9 DAYS NORTHERN CIRCUIT

THE OVERVIEW

The Northern Circuit route is one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro, offering nearly 360 degrees of beautiful scenery including the quiet, rarely visited northern slopes. As the longest route on Kilimanjaro, the Northern Circuit also has the most acclimatization time and the highest summit success rate. Thus, the Northern Circuit route is highly recommended.

The trail approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate. From there, the first two days are spent trekking through the rainforest to Shira Ridge, before crossing the Shira Plateau. The route then heads north and circles clockwise from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp to School Hut, before summiting from the east.

Descend is made via the Mweka route.
Our company offers the Northern Circuit as a nine day group climb or private climb. A 10 day variation that includes an overnight at Crater Camp  is available as a private climb by special request.

A glimpse of Northern Circuit route in photos

Click a photo to view a large size.

THE ITINERARY

A NOTE ON THE FLEXIBILITY OF THIS ITINERARY

  • Please note that our itineraries are flexible and we customize them according to your needs. 
  • Airport pick up and drop off are optional, meaning if you are already in Moshi or Arusha or you can arrange your own airport transfers, we can take them out of the price for this tour.
  • Pre and post trek accommodations are optional.

We depart  fromMoshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours, where you will complete entry procedures. Then drive to the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival at trailhead, we begin hiking through undisturbed forest which winds to the first camp site.
Londorossi Gate to MtiMkubwa   – Elevation: 7,742 ft to 9,498 ft
Distance: 6 km/4 miles                    – Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

We carry on 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.

Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp  -Elevation: 9,498 ft to 11,500 ft
Distance: 8 km/5 miles              – Hiking Time 5-6 hours
Habitat: Heath

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.

Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp  -Elevation: 11,500 ft to 12,500 ft
Distance: 7 km/4 miles              – Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Heath

We catch up 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 acclimatization opportunity. Shira Plateau is one of the highest plateaus worldwide.

Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower  -Elevation: 12,500 ft to 15,190 ft
Distance: 7 km/4 miles           -Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Lava Tower to Moir Hut       – Elevation: 15,190 ft to 13,580 ft
Distance: 7 km/4 miles         – Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Trekking 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.

Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp  -Elevation: 13,580 ft to 13,200 ft
Distance: 12 km/7 miles     – Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

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.

Buffalo Camp to Third Cave  -Elevation: 13,200 ft to 12,700 ft
Distance: 8 km/5 miles          – Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Heath

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.

Third Cave to School Hut  -Elevation: 12,700 ft to 15,600 ft
Distance: 5 km/3 miles     – Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s point (18,600 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

 

School Hut to UhuruPeak  -Elevation: 15,600 ft to 19,341 ft
Distance: 6 km/4 miles        – Hiking Time: 6-8 hours

From the summit, 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.

Uhuru Peak to MwekaCamp  -Elevation: 19,341 ft to 10,065
Distance: 12 km/7 miles          – Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Artic

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/ Arusha.

weka Camp to Mweka Gate      – Elevation: 10,065 ft to 5,380 ft
Distance: 10 km/6 miles            -Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest

This will be the end of our hiking.

PRICING

 Contact us directly so that our travel consultants can provide you with the best quote.

Below are our standard price includes and excludes. These may change depending on how you want to customize your tour.

Tour price Includes:

  • Government taxes
  • Bottled drinking water.
  • English speaking guide
  • Full board accommodation
  • All park fees and emergency evacuation insurance
  • 4×4 jeep with pop-up roof for 360 degrees game viewing

Tour price excludes:

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Airport transfers
  • Pre/post accommodation
  • Items of personal nature (e.g. cameras, visa, and travel insurance)

GET A QUOTE

Fill the form below and our travel consultant will contact  you as soon as possible

9 Days Northern Circuit Trek Inquiry Form

INQUIRE HERE