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9 Days Northern Circuit Route

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Duration 9 Days
Group Size Join Group, Private Tour
Tour Type Hiking
Transport -

Northern Circuit Highlights

  • √ The “Grand Traverse” of Kilimanjaro from west to east.
  • √ An excellent route to climb Kilimanjaro with a high success rate
  • √ It is by far the quietest and remote route taking you away from the crowds
  • √ Allows climbers to “walk high, sleep low” enabling better acclimatisation

Northern Circuit Route

This 9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro climb via the Northern Circuit route will take you to the roof of Africa, the Uhuru peak. You will traverse different vegetation and climatic zones as you climb, spot some animals, birds over scenic trails and stunning views of the peaks of Kilimanjaro. It is an amazing adventure of exploring different terrains and putting your thirst for adventure to the top.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro via Northern Circuit Route

Due to the stunning scenery, 360 degrees panoramic vistas of the mountain and the highest summit success rate, we can safely the Northern Circuit route is one of the best routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. On top of that, this is a quiet, tranquil and less crowded route that is seldomly used and it runs through the northern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Since it is a long route, it allows enough days and time for proper acclimatization, increasing your chance of making it to the summit successfully.

Northern Circuit Route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the western side, starting off with transport from your hotel in Moshi to the Londorossi Gate. Proceeding from the gate, the first two days are mainly used to traverse the trail through the rainforest to Shira Ridge, before passing through the Shira Plateau. The route then proceeds northwards and rounds clockwise from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp to School Hut, before approaching the summit from the eastern side of the mountain.

Duration: 9 or 10 days
Difficulty: Medium
Scenery: Excellent
Traffic: Low

Northern Circuit Success Rate

Northern Circuit Route of Mount Kilimanjaro has the highest summit success rate averaging between 90% and 95%.

When you arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for dinner and overnight as you prepare for the next day. Your head guide will meet you for your briefing, gear check and arrange for you to hire or rent any gear or mountain equipment you may need.

9 Days Northern Circuit Itinerary

Northern Circuit routes

Elevation (m): 2360m to 2895m, Distance: 6 km, Time: 3-4 hours, Habitat: Montane forest.

After breakfast, we set off for the Londorossi Gate where you are registered to climb and the porters will assemble all the equipment and supplies that we need. We then begin our climb through the forest to Mti Mkubwa, our first camp at 2895m.

Elevation (m): 2895m to 3500m, Distance: 8 km, Time: 5-6 hours, Habitat: Moorland

Our trek today will take us to Shira Plateau, the caldera left by the collapse of Kilimanjaro’s third volcanic crater. Tonight’s campsite is Shira 1 camp, and it will be significantly colder here than the previous night.

Elevation (m): 3500m to 3810m, Distance: 7 km, Time: 3-4 hours, Habitat: Moorland

Today we walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral, a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles. There is a tangible sense of wilderness here, especially when the afternoon mists roll in. From our camp at Shira 2, we take in the unforgettable views of Mt. Meru.

Elevation (m): 3810m to 4200m, Distance: 14 km, Time: 6-7 hours, Semi-desert.

Leaving Shira 2, we briefly join climbers on the Machame route before we turn north and make our way on a lesser-used trail to Moir Hut campsite, where we will camp below the Lent Hills.

Elevation (m): 4200m to 4000m, Distance: 12 km, Time: 7-8 hours, Habitat: Semi-desert

We start with a steep climb out of Moir Valley and take a short detour to reach the summit of Lent Hills.  After admiring the views we return to the trail and head eastwards around the northern edge of the mountain. The final section of today’s walk undulates as we cross several valleys until reaching Pofu Camp.

Elevation (m): 4020m to 3960m, Distance: 7 km, Time: 6 hours, Habitat: Semi-desert

From Pofu Camp we continue around the northern edge of the mountain, with views out across Kenya. We cross more small valleys as the trail heads eastwards through a landscape that has increasingly sparse vegetation to reach Third Cave Camp.

