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8 days, 7 nights – Northern Circuit 1

Northern Circuit route is the newest addition to Kilimanjaro trekking routes, providing nearly full circle around this beautiful mountain. On this route you will enjoy quiet, rarely visited northern slopes, and considering the fact that this is the longest route, there will be plenty of time for acclimatization. This is a huge plus and gives to Northern Circuit highest summit success rate. The route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west,  with the first two days spent trekking through the rainforest up 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 at the Mweka route.

Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa

  • Distance: 11 km
  • Hiking Time: 3 hours
  • Habitat: Rain Forest

Drive from Moshi or Arusha to  Londorossi Gate, where we will complete entry formalities. From here a forest track requiring one hour drive to Lemosho Glades. After lunch, we will walk along forest trails to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite,

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira Camp 1

  • Distance: 8km
  • Hiking Time: 7 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland

We will follow a trail that leads out of the forest and into a savannah  giant heather moorland zone. Our ascend through scenic rolling hills, we will cross several streams to reach the Shira Ridge before descending to Shira 1 camp. The view of Kibo from the plateau is spectacular.

Day 3: Shira Camp 1 to Moir Hut

  • Distance: 11km
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland / Alpine Desert

Today we follow an easy path to the summit of Shira Cathedral before reaching Moir hut in the alpine zone. For extra acclimatization one can take walk around for the higher lands around the camp; views are superb. Lunch will be served at Fisher camp. The afternoon will be the acclimatization walk up onto the Lent Hills, with the summit at 4700m.

Day 4: Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp

  • Distance: 12km
  • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert

Today we take moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. You will have opportunity for small detour to climb the summit of Little Lent Hill at 4375m before returning to the Northern Circuit path. 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 5: Buffalo Camp to Third Cave

  • Distance: 8km
  • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: High Alpine zone

As we head up Buffalo Ridge, and down to Porfu Camp where the lunch will be served.  This route is rarely travelled and we will enjoy its mountain wilderness feel. We trek through remote valleys on to the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro until we arrive at Third Cave in the afternoon.

Day 6: Third Cave to School Hut

  • Distance: 15km
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: High Alpine zone

Today we take steady ascend over the Saddle, nested between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. The path leads further south-west toward School Hut, where you will be served with early dinner, after which you should get some sleep, because 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.

Day 7: School Hut to Uhuru Peak to Millennium Camp

  • Distance: 6km (Descend distance 11km)
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours ascent and 4-6 hour descent
  • Habitat: Glacial zone and all preceding zones

You will be awoken around midnight and served with hot tea and biscuits, after the refreshment will begin the steep incline up the slopes of Kibo, under the cover of the night. The first check-point is Hans Meyer Cave where you will take a short break, and then climb steep to the Gilman’s Point (5681m. Take a moment to enjoy incredible view of Mawenzi Peak, before we start final 2 hours trekking to Uhuru Peak. The slope flattens as we head west around the crater rim and should arrive at the summit at dawn. We will stay briefly at the top for you to get as many photos as you can of the incredible views and surrounding glaciers. We will then retrace our steps back around the crater rim to Stella Point, where we turn south and head down the heavily screed slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp. After a short break here we continue down to Millennium Camp for your final night on the mountain. In total you will be trekking for 14-16 hours on day eight so it is important to pace yourself, remain hydrated and keep your blood sugar levels up.

Day 8: Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate

  • Distance: 6km (Descend distance 11km)
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours ascent and 4-6 hour descent
  • Habitat: Rainforest zone

Today the path descends steeply through the lush Mweka Rain Forest. The route follows the crest of a broad ridge separating two river valleys until it meets with a road that leads us for the last 40 mins to the Mweka Park gates where we stop for a well deserved picnic lunch where successful hikers will receive their summit certificates (gold for Uhuru Peak, green for Stella Point) from the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority. A vehicle will meet you at gate to drive you back to hotel in Moshi or Arusha.


  • Professional, experienced, mountain guides and porters
  • All Park fees
  • Rescue fees
  • All meals while on the Mountain
  • Arrival and Departure transfers
  • Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
  • Quality Mess tents with table and chairs
  • Large portions of fresh, healthy, nutritious food
  • Clean, purified drinking water
  • Crisis management and safety procedures
  • Fair and ethical treatment of porters
  • Flying Doctors insurance (AMREF)


  • Flights
  • Optional activities
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
  • Travel insurance

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