Northern Circuit Route 9 Days Kilimanjaro Climb


Northern Circuit Route 9 Days to Kilimanjaro is the most amazing trip on Mount Kilimanjaro. The Northern Circuit is the newest route to Kilimanjaro and also the longest. Due to its length, the northern circuit has the highest summit success rate. The route follows the same route as the Lemosho Route for the first two days, then turns around the quieter northern slopes to the eastern side of the mountain. The Northern Circuit approaches the summit via Gilman’s Point and then descends on the same route as Machame and Lemosho.

The Northern Circuit is suitable for 9 days hikes for those who have not hiked much at high altitude, with an effective extra day of acclimatization, which ensures a better success rate. Experienced hikers can choose the more difficult 8 days ascent along the northern circuit. A private vehicle will take you to and from the mountain. On this trip, we stay in tent camps on the mountain – a real adventure.


Day 0: Pre-trek Briefing

If you have chosen the optional airport transfer, we will pick you up from Kilimanjaro Airport or Arusha Airport and transfer you to Panama hotel in Moshi or similar hotel. Pre-trek briefing at the Moshi hotel. You should plan to arrive at least one day before the tour starts. We will spend today with a pre-excursion briefing. We review your equipment and rent the necessary equipment.

Day 1: Hotel to Mti Mkubwa Camp

After breakfast and briefing, departure to Londorossi Park Gate (approx. 3 hours by car). From there, a forest track requiring a 4WD vehicle leads to the Lemosho Glades. Walk along forest trails to the Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite.

  • Elevation: 1830m/6000ft-2650m/8700ft
  • Distance: 6km/4mi
  • Hiking time: 2-3 hours
  • Habitat: Montane Forest
  • Meals: lunch and dinner
Day 2: Mti Mkubwa Camp to Shira 1 Camp

After breakfast, we continue as the path gradually gets steeper and enters the giant heather-swamp zone. After crossing several streams, we continue along the Shira Ridge and then slightly down the Shira Plateau to the Shira 1 Camp located next to a stream.

  • Elevation: 2650m/8700ft-3500m/11500ft
  • Distance: 8km/5mi
  • Hiking time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 3: Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp

After breakfast, a gentle hike across the plateau leads to the Shira 2 camp in marshy meadows next to a stream. There are a variety of hikes available on the plateau, making this an excellent acclimatization day.

  • Elevation Gain: 3,500 m/11,500 ft – 3,850 m/12,600 ft
  • Distance: 8km/5mi
  • Hiking time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 4: Shira 2 Camp to Moir Camp

This day is a long hike to the east, passing through the “Garden of the Senecios” and then entering the high alpine desert zone. The morning is spent hiking to the lava tower and the iconic Shark’s Tooth rock formation at 4,600 meters where you can have lunch. After lunch you will join the Northern Circuit and descend towards Moir Camp at 4200m. This is an important day during the trip as you will experience high altitude and then sleep low which is good for the acclimatization process.

  • Elevation: 3850m/11500ft-4200m/13780ft
  • Distance: 14km/8mi
  • Hiking time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 5: Moir Camp to Buffalo Camp

Today we encountered a moderately steep climb out of the Moir Valley. We can take an optional tour to the 4375-meter summit of Kisböjt Mountain before returning to the Northern Circuit. From there, the route follows a series of ups and downs, skirting the northern slopes of Kibo to Buffalo Camp.

  • Elevation: 4200m/13780ft-4020m/13188ft
  • Distance: 12km/7mi
  • Walking time: 5-6 hours
  • Habitat: High Alpine
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 6: Buffalo Camp to Rongai Third Cave

We start the day by climbing the Buffalo ridge, then down to the Porfu camp, where lunch is usually served. The route then goes east around the northern slopes to Ronga Third Cave. The hike is shorter than the previous day and by now you should be well used to the altitude. The third cave is only reached in the afternoon.

  • Elevation: 4020m/13188ft-3800m/12467ft
  • Distance: 8km/5mi
  • Climbing time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: High Alpine
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 7: Third Cave to School Hut

Today is a steady climb up and over the saddle that sits between Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Hikers then continue walking south-west to the School Hut. Once you arrive at the School Hut, an early dinner will be served and then get some shut eye as you will be woken up before midnight to start the summit. Before going to bed, don’t forget to prepare all your gear including warm clothes, insulated water bottles, food, headlamp and camera.

  • Elevation Gain: 3,800 m/12,467 ft – 4,800 m/15,748 ft
  • Distance: 15km/8mi
  • Climbing time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: alpine desert
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 8: School Hut to Uhuru Peak to Millennium Camp

Around 11:30 am they wake me up with hot tea and biscuits and then start the steep descent on the slopes of Kibo under the cover of darkness. The first checkpoint is the Hans Meyer Cave, where you take a short break. The climb steepens as you approach Gilman’s Point (5681m), which will be about 5-6 hours after leaving School Hut.

Take a moment to enjoy the approaching dawn and the incredible view of Mawenzi Peak, but remember that you still have 2 hours of hiking to reach Uhuru Peak, so dig deep for energy. The slope flattens out as you move west along the crater rim, and you should arrive at the summit at or just after sunrise.

Your stay here will be short, so you can take as many pictures as you can of the incredible views and the surrounding glaciers. You then have to walk back along the crater rim to Stella Point (5739m) where you turn south and descend the heavily screeded slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp (4680m).

Most hikers take a short break here before continuing to Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) for the last night on the mountain. On day eight, you’ll be hiking for a total of 14-16 hours, so it’s important to pace yourself, stay hydrated, and keep your blood sugar high.

  • Elevation Gain: 4,800 m/15,748 ft – 5,895 m/19,340 ft
    to 3,950 m/12,959 ft
  • Distance: 6 km / 3.5 mi up / 11 km / 6 mi down
  • Hiking time: 5-7 hours up / 5-6 hours down
  • Habitat: rocky cliffs and ice-capped peaks
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 9: Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate to Hotel

After breakfast we continue our descent to Mweka Park Gate to claim the summit. At lower altitudes it can be wet and muddy. Leg protectors and trekking poles help. Shorts and a t-shirt will probably be plenty (keep rain gear and warmer clothes handy).

Our vehicle will be waiting at the Mweka gate to take you back to your hotel in Moshi (approximately 60 minutes).

  • Elevation: 3950m/12959ft-1680m/5500ft
  • Distance: 10km/6mi
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: forest
    Meals: Breakfast



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