Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit (7-9 Days)




Tour Type


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 also has the most acclimatization time and the highest summit success rate. Thus, the Northern Circuit 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. Descend is made via the Mweka route.

Africa Outdoors is happy to offer you the chance to get to the roof of Africa via Northern Circuit route from 7 to 9-day tours. Please well note that the 7-day and 8-day trek skips the additional acclimatization day(s) that is usually spent at Shira Camp 2 and continues straight on to Moir Camp.


  1. 2-night accommodation in Moshi town: before the first and the final hiking day.
  2. Arrival and departure airport transfers.
  3. High-quality 4-season camping equipment.
  4. Experienced and professional mountain guides.
  5. All park fees and rescue fees.
  6. All large-portioned, nutritious food and purified drinking water on the mountain.
  7. Guides, porters and cook salaries.
  8. Pulse Oximeter for daily health check.
  9. Crisis management and safety procedures.
  10. Fair and ethical treatment of porters.
  11. Beds (for luxury tours).
  • International Flights & Visa & Insurance
  • Tips to porters and guides (From 300$)
  • Meals while in Moshi town
  • Items considered to be non-essential, such as alcohol, beverages, cigarettes, snacks, etc.
  • Optional Tours (for example, short safaris after your climb or Moshi day tour, etc.)
  • Oxygen tanks (included in luxury tours - can be rented in budget and standard tour)
  • Portable toilets (included in standard & luxury tours - can be rented in budget tours)

Tour Amenities

Accepts Credit Cards
Car Parking
Smoking Allowed
Wireless Internet

Tour Plan

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 Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,820 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 Mti Mkubwa Camp.
  • Elevation: 2360m to 2820m
  • Distance: ~5.5km
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Rainforest
  • Meals: Lunch - Dinner
Today the trek will take a gain of an altitude of approximately 800m. Lunch will be served in an exciting valley just outside the Shira crater at 3004m. After lunch, we’ll go across the rim into the Shira Caldera which filled from lava from Kibo. We will camp and have dinner at Shira One camp (3610m).
  • Elevation: 2820m to 3610m
  • Distance: ~8km
  • Hiking time: 6-7 hours
  • Habitat: Rainforest & Low Alpine Zone
  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch - Dinner
Day three 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 (see map above). 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 acclimatization process.
  • Elevation: 3610m to 4200m
  • Distance: ~15km | Walking time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: Low alpine zone / High alpine zone
  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch - Dinner
Day four 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.
  • Elevation: 4200m to 4020m
  • Distance: ~12km
  • Hiking time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: High alpine zone
  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch - Dinner
Day five 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 acclimatized to the altitude. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon.
  • Elevation: 4200m to 3800m
  • Distance: ~8km
  • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: High alpine zone and low alpine zone
  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner
Day six 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.
  • Elevation: 3800m to 4800m
  • Distance: ~15km
  • Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
  • Habitat: High alpine zone & glacial zone
  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner
Around 11:30pm, you will be awoken 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. Take a moment to enjoy the approaching dawn and incredible view out and across to Mawenzi Peak, but remember you still have 2 hours trekking to reach Uhuru Peak so dig deep for the energy. The slope flattens as you head west around the crater rim and you should arrive at the summit at or just after sunrise. Your stay here will be brief so get as many pictures as you can of the incredible views and surrounding glaciers. You will then retrace your steps back around the crater rim to Stella Point (5,739 meters) where you will turn south and head down the heavily screed slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp (4,680 meters). Most trekkers take a short break here before continuing down to Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) for your final night on the holy mountain. In total you will be trekking for 14-16 hours on day seven so it is important to pace yourself, remain hydrated and keep your blood sugar levels up.
  • Elevation: 4800m to 5895m then down to 3950m
  • Ascent Distance: ~6km - Descent distance: ~10km
  • Hiking time: 6-8 hours ascent then 4-6 hours descent
  • Habitat: Ice-caped summit
  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner
The final day is a short hike through the dense mountain rainforest from Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters). At the gate you will need to sign-out with the authorities, who will also provide you with your official certificate – a green certificate for those who made it to Gilman’s Point and a gold certificate for those who reached Uhuru Peak. It is customary to give your guide and porter tips before being driven back to your hotel in Moshi town.
  • Elevation: 3950m to 1630m
  • Distance: ~10km
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Rainforest
  • Meals: Breakfast – Lunch

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