Northern Circuit Route

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 also has the most acclimatization time and the highest summit success rate. Thus, the Northern Circuit 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. Descend is made via the Mweka route.

Claris Tours and Travel offers a longer variation that includes an overnight at Crater Camp is available by special request.

2022 – 23 Price (quoted in USD per person)

# in
group
1 2 – 3 4 – 5 6 – 9 10+
price $2388 $2200 $2064 $1970 $1930
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Moshi (1 before & 1 after climb)
  • Pick up and drop off at Kilimanjaro Airport
  • Group transport to and from Moshi to the trailhead
  • Expert guide, assistant guides, cook, and porters
  • Bottled oxygen, for emergency rescue only
  • Sleeping pad, foam, 1.5 inches thick
  • Private Toilet with Privacy Tent (private for your group)
  • Mess tents, tables, chairs, lanterns
  • Fresh, nutritious meals on the mountain
  • Purified drinking water while on the mountain
  • Airfare
  • Tanzanian tourist visa
  • Lunch or dinner at hotel
  • Beverages at hotel
  • Personal gear and equipment
  • Tips
  • Medical/Emergency Evacuation insurance

8 Days Trekking + 2 nights hotel stay

Upon your arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, our friendly driver will be waiting for you. Do not worry if the line clearing immigration
is long, our driver will wait as long as necessary. You will be driven to your hotel in Moshi for check-in. Unless you are arriving
late in the day, this day you will have a pre-climb briefing with your guide. All questions and concerns will be addressed. We will
also go through an equipment check with you. Any gear you are lacking can be rented locally and are of good quality and
reasonably priced.

Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa
Elevation: 7,742 ft to 9,498 ft
Distance: 6 km/4 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rainforest

After breakfast at your hotel, we depart 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.

Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp
Elevation: 9,498 ft to 11,500 ft
Distance: 8 km/ 5miles
Hiking Time 5-6 hours
Habitat: Health

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.

Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters) to Moir Camp (4,200 meters)
Distance: 14km / 8 miles
Trekking time: 6-8 hours
Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone/ High alpine zone

On day three the trek crosses the Shira Plateau from Shira Camp 1 to Shira Camp 2 for lunch. Here nine day trekkers usually spend the night at Shira Camp 2 where they will join trekkers from the Machame Route. But for 8days trekkers will continue with trek heading east which passes through the ‘Garden of the Senecios’ and then enters the high alpine desert zone, then you will join the northern circuit heading down to Moir Camp at 4,200.

Moir Camp (4,200 meters) to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters)
Distance: 12km / 7 miles
Trekking time: 5-7 hours
Zone: High alpine zone

Day four involves a moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. Trekkers can take a small detour here to climb the summit of Little Lent Hill at 4,375 meters before returning to the Northern Circuit trail. From here the route follows a series of inclines and declines, skirting around the northern slopes of Kibo to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters).The trek gives great vistas out across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan / Tanzanian border. You will arrive at Buffalo Camp just after midday, where you will have lunch and have time to rest after a long day hiking.

Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters) to Rongai Third Cave (3,800 meters)
Distance: 8km / 5 miles
Trekking time: 5-7 hours
Zone: High alpine zone and low alpine zone

Day five starts with a climb up the Buffalo ridge and down into Porfu Camp where lunch is usually served. The route then continues east around the northern slopes to the Rongai Third Cave at 3,800 meters. The trek is shorter than the day before and by now you should be feeling well acclimatised to the altitude. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon.

Barranco Camp to  Barafu Camp
Distance: 8 km/5.3 miles
Hiking Time: 7-8 hours
Habitat: Arctic

Our day starts by descending into the Great Barranco, a huge ravine. We then exit steeply, up the Great Barranco Wall, which divides us from the southeastern slopes of Kibo. It’s a climb over rock, not technical, but long and tiring. Passing underneath the Heim and Kersten glaciers, we head towards the Karanga valley, which is our last stop for fresh water before the summit. Scree now forms the terrain as we walk through arid and desolate land towards Barafu camp.

Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
Elevation: 13,106 ft to 15,331 ft
Distance: 4 km/2 miles
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

We leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this position.

3rd Cave (3,800 meters) to School Hut (4,800 meters)
Distance: 15km / 8 miles
Trekking time: 4-5 hours
Zone: High alpine zone and glacial zone

Day six involves 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). After arriving at School Hut you will be served an early dinner and then you should get some shut-eye as you will be awoken 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.

School Hut (4,800 meters) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) and then onto Millennium Camp (3,950 meters)
Distance: 6km / 3.5 miles ascent and 10.5km / 6 mile descent
Trekking time: 6-8 hours ascent and then 4-6 hour descent
Zone: Glacial zone and all preceding zones

You will be awoken around 11:30 with hot tea and biscuits and will then begin the steep incline up the slopes of Kibo under the cover of darkness. Your first check-point is Hans Meyer Cave where you will take a short break. The climb steepens as you approach Gilman’s Point (5,681 meters), which will be around 5-6 hours after departing School Hut. Take a moment to enjoy the approaching dawn and incredible view out and across to Mawenzi Peak, but remember you still have 2 hours trekking to reach Uhuru Peak so dig deep for the energy.

The slope flattens as you head west around the crater rim and you should arrive at the summit at or just after sunrise. Your stay here will be brief so get as many pictures as you can of the incredible views and surrounding glaciers. You will then retrace your steps back around the crater rim to Stella Point (5,739 meters) where you will turn south and head down the heavily screed slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp (4,680 meters). Most trekkers take a short break here before continuing down to Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) for your final night on the mountain. In total you will be trekking for 14-16 hours on day eight so it is important to pace yourself, remain hydrated and keep your blood sugar levels up. Note: some tour operators return via Gilman’s Point to Horombo Hut using the Marangu Route.

Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters)
Distance: 10km / 6.5 miles
Trekking time: 3-4 hours
Zone: Rainforest zone

The final day is a short hike through the dense montane 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. It is customary to give your guide and porter tips before being driven back to your hotel in Moshi.

On this day, our driver will be available to take you to Kilimanjaro Aiport at any hour necessary for your flight. Breakfast at
the hotel this day is included as part of your climb package. Checkout time is 10 am. If you need to stay longer, let us know and
we will arrange for a day room if available.

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