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.

Route Overview:
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.

Regal Trails Adventures

Tour Features


Budget tour

This budget tour includes camping and hotels

Private tour

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.



Itinerary

DAY 1: LONDROSSI GATE – MTI MKUBWA CAMP: 4.8K /3MI | 3-4 HRS | RAINFOREST

Regal Trails Adventures

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

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DAY 2: MTI MKUBWA CAMP – SHIRA I CAMP: 7.9KM/5MI | 4-6HRS | MOORLAND

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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

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DAY 3: SHIRA 1 (3504M/11496FT) TO MOIR HUT (4161M/13651FT)

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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

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DAY 4: MOIR CAMP – BUFFALO CAMP: 9.2KM/5.7MI | 5-7HRS | HIGH ALPINE ZONE

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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

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DAY 5: BUFFALO CAMP – RONGAI 3RD CAVE: 6.8KM /4.3MI | 5-7HRS | ALPINE DESERT

Regal Trails Adventures

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

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DAY 6: RONGAI 3RD CAVE – SCHOOL HUT:4.8KM /3MI | 5-7HRS | GLACIAL ZONE

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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

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DAY 7: SCHOOL HUT – SUMMIT: 5.9KM /3.7MI | 6-8HRS | – MWEKA CAMP: 13KM /8MI DOWN | 5-6HRS | GLACIERS, SNOW CAPPED SUMMIT

Regal Trails Adventures

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
Altitude lost:2789m

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DAY 9: MWEKA CAMP – MWEKA GATE – MOSHI: 9.1KM/6MI |3-4HRS | RAINFOREST

Regal Trails Adventures

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

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Prices

s
No of Clients Price Per Person
1 Client $2,450
2 - 3 Clients $2,400
4 - 6 Clients $2,350
7+ Clients $2,300

Inclusions

  • Professional, English-speaking Wilderness First Responder & CPR certified Guide
  • Proper Ration of Mountain crew (Cook & Porters)
  • Pre and Post accommodations (2 nights Bed and Breakfast)
  • Airport Transfers
  • Meals according to the itinerary
  • Drinking water and Full Board Meals
  • All National Park & Hut Fees, Crew Permits and VAT
  • Quality Imported Equipments
  • Gate Transfers
  • Portable Private Toilet and Porter

Exclusions

  • Flights
  • Visa fees
  • Tips for porters and mountain crew
  • Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
  • Energy food & beverages, alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Personal hire gear such as trekking poles, sleeping bags, etc.
  • Additional lodge nights

Destination Details
Mount Kilimanjaro is situated three degrees south of the equator in Northeastern Tanzania. As the tallest mountain in Africa and the world's highest free-standing peak, it is renowned for being one of the seven highest peaks globally. Interestingly, it stands out as the most accessible and least technically challenging to climb. The ascent requires no specialized climbing skills, making it achievable for individuals with moderate fitness levels.

Is This Expedition Suitable for You?
Upon arriving at Kilimanjaro Airport, you'll receive a warm welcome and be transported to your accommodation in Moshi. We recommend a day of rest before commencing your trek, with the option to use your transfer from Nairobi as a rest day. If time permits, explore local attractions like rice fields and rainforests, indulge in shopping in Moshi, or simply relax by the pool or with a massage.

Your trekking guide will brief you the evening before your journey, emphasizing the need to separate a dedicated bag for the trek. Rental equipment is available, and any excess luggage can be securely stored in your Moshi hotel. The following morning, enjoy a substantial breakfast before finalizing trip preparations at the trekking office. The drive to the trailhead, depending on the route chosen, may take up to an hour and can be quite rugged.

At the park gate, climbers complete final preparations and sign the national park registration book. Porters organize their packs, carrying essentials like food and water. It's crucial to have all daypack items with you, as porters move swiftly. The daily hike typically begins between 8-9 am, lasting 5-6 hours at a deliberately slow pace. The terrain lower down is breathtaking, offering fascinating views, while higher up, the vast landscapes unfold. Camps provide ample time for absorbing the surroundings and capturing memorable photographs.

The summit hike starts around midnight, adjusting to your chosen route and group speed. Depending on your fitness, some may halt at the crater rim, while others push on to the mountain's highest point. Guides prioritize a swift descent to minimize altitude issues, leading you past the last campsite to the next for an overnight stay.

