The Grand Traverse

The Grand Traverse. This pioneering 10-day route around Kilimanjaro’s summit cone offers trekkers a longer route on Kilimanjaro, with optimum acclimatisation and captivating views on Africa’s highest mountain.

Our route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west, crossing the caldera of Shira Volcano before turning north to follow the trail through Moir Valley and around the northern side of Kilimanjaro. This is absolutely the most scenic path available and has almost no traffic on its northern face. Become one of the first to enjoy the tranquility of the Northern Circuit and its stunning panoramic scenery.

If you want the ultimate Kilimanjaro experience, this is your route.

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$3,950 USD

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The Grand Traverse – “A Path Less Travelled”


Day 1

Day 1: Arrive Tanzania

Trekkers arrive from their respective countries at Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha if transferring by bus from Nairobi. A member of our staff will be at Kilimanjaro airport arrivals or the Arusha shuttle bus terminus holding a Trekili Eco Expeditions placard. You will then be transferred to your accommodation located just outside of Arusha.

Day 2

Day 2: Arusha

At a mutually convenient time, your guide will provide a pre-trek briefing, carry out a gear check, review the route with you and answer any questions you may have. The rest of the day is yours to relax and unwind from your long journey to Tanzania.

Day 3

Day 3: Arusha to Londrossi Gate

After breakfast we travel by 4wd to Londrossi gate, where you will meet your guides and mountain crew as we take care of all National Park formalities, registering all climbers and the weighing of all duffle bags to ensure the load carried by each porter does not exceed the mandatory 20kgs limit. After completing the registration process at Londrossi gate, we drive along a dusty trail for 55 minutes to the Morum Barrier gate 3768m 12362 ft where we eat lunch.

We rejoin the trail through heather and moorland and travel over relatively flat terrain, crossing some fissures, crossing a small tributary of the Engare Nairobi North and continue our slight descent into Shira 1 camp, 1.5 hrs away. If we are lucky we may see blue monkeys and hear the grunting calls of the magnificent black colobus monkeyswith their long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail.

There is no hurry to reach Shira Camp and our mantra ‘pole pole” (Swakili: “slowly slowly”) resonates in our ears ensuring our bodies adjust to the altitude gain and to take in the magnificent views of Kilimanjaro. The Shira plateau is one of the highest in the world with an average height of 3810m and extends for about 13 km’s to the West of Kilimanjaro.  The Shira plateau is a caldera, a collapsed volcanic crater.

Today’s Stats
Hiking Time: 1-2 hours
Total Distance: 4 km
Starting Altitude: 1981m (6890 ft)
Final Altitude: 3511m 
(11520 ft)
Environment: Montane Forest – Moorland

Day 4

Day 4: Shira 1 Camp to Moir Hut

Today we trek steadily northwards through the heather and into the barren high altitude desert towards the natural landmark called “Shark’s Tooth.”  We gain altitude slowly and continue to acclimatize. We walk up a ridge and into a valley, which we then ascend to camp, arriving in time for lunch.

We are now in the high desert zone, where only hardy everlastings and small senecios survive, and we are just below the Lent Group, a collection of massive volcanic dykes. Immediately above us is a huge circular bowl, created by glaciers, and there are numbers of lave tube caves in the cliffs at the uppermost edge.

Above that is the Kibo massif and the Northern ice field. Below we have views of the Shira plateau, like a giant sloping depression, and we can see much of the area we have walked recently.

Today’s Stats
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Total Distance: 9 km
Starting Altitude: 3511m (11520 ft)
Final Altitude: 4175m (13700 ft)
Environment: Alpine Desert

Day 5

Day 5 Moir Camp to Pofu Camp

Out of the Moir Valley around the northern circuit to Pofu Camp (4027m).

We continue north as the day starts with us going up and up as we reach Lent Hills at an elevation of 15,400 feet to see some truly spectacular views, we then turn to the main trail eastward and walk along more gentle slopes on small rocks to our destination for the evening: Pofu camp at 13,600. Our strategy – climb high and sleep low. EPP

Today’s Stats
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Total Distance: km
Starting Altitude: 4175m (13700 ft)
Final Altitude: 4027m (13212 ft)
Environment: Semi-Desert

Day 6

Day 6 Pofu Camp to Rongai 2 Caves Camp

Today is an easier day where we gradually descent from the alpine desert over mainly volcanic soil where the rocks are rough and coarsely pitted. We pass a few dried riverbeds and a few areas where glaciers held sway in years past. Now all that remains are moraines, with glacial debris strewn across the floor.

