9 Days Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro Route Trekking
The Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro Route is one of the newer routes on Mount Kilimanjaro, which follows the Lemosho trail in the beginning, approaching mount kilimanjaro from the west. However instead of following the southern traverse like most other routes starting in the west, the Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro Route traverses mount kilimanjaro around the northern slopes.
Taking nine days to complete, it is the longest routes on the mount kilimanjaro, but is also one of the quietest and rarely used routes making it an attractive option. The Northen Circuit Kilimanjaro Route is a wonderfully scenic track that is highly recommended for good acclimatization.
- 2 Nights’ Accommodation Pre/Post Climb
- Airport transfers
- All park fees (entry, camping, forest department and rescue fees)
- Three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) while on the mountain
- Accommodation and facilities
- Transport to and from the gate
- Drinking water
- Oxygen cylinder and ox meter
- Tips for the team (guide, assistant guide, cook and porters)
- All personal mountain climbing gear and equipment
- Travel insurance and visa
- Alcoholic and soft drinks
To make your trip as easy as possible, we can offer accommodation in Moshi before and after the climb. Or if you’d prefer, you can stay at a hostel/hotel of your choice. We can also offer airport transfers to and from Kilimanjaro Airport if required.A pre-climb briefing will be arranged with one of our mountain guides to ensure that you have all the correct mountain climbing gear (see our packing list for further information ). We’ll also talk you through what will be expected during the climb and share all our best secrets for conquering the highest point of Africa!
Day 1: Lemosho Trailhead (2,000m/6,600ft) to Mti Mkubwa Camp (Big Tree Camp – 2,800m/9,100ft)
Elevation Gain: 800 metres / 2,500 feet
Hiking Time: Approximately 3 to 4 hours
After breakfast, you’ll be picked up from your hostel/hotel and driven to Londrosi Gate (which is approximately 3 hours from Moshi). After registration, you will then drive a further 12km on a forest track that leads to the Lemosho starting point. From here you will enter the beautiful and undisturbed rainforest to begin your ascent up the mountain. This is by no means a difficult trek, but it will give you plenty of time to adjust and witness some of Tanzania’s wildlife. Sightings of Black and White Colobus monkeys and small antelopes are quite common, and you may even be lucky enough to spot buffalos and elephants too. After 3 to 4 hours of trekking, you will arrive at Mti Mkubwa Camp, also known as Big Tree Camp because of the large conifer trees that provide shade over
Day 2: Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,800m/9,100ft) to Shira 1 Camp (3,500m/11,500ft)
Elevation Gain: 700 metres / 2,400 feet
Hiking Time: Approximately 5 hours
On the second day, you’ll rise early for breakfast and begin climbing a slightly steeper gradient through the moorland vegetation zone. Here you will start to get fantastic views of Kibo, the summit cone of Mount Kilimanjaro, while continuing along a rocky ridge to Shira Plateau. Shira is actually a collapsed volcanic crater and was the first of Mount Kilimanjaro’s three volcanic cones to expire. Once on the plateau, the trail becomes a little easier as you make your way to Shira Camp. If it’s a clear day, you’ll also get to enjoy superb panoramic views.
Day 3: Shira 1 Camp (3,500m/11,500ft) to Shira 2 Camp (3,840m/12,600ft)
Elevation Gain: 340 metres / 1,100 feet
Hiking Time: Approximately 5 hours Habitat: Moorland
After breakfast, you will then continue to hike across the rocky ridge onto Shira Plateau, where you will be able to see the easterly side and the western breach with its dramatic glaciers. You are now on the west of Kibo Peak and it will take another short walk before reaching the Shira Two Campsite. Tea/coffee and some nuts will be served to help warm up your body before the main dish of the evening and retiring to sleep. Shira 2 Camp is very exposed and will be much colder with temperatures dropping below freezing point.
