at 3100m, back in the forest zone. The descent from Kilimanjaro is long and steep. Trekking poles for support are highly recommended. You should do your best to build the strength of your “quads” with a pre-trip conditioning and strengthening program. Dinner and overnight at Mweka camp. Total of 8-12 hours hiking/ Elevation gain: 200 metres/ Elevation Loss: 2795m

Day 13: Mweka Camp(3100m) – Mweka Gate(1600m) – Arusha

We leave camp early for our last downhill hike, a descent of about 1500m that is steep in places and can be muddy if wet (once again, trekking poles will help with support). Arriving at Mweka Gate, we’ll have a celebratory lunch at the trail head and receive our climb diplomas to celebrate our great feat!

We relax for a bit, reflecting on the last nine days, then say goodbye to our porters, “sign off ” the mountain, and drive to our accommodation at Ilboru Safari Lodge in Arusha. We have a well-deserved hot shower, optional massage, and enjoy a hot dinner.

Day 14: Arusha – Kilimanjaro Airport or Safari Extension

Breakfast at the lodge. Those trip members not joining the safari extension (see Optional Extensions), will be transferred to the airport in the evening to depart on homeward-bound flights, while safari extension participants, will be picked by our safari crew after breakfast.

Optional Safari Extensions

Looking to continue your adventure in Tanzania? Add a safari extension to one of Tanzania’s many stunning national parks and more.

Kilimanjaro: The Grand Traverse

A Northern Circuit trek: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 9 Days in Mountain

Wanderlust Mountain Camps, Kilimanjaro

Wanderlust Adventures travelers are provided with the high standard of comforts in our Kili mountain camps, considering the climb is a serious undertaking in high altitude under different weather conditions. On all our Kili climbing expeditions, We use sturdy 3-person Mountain Hardwear Trango tents, which we offer just for two people each, to give more room and enough living space for two people.

Ilboru Safari Lodge, Arusha, Tanzania

Nestled on the lower slopes of majestic Mt Meru, the legendary Ilboru Safari Lodge has been welcoming mountain climbers and safari travellers to northern Tanzania for decades.

Kilimanjaro: The Grand Traverse

Sam Kisonga

Born in the Southern highlands of Tanzania, Sam is an exceptional Kilimanjaro mountain leader; calmly assured, pragmatic and in control. He is a professionally trained and a certified Kilimanjaro guide and attended numerous courses and training on wilderness first aid.

Said Makacha

Said is a friendly and enormously experienced mountain guide with more than 16 years of experience in guiding clients on Kilimanjaro. Having started his guiding career leading climbers up the tough Western Breach route, he now enjoys leading Wanderlust's clients on all three routes the company promotes.

Rob Chekwaze

Rob, a native Tanzanian, certified Wilderness First Responder, a keen naturalist and a climbing guide with over 10 years experience climbing on Kilimanjaro and leading Tanzania Safaris in which he possess a vast knowledge of the guiding business. Rob is based in Arusha, Tanzania and heads Wanderlust’s Kilimanjaro climbing and safari operations.

Priyantha Amarasinghe

Pri, as he is affectionately known among his clients and peers was born and raised in Sri Lanka, where he began his career as a guide lecturer conducting tours in Sri Lanka before embarking on an extended 35 year career in adventure travel working in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Kilimanjaro: The Grand Traverse

A Northern Circuit trek: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 9 Days in Mountain

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Kilimanjaro: The Grand Traverse

A Northern Circuit trek: 4 Days Pre & Post-Climb Stay & 9 Days in Mountain

The arrival dates and departure dates posted in the price grid include 2 nights pre-climb and 1 night post climb accommodation in Arusha.
2018 Trip Dates & Pricing
Price Per Person(US Dollars) - Updated: April 30, 2018
Arrival Date Departure Date Price(USD) Availability Promotions Notes
June 5, 2018 June 18, 2018 $3100 Sold Out    
July 19, 2018 August 1, 2018 $3400 8 spaces Go to Specials  
August 7, 2018 August 20, 2018 $4100 Limited    
August 30, 2018 Sept. 12, 2018 $4100 8 spaces Go to Specials  
Sept. 17, 2018 Sept.30, 2018 $4200 8 Spaces    
October 7, 2018 October 20,2018 $4200 8 Spaces    
October 19, 2018 November 1, 2018 $4100 7 Spaces    
No climbs in November due to short rainy season
December 21, 2018 January 3, 2019 $4500 Limited   New Year's Eve climb
2019 Trip Dates & Pricing
Price Per Person(US Dollars) - Updated: April 30, 2018
Arrival Date Departure Date Price(USD) Availability Promotions Notes
January 15, 2019 January 28, 2019 $3100 Open    
February 12, 2019 February 25, 2019 $3400 8 spaces Go to Specials  
March 3, 2019 March 16, 2019 $4100 Limited    
No climbs in the long rainy season starting from Mid- March until Mid- June
June 10, 2019 June 23, 2019 $4200 8 Spaces    
July 9, 2019 July 22, 2019 $4200 8 Spaces    
August 7, 2019 August 20, 2019 $4100 7 Spaces    
Sept. 6, 2019 Sept.19, 2019 $4100 Open
October 6, 2019 October 19, 2019 $4500 Open
No climbs in November due to short rainy season
December 5, 2019 December 18, 2019 $4100 Open
December 21, 2019 January 3, 2020 $4500 Limited   New Year's Eve climb
All trip dates are guaranteed to depart with a minimum of 2 climbers and are limited to maximum of 16 climbers. These climbs are ideal for solo climbers, couples or anyone who would like to share the Kilimanjaro experience with friendly, like-minded people of different age groups from around the world. Our groups are typically comprised of a majority of Canadian and US citizens, with a 50% male/50% female split. However, nearly every group also has a substantial number of international participants from English speaking countries such as United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and Indian Sub-continent.