After taking lunch at Rongai 3 Camp we descend further into the heather and mooreland zone. Along the way we may see evidence of cape buffalo and enjoy views of Kibo. Arriving at the caves we are greeted by a buffalo skull prominently displayed at the entrance. We do not camp in the cave as animals frequently visit the caves to lick salt off the rocks. Cohabitation with these animals may not be mutually beneficial.

Up to ‘Buffalo Ridge’ then drop down to reach Rongai 2 Cave Camp for maximum summit benefit (3900m).

Today’s Stats
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Total Distance: ? km
Starting Altitude: 4027m (13212 ft)
Final Altitude: 3490m (11450 ft)

Day 7

Day 7 Rongai 2 Camp to Kikelelwa Camp

Our path is lined by a variety of flowers including Carduus keniensis and bright red gladiolus. After stopping for lunch, we leave the main trail and set out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. As we trek we sight Lobelia deckenii, unique to the Kilimanjaro moorland zone. Our campsite is in a sheltered valley encircled (collocated) with giant senecios (Dendrosencio kilimanjari) near Kikelewa Caves

Kikelelwa camp-Mawenzi Tarn hut 4328m (14,200ft). 3-4 hrs 3.7 miles Semi-Desert

Today’s Stats
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Total Distance: ? km
Starting Altitude: 3490m (11450 ft)
Final Altitude: 3621m (11811 ft)
Environment: Moorland

Day 8

Day 8 Kikelelwa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn Camp

Our trek today starts gently before a short but steep climb through a forest of senecios before emerging onto the highland desert zone dominated by helichrysum flowers, low heathers and groundsel.

The steep Western slopes of Mawenzi rise abruptly from the surrounding flatness to numerous craggy peaks, the highest point being Hans Meyer peak at a height of about 16990 ft (5149 m).

Our camp is spectacularly situated in a valley directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi, offering stunning views of Mawenzi and Kibo.

Your afternoon is free to rest or explore the surrounding area including barrancos (high bluffs) and the tarn (mountain lake) where our campsite is situated.

Today’s Stats
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Total Distance: 5.95 km
Starting Altitude: 3621m (11811 ft)
Final Altitude: 4328m (14,200 ft)
Environment: Alpine Desert

Day 9

Day 9 Mawenzi Tarn Hut to School Hut Camp

We leave camp the way we had come the previous afternoon.  Once at the top of the ridge we walk along the undulating trail through the foothills of Mawenzi till we get to the saddle.  The saddle is the barren alpine desert between Kibo and Mawenzi.  Barren, except for a few tufts of grass here and there and scattered rocks and the wreckage of a plane.

The trail splits in two, left to Kibo Huts Camp and the one on the right to School Hut where we are heading.  The trails steepens from here on and the going slows down.  After stopping for lunch, we continue our steep ascent for the next 2.5 hrs until we arrive at School Hut. The remainder of the day is spent hydrating, eating and taking in our amazing Kibo panorama before retiring early in preparation for the final ascent.

Today’s Stats
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Total Distance: 4 km
Starting Altitude: 4328m (14,200 ft)
Final Altitude: 4748m (15,580 ft)
Environment: Alpine Desert

Day 10

Day 10: Summit Mt Kilimanjaro/Crater Camp

After rising early to a warm drink and a light snack, we leave camp at around 6am and begin the most difficult though most rewarding day of the trek – your hike to the roof of Africa. You will ascend northwest on rough scree passing Hans Meyer cave. After approximately 5-6 hours of slow but strenuous hiking, you will reach Gillmans Point, which is the culmination of the most physically demanding portion of your climb. Here we take a short break to rehydrate and enjoy light snacks. From here we continue our upward journey arriving at the rim of the main crater, Stella Point (5685m).

At this point we stop to rest, eat lunch and take in the views over the clouds. From Stella Point the trail is normally snow-covered, and every step of the 2 hour final ascent to Uhuru peak is challenging. Passing alongside the iridescent blue Rebmann and Tarzel glaciers we reach Elveda Point (5882) we can see Uhuru Peak now only minutes away. The roof of Africa is within your grasp.

