9 Days Northern Circuit Route, Kilimanjaro Climbing tour

Trip Overview

The Northern Circuit is the mountain’s newest and longest path. For the first two days, it travels along the same route as the Lemosho route, starting from the Londorossi Gate in the West. The route turns north near Lava Tower after crossing the Shira plateau, taking the lengthier Northern Circuit rather than the shorter Southern Circuit through Barranco Valley.

The mountain’s gentler northern slopes are circled on the way to its eastern side. The Northern Circuit on Kilimanjaro is longer than the other circuits and requires at least eight or nine days to complete. The extra day of acclimatisation that is typically spent at Shira Camp 2 is skipped during the eight-day trek, which moves directly to Moir Camp.

Day 1: Arrival Tanzania

You will be met by your guide, who will give you a briefing on your forthcoming trip and check your equipment to make sure you have all the appropriate mountain gear, when you are picked up at the Kilimanjaro International Airport and taken to your hotel in Moshi town. On this day, the missing equipment can be rented.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 2: Londorossi Gate (2,100 meters) – Start Point 2,360 meters to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,820 meters)

The Lemosho Route and the Northern Circuit Route both commence at Londorossi Gate, which is about 2,100 metres to the west. From Moshi, the trip to Londorossi Gate takes about two hours, but the trip from Arusha takes much longer. At the entrance, you must register with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities before being taken further up the mountain to the trailhead. Before beginning the brief first-day hike to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,820 metres), the majority of tour providers serve lunch here. As you hike towards your first camp, you might get lucky and witness enormous creatures like elephants and buffalo that occasionally emerge from the rainforest onto the route. You’ll be given dinner when you get at Mti Mkubwa Camp.

  • Distance: ~5.5km / 3 miles

  • Trekking time: 3-4 hours
    Zone: Rainforest

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included (2626m) – Kikelewa Camp (3679m)

Day 3: Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,820 meters) to Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters)

Similar to the Lemosho Route, the Northern Circuit Route starts at Londorossi Gate (2,100 metres) in the West. It takes about two hours to go to Londorossi Gate from Moshi, and much longer from Arusha. Once you have registered with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities at the gate, a vehicle will take you higher up the mountain to the trailhead. Before the short first-day hike to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,820 metres), most tour operators serve lunch here. As you make your way to your first camp, you might be fortunate enough to see enormous animals like elephants and buffalo that occasionally come out of the rainforest onto the trail. When you arrive at Mti Mkubwa Camp, dinner will be provided.

  • Distance: ~5.5km / 3 miles
  • Trekking time: 3-4 hours
    Zone: Rainforest
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 4: Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters) to Shira Camp 2 (3,850 meters)

The hike from Shira Camp 1 to Shira Camp 2 traverses the Shira Plateau on day three. Most nine-day trekkers spend the night at Shira Camp 2, where they will meet up with Machame Route hikers. It is worthwhile to walk a little farther up the plateau to Shira Camp 2 to take in the breathtaking views of the valley below and the Western Breach of Kilimanjaro above. Since the plateau is exposed, be ready for a chilly night with lows below zero. Note: Those who are undertaking an eight-day walk will continue to the east along the Shira Plateau ridge until they reach Lava Tower (4,600 metres), after which they will return to Moir Camp (4,200 metres) via the Northern Circuit.

  • Distance: ~7km / 4 miles

  • Trekking time: 3-4 hours
    Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 5: Shira Camp 2 (3,850 meters) to Moir Camp (4,200 meters)

The fourth day involves a long journey eastward via the “Garden of the Senecios” and into the high alpine desert region. You spend the morning hiking up to Lava Tower, where you will eat lunch, and the famous Shark’s Tooth rock formation at 4,600 metres. You will rejoin the northern circuit after lunch and descend to Moir Camp at 4,200 metres (see the top map). This is a crucial day in your journey since you’ll experience high altitude and then sleep at a low altitude, both of which are good for acclimatisation.

  • Distance: ~14km / 8 miles

  • Trekking time: 5-7 hours
    Zone: Low alpine zone / High alpine zone

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 6: Moir Camp (4,200 meters) to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters)

A moderately difficult climb must be made to leave Moir Valley on day five. Before returning to the Northern Circuit trail, hikers can make a brief diversion to Little Lent Hill’s 4,375-meter summit. From there, the trail ascends and descends again as it skirts the northern slopes of Kibo to Buffalo Camp (4,020 metres).The trip offers stunning views of the plains that extend to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border and are located north of Mount Kilimanjaro. Just after noon, you’ll arrive at Buffalo Camp, where you may eat lunch and take some time to relax after a strenuous day of hiking.