Trip Price Includes

  • 3 nights lodge accommodation in Arusha on half board basis (2 nights pre-climb and 1 night post-climb)
  • Half day training hike to Mt Meru National Park for acclimatization
  • All transfers to/from the Kilimanjaro airport, lodge and to/from the park gates
  • Visits to Wanderlust supported community projects – Arusha Children’s Trust and Neema Village orphanage
  • All park fees, camping fees and mandatory rescue fee (Value: US$1400)
  • All meals, snacks and soft drinks while on the mountain
  • Purified boiled water using Katadyn Expedition Water Filtration system for drinking (Katadyn is one of the water filtration systems endorsed by the World Health Organization to guarantee pure water. We also use Micropur to disinfect.)
  • Camping equipment, 2-person Mountain Hardware tents, private iglo style mess tent with portable lighting, chairs and tables
  • Chemically treated water flushable portable toilet tent
  • All relevant safety, emergency rescue and precautions and procedures with equipment
  • Supplemental Oxygen (To be used on only medical emergencies)
  • Pulse Oximeter, thermometer and automatic blood pressure machine
  • Kilimanjaro National Park approved professional mountain guides with Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and first-aid certification
  • Two-way communication radios and satellite phones  used by guides
  • ​A professional expedition medical & first aid kit with full resuscitation capabilities.
  • Certified gourmet chef, camp helpers and porters with their accommodation, meals and above the accepted standards of wages
  • Flying Doctor’s Membership premium for emergency rescue only
  • Tanzania govt imposed Value Added Tax(Tax)
  • Services of a Canadian expedition leader with successful Kilimanjaro climbing resume throughout the climb (For groups of 8 climbers and above only)

Not Included In Price

Additional services

  • Single supplement, for single tent/room, per trip $250
  • Extra hotel night in Arusha, check in 2PM, check out 10AM, per double room $90, including breakfast and VA

Equipment Rental Package 

Why spend on the equipment and clothing for the climb? Wanderlust Adventures in partnership with its Tanzania office, has established an equipment rental program to help meet your needs, to lessen your load traveling overseas and minimize the need to buy extensive amounts of new gear. This package includes, outerwear, warm upper body layers, warm lower body layers, accessories like gloves, balaclavas, gaiters, backpacks, water bottles and trekking poles, sleeping bags and therma-rest sleeping pads. Ask Wanderlust to send you a full list of items included in the package. These items can be individually rented or rent all of them as a package for the entire climb.  Approximate cost of the total package is US$350 per person.  Advance bookings and full prepayments are required.

Kilimanjaro: The Grand Traverse

Equipment for Your Kilimanjaro Climb

Proper equipment is extremely important to the success, enjoyment, comfort, and safety of your climb. Your assigned Porters will carry up to 22 lbs (10kg) of your personal gear.

Wanderlust Adventures believes that all mountain travel equipment should follow two simple guidelines: Lightweight and Functional.

Your equipment determines how warm, dry, and safe you will be, so always choose equipment that is of good quality, dependable, and adaptable to a variety of extreme conditions. Clothing impacts not only your comfort, but also your safety. Always be critical of the quality and the proper fit of your clothing. Cotton clothing must be avoided because it dries very slowly and is a poor insulator when wet. Instead, choose wool or synthetic fabrics that “wick” the sweat and moisture away from your skin.

Our recommended clothing system has four layers.
  • Base layer: manages moisture and wicks perspiration away from your skin. (Polypro, Capilene)
  • Softshell: should be a durable, comfortable, insulating and wind/water resistant layer that breathes well. The main Softshell fabrics are Polartec Wind Pro, Gore Windstopper N2S, Schoeller; each clothing manufacturer has their own.
  • Hardshell: windproof, waterproof and breathable. (Gore-Tex, or similar)
  • Insulating layer: should be down-fill or synthetic-fill and fit over all layers. (down, Primaloft or Polarguard)

These four layers are usually sufficient for most people, but if you tend to be colder, bring one extra medium layer that would be ideal for extra warmth around camp, such as a vest. When deciding what to pack, remember to bring enough clothes and accessories to ensure your safety and comfort, while not overburdening yourself.

For equipment we recommend Mountain Equipment Co-Op (MEC) or Alberta-based Live Out There, are the places to check out. They are great at answering equipment questions and also ship anywhere in Canada.

Why climb with Wanderlust