The Northern Circuit Route is the longest route on Kilimanjaro.  Durinf nine day trip initially ascending Lemosho route on the western side of the mountain up onto the Shira Plateau.  Before reaching the Lava Tower.Heading north and circumnavigating the main summit.  Clockwise direction and joining up with the Rongai route.  Summit  start from climbed eastern side of the mountain.  Descent is straight down via the southern Mweka route.

Also known as the Grand Traverse or the 360 Route and offers the complete Kilimanjaro experience. All the habitats and the views of the mountain from all sides. The longer journey has excellent acclimatisation and stunning scenery with views across the southern flanks.  Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route. Western forests, the northern plains to the Kenyan border and the arid eastern slopes. The paths are comparatively quiet and less used.

Northern Circuit Route | Ultimate Kilimanjaro

Also the altitude gain each day is less than on other routes. Gentle gradient until reaching Kikelewa.  Third Caves camp, therefore over nine days the likelihood of altitude sickness is significantly less. Yet the overall length of the route is 96 kilometres, not much more than the other routes. An alternate route which summits directly up the northern slopes from School Hut is about 79 kilometres.

Being more expensive, the Northern Circuit is the least visited but in many respects it’s the best option for climbing Kilimanjaro without the crowds.

Duration: 9 Day Northern Circuit route Kilimanjaro

Difficulty:  lowest difficulty level on all the Kilimanjaro Routes.
Scenery:  Amazing scenery
Traffic: Low

Success Rate: highest Success Rate which is 98% and approaches from south of Kilimanjaro

Distance: 88km or 53 miles

Number of Climber Per Year: More than 50,000

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Additional information

activity11 Activities
durations9 Days

Northern Circuit route 9 Days Itinerary, Prices & Dates

The Northern Circuit route is the newest route up Mount Kilimanjaro and arguably the best. That’s because the a combination of all of the best elements of the other routes, rolled into one fantastic hike. If you’re looking for beautiful scenery, plenty of solitude, a healthy challenge, and the potential to spot wildlife, this is definitely the route for you.

The Northern Circuit route follows the same route as Lemosho route  for the first few days, but rather than sticking to the south side of Kibo, it turns to the little-used northern trails instead.

Day 0: Arrive in Arusha – Tanzania

After your flight landing on  Kilimanjaro International Airport  you will meet our transfer guide to the hotel we book for your overnight ready for rest preparing for next day trekking. You will meet our experience mountain guides give you some information and check if you have all essential equipments. After that conntinous relaxing at your hotel. BDB is included

Day 1. Arusha to Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa /Forest Camp

After breakfast in your hotel you will be given an overall briefing from your guide. At 9am you will be met by our staff, who will drive you several hours to the Western side of Mt. Kilimanjaro and to the Londrossi Gate, where our guides and porters will prepare and pack the equipment and supplies Once at the gate you will be given a packed lunch and after registration with the Kilimanjaro Park office, we will drive for another 45mins to Lemosho Glades where your trek will begin with ascending into the rainforest.

You will ascend for approx. 3 hours in dense rain forest which could be very wet and muddy so be ready with your gaiters and trekking poles. Climbing elevation 7,742 ft to 9,498 ft, 4 miles, approx. 3-4 hours. During the trek we will have a break and you can enjoy the rest your packed lunch. We will reach the Mti Mkubwa Camp also known as ‘Big Tree’ Camp in late afternoon. After arrival, you will be taken to your camp and tent which has already been set up by the porters who ran ahead, where you will be greeted with boiled drinking water and hot washing water. Once you have freshened up and settled in, a hot dinner will be served in the mess-tent..

Accommodations: Kilimanjaro Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2: Forest Camp to Shira 1 Camp

From the forested slopes of Lemosho you ascend through a podocarpus and juniper forest and then break out on to a zone of heather and lichen-draped volcanic rock and the Shira Plateau, which used to be Kilimanjaro’s third peak before it collapsed. Trekking elevation of 9,498 ft to 11,500 ft, 5 miles, approx. 5-6 hours.  Lunch is taken on the trail and you arrive in camp mid-afternoon. The view of Kibo (the peak of Kilimanjaro) is breathtaking from this vantage point. Overnight at Shira 1 Camp.

Accommodations: Kilimanjaro Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 Shira 1 to Shira 2

After breakfast you will continue on your hike across and up the Shira plateau to Shira Camp 2 at 3,850 meters. Here you will join trekkers from the Machame Route whilst enjoying stunning view across the valley below and Western Breach of Kilimanjaro above. Hiking elevation 11,500 ft to 12,500 ft, 4 miles, 3-4 hours. The plateau is exposed so be prepared for a cold night with temperatures getting below zero.

Accommodations: Kilimanjaro Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 4: Shira 2 to Moir Hut Camp

We leave the forest behind now and a gentle grade walk takes you across the high altitude Shira Caldera to Shira Cave with fabulous views of Arrow glacier.  Climbing elevetion 12,500 ft to 13,580 ft (Lava Tower), down to 15,190 ft, 8 miles, 5-7 hours. We will camp here for the night at 4200m.

Accommodations: Kilimanjaro Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Moir Camp to Buffalo Camp/Pofu Camp

We climb out of the Moir Valley and take a short detour to reach the summit of Lent Hills (15,400ft). After admiring the views we return to the trail and head eastwards around the northern circuit trail. Hiking elevation 13,580 ft to 13,200 ft, 7 miles, 5-7 hours. The final section of today’s walk undulates until reaching the location of Pofu Camp.

Accommodations: Kilimanjaro Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 6: Buffalo Camp / Pofu to Third Cave

From Pofu Camp we cross numerous small valleys. Hiking elevation 13,200 ft to 12,700 ft, 5 miles, 5-7 hours. As the trail continues eastwards through a landscape that has increasingly sparse vegetation to eventually reach Third Cave Camp.

Accommodations: Kilimanjaro Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Third Cave to School Hut Camp

There is a steady ascent to reach the saddle, a lunar landscape between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. Climbing elevelation 12,700 ft to 15,600 ft, 3 miles, 4-5 hours.  From here we continue upwards and reach School Hut in the early afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is spent resting and preparing for the summit day.

Accommodations: Kilimanjaro Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8. School Hut to Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

We start the final and most demanding part of the climb around 1 a.m 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 sunrise over Mawenzi. Elevation 15,600 ft to 19,341 ft to 10,065, 4 miles ascent, 7 miles descent, 6-8 hours ascent, 4-6 hours descent.  We then head on to Uhuru Peak, 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 descend down through Barafu Camp to reach Mweka Camp.

Accommodations: Kilimanjaro Camping

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Mweka Camp – Mweka Gate –  Arusha.

Once again you will be woken for your final celebratory breakfast where our team will thank and congratulate you in their unique, special way! We will then set off for the final 3 hour scenic descent to Mweka Gate. After lunch you will dropped off at the hotel where you can relax under a long, well deserved hot shower.

Accommodations: Arusha Hotel

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Departure

If your time in Africa ends today our transfer team will drive you back to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) for your departure. If you have booked with us a safari or a few days, we will be there to help you comfortably transition from your climb into your next Tanzanian adventure.

Northern Circuit Route 9 Day Itinerary & Prices for 2021/2022/2023

Single Traveler – USD  per person per tour

A Group of 2  Persons – USD  per person per tour

A Group of more than 3  Persons – USD  per person per tour

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