top of page

Northern Circuit



Northern Circuit Route is the newest and longest route on Mount Kilimanjaro. It takes a minimum of 8 days to complete but we recommend the 9 day option for even better acclimatization. Because of its length, the Northern Circuit has the highest summit success rate (95%-98%). The route follows the same as the Lemosho Route for the first three days and then veers off to circle around the quieter northern slopes to the east side of the mountain. It offers the most spectacular view of overall 360 degree scenery of Mount Kilimanjaro.

You will hike the large rocky Shira plateau who´s landscape was shaped by the lava that came from Mount Kilimanjaro when it was an active volcano. It approches the summit through the northern circuit and descents to Mweka Gate.


Itinerary (9 days)

DAY 1:

Lemosho Gate (2,389 m / 7,838 ft) to Big Tree Camp (2,785 m / 9,137 ft)


Early in the morning we will pick you up at your hotel in Moshi and drive for 2 -3 hours through welcoming mountainside villages to Kilimanjaro National Park Gate, Londorossi Gate (2,100 m / 7,538 ft). After the luggage for the porters will be weighed and distributed we jump back on the car and drive you up to the starting point at Lemosho Gate. Here we start our hike in the beautiful rainforest scenery on windy trails while your guide tells you about the local flora, fauna and natural wildlife. At these lower elevations the trail can be muddy and quite slippery, so wee highly recommend gaiters and trekking poles here. You will see Colobus and Blue Monkeys hanging and jumping from tree to tree, find foot prints of buffalos or elephants and if you are lucky even encounter with them. For sure you will be sharing the path with many of the Celebrities of Kilimanjaro's floral Kingdom like Impatiens Kilimanjaro and Pseudo Viola.


- hiking distance: 6,5 km / 4 miles

- hiking time: 3-4 hours

- altitude gained: 396 m / 1,300 ft

- habitat: rain forest

- meals included: lunch box, hot dinner

DAY 2:

Big Tree Camp (2,785 m / 9,137 ft) to Shira 1 Camp (3,600 m / 11,496 ft)


After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast we will continue walking through the rainforest with its high trees and soft ground. Emerging from the rain forest we will continue on an ascending path. Later (above 3,000 m / 10.000 ft) we will reach the heath moorland zone with its shorter trees and enjoy the amazing views. Temperatures begin to drop as we reach the next Camp. There you will get a hot lunch during the day as well as a hot dinner before you rest.

- hiking distance: 8,9 km / 5,5 miles

- hiking time: 5-6 hours

- altitude gained: 719 m / 2,359 ft

- habitat: heather moorland

- meals included: breakfast, hot lunch, hot dinner


Note: If you choose this route as 8-days tour you have to go on hiking from Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp to spend the night there (Day 2 + Day 3)!

DAY 3:

Shira 1 (3,600 m / 11,496 ft) to Shira 2 Camp (3,895 m / 12,779 ft) with option to Cathedral point (3,995 m / 13,100 ft) 

Today our trek will cross the Shira plateau, one of the highest plateaus on Earth. We will hike through moorland and get the possibility to see some animals like Jackals, Eland and other antelopes. 9 day climbs will stay the night at Shira II Camp joining climbers ascending from the Machame Route. At Shira II Camp it is worth the extra energy to go a bit higher up the plateau to beautiful Cathedral point where you can enjoy the stunning view across the valley below and view the Western Breach of Kilimanjaro above. This will give your body the chance to acclimatize. The plateau is exposed so be prepared for a cold night with temperatures getting below zero.

- hiking distance: 8 km / 5 miles

- hiking time: 4-5 hours

- altitude gained: 295 m / 970 ft

- habitat: moorland

- meals included: breakfast, hot lunch, hot dinner

DAY 4:

Shira 2 camp (3,850 m / 12,779 ft) to Lava Tower (4,650m / 15,250 ft) to Moir camp (3,986 m / 13,077 ft)


Although you end the day around the same elevation as when you began, this day is very important for acclimatization. You will hike up to the alpine desert zone. From Shira Plateau we continue east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the Kibo peak before we then continue, South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth”, where we will prepare a hot lunch for you. Shortly after the tower, we come to a second junction, which leads to the Arrow Glacier. After that you will descend and spend the night at lower Moir Camp. Even if you feel symptoms of altitude sickness on this day (light headache, nausea or stomach problems) don´t worry, this is just a sign of your body trying to adapt to the altitude. You you will be fine after hiking down to the lower Camp with your guide. There you can relax, enjoy warm water for washing as every day, tea and popcorn and later a hot dinner. 


- hiking distance: 10 km / 6,2 miles

- hiking time: 6-7 hours

- altitude gained: 700 m / 2,300 ft

- habitat: alpine desert / moorland zone

- meals included: breakfast, hot lunch, hot dinner

DAY 5:

Moir Camp (3,986 m / 13,077 ft) to Buffalo Camp (4,033 m /13,232 ft)


After breakfast we will begin this day with a moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. If you wish take a small detour here to climb the summit of Little Lent Hill (4,375 m / 14,354 ft) before returning to the Northern Circuit trail. The route follows a series of inclines and declines, skirting around the northern slopes of Kibo to Buffalo Camp. You will get spectacular views of plains north of Kilimanjaro that stretch as far as the eye can see to the Kenyan / Tanzanian border. Just after midday we will arrive at Buffalo Camp, where you will have lunch and have time to rest.