Traveling Together
Group sizes are limited to 5-7 people, with the option to combine groups on the same route and day. Private groups are available at no extra cost, and efforts are made to accommodate single travelers within a group.

Guides and Support Crew
A local guide, proficient in English, Spanish, French, or German, is mandatory for Kilimanjaro treks. Porters accompany the trip to carry luggage, food, and equipment, leaving you with only a daypack for essentials.

Tips for Guides and Porters
Tips are provided after your trek. Small bills in U.S. dollars, Euros, or Tanzanian shillings are recommended. The suggested tip is $15/day

Transportation and Finances
Except for airfare, all Regal Trails Adventures trips cover transportation costs and arrangements within the destination country. Tanzanian shillings are the local currency, though U.S. dollars, Euros, and credit cards may be accepted at larger establishments. ATMs are available in major towns like Moshi and Arusha.

Kilimanjaro Climber’s Packing List

  • The porter's load is limited to 15 kg (35 pounds).
  • Overweight or extra luggage will require an extra porter at $5/day.
  • Store electronics in sealed waterproof bags (double-sealed if possible).
  • Wrap clothing in plastic bags.
  • In the day pack, take along water, sunglasses, camera, binoculars, rain pants, and jacket at a minimum.
  • Add any other items you might need during the day since you may not see your porters until the end of the day.
  • Regal Trails is interested in purchasing second-hand gear for rentals.
  • You may want to bring some older items of warm clothing as gifts for your guides and porters or donations to the Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society.
  • You can leave extra luggage in a locked storage room at the Springlands Hotel for no charge.
  • You can leave valuables in a safe deposit box at the Springlands Hotel for $1/day.
Baggage
  • Day pack, for you to carry
  • Large duffel bag or backpack, for porters to carry
  • Plastic bags
Clothing
  • Inner layer should be wicking – no cotton
  • Next layer should be insulating and warm, and the top layer should be waterproof but breathable.
  • Layers are essential as temperatures vary greatly.
  • Shorts for the first and last day only
  • Pants for hiking and lounging in the evenings
  • Short-sleeved or t-shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts for hiking and lounging
  • Long underwear
  • Fleece jacket or wool sweater
  • Fleece pants
  • Down jacket or ski parka for temperatures well below freezing plus wind
  • Rain jacket and pants needed in hot rainforest and cold snow
  • Underwear and sport bras for women
Cold Weather Accessories
  • Mittens and/or gloves (waterproof, one thin pair, one thick pair that can be layered)
  • Wool or pile hat
  • Balaclava or neck gaitor
  • Hand and foot warmers (chemical activated)
Footwear
  • Trekking shoes for hiking during the day, preferably warm, waterproof, and with ankle support
  • Tennis shoes or sandals for lounging in the evening
  • Gaiters
  • Hiking socks for warmer conditions
  • Wool socks for colder conditions
  • Sock liners to wick away moisture
Sleeping
  • Sleeping bag (Rated -25 degrees C/-10 degrees F or colder is recommended)
  • Sleeping pad and repair kit
  • Tents are supplied by Regal Trails Adventures at no charge
  • Foam sleeping pads are provided by Regal Trails at no charge (Thermarest is highly recommended, however)
Other
  • Water bottles and Camelback (2-3)
  • Get 3 liters of bottled water before the trip.
  • Your guides will boil water for you along the route, or use steripens for water sanitization.
  • To prevent water from freezing on summit day, keep your water source inside your jacket.
  • Sun hat with brim
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandana
  • Money ($400 or more in cash and/or travellers cheques, including some small U.S Dollar, Euro, or Tanzanian bills)
  • Ski or trekking poles
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Camera, film, tripod
  • Video camera, tapes
  • Batteries
  • Bring extra sets for headlamp/flashlight and camera as cold weather shortens their life
  • Binoculars
  • Notebook, journal, pencil, and pen
  • Pocket knife
  • Electricity adapter
  • Energy bars, hard candy, snacks, and comfort foods
  • Playing cards, games, books, frisbee, football, kite
  • Chocolate or pens for village children, momentos for guides, porters, and other climbers
  • Umbrella, particularly useful in the rainy season, can be purchased in the market for around $2
  • Plastic bags and zip-lock bags for waterproofing
  • Sewing kit
  • Salt, pepper, and spices for bland food
  • Business cards
  • Alarm clock
  • Calculator (for currency conversion)
  • Swim suit for hotel swimming pool
Toiletries
  • Toilet paper (and baggie to carry used paper while on trail)
  • Small towel
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Handi-wipes (moist towelettes for cleaning)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lotion
  • Glasses, contacts, solution (take contacts out each night to prevent blurred vision)
  • Comb, mirror
Documents
  • Passport
  • Yellow fever certificate
  • Tanzania Visa
  • Medical insurance
  • Address book
  • Vaccination records
  • Airline tickets
  • Cash, travellers cheques, credit cards
  • Maps, guidebooks
  • Make copies of passport, TZ visa, airline tickets/schedule, and travellers cheques numbers. Leave a copy with someone at home and put a copy in a separate place in your luggage.
First Aid
  • Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, or Aspirin
  • Throat lozenges
  • Bandaids
  • Moleskin
  • Sunscreen (SPF 15+)
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Disinfectant, Antiseptic cream
  • Bandages and tape
  • Diahrea medicine
  • Antihistemines
  • Ace bandage
  • Melatonin (1-3mg) or other sleep aid
  • Malaria pills (talk to your doctor)
  • Antibiotics (talk to your doctor)
  • Prescription drugs (talk to your doctor)
  • Diamox (talk to your doctor)
Packing for your flight to Africa
  • U-shaped neck pillow (blow-up)
  • Books/magazines
  • Toiletries
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Walkman and music
  • Eye shades, ear plugs
  • Melatonin or other sleep aid
  • Critical climbing gear (in case baggage is delayed)

