9-Days Northern Circuit Route

9-Days Northern Circuit Route

9-Days Northern Circuit Route


09 Days

Best Time

All year Around

When approaching Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, you take the Northern Circuit Route, which takes nine days to complete. The ascent’s first three days merge with the Lemosho Route and follow the same path. The path then heads north, following the mountain’s northern flank to Third Caves, where it meets the Rongai Route. Ascend to School Hut, join the Marangu Route, and ascend via Gilman’s Point to the summit. You will descend the mountain via the Mweka trail after reaching the summit. You will be transported to and from the mountain in a private vehicle. This trip will be based on tented camps on the mountain – a true adventure.

When you arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport, a member of the Ihana safaris hospitality team will greet you. He’ll take you to Panama Garden Resort, where you’ll find everything you need for a relaxing stay after a long flight, including comfortable rooms with hot showers, a delicious restaurant, a friendly service team, and Internet access. At the appointed time, your briefing will take place, during which your guides will go over all the details of the upcoming trek. They’ll answer your questions and make sure you’re prepared for the journey. They will let you rent it if you don’t have everything you need.

Accommodation: Panama Garden Resort
Journey time and distance: 1 hour’s drive, 40 km from Kilimanjaro International Airport to Moshi

After a leisurely breakfast (07.00 hrs), you depart the hotel one hour later to arrive at the Londorosi Gate in time for your picnic lunch at around 11.00 hrs. You have a short drive from Londorosi to the start of today’s walk. Today’s walk is 7 kilometers (4 miles) long, with a walking time of 3.5 to 4 hours.

You begin at a height of 2,100 meters and end at a height of 2,650 meters. The Northern Circuit Route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west, and some claim that this provides the best views of the mountain. You might see some colobus or blue monkeys at the start of your walk, but encounters with buffalo, elephants, or leopards, while still possible, are rare nowadays. Your steady ascent is a wonderful experience, with beautiful forest and brightly colored flowers. Dinner is served at 19.30 hours at Mti Mkubwa Camp (‘Big Tree Camp’).

Accommodation: In tents at Mti Mkubwa Camp

Hiking time and elevation: 4 hours, from Starting Point (2,100 m) to Mti Mkubwa (2,650 m).

You’ll get used to the early breakfast (07.00 hrs), and your departure time today is 08.00 hrs. Although your walking distance is only slightly longer than yesterday’s, you will be climbing from 2,650 to 3,610 meters today, and you anticipate a longer walking time of 4.5 to 5 hours. As you head eastwards and upwards, you begin climbing straight away, to the top of a ridge. The trees from your first day are starting to thin out today. As you move onto the moorland, you eventually leave the forest behind. You can get your first glimpse of both the Shira Plateau and the mighty Kibo from here.

To reduce the chances of feeling ill, focus on walking pole to pole (slowly). Your general direction is eastward. Around 13.00 hrs., a picnic lunch is served. After lunch, the terrain flattens out and you descend slightly to the Shira 1 Camp, with the snow-capped Kibo ahead of you. There will be some welcome rest time after arriving at around 16.00 hours before dinner, which will be served at 18.30 hours.

Accommodation: In tents at Shira 1 Camp

Hiking time and elevation: 4.5–5 hours’ walking, from Mti Mkubwa at 2,650 m to Shira 1 Camp at 3,610 m.

Because you may have less climbing to do today than you did yesterday, you celebrate (!) with a later breakfast, at the leisurely hour of 08.00, and an hour later departure. We say “potentially” because your guide will explain that, depending on how you are feeling today, you have the option of trekking via the Shira Cathedral (see below).

Today’s walking distance will be approximately 7 kilometers (4 miles). It’s a steady uphill climb that will take you about 3.5 to 4 hours to complete. You set out first in a south-eastern direction across the Shira Plateau’s moor and heathland. Buffalo, dik-dik, and klipspringer graze nearby and can be seen on occasion. By following this standard route, you should arrive at Shira 2 Camp (also known as Shira Huts) by 13.00 hrs, in time for a cooked lunch. Dinner will be served at 18.00 hrs. tonight.

(As previously stated, you will be given the option of diverting via the Shira Cathedral today) (3,872 metres, or 12703 feet). This will require more walking, but you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the plateau and beyond. This option will be thoroughly discussed with you by your guide.

Accommodation: In tents at Shira 2 Camp

Hiking time and elevation: 3.5–4 hours’ walking, from Shira 1 Camp at 3,610 m to Shira 2 Camp at 3,850 m.

Today you are back to your early, 07.00 hrs breakfast time, ready for an 08.30 hrs departure. You would expect to spend about 6.5 to 7 hours walking today, covering a distance of 14 km (9 miles). You will finish your day 350 metres higher than you started it. In between you have to climb to the base of the famous Lava Tower at 4,600 metres. This part of the route is rife with ups and downs and may cause some discomfort. You will spend one or two hours at a higher altitude in order to properly acclimatize yourself, so the lunch break will take place at Lava Tower itself. The afternoon part of the route climbs slightly before descending down to Moir Hut Camp. Your guide may decide to bypass Lava Tower altogether, taking the porter trail instead, if any of the members of your party do not appear to have acclimatized properly. In this case, the highest altitude you will reach will be 4,400 metres rather than 4,600 metres.

