8 Days Northern Circuit Route

Northern Circuit Route Overview    

This route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west. The trek follows the Lemosho Trail in the beginning, approaching Mt. Kilimanjaro where it offers a chance to visit Shira Plateau (Cathedral peak) and Shira Caldera. However, instead of following the southern traverse like all the other west approaching routes, the Northern Circuit traverses the mountain around the quiet, rarely visited northern slopes.

The Northern Circuit is the longest route in terms of time and distance as it can be climbed for  8 days or 9 days and it provides a high success rate, incredible varied scenery, and a very low number of visitors. The Northern Circuit Route is certainly one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro.

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Arrival Day: Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) to Moshi.
Elevation: 1,000m to 1,200m.
Distance: 36 km
Driving Time: 45Min
Habitat: Town
Tro-Peaks Adventures staff will meet and pick you up from JRO (Kilimanjaro International Airport) and transfer you to your hotel in Moshi for overnight B/B.

Day 1: Moshi to Londorosi Gate to Big Tree Campsite.
Elevation: 1,200 m to 1,950 m to 2,850 m
Distance: 9 km
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
We will pick you up from your hotel your hotel and transport you to Londorosi Gate for registration. After this formality, you board the vehicle and drive again to Lemosho Glade. From this point you will start the trek across undisturbed montane forest decorated with black and white colobus monkeys to the camp where dinner and overnight will take place.

Day 2: Big Tree Campsite to Shira One Campsite
Elevation(m): 2850m to 3500m
Distance: 13km
Hiking time: 8 hours
Habitat: Moorland and heather
This is an acclimatization trek because you will gain over 650m by starting walking across a beautiful valley outside Shira’s caldera rim (3600m). After few hours you will reach into Shira Caldera. A high altitude desert, Shira is one of the three peaks which erupted in Kilimanjaro ecosystem. The peak later collapsed and formed a crater which eventually became filled with the lava flow from Kibo Peak. Its rim is eroded and blasted away by weather and volcanic action. Camp and overnight at 3500m elevation at the Shira One Campsite.

Day 3: Shira Two Campsite to Moir Hut Campsite
Elevation: 3500m to 4155m
Distance: 11km
Hiking time: 7 hours
Habitat: Moorland
It is a really good day whereby you will follow the trail to Lava Tower (4,542 meters). This day allows you to climb high and sleep low and is critical for acclimatization. Stronger hikers may continue to the ruined camp at Arrow Glacier (4,871 meters). Continue hiking from Lava Tower to Moir Hut.

Day 4: Moir Hut Campsite to Buffalo Campsite
Elevation: 4155m to 4145m
Distance: 6 km
Hiking time: 4 hours.
Habitat: Moorland

Today you will start the hike by hiking out of the Moir Valley. Hike to the summit of Lent Hills before returning to the main trail. Continue east through a rock field. Finally reach Buffalo Camp at the end of the day.

Day 5: Buffalo Campsite to Third Cave Campsite
Elevation: 4145m to 3936m. Elevation loss 209m
Distance: 8 km.
Hiking time: 5 hours.
Habitat: Alpine Desert.

Today you will climb to the top of Buffalo Ridge before continuing on through the barren landscape to Third Cave Camp. Cross many gullies during this day you will actually 209m of altitude today.

Day 6: Third Cave Campsite to School Hut Campsite
Elevation: 3936m to 4717m.
Distance: 8 km.
Hiking time: 5 hours.
Habitat: Alpine Desert.

Begin the day by backtracking yesterday’s trail until the dry riverbed. Head west toward Kibo on a steady upward climb. By the early afternoon, reach School Hut on the eastern slopes of Kibo. The Saddle to Mawenzi lies just a few minutes from the camp. Prepare for your midnight ascent to Uhuru Peak.

Day 7: School Hut Camp/ Uhuru Peak/ Mweka Camp

Elevation: 4717m to 5895m to 3100m
Distance: 15km
Hiking time: 10 – 12 hours
Habitat: Desert and ice.

Due to the steep ascent at high altitude, this is the most challenging day of the ascent. Leave School Hut around midnight to begin your hike to the top of Kibo Crater. It is important to remember to snack during the ascent to keep your energy up. You will likely lose your appetite during this day and begin to feel new effects of altitude sickness. Reach Gilman’s Point on the crater rim. Continue on to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. The hike to the summit is slow, and will take approximately 1.5 hours from Gilman’s Point. After reaching the summit, descend to Barafu Camp for a rest and brunch. Around 1pm, descend to Millennium Camp. Reach Millennium Camp at approximately 6pm

Day 8: Mweka Campsite to Mweka Gate.
Elevation: 3100m to 1700m
Distance: 9km
Descending time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Montane forest.
Today is your last day on the mountain. After breakfast you will descend down to Mweka park gate walking across Montane forest. This descent will take 3-4 hours. Here at the gate you will sign out and get ready to board the vehicle ready for the transfer back to the hotel for your certificate presentation and a well deserved celebration.

Departure Day: Moshi to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
Elevation: 1,200m to 1,000m.
Distance: 36 km
Driving Time: 45Min
Habitat: Town
Tro-Peaks Adventures staff will meet and pick you up from Moshi and transfer you back to JRO (Kilimanjaro International Airport) or we can arrange to take you on a safari or you can travel to Zanzibar for a beach holiday.