  1. What is the best time to trek Mount Kilimanjaro?

    The best time to trek is during the dry seasons, typically January to March and June to October.

  2. How difficult is the climb?

    Kilimanjaro is challenging but does not require technical climbing skills. A good fitness level and mental preparation are essential.

  3. What trekking routes are available?

    Popular routes include Machame, Marangu, Lemosho, and Rongai. Each offers a unique experience and varying difficulty levels.

  4. Do I need a guide for Kilimanjaro trekking?

    Yes, a certified guide is mandatory for all treks on Mount Kilimanjaro.

  5. What is the accommodation like during the trek?

    Accommodations range from basic mountain huts to tents, depending on the route. Private toilet tents may be available on some routes.

  6. How cold does it get on the summit?

    Temperatures can drop well below freezing at the summit, so adequate cold-weather gear is essential.

  7. What about altitude sickness?

    Altitude sickness is a risk. Our itineraries include acclimatization days to minimize this risk.

  8. What should I pack for the trek?

    A comprehensive packing list is provided, including clothing, gear, and personal items.

  9. Is training necessary for Kilimanjaro trekking?

    While no technical skills are required, regular aerobic and cardiovascular training is recommended to enhance your endurance.

  10. Can I charge electronic devices during the trek?

    Charging facilities may be available at some campsites. It's advisable to bring portable chargers and spare batteries.

  11. Are there age restrictions for Kilimanjaro trekking?

    Most operators have age restrictions, and participants should be in good health. Consult with your guide and healthcare professional.

  12. How do I book a Kilimanjaro trekking tour?

    Contact our team to discuss available dates, routes, and booking details. Advance reservations are recommended.

  13. What is the cancellation policy?

    Review our cancellation policy, including refund conditions and any associated fees.

  14. Is travel insurance required?

    Yes, comprehensive travel insurance, including coverage for trekking and medical evacuation, is mandatory.

  15. How can I prepare for high-altitude trekking?

    Research and follow our pre-trek preparation guide, including fitness routines and altitude acclimatization tips.

  16. What is the currency used in Tanzania?

    The official currency is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). While major cities may accept U.S. dollars or euros, it's advisable to use local currency for better exchange rates.

  17. Is it necessary to get vaccinated before traveling to Tanzania?

    Yes, certain vaccinations, including yellow fever, are required. Consult with your healthcare provider or a travel clinic well in advance of your trip.

  18. What is the best time to visit Tanzania?

    The best time to visit is during the dry season, from June to October. This is ideal for wildlife viewing and trekking activities.

  19. What languages are spoken in Tanzania?

    Swahili is the official language, and English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. Learning a few Swahili phrases can enhance your travel experience.

  20. What are the must-visit attractions in Tanzania?

    Tanzania is renowned for its wildlife and natural wonders. Key attractions include the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Zanzibar's beaches, and Mount Kilimanjaro.

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