Arriving at the summit you feel a huge sense of elation and accomplishment you have done it, you have made it to the highest point in Africa. We spend as much time as you need to appreciate your accomplishment, as this is a day to remember for the rest of your life! The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions and temperature.

After capturing our summit photos, we continue past the summit and stop to the West of the summit to view the magnificent vistas of the Western Breach and Shira Plateau. We are in no hurry as Crater camp is only a one-hour hike zig sagging down from the summit.

Today’s Stats
Hiking Time: 7-10 hours
Total Distance: 7 km
Starting Altitude: 4748m (15,580 ft)
Final Altitude: 5726m (18500 ft)
Environment: Alpine Desert

Day 11

Day 11: Crater Camp to Millennium Camp

After resting our bodies from yesterdays accomplishment we break camp and take a hike via the Northern and Eastern Ice Fields to the dramatic and fascinating Reusch Ash Pit and central ash pit. This dormant volcano offers a rare glimpse into another world and is a truly amazing sight that few are privileged to witness.

We circumvent the summit massif and rejoin the trail near Stella Point to continue a 2-3 hour steep, dusty and demanding descent to Barafu Camp where we stop for a well deserved rest for lunch and remove some of our many layers of clothing as the day begins to heat up. Leaving Barafu you descend due south for 4km, loosing a lot of altitude over next 2 hours.

After about an hour you come to a crossroads. To the left is a little used trail to the Horombo Huts on the Marangu Route and to the right is the Southern Circuit leading to the Keranga Valley. At this point the Millennium Camp comes into view our spirits are lifted and we push on knowing that a hot shower and meal awaits us.

Today’s Stats
Hiking Time: 7-8 hours
Total Distance: 10.5 km
Starting Altitude: 5726m (18500 ft)
Final Altitude: 3819m (12530 ft)
Environment: Alpine desert, Stone Scree, Mooreland

Day 12

Day 12: Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate

Today your legs will be further tested as the path descends steeply through the lush Mweka rain forest. The trail is steep in places and the going slippery if wet.

The route follows the crest of a broad ridge separating two river valleys until it meets with a road that leads us for the last 40 mins to the Mweka Park Gates where we stop for a well deserved picnic lunch and collect our certificates from the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority. Post celebrations and tipping ceremony, we are taken by either private bus or Jeep to our hotel in Arusha.

Today’s Stats
Hiking Time: 5-6 hrs trekking, 1.5 hrs vehicle transfer to hotel
Total Distance: 9 km
Starting Altitude: 3819m (2530 ft)
Final Altitude: 1652m (5420 ft)
Environment: Montane Forest

Day 13

Day 13: Depart Tanzania

Depart Tanzania or continue your dream with an amazing safari extension.

For trekkers not continuing with a safari we provide transfers to Kilimanjaro International Airport or bus station for your onward journey.


Included in tour

Transfers to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha shuttle bus terminus and to/from park entrance/exit gates for your selected route

All accommodation in Tanzania (double occupancy 3* Hotel) including breakfast
 (1 night before and one night after your climb-two nights total)

Kilimanjaro National Park entrance, camping, and rescue fees

Services of trip leader, climbing guides, and mountain crew

All dining and camping equipment (excluding sleeping bag unless rented)

All meals on the mountain

Filtered water (we use the Katadyn KFT Expedition filtration system) during the climb; tea, coffee, cocoa, milk and juices as required.

Portable private toilet with biodegradable waste system at all camps
. Clean Mountain Can used to remove all waste from high camps for correct disposal.

Pressure Altitude Chamber (portable hyperbaric chamber) and oxygen on all climbs
 (for use in the event of an emergency)

Petzl Elios helmets ‐ required on the Western Breach ascent

Safety Equipment:

First aid kit

Emergency Oxygen

Pulse Oximeter

Medsled Rescue stretcher

Personal Summit Certificate signed by the National Park for successful trekkers

Excluded in tour

Costs of visas


International airfare, excess baggage charges, airport departure taxes

Travel insurance, medical insurance

Personal expenses such as beverages (other than those included with meals, as listed in each itinerary), room service, souvenirs, laundry, communication charges, medical or extra evacuation fees, staff gratuities and any meals not listed in the itinerary.

Additional transportation, accommodation, and meals incurred by a client unable to continue a planned itinerary due to illness, health, medical conditions or due to airline schedule changes.


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