kilimanjaro northern circuit route
lemosho route kilimanjaro

It is the longest route on Mount Kilimanjaro which begins in the West at the Londorosi Gate and follows the same path as the Lemosho Route for the first two days. After crossing the Shira Plateau the path deviates north following the longer Northern Circuit instead of the more popular Southern Circuit via Barranco Valley. The route circles around the lower northern slopes to the east side of the mountain. There are a few different route variations from this point; however, all approach the summit via Gilman’s Point and then either descend via the Marangu Route or via the Mweka Route joining trekkers from the Machame, Umbwe, Lemosho and Shira routes.

  • Difficulty: High
  • Scenery: Excellent
  • Traffic: Medium

Day 1 – Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport

Met upon Arrival and transfer to hotel in Arusha,

  • Activities: Transfer
  • Accommodation & Meals: Hotel in Arusha or Moshi B, B.

Day 2 – Londorosi Gate (2,100 meters) – start point 2,360 meters to MtiMkubwa Camp (2,820 meters)

The Northern Circuit Route begins at Londorossi Gate (2,100 meters) in the West, the same start point as the Lemosho Route. The drive to Londorossi Gate takes approximately two hours from Moshi and considerably longer from Arusha. Registration with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities occurs at the gate and then you will be driven further up the mountain to the trailhead starting point. Most tour operators serve lunch here before the short first day trek to MtiMkubwa Camp (2,820 meters) begins. You may get lucky and spot large wildlife like elephant and buffalo that sometimes emerge from the rainforest onto the path as you trek towards your first camp. Dinner will be served when you reach MtiMkubwa Camp.

  • Estimated Trekking distance: 5.5km / 3 miles
  • Estimated Trekking time: 3-4 hours
  • Zone: Rainforest zone
  • Activities: Hiking/Trekking
  • Accommodation & Meals: MtiMkubwa Camp (2,820 meters). B, L, D.

Day 3 – MtiMkubwa Camp (2,820 meters) to Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters)

Today you will spend the first hour trekking through the last section of rainforest path before entering the low alpine moorland zone which follows up onto the Shira Plateau. The trek is relatively short and gradual, ending at Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters).

  • Estimated Trekking distance: 8km / 5 miles
  • Estimated Trekking time: 5-6 hours
  • Zone: Rainforest zone/ Low Alpine Zone
  • Activities: Hiking/Trekking
  • Accommodation & Meals: Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters). B, L, D.

Day 4 – Shira Camp 1 (3,610 meters) to Moir Camp (4,200 meters)

On this day the trek crosses the Shira Plateau which is considered one of the highest plateaus on earth. You immediately veer away from the crowded trails and head towards the northeast edge of the Plateau to reach Moir Camp. Nine day trekkers usually spend the night at Shira Camp 2 where they will join trekkers from the Machame Route. At Shira Camp 2 it is worth trekking a little higher up the plateau to enjoy the stunning view across the valley below and Western Breach of Kilimanjaro above. The plateau is exposed so be prepared for a cold night with temperatures getting below zero. The trek takes about 5-7 hours over easy terrain. Moir camp is an isolated and rarely used camp affording stunning views over the Shira Plateau.

  • Estimated Trekking distance: 14km / 8 miles,
  • Estimated Trekking time: 5-7 hours
  • Zone: Low alpine zone / High alpine zone
  • Activities: Hiking/Trekking
  • Accommodation & Meals: Moir Camp (4,200 meters) B, L, D

Day 5 – Moir Camp (4,200 meters) to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters)

Day five involves a moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. Trekkers can take a small detour here to climb the summit of Little Lent Hill at 4,375 meters before returning to the Northern Circuit trail. 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.

  • Estimated Trekking distance: 12km / 7 miles,
  • Estimated Trekking time: 5-7 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone
  • Activities: Hiking/Trekking
  • Accommodation & Meals: Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters) B, L, D.

Day 6 – Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters) to Rongai Third Cave (3,800 meters)

Day six starts with a climb up the Buffalo ridge and down into Pofu Camp where lunch is usually served. The route then continues east around the northern slopes to the Rongai Third Cave at 3,800 meters. The trek is shorter than the day before and by now you should be feeling well acclimatized to the altitude. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon.

  • Estimated Trekking distance: 8km / 5 miles,
  • Estimated Trekking time: 5-7 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone and low alpine zone
  • Activities: Hiking/Trekking
  • Accommodation & Meals: Rongai Third Cave (3,800 meters) B, L, D.

Day 7 – 3rd Cave (3,800 meters) to School Hut (4,800 meters)

Day seven involves a steady incline up and over the Saddle which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. Trekkers then continue walking south-west up to School Hut (4,800 meters). After arriving at School Hut you will be served an early dinner and then you should get some shut-eye as 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.

