Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit
9 days—Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking 9 Days 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 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.
Duration: 9 or 10 days
About this tour
|Tour type||Custom, tailor-made, private|
|Main focus||Hiking | trekking|
|Activity level||Strenuous activity|
|Best months||All months|
- Bird watching—with professional guide
- Hiking | trekking
What’s not included?
Lendorosi Gate to Mti Mkubwa Camp
Departing from Moshi a 45-minute drive will take you through welcoming mountainside villages to the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate. We will patiently wait for our permits to be issued while watching the hustle and bustle of operations as many crews prepare for the journey ahead Enjoy the beautiful rainforest scenery and windy trails while your guide tells you about the local flora and fauna and natural wildlife. At these lower elevations, the trail can be muddy and quite slippery.
Mti Mkubwa Camp
Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp
Elevation: 2785m/9137ft to 3504m/11,496ft Altitude gained: 719m After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast, we emerge from the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, we leave the forest behind now, the trail climbs steadily with wide views to reach the rim of the Shira Plateau. Temperatures begin to drop.
Shira 1 Campsites
Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp
Our trek crosses the Shira one of the highest plateaus on Earth, from Shira I Camp to Shira II Camp. Nine-day climbs will stay the night at Shira II Camp joining climbers ascending from the Machame Route. At Shira II Camp it is worth the extra energy to go a bit higher up the plateau to enjoy the stunning view across the valley below and view the Western Breach of Kilimanjaro above. The plateau is exposed so be prepared for a cold night with temperatures getting below zero.
Shira 2 Camp
Shira 2 to Lava Tower to Moir Camp
Although you end the day around the same elevation as when you began, this day is very important for acclimatization. From Shira Plateau we continue east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the Kibo peak before we then continue, South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth” (elev. 4650m/15,250ft). Shortly after the tower, we come to a second junction, which leads to the Arrow Glacier. We then continue to descend to overnight at Barranco Camp.
Moir Camp to Buffalo Camp
We begin with a moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. If you wish, take a small detour here to climb the summit of Little Lent Hill at 4,375 meters before returning to the Northern Circuit trail. The route follows a series of inclines and declines, skirting around the northern slopes of Kibo to Buffalo Camp. Spectacular views of plains north of Kilimanjaro that stretches as far as the eye can see to the Kenyan / Tanzanian border. You will arrive at Buffalo Camp just after midday.
Buffalo Camp to Rongai 3rd Cave
Elevation: 4033m/13,232ft to 3936m/12,193ft Altitude lost: 97m Day six starts with a climb up the Buffalo Ridge and down into Pofu Camp where lunch is served. We continue East around the Northern slopes to the Rongai Third Cave. Today’s climb is shorter than the day before and you should be feeling better acclimatized to the altitude at this point. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon
Rongai 3rd Cave
Rongai 3rd Cave to School Hut
Elevation: 3936m/12,913ft to 4717m/15,476ft Altitude gained: 781m A steady ascent and over the Saddle which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. Continue Southwest to School Hut where you will be served an early dinner and the rest as you will begin just 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 to Summit to Mweka Camp
We continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers trying to stay warm and focused on the amazing sense of accomplishment that lies ahead. With a switchback motion in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. You will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise during your short rest here. From here on your remaining 1 hour ascent to Uhuru Peak, you are likely to encounter snow all the way.
Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate to Moshi
After breakfast and a heartfelt ceremony of appreciation and team bonding with your crew, it’s time to say goodbye. We continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. As the weather is drastically warmer, the terrain is wet, muddy and steep and we highly recommend Gaiters and trekking poles. From the gate, a vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi. Enjoy a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations
Qwine Hotel in Moshi
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