The Northern Circuit

The Northern Circuit

A view of Kibo from the Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro Route
Machame route satellite map of Mount Kilimanjaro
Machame route topographic map of Mount Kilimanjaro
Northern Circuit Map Satellite
Northern Circuit Map Topographic
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Why Should You Climb
The Northern Circuit Route?

The Northern Circuit is the longest route on Kilimanjaro, offering nearly 360 degrees of beautiful scenery.

  • The trail starts from the west of Mount Kilimanjaro, and it is one of the less crowded routes on the mountain.
  • Stunning scenery with views across the southern flanks, western forests and the northern plains to the Kenyan border.
  • Luxury expanded height tents with cots beds and foam mattresses option available on this route.
  • The best acclimatization time of all Mount Kilimanjaro routes.
  • The highest summit success rate of all Mount Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro routes.
  • Night-time summit bid via Gilman’s Point.
  • The descent path is via the Mweka Route.
  • Traffic is low as it is the most remote and seldom used path.

Why Should You Climb
The Northern Circuit Route?

The Northern Circuit is the longest route on Kilimanjaro, offering nearly 360 degrees of beautiful scenery.

  • The trail starts from the west of Mount Kilimanjaro, and it is one of the less crowded routes on the mountain.
  • Stunning scenery with views across the southern flanks, western forests and the northern plains to the Kenyan border.
  • Luxury expanded height tents with cots beds and foam mattresses option available on this route.
  • The best acclimatization time of all Mount Kilimanjaro routes.
  • The highest summit success rate of all Mount Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro routes.
  • Night-time summit bid via Gilman’s Point.
  • The descent path is via the Mweka Route.
  • Traffic is low as it is the most remote and seldom used path.
Machame route satellite map of Mount Kilimanjaro
Machame route topographic map of Mount Kilimanjaro
Northern Circuit Map Satellite
Northern Circuit Map Topographic
previous arrowprevious arrow
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Northern Circuit Route Elevations

Northern Circuit 9-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Forest Camp

Elevation
Londorossi Gate: 7,742 ft | 2,360 m
Forest Camp: 9,170 ft | 2,795 m
Hours of trekking: 3-4
Habitat: Rainforest
Meals: B/L/D


After breakfast, we depart to the western side of the Kilimanjaro National Park to Londorossi gate and complete registration formality. Our trek today will be an easy walk up a small path through beautiful and rain forest. Our first camp is located in the rain forest. Look out for black and white Colobus monkeys in the lush tree canopy.

Day 2: Shira 1 Camp

Elevation: 11,500 ft | 3,505 m
Hours of trekking:
4-6
Habitat:
Moorland
Meals:
B/L/D

This morning we leave the glades and start trekking towards the moorland zone and Shira Caldera, which is a high altitude desert plateau. Shira Plateau shows the remains of an ancient caldera, a volcanic crater that expired around half a million years ago. Today, it stands as a World Heritage Site, boasting deep valleys and weather-beaten lava flows.  We will get our first close views of Kibo – the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Day 3: Shira 2 Camp

Elevation: 12,500 ft | 3,810 m
Hours of trekking: 3-4
Habitat: Moorland
Meals: B/L/D

Today we explore the grassy moorland and volcanic rock formations of the plateau. We take a short hike to the summit of awe-inspiring Shira Cathedral, one of the most amazing natural landmarks on Kilimanjaro. The heath zone displays abundant wildflowers and unique Senecio trees. From our camp, we take in the unforgettable views of Mt. Meru as she floats among the clouds. This is a relatively short day but an important day in terms of rest and acclimatization.

Day 4: Moir Camp

Elevation: 13,650 ft | 4,160 m
Hours of trekking: 5-7
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Meals: B/L/D

Today we hike east across the Shira Plateau, one of the highest plateaus on earth. We have lunch at Lava Tower at 15,190 ft /4,630 m to help our bodies acclimatize to the thin air. Then we continue to Moir Hut, a quiet site on the base of Lent Hills. A variety of walks are available on Lent Hills, making this an excellent acclimatization opportunity.

Day 5: Buffalo Camp

Elevation: 13,200 ft | 4,023 m
Hours of trekking: 5-7
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Meals: B/L/D

We climb out of the Moir Valley and take a short detour to reach the summit of Lent Hills (15,400 ft |4,693 m) before returning to the main trail. The final section of today’s walk undulates until reaching our camp. At the camp, there is a huge feeling of space as the Kenyan plains stretch out far below to the north.

Day 6: Third Cave

Elevation: 12,700 ft | 3,870 m
Hours of trekking: 5-7
Habitat: Moorland
Meals: B/L/D

From Buffalo Camp, we climb to the top of ‘Buffalo Ridge’ and cross numerous ridges and gullies. This route is rarely traveled, and we will enjoy its mountain wilderness. The trail continues eastwards through a landscape that has increasingly sparse vegetation until we reach our camp

Day 7: School Hut

Elevation: 15,600 ft | 4,750 m
Hours of trekking: 4-5
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Meals: B/L/D

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 our camp in the early afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is spent resting and preparing for the summit push.

Day 8: Summit - Mweka Camp

Elevation Uhuru Peak: 19,341 ft | 5,895 m
Hours of trekking to Uhuru Peak: 6-8
Habitat: Arctic

Elevation Mweka Camp: 10,065 ft | 3,067 m
Hours of trekking to Mweka Camp: 5-6
Habitat: Heath
Meals: B/L/D

We’ll be up before midnight to set out for the glacier zone atop Kilimanjaro. Walk slowly, drink plenty of water and refuel with small snacks to keep our energy high. We rest for a short time at Gilman’s Point (18,600 ft) to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi.

We celebrate our success with a few quick pictures at the top before before descending to Barafu camp for lunch and a short rest. Gaiters and trekking poles come in handy for the loose gravel going down.
Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon.

Day 9: Mweka Gate

Elevation: 5,380 ft | 1,640 m
Hours of trekking: 3-4
Habitat: Rainforest
Meals: B/L

Celebrate your achievement with your mountain crew and partake in a tipping ceremony to thank your guides and porters, acknowledging their hard work and contribution to your success.
Descend back through the rainforest and enjoy a farewell lunch with your group at the Mweka gate.

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