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 allows for the best acclimatization time and the highest summit success rate, therefore this route is highly recommended.
The route 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. With a high success rate, incredible varied scenery and a very low number of visitors, the Northern Circuit route is certainly one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro.
Day 1 ARRIVAL
Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport / Other Pickup Destination, where you will meet a Majali guide, and be transferred to the hotel. In the evening there will be a briefing with our managers, who will also make sure you are prepared to trek Kilimanjaro on the Northern Circuit Route for 9 days by checking your gear and giving you a brief breakdown of the trip.
Note: Check-in starts at 2:00 PM
Day 2 LONDOROSSI GATE TO MTI MKUBWA CAMP
A guide and support crew will arrive at the hotel in the morning in order to meet you and hold another briefing. Then you will travel by vehicle for 3-4 hours to the western entrance of Kilimanjaro National Park, known as Londorossi Gate (2,200 m). After another few hours of formalities with the park rangers at the gate and you will be on the trail. Then you will drive for another hour to the Lemosho Gate. The group will stop for a light snack then start the 3-4 hour hike towards the Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,780 m). Raincoats are necessary on this day in particular, as you will be walking through the rainforest. The trail goes through the lowland forests where you’re likely to spot the large Colobus monkeys which are fairly common. By the time you reach the camp, our professional mountain crew will prepare everything necessary, build the tents and cook lunch for you. After lunch the group will depart on an acclimatization hike towards Shira 1 Camp that features a 300 meter gain in altitude, after which you will hike back down to Mti Mkubwa Camp, where a hot dinner will be waiting.
Note: The acclimatization hike is an easy trek with a slight gain in altitude done in order to speed up the acclimatization process. You should take the acclimatization hikes very seriously.
At night you may experience discomfort associated with acclimatization to the high altitude: because of a reduction in your waking breathing pattern, your body gets less oxygen than during the day. Taking altitude into account, you may therefore start feeling sick and have a headache. Pay attention to your own body and tell your guide if you start feeling any symptoms of altitude sickness.
Trekking from Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa Camp:
Change in Elevation: Londorossi Gate (2,200 m) — Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,780 m)
Hiking distance: 6 km
Hiking time: 3-4 hour
Change in Elevation: Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,780 m) Destination point en route to Shira 1 Camp (3,095 m)
Hiking distance: 2 km
Hiking time: 1 hour
Day 3 TREKKING FROM MTI MKUBWA CAMP TO SHIRA 1 CAMP
An early wakeup and breakfast. The first part of today’s trek is a slow gradual walk that is fairly steep as you climb up out of the jungle and into the moorland ecosystem dominated by Giant Heathers and a variety of grasses and wildflowers. ; After passing several streams, we reach the Shira Ridge. At that point for the first time you will be able to see stunning views of Shira Plateau and Kibo Volcano. On the whole, the passage from Mti Mkubwa Camp to Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m) is rather easy and takes about 5-6 hours. This will allow you to start the acclimatization process gradually, which is important to have a successful climb. When you reach the camp, your team of specialists will cook you lunch and you will have the chance to rest in your tent or walk around the nearby area.
Change in Elevation: Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,780 m) — Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m)
Hiking distance:5 km
Hiking time: 5-6 hours
Day 4 TREKKING FROM SHIRA 1 CAMP TO SHIRA 2 CAMP
We will explore the Shira plateau for a full day. Departing from Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m) we have a gentle walk that leads to the Shira 2 Camp (3,900 m). This trek is not difficult and you will be able to enjoy spectacular views of the moreland meadows of and the surrounding area. Shira 2 Camp is the best place on the trip to see Mount Meru (the fifth summit of Africa), weather permitting. There will be plenty of time for you to enjoy the flora and fauna as well as participate in an acclimatization hike.
Change in Elevation: Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m) — Shira 2 Camp (3,900 m)
Hiking distance: 7 km
Hiking time: 3-4 hours
Day 5 TREKKING FROM SHIRA 2 CAMP To LAVA TOWER TO MOIR HUT
After Breakfast we will depart from Shira 2 Camp (3,900 m) and start our way along the east ridge to the key point of the route, the Lava Tower (4,630 m). Once we reach the Lava Tower we will stay here for 2 hours and enjoy lunch for proper acclimatization. Then we continue to Moir Hut (4139m), a little used camping site on the base of Lent Hills, there are a variety of short walking trails making this an excellent acclimatization opportunity.
Change in Elevation: Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m) — Moir Hut (4,139 m)
Hiking distance: 14 km
Hiking time: 5-7 hours
Day 6 TREKKING FROM MOIR HUT TO BUFFALO CAMP
After breakfast you will trek out of the Moir Valley and start making your way to the summit of Lent Hills ( 4,375 m ). You will enjoy the most extraordinary views of the Kenyan/Tanzanian border. Once you reach the camp around mid-day, you can enjoy the rest of the day relaxing.
