9 Days Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Tour Description

This route avoids the crowds on the southern routes and over 9 days, you have a fantastic journey and a great chance of summiting successfully.

The climb begins at Londorossi Gate, at an altitude of 2360 meters, with an approach far to the west of the mountain. It follows the Lemosho route, passing through the majestic rainforest where some of the region’s most unique wildlife can often be seen.

The route continues up to the mountain’s third summit at Shira Ridge. From there you will cross the famed Shira plateau and see the awe-inspiring Shira Cathedral before turning north onto the Northern Circuit proper.

Itinerary - Day by Day

The northern slopes of Kilimanjaro are far more remote and have the benefit of less traffic from other climbers. On a clear day, the views stretch over the Amboseli Plains of Kenya. The trail then joins the Rongai and Marangu routes in the east for the final summit ascent via Gillman’s Point. After reaching the summit, you will descend by the Mweka trail, rather than retracing your steps along the ascent route.

The Northern Circuit is a good nine-day hike for those who have not trekked much at high altitudes, with an effective extra day’s acclimatization, giving a better success rate. Experienced trekkers may opt for the more difficult 8-day ascent along the Northern Circuit.

  • Day 1, Arrival to Tanzania, East Africa

    All trekkers need to organise their own flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). From JRO we will arrange a private transfer to your hotel. That night or early the next morning you will meet your Kilimanjaro guide, and representative and have a full pre-climb briefing.

    Transport: Private transfer (0.8 hour, 40 km)
    Accommodation: Hotel

  • Day 2, Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa Camp

    4WD transfer to Londorossi Park Gate for registration. Our porters prepare and pack our supplies and luggage before we start our ascent along the forest trail to Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite at 2895m. We will We will stay here overnight.

    Transport: 1.7 hours, 80 km
    Hiking time: 3 - 4 hours
    Ascent: 535 m
    Max. altitude: 2895 m
    Accommodation: Camping
    Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

  • Day 3, Mti Mkubwa Camp to Shira 1 Camp

    Our journey continues eastwards across the Shira Plateau with spectacular views of Shira Cathedral. We cross moorland meadow to reach Shira 1 Camp for dinner and overnight camping at 3500m.
    By now we will be able to see the stunning glaciers of the Western Breach. It will be colder tonight than the previous night with temperatures possibly falling below freezing.

    Hiking time: 5 - 6 hours
    Ascent: 605 m
    Max. altitude: 3500 m
    Accommodation: Camping
    Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

  • Day 4, Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp

    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 near Shira Hut, we take in the unforgettable views of Mt Meru.

    Hiking time: 3 - 4 hours
    Ascent: 310 m
    Max. altitude: 3810 m
    Accommodation: Camping
    Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

  • Day 5, Shira 2 Camp to Moir Hut

    We leave the moorland behind now and a gentle grade walk takes us across the high altitude Shira Caldera to Shira Cave with fabulous views of Arrow glacier. We will camp here for the night at 4200m.

    Hiking time: 6 - 7 hours
    Ascent: 390 m
    Max. altitude: 4200 m
    Accommodation: Camping
    Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

  • Day 6, Moir Hut to Pofu Camp

    We climb out of the Moir Valley and take a short detour to reach the summit of Lent Hills (4700m). After admiring the views we return to the trail and heads eastwards around the Northern Circuit trail. The final section of today’s walk undulates until reaching the location of Pofu Camp.

    Hiking time: 7 - 8 hours
    Ascent: 500 m
    Descent: 680 m
    Max. altitude: 4700 m
    Accommodation: Camping
    Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

  • Day 7, Pofu Camp to Third Cave Camp

    From Pofu Camp we cross numerous small valleys as the trail continues through a landscape that has increasingly sparse vegetation to eventually reach Third Cave Camp.

    Hiking time: 6 - 7 hours
    Descent: 60 m
    Max. altitude: 4020 m
    Accommodation: Camping
    Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

  • Day 8, Third Cave Camp to School Hut

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

    Hiking time: 5 - 6 hours
    Ascent: 830 m
    Max. altitude: 4790 m
    Accommodation: Camping
    Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

  • Day 9, School Hut to Summit to Millennium Camp

    We start the final and most demanding part of the climb around 1 am on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point. We rest here for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi.

    We then head on to Uhuru Peak, passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. We retrace our steps along the crater rim to Stella Point and then descend down through Barafu Camp, where our porters will meet us with a packed lunch. We will then continue to descend to reach Millennium Camp.

    Hiking time: 14 - 16 hours
    Ascent: 1105 m
    Descent: 2068 m
    Max. altitude: 5895 m
    Accommodation: Camping
    Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

  • Day 10, Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate

    Your final day on the trek. Departing after breakfast, we descend a further 1300m to the Mweka Park Gate to pick up your summit certificates from the Park Headquarters. We will then transfer toy our hotel for a well-earned shower and celebration.

    Transport: Private transfer (0.6 hour, 17 km)
    Hiking time: 5 - 6 hours
    Descent: 2027 m
    Max. altitude: 3827 m
    Accommodation: Hotel
    Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch

  • Day 11, Departure

    After a much-needed night’s rest we will bid you goodbye. If you have arranged airport transfers with us or a safari / Zanzibar trip, we will collect you from the hotel for your onward journey.

    Transport: 0.8 hour, 40 km
    Meals included: Breakfast

Tour Inclusion & Exclusion

  • All accommodations per itinerary
  • All meals per itinerary 
  • All tours and entrance fees per itinerary (unless listed as excluded)
  • All transportation and transfers per itinerary
  • National Park gate fees
  • Transport from Moshi to park gate and return to Moshi
  • Camping fees
  • Certified, experienced, English-speaking guides for all routes
  • Salaries for all crew members
  • Rescue fees (as required by the national park)
  • Tents, foam sleeping pads, cooking equipment, and eating utensils
  • Oximeters
  • Emergency Oxygen (2L canister)
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals not listed
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff
  • Optional tours
  • Single room supplement
  • Personal expenses (visas, airport taxes, Internet, etc.)
  • Tips for guides, porters, and cooks (budget $400-550/person)
  • Sleeping bags and personal gear
  • $45 for a single tent
  • Low season discount in April/May

$ 2,105

/ person

*this price is for group of 4+ people

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To climb Kilimanjaro is a great challenge and entirely feasible for the active traveller or keen walker looking for something new.
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