9 Days Northern circuit route
9 Day Kilimanjaro Trekking Tour + 2 night’s hotel stay
This special 9 day climb offers excellent views from all sides of the mountain, including the quiet, rarely visited northern slopes.
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. Afterwards, the route heads north and circles clockwise from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp to School Hut, before summiting from the east. Descent is made via the Mweka route.
The Northern Circuit route is certainly one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro. While you trek, you will see nearly 360 degrees of beautiful scenery as you traverse the mountain at 13,000 feet. As the longest route on Kilimanjaro, the Northern Circuit also has the longest acclimatization time, giving you the highest chance of reaching the summit successfully. Thus, the Northern Circuit route is highly recommended.
Day 1: Kilimanjaro Airport to Moshi
We will send a driver to the airport to pick you up and take you to the hotel in Moshi. Orientation will take place at the hotel. Our guides will emphasise all the important details regarding your trek and an inspection on your hiking gear will occur.
Day 2 – Londorossi Gate (2,100 meters) – start point 2,360 meters to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,820 meters)
The Northern Circuit Route begins at Londorossi Gate (2,100 meters) in the West, the same start point as the Lemosho Route. The drive to Londorossi Gate takes approximately two hours from Moshi and considerably longer from Arusha. Registration with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities occurs at the gate and then you will be driven further up the mountain to the trailhead starting point.
You may get lucky and spot large wildlife like elephant and buffalo that sometimes emerge from the rainforest onto the path as you trek towards your first camp. Dinner will be served when you reach Mti Mkubwa Camp.
Day 3– Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,820 meters) to Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters)
On day two you will spend the first hour trekking through the last section of rainforest path before entering the low alpine moorland zone which follows up onto the Shira Plateau. The trek is relatively short and gradual, ending at Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters).
Day 4 – Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters) to Shira Camp 2 (3,850 meters)
On day three the trek crosses the Shira Plateau from Shira Camp 1 to Shira Camp 2. At Shira Camp 2 it is worth trekking a little higher up the plateau to enjoy the stunning view across the valley below and Western Breach of Kilimanjaro above.
Day 5 – Shira Camp 2 (3,850 meters) to Lava Tower (4,600 meters) and then north to Moir Camp (4,200 meters)
Day four is a long trek heading east which passes through the ‘Garden of the Senecios’ and then enters the high alpine desert zone. The morning is spent trekking up to Lava Tower and the iconic Shark’s Tooth rock formation at 4,600 meters, where you will have lunch. After lunch you will join the northern circuit heading down to Moir Camp at 4,200 meters.
This is an important day in your trek as you will get to experience high altitude and then sleep low, which is good for the acclimatisation process.
Day 6 – Moir Camp (4,200 meters) to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters)
Day five 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.
Day 7 – Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters) to Rongai Third Cave (3,800 meters)
Day six 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.
Day 8 – School Hut (4,800 meters) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) and then onto Mweka Camp (3,950 meters)
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. The trail to Gilman’s Point is very steep and the ascent will be slow and steady. From Gilman's, it is a traverse along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak. We stay at the summit for a short time, to take photos and enjoy the views, before retracing our steps to Stella Point, and then descend down a long, rocky path to Mweka Camp.
Day 9 – Mweka Camp (3,950 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters) to Moshi
The final day is a short hike through the dense mountain rainforest from Mweka Camp (3,950 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters).
This will be the last day for the journey which will be accompanied by the by a traditional farewell ceremony, you will gently descend through the rainforest to Mweka Gate, where you will be met and transferred to Moshi where you will can celebrate your achievement
Day 10 Moshi – Kilimanjaro Airport
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Kilimanjaro Airport or alternatively you can extend your trip in Tanzania and go on safari.