Change in Elevation: Moir Hut (4,139 m) — Buffalo Camp ( 4,020 m)
Hiking distance: 12 km
Hiking time: 5-7 hours
Day 7 TREKKING FROM BUFFALO CAMP TO THIRD CAVE
After breakfast you climb up the Buffalo ridge and down into Porfu Camp where lunch is usually served. The route will then join with the Rongai Route. This is a short day through remote valleys, and is the perfect day for acclimatization.
Change in Elevation: Buffalo Camp ( 4,020 m) — Third Cave ( 3.870 m)
Hiking distance: 8 km
Hiking time: 4-6 hours
Day 8 TREKKING FROM THIRD CAVE TO SCHOOL HUT
Today we climb a steady incline up and over the “Saddle” which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. Trekkers then continue walking south-west up to School Hut (4,800 meters). Today’s trek isn’t hard, just make sure that you are pacing yourself. After arriving at School Hut you will be served an early dinner and then you should get some sleep as you will be awoken before midnight to start the trek to Uhuru Peak ( 5,895 m ). Remember to prepare all your gear, including warm clothes, insulated water bottles, snacks, headlamp and camera before going to bed.
Change in Elevation: Third Cave ( 3.870 m) — School Hut ( 4,750 m)
Hiking distance: 5 km
Hiking time: 4-6 hours
Day 9 ASCENT TO UHURU PEAK & DESCENT TO MILLENNIUM CAMP
Very early wake up, around midnight, we begin our climb to the summit. Each pair of climbers will get a personal guide for the entire ascent to monitor your physical and mental conditions. After 5-6 hours of climbing we will reach Gilman’s Point (5,681 meters), where we will enjoy a beautiful sunrise. For those energetic enough there is only 2 hours left to reach the summit, where we can experience an even more breathtaking sunrise. After your successful ascent to Uhuru Peak – the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the last point of the climb on the Northern circuit, you will have reached the highest point in all of Africa — CONGRATULATIONS!
From the Summit, we will begin our descent to Barafu Camp to rest, and enjoy a warm lunch. Then we will continue to Millennium camp for the night.
Change in Elevation: School Hut Camp (4,750 m) — Uhuru Peak (5,895 m)
Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) — Millennium Camp (3,950 m)
Hiking distance: 6 km ascent / 12 km descent
Hiking time: 6-8 hours ascent / 4-6 hours descent
Day 10 MILLENNIUM CAMP TO MWEKA CAMP TO MOSHI
The final day is a short hike through the dense Montana rainforest from Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters). At the gate you will need to sign-out with the authorities, who will also provide you with your official certificate – a green certificate for those who made it to Gilman’s Point and a gold certificate for those who reached Uhuru Peak. After which you will be transferred to the hotel where you will debrief with your crew and enjoy a well-deserved rest.
Change in Elevation: Millennium Camp ( 3,950 m ) — Mweka Camp (3,048 m) — Moshi ( 1,524 m )
Hiking distance: 12 km
Hiking time: 4-5 hours
Day 11 HOTEL CHECKOUT/ DEPARTURE FLIGHT
Hotel checkout is at 11am. From there a Majali guide will transfer you to the airport for your flight.
Pick-up and Drop-off at Kilimanjaro International Airport
Group transfer to the trailhead
Pick-up at the exit from the trailhead and transfer to the hotel.
Hiking and safety equipment
First Aid Kits
Bottled Oxygen for emergency use only
Four Season 3- person Tents
Dining Tent, Tables, Chairs, Cutlery
Heater for Dining Tent
4-inch (10-cm) thick and comfortable sleeping mats;
Professional guides, licensed by Kilimanjaro National Park. All our guides are the holder of Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness First Aid certifications.
Dedicated support crew (assistant guides, camp master, porters, cooks, etc.).
Kilimanjaro National Park permits, crew fees, camping/hut fees, rescue fees and Value Added Tax (VAT) and all other fees collected by the Tanzania National Parks Authority.
All meals on the hike. Prepared by our professional cooks. (vegetarian/gluten-free/halal options are available at no extra cost )
Celebration dinner after climb
All drinks on the hike (coffee, tea, juice, hot chocolate and water).
2 Nights at a 3 - star hotel with breakfast included ( before and after the climb )
All accommodation is on sharing basis (i.e. you will be sharing with your travel companion a twin/double room in the hotel and a tent during the hike. If you travel alone, we will match you with a same-sex adventurer), however a if you prefer a single hotel room or single tent that can be provided at an extra cost. We also offer other amenities for an extra cost such as a heater for your personal tent.
Price Does Not Include:
Lunch & Dinner at Hotel
Personal Gear & Equipment
Tips for the crew ( we recommend $200-$250 per hiker )