Day 4: Shira 2 Camp (3,840m/12,600ft) to Moir Hut (4,200m/13,800ft) via Lava Tower (4,550m/14,900ft) (optional)
Elevation Gain: 750 metres/ 2,400 feet (maximum)
Elevation Loss: 350 metres/ 1,150 feet (maximum)
Hiking Time: Approximately 5 to 7 hours
Your mount kilimanjaro climb today will take you steadily up and over the expansive ridgelines of high desert. If time and fitness allows, it would be beneficial to ascend via the Lava Tower as this is a great opportunity to acclimatize. This tower is a 300 foot high volcanic plug and the trek to the base of is about 4 hours. Once you have scrambled you way to to the top of Lava Tower, you will be rewarded with fabulous panoramic views. From Lava Tower, you will then head North West beginning your circuit of Kibo, the almighty summit cone of Mount Kilimanjaro. An alternative to this route would be to take a gentle ascent across the alpine desert to Moir Hut in the morning and then spend the afternoon on a guided trek of the nearby Lent Group, a series of wind eroded parasite cones and ridges where you can gaze down to the plains of Kenya. Moir Hut Camp is an isolated and seldom used camp affording views over the Shira Plateau.
Day 5: Moir Hut Camp (4,200m/13,800ft) to Buffalo/Pofu Camp (4,020m/13,200ft)
Elevation Loss: 180 metres / 590 feet
Hiking Time: 5 to 7 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
Begin the morning trek heading out of the moorland and into the stark alpine desert, on a steep ridge off the main trail, beginning your venture on the Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route. If you chose not to explore the Lent Group yesterday, take a short detour to the top of Little Lent Hill (3,375m/14,350ft) in the morning before regaining the trail to Buffalo Camp.
Day 6: Buffalo/Pofu Camp (4,020m/13,200ft) to Third Cave Camp (3,870m/12,700ft)
Elevation Loss: 150 metres / 500 feet
Hiking Time: 5 to 7 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
Proceed onward through valleys and over ridges through the alpine desert and moorland, continuing your circuit to the east. This rarely travelled route allows you to enjoy the vast mount kilimanjaro wilderness in peace.
Day 7: Third Cave Camp (3,870m/12,700ft) to School Huts (4,750m/15,600ft)
Elevation Gain: 880 metres / 2,890 feet
Hiking Time: 4 to 5 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
Climb steadily to reach the Saddle, a lunar landscape between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. From here, continue upwards to reach School Hut Campsite in the early afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is spent resting and preparing for summit day, which will begin in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
Day 8: School Huts (4,750m/15,600ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft) to Mweka Camp (3,110m/10,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,145 metres / 3,740 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,785 metres / 9,100 feet
Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours to Uhuru Peak; 7 to 8 hours to Mweka Camp
Habitat: Arctic conditions
This is where the going gets really tough! Just before midnight, you will venture into the night and begin your final ascent to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Head northwest through the heavy stone scree following multiple switchbacks between Ratzel and Rebmann glaciers until you reach Stella Point (5,685m). This section is probably the most challenging part of the route, and will require great physical and mental effort. Continue to move slowly, always listening to your guide. After a short rest at Stella Point, you will hike along the crater rim for another hour before reaching your ultimate goal – Uhuru Peak! Congratulations! You have now made it to the “Roof of Africa”. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend there, but it is important to start your descent within good time to ensure you get enough rest back at Barafu Camp. After your rest, you’ll gather the rest of your belongings and descend to Mweka Hut (3,100m) where you’ll enjoy dinner and a well-earned sleep!
Day 9: Mweka Hut (3,100m) to Mweka Gate (1,980m)
Elevation Loss: 1,280 metres / 4,220 feet
Hiking time: Approximately 3 to 4 hours
After eating breakfast, you will begin the easiest part of your adventure on Mount Kilimanjaro via a scenic path through the forest to Mweka Gate. Successful hikers who made it to Stella Point and Uhuru Peak will be awarded their certificates at the gate. Then it’s time to drive back to your hotel to enjoy a shower, dinner and celebrations with a Kilimanjaro beer!