- hiking distance: 9,2 km / 5,6 miles

- hiking time: 5-7 hours

- altitude gained: 122 m / 400 ft

- habitat: high alpine zone

- meals included: breakfast, hot lunch, hot dinner

DAY 6:

Buffalo camp (4,033 m / 13,232 ft) to Third Cave (3,936 m / 12,193 ft)


This day starts with a climb up the Buffalo Ridge and down into Pofu Camp where lunch is served. We continue east around the Northern slopes to the Rongai Third Cave. Today’s climb is shorter than the day before and you should be feeling better acclimatized to the altitude at this point. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon and have time to rest before hot dinner.

- hiking distance: 6,8 km / 4,3 miles

- hiking time: 5-7 hours

- altitude lost: 97 m / 318 ft

- habitat: alpine desert

- meals included: breakfast, hot lunch, hot dinner

DAY 7:

Third Cave (3,936 m / 12,913 ft) to School Hut  (4,717 m / 15,476 ft)


Today you will face a steady ascent and hike over the Saddle which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. From here we will continue southwest to School Hut where you will be served an early dinner and rest the rest of the day, as you will begin just before midnight to start your summit attempt. Remember to prepare all your gear, including warm clothes, insulated water bottles, snacks, headlamp, and camera before going to bed and catch a few hours of sleep.

- hiking distance: 4,8 km / 3 miles 

- hiking time: 5-7 hours 

- altitude gained: 781 m / 2,562 ft

- habitat: glacial zone

- meals included: breakfast, hot lunch, hot dinner

DAY 8:

School Hut  (4,717 m / 15,476 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m / 19,341 ft) to Mweka camp (3,100 m / 10,170 ft)


This will be our last day of ascending, the amazing day of eventually reaching your goal and for our company to fulfill your dream of actually standing on the top of Africa´s roof. Excitement is building as morning comes with an early start around midnight. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. We continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers trying to stay warm and focused on the amazing sense of accomplishment that lies ahead. Our slogan is “pole pole” (“walk slow”), so you will have some short breaks to make you drink lots of water and some ginger tea from time to time to prevent altitude sickness. On Northern Circuit your body got the best preperation and acclimatization, so it is very likely to reach the summit without any symptoms. With a switchback motion in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. You will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise during your short rest here. Faster hikers may view the sunrise from the summit. From here on your remaining 1 hour ascent to Uhuru Peak, you are likely to encounter snow all the way. After taking memorable pictures and enjoying the precious moment at the summit we will return to Barafu Camp and going down to High camp for lunch and rest. The porters will greet us dancing and singing. From here we will continue our steep descent down to Mweka camp for dinner and well deserved sleep.

- hiking distance: 5,9 km / 3,1 miles up and 13 km / 8 miles down

- hiking time: 6-8 hours up and 5-6 hours down

- altitude gained: 1,178 m / 3,865 ft

- descended altitude: 2,789 m / 9,150 ft

- habitat: arctic ice zone, alpine desert, moorland

- meals included: breakfast, hot lunch, hot dinner

DAY 9:

Mweka camp (3,100 m / 10,170 ft) to Mweka Gate (1,633 m / 5,358 ft)


After breakfast and a heartfelt ceremony of appreciation and team bonding with your crew, it’s time to say goodbye. On your last trekking day we will descent through the jungle only downhill until. As the weather is drastically warmer, the terrain is wet, muddy and steep and we highly recommend Gaiters and trekking poles. At the Gate you will have the chance to get your muddy boots cleaned, take pictures with your team, have a last hot lunch and receive your summit certificate from your guide. We will pick you up with our vehicle, if you wish we can visit a nearby souvenir and handicraft market before we will drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes). Enjoy a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!


- hiking distance: 10 km / 6 miles 

- hiking time: 3-4 hours 

- descended altitude:  1,470 m / 4,820 ft

- habitat: rainforest

- meals included: breakfast, hot lunch

Northern Circuit  Route (8 Days)

It will be the same route as the 9 days itinerary but on your second day you will hike a bit longer starting in the morning at Big Tree Camp (2,785 m / 9,137ft), have a break with hot lunch at Shira 1 (3,600 m / 11,496 ft) and then continue 8 km / 5 miles more until you reach Shira 2 Camp (3,895 m / 12,779 ft) for your overnight stay. 

Northern Circuit  Route (10 Days)

Here is another option:

In case you are really tired on Day 8 coming down from the summit or you just want to spend an extra day on the mountain instead of returning to Moshi, you can rest and stay overnight at High Camp (4,660 m /15,287 ft) and continue your descent to Mweka Gate the next day.

Northern Circuit Route (11 Days)

And last but not least:

If you would like to extend your trek even more, you can hike the tour in 11 days. On your summit day 9 you will descend less and spend the night at Barafu Camp (4,673 m / 15,331 ft). On day 10 you will then continue to hike down to Mweka Camp (3,100 m / 10,170 ft), spend another night there before you reach Mweka Gate on day 11.

bottom of page