9 Days/ 8 nights trek 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: 8, 9 or 10 days
- Difficulty: Medium
- Scenery: Excellent
- Traffic: Low
Upon arrival to Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met with Alpine chat adventure representative and transferred for overnight accommodation at HOTEL IN MOSHI B&B. Your head guide will meet you for your briefing, gear check and arrange for you to hire any equipment you may need.
Itenerary (Day by Day)
DAY 1: LEMOSHO GATE((2,389/7838ft) MTI MKUBWA CAMP (2,785/9137ft))
Altitude gained: 396m
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. Most tour operators serve lunch here before the short first day trek to MtiMkubwa Camp (2,785 meters) begins. 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 MtiMkubwaCamp.
Distance: ~4.8km / 3 miles
Trekking time: 3-4 hours
DAY 2: MTI MKUBWA CAMP (2785m/ 9137ft) - SHIRA I CAMP (3504m/ 11496ft)
Altitude gained: 719m
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 (3,504 meters).
Distance: ~7.9km / 5 miles
Trekking time: 5-6 hours
Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone
DAY 3: SHIRA I CAMP –SHIRA II CAMP: 6.9km/4mi | 3-4hrs | Low Alpine
Elevation: 3504m/11,496ft to 3895m/12,779ft
Altitude gained: 391m
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. Note: 8 Day Climbs continue east to Shira Plateau Ridge to Lava Tower (4,600 meters) and descend to Moir Camp (4,200 meters)
DAY 4: SHIRA II CAMP- LAVA TOWER - MOIR: 17.7km/11.1mi | 5-7hrs | High Alpine
Elevation: 3895m/12,779ft to 3986m/13,077ft
Altitude gained: 91m
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.
DAY 5: MOIR CAMP (4,155m/13,632ft) TO BUFFALO CAMP (4,033m/13,232ft)
Altitude lost: 122m
Today its 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 (4,033 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.
Distance: ~9.2km / 5.8miles
Trekking time: 5-7 hours
Zone: High alpine zone
DAY 6: BUFFALO CAMP (4033m/13,232ft) – RONGAI 3RD CAVE (3,936m/12,193ft)
Altitude lost: 97m
Starts with a climb up the Buffalo ridge and down into Pofu Camp where lunch is usually served. The route then continues east around the northern slopes to the Rongai Third Cave at 3,936 meters. The trek is shorter than the day before and by now you should be feeling well acclimatized to the altitude. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon
Distance: ~6.8km / 4.3miles
Trekking time: 5-7 hours
Zone: High alpine zone and low alpine zone
DAY 7: RONGAI 3RDCAVE (3936m/12913ft) – SCHOOL HUT (4717m/15,476ft)
Altitude gained: 781m
Today its involves a steady incline up and over the Saddle which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. Trekkers then continue walking south-west up to School Hut (4,800 meters). After arriving at School Hut you will be served an early dinner and then you should get some shut-eye as you will be awoken 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.
Distance: ~4.8km / 3miles
Trekking time: 4-5 hours
Zone: High alpine zone and glacial zone
DAY 8: SCHOOL HUT (4717m/15476ft) – SUMMIT (5,895 m/19341ft) – MILLENIUM CAMP (3,827 m/12556ft)
Altitude gained: 1178m
Altitude lost: 2068m (descent)
Excitement is building as morning comes with an early start between midnight and 2 a.m. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek.
We continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers trying to stay warm and focused of 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. Faster hikers may view the sunrise from the summit. From here on your remaining 1 hour ascent to Uhuru Peak, you are likely to encounter snow all the way.
Congratulations, one step at a time you have now reached Uhuru Peak the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the entire continent of Africa!
After photos, celebrations and maybe a few tears of joy we take a few moments to enjoy this incredible accomplishment. We begin our steep descent down to Millennium Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch and a very brief rest. We strongly recommend gaiters and trekking poles for uncooperative loose gravel and volcano ash terrain. Well-deserved rest awaits you to enjoy your last evening on the mountain. Overnight Millennium Camp.
Distance: ~5.9km / 3.7 miles ascent and 8.4km / 5.2 mile descent
Trekking time: 6-8 hours ascent and then 4-6 hour descent
Zone: Glacial zone and all preceding zones
DAY 9: MILLENIUM CAMP 3827m/12,556ft - MWEKA GATE 1633m/5358ft – MOSHI 970mAltitude lost: 2194m
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 to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes). Enjoy a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!!
Distance: ~12.2km / 7.6 miles
Trekking time: 3-4 hours
Zone: Rainforest zone Overnight HOTEL IN MOSHI B&B. before being transferred to your journey home, safari or relaxing trip to Zanzibar.
CERTIFIED ETHICAL CLIMBING:As Alpine chat adventure we believe that tourism industry has an obligation and a great opportunity to protect the world’s natural habitats, cultural heritage sites and communities. We actively promote environmental sustainability and social responsibility.
As a Partner for Responsible Travel, we are proud to raises public awareness to ensure proper treatment of porters on Kilimanjaro and assists implementing procedures that ensure fair and ethical treatment of the portersthrough fair salaries, mountain equipment, food, clothing and sleeping conditions for crew members.
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INCLUDED IN TREKKING PACKAGE:
FOOD & DRINK
HEALTH & SAFETY
PREPARATION & FEES
ACCOMMODATION & TRANSFERS
EXCLUDED FROM TREKKING PACKAGE:
RECOMMENDED TIPPING GUIDE
Tipping is customary on Mount Kilimanjaro for all members of your mountain crew. Although they receive a fair wage, they rely on tips for a total fair compensation Tips for the team (guide, assistant guide, cook and porters) Industry recommendations are $20 a day to the Guide, $15 a day to your Assistance guide and Cook and 8$ a day to each of your porters divided by everyone in trip.
TO ENSURE FAIR AND TRANSPARENT TIPPING FOR EACH CREW MEMBER, THERE WILL BE A TIPPING CEREMONY AT THE ALPINE CHAT ADVENTURE OFFICE FOLLOWING YOUR DESCENT FROM THE MOUNTAIN. ENVELOPES WILL BE PROVIDED TO DIVIDE YOUR TIPS FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE CREW.