Elevation (m): 3960m to 4790, Distance: 6 km, Time: 5 hours, Habitat: Alpine desert

We will make a steady ascent to reach the saddle, a lunar landscape between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. From here we continue upwards to reach School Hut in the early afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is spent resting and preparing for the summit day.

Elevation (m): 4790m to 5895m to 5730m, Distance: 14 km, Time: approx 10 hours, Habitat: Stone scree and moorland

At around 1am, we set off on a tough zig-zag trail taking us to the rim of the crater at Gillman’s Point. From here we take a short break to watch the sunrise over Mawenzi. Then its a trek around the crater rim to Uhuru Peak, close to the glaciers that still exist at the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Time for a celebration and a few summit photos before the start of our descent down to the Mweka Hut campsite. This will take us back to Barafu for lunch. There will be loose gravel going down to Mweka Camp (3100m), so trekking poles will be useful. That evening we will enjoy our last dinner on Kilimanjaro and sleep well after the day exertions.

Elevation (m): 3100m to 1800m, Distance: 8 km, Time: approx 3-4 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest.

The last day on the mountain starts with a descent down to the Mweka Park Gate where summit certificates are issued. Through the rain forest, it can get wet and muddy. If you have gaiters, you may want to use them here and trekking poles will help. It may be warmer so shorts and t-shirts can be worn, but keep waterproofs and warmer clothing to hand. This concludes our 9 Days Northern Circuit Route

What’s included

  • Pick up and drop off at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)*
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Moshi (before & after the climb)
  • Breakfast is included at the hotel*
  • 1 Post-climb celebratory drink (beer, juice, or soda) on us*
  • Group transport to and from Moshi to ALL Kilimanjaro park gates*
  • No additional transport fees will be charged to the Northern or Western route gates*
  • Kilimanjaro National Park permits
  • Camping/Hut fees
  • Mountain rescue fees
  • Guides/Porters salaries
  • Private toilet for the party on all climbs (except for Marangu)*
  • All season mountain tents
  • Foam sleeping pad (unless you opt to bring your own instead)
  • Mess tents, tables, chairs for parties of two or more
  • All meals on the mountain
  • No small party supplement fees will be charged
  • No single supplement fees for Private Climbs will be charged

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Personal Gear
  • Tips for porters & Guides
  • Tanzania Visa: $50 per person on arrival
  • Personal Expenses (e.g. laundry, telephone, beverages, etc.)
  • Optional Tours (short safari after your climb etc)
  • Tips and any items of personal nature.

Kilimanjaro, Northern Circuit Reviews

This is the second time climbing this beauty of a mountain. The first time was way back in 2001, even before this new route was introduced. We had climbed via the famous Marangu Route and we felt like we rushed things that is why we didn’t make it to the top as my wife developed acute mountain sickness on the way. This time around, we took our time, followed all the proper acclimatization procedures, and finally made it to the summit, Uhuru Peak. This route is long, calm, a little bit isolated and it gave us some quality time with our private group, it is very scenic and easier to climb. As usual, the guides and porters always carry that slime even in difficult times, they encourage you until you make it to the summit. The Northern Circuit route has to rank among the best routes for a successful climb and Mount Kilimanjaro Routes definitely has to be up there for mountain climbing companies in Tanzania.
Daniel PageDaniel Page

Climb Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro Routes has been providing and still continues to provide the highest quality Kilimanjaro climbs at a reasonable cost.

Update - Route infoThere are eight established routes used to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, namely: – Marangu Route, Machame Machame, Lemosho Route, Rongai Route, Northern Circuit, Umbwe Route, Shira Route and Western breach . The Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe routes approach Mount Kilimanjaro from the South. The Lemosho and Shira routes approach the mountain from the west. The Rongai route and Northern Circuit Routes approach Kilimanjaro from the north near the border of Tanzania and Kenya. All routes except Marangu and Rongai descend via Mweka.

Specification: 9 Days Northern Circuit Route


9 Days


Join Group, Private Tour



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9 Days Northern Circuit Route
9 Days Northern Circuit Route

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