Accommodation: In tents at Moir Hut Camp

Hiking time and elevation: 6.5–7 hours of walking, from Shira 2 Camp at 3,850 m to Moir Hut Camp at 4,200 m.


You climb out of Moir Valley and take a short detour to the Lent Hills summit (4,375 m). Return to the trail and head eastwards around the northern circuit trail after admiring the views. The trail passes through a field of clink-clink-clink-clink-clink-clink-clink-clink-clink-clink-c The final section of today’s walk is undulating until you reach Buffalo Camp (4,020 m). The Kenyan plains stretch out far below to the north, giving the camp a huge sense of space.

Accommodation: in tents at Buffalo Camp

Hiking time and elevation: 6.5–7 hours’ walking, from Moir Hut Camp at 4,200 m to Buffalo Camp at 4,020 m.

You climb to the top of “Buffalo Ridge” from Buffalo Camp and cross numerous ridges and gullies. The trail continues eastwards through a sparsely vegetated landscape, eventually reaching Third Cave Camp at 3,800 meters.

Accommodation: In tents at Third Cave Camp

Hiking time and elevation: 5.5–6 hours’ walking, from Buffalo Camp at 4,020 m to Third Cave Camp at 3,800 m.

On a relatively easy path, today’s leg takes you over the so called “saddle”. This piece of rock is actually a lava-flow formed when Kili was still young. It has now solidified and connects two of Mount Kilimanjaro’s three peaks, Mawenzi and Kibo. You will arrive at the School Hut in about 4.5 to 5 hours and go to bed straight after dinner as the summit calls for an early start, at approximately 23.00hrs.

Accommodation: In Tents At School Hut

Hiking time and Elevation: 4.5 – 5 hours’ walking, from Third Cave Camp at 3,800 m to School Hut at 4,800 m

Today is the most challenging day, but hopefully with the great sense of achievement of reaching your goal – the summit of Kilimanjaro! Your schedule for your ‘Summit Day’ is necessarily very different to your other days on the mountain. Rising at 23.00hrs, you take your tea and biscuits (23.30hrs) before a midnight departure.

The day starts with the long, tough climb from School Hut (4,800 metres) to Gilman’s Point (5,685 metres) for some of this you will be walking on scree, making your trek more difficult. From Gilman’s Point (5,685 metres), there is still another 210 metres of ascent and 1 hour’ walk to the summit. Your goal is to reach the top by around 07.00hrs then celebrate (of course!) take your precious photos and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. After the summit, you descend to an altitude of 4,673 metres at Barafu Camp, where you rest for a couple of hours, take a brunch and then leave again at 13.30hrs to continue to descend to Mweka Camp (3,100 metres) where you spend the night. You would expect to arrive there at 17.00hrs and take your dinner at 19.00hrs. (In total, you cover around 17 km today with about 11-14 hours of walking – tough going, but with your objective hopefully achieved!)

Accommodation: in tents at Mweka Camp

Hiking time and Elevation: 11-14 hours’ walking, from 4,800 m at School Hut to the summit at 5,895 m, then down to 3,100 m at Mweka Camp

Still thrilled by your achievement, breakfast is taken at 07.00hrs and at 08.00hrs you can take the chance to reward your trekking team at the ‘Tipping Celebration.’

Although you still have 10 km/6 miles to walk, departure is at a leisurely 09.00hrs and you descend down to the Mweka Gate which sits at an altitude of 1,640 metres. There, you will be served a cooked lunch at midday and be presented with your hard-earned certificate. Your transport will be waiting to bring you back to your hotel in Moshi, where you can choose to relax – or, if you have any energy left, to celebrate!

Accommodation: Panama Garden Resort

Hiking time and Elevation: 3 hours’ walking, from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate, descending from 3,100 m to 1,640 m, then return by vehicle from Mweka Gate to your hotel 0.8 hours’ drive.

After a good night’s rest at your hotel, you will take breakfast ready for the scheduled check-out by 11.00hrs.(If you wish to remain in the hotel during the day, please advise us of this when you book your trip and we will inform you of the cost for a ‘day room’ which allows you to stay until 18:00hrs, and then make the booking on your behalf.)

After a good night’s rest at your hotel, you will take breakfast ready for the scheduled check-out by 11.00hrs.(If you wish to remain in the hotel during the day, please advise us of this when you book your trip and we will inform you of the cost for a ‘day room’ which allows you to stay until 18:00hrs, and then make the booking on your behalf.)

9 Days Northern Circuit Route$4,631$3,552$3,127$3,001$2,823$2,207$2,801$2,741
  • Full board (breakfast, lunch & dinner) accommodation while on safari
  • All game drives viewing in a custom built 4×4 Safari Land
  • Cruiser
  • All park and entrance fees
  • Transportation with 4×4 vehicles with viewing roofs
  • Professional English speaking driver/guide during the safari.
  • Ngorongoro Crater car supplement fee
  • Current Government taxes and levies
  • 24-Hour support during the safari from our office in Arusha.
  • Internal or International flights
  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • Entry visa to Tanzania.
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Gratuities to your guide, hotel staff, and porters
  • Meals, drinks, and excursions not described in the itinerary
  • Any other items of a personal nature, laundry, telephone and postage
    Item of personal Nature.

Have Any Question?

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