9 Days Northern Circuit Route


The Northern Circuit Route is the newest route up Mount Kilimanjaro and arguably the best. That’s because the 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 the 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.

  • 9 days Northern Circuit Route is not just the newest official route to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro; it is also the longest and most beautiful.
  • And remember the longer the route, the higher the chance of overall success.
  • This extended climb begins with a drive from Moshi to the Londorossi Gate, where you start.
  • From there the Northern Circuit follows the Lemosho route for the first few days, moving through the lush rainforest below the mountain itself, and then ascending the Shira Ridge to cross the high Shira Plateau.
  • Dedicated Customer Satisfaction Associate
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • Hotel lodging the night before and the night after the climb
  • Breakfast before and after the climb
  • All meals and water on the mountain
  • All park fees and taxes
  • Transportation to and from the hotel and trailhead
  • Tents (3-person mountaineering tent)
  • Sleeping mat
  • Private toilet tent
  • Support team (certified guides, porters, and cooks)
  • Kilimanjaro SAR evacuation insurance
  • Airfare to and from Tanzania
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Visa
  • Tips for the support team
  • Sleeping bags and other personal gear
  • Rental gear
  • Lunch and dinner at the hotel
  • Drinks and snacks

Location Map

Tour Timeline

  • 1
    Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa

    Elevation: 7,742 ft to 9,498 ft

    Distance: 6 km/4 miles

    Hiking Time: 3-4 hrs

    Habitat: Rainforest

    On the first day of 9 days Northern Circuit Route. We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours, where you will complete entry formalities. Then drive to the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival at the trailhead, we begin hiking through an undisturbed forest that winds to the first campsite.

  • 2
    Day 2 : Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp

    Elevation: 9,498 ft to 11,500 ft

    Distance: 8 km/5 miles

    Hiking Time: 5-6 hrs

    Habitat: Heath

    We continue on the trail leading out of the rain forest and into a savannah of tall grasses, heather, and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. As we ascend through the lush rolling hills and cross several streams, we reach the Shira Ridge before dropping gently down to Shira 1 Camp. Here we catch our first glimpse of Kibo across the plateau.

  • 3
    Day 3: Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp

    Elevation: 11,500 ft to 12,500 ft

    Distance: 7 km/4 miles

    Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

    Habitat: Heath

    We explore the Shira Plateau. It is a gentle walk east on moorland meadows towards Shira 2 Camp. The heath zone displays abundant wildflowers and unique Senecio trees.

  • 4
    Day 4: Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower

    Elevation: 12,500 ft to 15,190 ft to 13,580 ft

    Distance: 7 km/4 miles

    Hiking Time: 3-4 hr to 2-3 hr

    Habitat: Alpine Desert

    We continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower – a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. Then we divert from the main trail to Moir Hut, a little-used site on the base of Lent Hills. A variety of walks are available on Lent Hills making this an excellent acclimatization opportunity. Shira Plateau is one of the highest plateaus on earth.

  • 5
    Day 5: Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp

    Elevation: 13,580 ft to 13,200 ft

    Distance: 12 km/7 miles

    Hiking Time: 5-7 hours

    Habitat: Alpine Desert

    Firth day of our 9 days Northern Circuit Route, We trek out of Moir Valley with a moderately steep climb, then hike to the summit of Lent Hills before returning to the main trail. The path crosses a rock field and gently undulates before reaching Buffalo Camp. This section of the trail offers great views across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border.

  • 6
    Day 6: Buffalo Camp to Third Cave

    Elevation: 13,200 ft to 12,700 ft

    Distance: 8 km/5 miles

    Hiking Time: 5-7 hours

    Habitat: Heath

    As we head up Buffalo Ridge, the terrain becomes increasingly sparse. This route is rarely traveled and we will enjoy its mountain wilderness feel. We trek through remote valleys onto the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro until we arrive at Third Cave.

  • 7
    Day 7: Third Cave to School Hut

    Elevation: 12,700 ft to 15,600 ft

    Distance: 5 km/3 miles

    Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

    Habitat: Alpine Desert

    We climb steadily up and over the “Saddle,” which sits between Kibo and Mawenzi. We continue on to our camp, School Hut. Once here we rest, and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.

  • 8
    Day 8: School Hut to Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

    Elevation: 15,600 ft to 19,341 ft to 10,065 ft

    Distance: 6 km/4 miles to 12 km/7 miles

    Hiking Time: 6-8 hr to 4-6 hr

    Habitat: Artic

    Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s point (18,600 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

    From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

  • 9
    Day 9: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

    Elevation: 10,065 ft to 5,380 ft

    Distance: 10 km/6 miles

    Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

    Habitat: RainForest

    On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.