  • Distance: ~12km / 7 miles

  • Trekking time: 5-7 hours
    Zone: High alpine zone

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 7: Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters) to Rongai Third Cave (3,800 meters)

The climb up the Buffalo Ridge and down into Porfu Camp, where lunch is typically given, mark the beginning of day six. The Rongai Third Cave, located at 3,800 metres, is reached by continuing east along the northern slopes. The hike is shorter than it was the previous day, and you ought to be feeling very acclimated to the altitude by this point. The Third Cave will be reached soon before midday.

  • Distance: ~8km / 5 miles
  • Trekking time: 5-7 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone and low alpine zone
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 8: 3rd Cave (3,800 meters) to School Hut (4,800 meters)

On day seven, there is a gradual ascent up and over the Saddle that separates Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. The next leg of the journey takes hikers up to School Hut (4,800 metres) in the south-west. You will be given an early dinner at School Hut after arriving, so you should get some rest because you will be awakened before midnight to begin your summit attempt. Before turning in for the night, make sure you have everything ready, including warm clothes, insulated water bottles, snacks, a headlamp, and a camera.

  • Distance: ~15km / 8 miles
  • Trekking time: 4-5 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone and glacial zone
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 9: School Hut (4,800 meters) to Uhuru Peak (5895m) to Millennium Camp (3790m)

Around 11:30, steaming tea and biscuits will be served to awaken you before you start the arduous ascent up Kibo’s hills in the shadows. Hans Meyer Cave will serve as your first checkpoint. Here, you’ll have a little break. It will take you about 5 to 6 hours to reach Gilman’s Point (5,681 metres), at which point the ascent becomes more difficult. Enjoy the beautiful view of the setting sun and Mawenzi Peak for a bit, but keep in mind that you still have two hours of hiking to complete to get to Uhuru Peak.

As you move west around the crater rim, the slope flattens, and you should reach the peak at or shortly after sunrise. Since your time here will be limited, take as many photos as you can of the breathtaking vistas and nearby glaciers. When you reach Stella Point (5,739 metres), turn south and proceed down the steep slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp (4,680 metres), retracing your travels around the crater rim. Before going on to Millennium Camp (3,950 metres), where you will spend your final night on the mountain, most hikers stop here for a little rest.

On day eight, you will be walking for a total of 14 to 16 hours, so it’s critical to pace yourself, stay hydrated, and maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Be aware that some tour companies take the Marangu Route from Horombo Hut back to Gilman’s Point.

  • Distance: ~6km / 3.5 miles ascent and 10.5km / 6 mile descent
  • Trekking time: 6-8 hours ascent and then 4-6 hour descent
  • Zone: Glacial zone and all preceding zones
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 10: Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters)

The third day involves a short walk from Millennium Camp (3,950 metres) to Mweka Gate (1,640 metres) through a thick montane rainforest. Your official certificate—a green one for those who made it to Gilman’s Point and a gold one for those who reached Uhuru Peak—will be given to you by the authorities once you sign out at the gate. Before being brought back to your hotel in Moshi, it is traditional to tip your guide and porter.

  • Distance: ~10km / 6.5 miles
  • Trekking time: 3-4 hours
  • Zone: Rainforest zone
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 11: Depart Tanzania

After the hike, you have the rest of the day to relax before your trip home. You might visit Moshi town and buy some souvenirs before going to the airport, depending on your travel schedules.

If you want to keep exploring Tanzania, there are add-ons for safaris, trips to Zanzibar, and other destinations.

  • Meals: Breakfast Included

One of our Kilimanjaro experts will get back to you within 24 hours. 

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The COVID-19 Pandemic has been a huge game-changer for the tourism industry worldwide, and Tanzania is no exception. Ensuring that our guests and staff are as protected and healthy as possible has become our top priority.

All of our staff have been trained by officials from Tanzania’s Ministry of Health on the necessary procedures to follow to ensure your safety. At the same time, we highly recommend that you follow the health and travel advice of relevant authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control).

We encourage wearing masks, using hand sanitizer frequently, and maintaining social distancing at all times. Importantly, if there are any additional safety measures that we can implement to make you feel safer and/or more comfortable, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

COVID-19

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been a huge game changer for the tourism industry worldwide, and Tanzania is no exception. Ensuring that our guests and staff are as protected and healthy as possible has become our top priority.
All of our staff have been trained by officials from Tanzania’s Ministry of Health on the necessary procedures to follow to ensure your safety. At the same time, we highly recommend that you follow the health and travel advice of relevant authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC (Center for Disease Control).
We encourage wearing masks, using hand sanitizer frequently, and maintaining social distancing at all times. Importantly, if there are any additional safety measures that we can implement to make you feel safer and/or more comfortable, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

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