  • Estimated Trekking distance: 15km / 8 miles,
  • Estimated Trekking time: 4-5 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone and glacial zone
  • Activities: Hiking/Trekking
  • Accommodation & Meals: School Hut (4,800 meters) B, L, D.

Day 8 – School Hut (4,800 meters) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) and then onto Millennium Camp (3,950 meters)

Today you will be awoken around 11:30 with hot tea and biscuits and will then begin the steep incline up the slopes of Kibo under the cover of darkness. Your first check-point is Hans Meyer Cave where you will take a short break. The climb steepens as you approach Gilman’s Point (5,681 meters), which will be around 5-6 hours after departing School Hut. Take a moment to enjoy the approaching dawn and incredible view out and across to Mawenzi Peak, but remember you still have 2 hours trekking to reach Uhuru Peak so dig deep for the energy. The slope flattens as you head west around the crater rim and you should arrive at the summit at or just after sunrise. Your stay here will be brief so get as many pictures as you can of the incredible views and surrounding glaciers. You will then retrace your steps back around the crater rim to Stella Point (5,739 meters) then proceed to Gilman’s Point (5,681 meters) on Kibo’s crater rim. Descent back to Kibo Hut, and onto Horombo Hut. In total you will be trekking upwards of 12-16 hours. It will be one of the longest days of your life but well worth it! Here’s the good news, beers can be bought at Horombo!

  • Estimated Trekking distance: 5.5km / 3 miles ascent and then 15km / 8 mile descent
  • Estimated Trekking time: 6-8 hours to the summit and then 5-8 hours to Horombo Hut
  • Zone: Glacial zone, high alpine zone and low alpine zone
  • Activities: Hiking/Trekking
  • Accommodation & Meals: Horombo Hut (3,720 meters). B, L, D.

Day 9 – Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters)

The final day is descent from Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate is approximately 20km but usually only takes 7 hours to complete. You will be exhausted at this stage and spend most of the hike imagining the hot shower you will be having that evening. At Marangu Gate you will be presented with your certificate, either for Gilman’s Point or Uhuru Peak (depending on how far you managed to get). It is customary to present your trekking team with their hard-earned tips at this point. You will then be driven back to your hotel where celebrations can begin!

  • Estimated Trekking distance: 20km / 12.5 miles                                   
  • Estimated Trekking time: 6-8 hours
  • Zone: Low alpine zone and rainforest
  • Activities: Hiking/Trekking
  • Accommodation & Meals:  Arusha Gold Crest Hotel, B, L.

Day 10 – Arusha/Departure

Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for your return flight, B. or Proceed with safari with us.

  • Activities: Transfer
  • Accommodation & Meals: B, B.


    Price Includes

    • Arrival and Departure Kilimanjaro airport (JRO) transfers to//from Arusha [For those who arrive/depart from Nairobi, we include schedule shuttle bus transfer, available at 8AM and 2PM daily]
    • Transport from the hotel in Arusha to the mountain and back to the Hotel.
    • Kilimanjaro national park permits, camping/hut fees, mountain rescue fees, value added tax (VAT), and all other applicable local government taxes/fees
    • Services of Guide, assistant guides, cook and porters
    • Maximum of 10 climbers (unless stated otherwise)
    • Accommodation in a lodge in Arusha or Moshi at a Hotel for 2 nights (before & after the climb), including breakfast and taxes
    • Meals on the mountain
    • Drinking water: Boiled water on the trek (recommended to bring a filter/filtrating tablets), and bottled water on the safari.
    • Sleeping pad
    • Dining tent, tables, chairs
    • Bottled oxygen for emergency rescue only
    • Oximeter

    Price Excludes

    • Airfare
    • Items of personal nature
    • Climbing gears (most of them can be rented on arrival; we recommend you email the list of items you think you may consider renting)
    • Tips to the climbing crew
    • Medical equipment which can be rented well in advance for the following costs: $250/group for hyperbaric chamber, $210/group for an emergency oxygen cylinder and $140/group for a stretcher. Please note these prices include a porter to carry the equipment.
    • Portable toilets: If you are concerned about using public toilets, a portable toilet is available for an extra $110/person or $180/group. This service must be confirmed at the time of booking.


    • The pack that the porters carry is limited to 35 pounds (i.e. 15kgs)
    • Overweight or extra luggage will require an extra porter at a rate of $10/bag/day
    • You can leave extra luggage at your hotel in Arusha or at our office (do not leave any valuables like cash, jewelry, electronics, etc) make sure you get a receipt for that
    • *If you wanted to arrive a day earlier so as to have time to acclimate/get over jet lag before starting the trek, you can do that, and extra cost will be cost for hotel in Arusha, which are $95 for a single room, and $116 for a double room, including breakfast
    • *If you add that day, instead of just staying at the hotel, we can offer you a day trip safari to the nearby Arusha National Park for game drives safari for $170pp (plus $35pp if you want to do hiking there).
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