8 Days Northern Circuit Route - Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking
- Duration 8 days
- No Of People From 1 person
8 Days Northern Circuit Route - Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking
The Northern circuit is the area that connects the northern side of Kilimanjaro with the western side. The area is pristine with great views and very few hikers. On special request, can we arrange to include the Northern circuit in your hike, as follows:
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.
Start the hike on the Rongai route and instead of heading east towards Mawenzi peak, head west towards the Shira plateau where you connect with the Machame route, attempt the summit from the Barafu camp and descend via Mweka route. Rongai route descends along the Marangu route as well, however you still sleep in tents, and do not use the huts of the Marangu route. Start the hike on the Lemosho route and on day 3 instead of heading east towards Lava tower, head north where you will connect with the Rongai route, attempt the summit from the Kibo hut and descend via Mweka route.
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: The standard duration for the Northern Circuit Route is 9 to 10 days, making it one of the longest routes on Kilimanjaro. The extended duration allows for gradual acclimatization and better chances of reaching the summit.
Difficulty: It is considered a challenging route due to its length and the high altitude, but the gradual ascent and extra days improve acclimatization.
Scenery: The Northern Circuit Route is renowned for its stunning and varied landscapes, from lush rainforests and heath zones to alpine deserts and glacial terrain.
The Northern Circuit Route is known for its long duration, which provides trekkers with ample time for acclimatization, making it one of the routes with the highest summit success rates. It offers stunning scenery and a quieter and less-crowded experience on Kilimanjaro. Trekkers looking for an extended and more immersive journey with a focus on acclimatization often choose this route.
Here are the highlights of Northern Circuit Route
- Londorossi Gate: The trek begins at the Londorossi Gate, located at approximately 2,250 meters. Trekkers need to register and go through park formalities before starting their journey.
- Rainforest Zone: The route starts in the lush rainforest, where trekkers will pass through dense vegetation and have opportunities to spot wildlife, including colobus monkeys and various bird species.
- Shira Plateau: The trek takes trekkers through the Shira Plateau (3,840 meters), offering stunning views of the mountain's western side.
- Lava Tower: On day three, trekkers reach Lava Tower (4,630 meters), an iconic lava formation that provides breathtaking vistas of the surrounding landscape.
- Barranco Wall: The route includes the ascent of the Barranco Wall, offering panoramic vistas and an exhilarating challenge.
- Karanga Valley: Trekkers descend into the Karanga Valley and then ascend to the Karanga Camp (3,995 meters), a crucial acclimatization point.
- Barafu Camp: The final campsite before the summit attempt is Barafu Camp (4,673 meters), where trekkers start their midnight ascent to Uhuru Peak.
- Uhuru Peak: The climb to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) is challenging due to altitude and cold temperatures, but reaching the summit is an incredible achievement.
- Mweka Route Descent: After reaching the summit, the descent typically follows the Mweka Route, taking trekkers back through the rainforest zone to Mweka Gate, where the trek ends.
This budget tour includes camping and hotels
This tour will be organized exclusively for you and won’t be shared with others.
Can start any day
If availability permits, this tour can start on any day.
Can be customized
You can request changes to this tour
Suitable for solo travelers
Solo travelers can book this private tour.
Minimum age of 7 years
The minimum age for this tour is 7 years.
Activities And Transportation
A transfer from and back to the airport is included
Getting around: hiking/walking
You will be greeted by a Regal Trails Adventures representative when you arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport and taken to the Luxury Lodge in Moshi B&B for the night. Your head guide will meet you for a briefing, to check your equipment, and to make arrangements for you to rent any additional equipment.
DAY 1: LONDROSSI GATE – MTI MKUBWA CAMP: 4.8K /3MI | 3-4 HRS | RAINFOREST
Departing from Moshi a 45-minute drive will take you through welcoming mountainside villages to the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate.
We will patiently wait for our permits to be issued while watching the hustle and bustle of operations as many crews prepare for the journey ahead Enjoy the beautiful rainforest scenery and windy trails while your guide tells you about the local flora and fauna and natural wildlife. At these lower elevations, the trail can be muddy and quite slippery. We highly recommend gaiters and trekking poles here.
Elevation: 2389m/7838ft to 2785m/9137ft
Altitude gained: 396m
DAY 2: MTI MKUBWA CAMP – SHIRA I CAMP: 7.9KM/5MI | 4-6HRS | MOORLAND
After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast, we emerge from the rain forest and continue on an ascending path,
we leave the forest behind now, the trail climbs steadily with wide views to reach the rim of the Shira Plateau. Temperatures begin to drop.
Elevation: 2785m/9137ft to 3504m/11,496ft
Altitude gained: 719m
DAY 3: SHIRA 1 (3504M/11496FT) TO MOIR HUT (4161M/13651FT)
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 4,161 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.
Altitude gained: 657m
DAY 4: MOIR CAMP – BUFFALO CAMP: 9.2KM/5.7MI | 5-7HRS | HIGH ALPINE ZONE
We begin with a moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. If you wish, take a small detour here to climb the summit of Little Lent Hill at 4,375 meters before returning to the Northern Circuit trail.
The route follows a series of inclines and declines, skirting around the northern slopes of Kibo to Buffalo Camp. Spectacular views of plains north of Kilimanjaro that stretches as far as the eye can see to the Kenyan / Tanzanian border. You will arrive at Buffalo Camp just after midday, where you will have lunch and have time to rest.
Elevation: 4155m/13,632ft to 4033m/13,232ft
Altitude lost: 122m
DAY 5: BUFFALO CAMP – RONGAI 3RD CAVE: 6.8KM /4.3MI | 5-7HRS | ALPINE DESERT
Day six starts with a climb up the Buffalo Ridge and down into Pofu Camp where lunch is served.
We continue East around the Northern slopes to the Rongai Third Cave. Today’s climb is shorter than the day before and you should be feeling better acclimatized to the altitude at this point. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon
Elevation: 4033m/13,232ft to 3936m/12,193ft
Altitude lost: 97
DAY 6: RONGAI 3RD CAVE – SCHOOL HUT:4.8KM /3MI | 5-7HRS | GLACIAL ZONE
A steady ascent and over the Saddle which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak.
Continue Southwest to School Hut where you will be served an early dinner and the rest as you will begin just 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: 3936m/12,913ft to 4717m/15,476ft
Altitude lost: 781m
DAY 7: SCHOOL HUT – SUMMIT: 5.9KM /3.7MI | 6-8HRS | – MWEKA CAMP: 13KM /8MI DOWN | 5-6HRS | GLACIERS, SNOW CAPPED SUMMIT
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 on 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 Mweka 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 Mweka Camp.
Elevation: 4717m/15,476ft to 5895m/19,341ft
Altitude gained: 1178m
Descent to 3106m/10,190ft
DAY 9: MWEKA CAMP – MWEKA GATE – MOSHI: 9.1KM/6MI |3-4HRS | RAINFOREST
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 you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes). Enjoy a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!!
Elevation: 3106m/10,190ft to 1633m/5358ft
Altitude lost: 1473m
|No of Clients
|Price Per Person
|2 - 3 Clients
|4 - 6 Clients