The Northern Circuit Route is the most amazing journey on Kilimanjaro. This is a relatively new route. Become one of the first to enjoy the Northern Circuit’s tranquility and stunning panoramic scenery. Starting from the west, this is the only route that travels north around Mt. Kilimanjaro. It traverses nearly the entire mountain before the summit push. This is absolutely the most scenic path available and has almost no traffic on its northern face. The total time on the mountain is 9 days.
Our trips begin and end at our lodge in Moshi, Tanzania. Clients may arrive at any time on day 1. There is a pre-trip meeting around 4:30pm and the included dinner is served at 6:00pm. Private transfers from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) to the lodge in Moshi can be arranged.
Mouse over the days below to see the route for each day.
Elevation and Mileage
- Elevation (Feet)
- Distance (Miles)
- Elevation (Feet)
- Distance (Miles)
Click the day tab to read more
Arrive anytime at your lodging in Moshi, Tanzania. With prior arrangement, airport pick-up and private transfers to your lodge are available from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), or simply make your own way by taxi. We will gather in the evening for a pre-climb briefing and an equipment check. We will also confirm you have the appropriate mandatory medical coverage and travel insurance.
After completing the necessary registration formalities at Londorossi National Park gate, we drive through varied farmland with open views over the plains to reach the Lemosho road head. We often have our lunch in the glades before starting to walk. It is an easy day of walking up a small path through beautiful and lush forest. This area has a variety of game, including buffalo.We camp at Lemosho Forest camp(8,700 ft). [2-3 hours walking]
We soon leave the forest behind and enter the moorland zone of giant heather. The trail climbs steadily with wide views to reach the rim of the Shira Plateau. There is a tangible sense of wilderness, especially if afternoon mists come in! We camp in the center of the plateau at Shira One (11,000 ft). [6-7 hours walking]
Today we explore the grassy moorland and volcanic rock formations of the plateau. We walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral (12,300 ft), a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles. There is a tangible sense of wilderness here, especially when the afternoon mists roll in. From our camp near Shira Hut (12,600 ft), we take in the unforgettable views of Mt. Meru as she floats among the clouds. [5-7 hours walking]
In the morning we follow the main trail up to Lava Tower (14,900 ft), and for those feeling strong there is a possibility to climb up to the ruined hut at Arrow Glacier (15,700 ft). We then continue from Lava Tower to reach our campsite at Moir Hut(13,800 ft). [5-7 hours walking]
We climb out of the Moir Valley and take a short detour to reach the summit of Lent Hills (15,400 ft). After admiring the views we return to the trail and head eastwards around the northern circuit trail. Here the trail passes through a field of rock slabs that clink as they are walked on. The final section of today’s walk undulates until reaching the location of Buffalo Camp (13,600 ft). At the camp there is a huge feeling of space as the Kenyan plains stretch out far below to the north. [4-7 hours walking]
From Buffalo Camp we climb up to the top of ‘Buffalo Ridge’ and cross numerous ribs and gullies. The trail continues eastwards through a landscape that has increasingly sparse vegetation to eventually reach Third Cave Camp (12,800 ft). [5-7 hours walking]
There is a steady ascent to reach the saddle, a lunar landscape between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. From here we continue upwards and reach School Hut(15,500 ft) in the early afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is spent resting and preparing for the summit day. [4-5 hours walking]
We start the final and most demanding part of the climb by torchlight around 1 a.m. We plod very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gilman’s Point (18,600 ft). We rest here for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three-hour round trip to Uhuru Peak (19,345 ft), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. We retrace our steps along the crater rim to Stella Point and then descend down through Barafu Camp to reach Millenium Camp 12,500 ft). [11-15 hours walking]
A sustained descent on a well-constructed path takes us through a lovely tropical forest alive with birdsong and boasting lush undergrowth with considerable botanical interest. Our route winds down to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate at Mweka (5,400 ft); and on through coffee and banana farms to Mweka village, where we are transferred to our lodging in Moshi. [4-6 hours walking]
After breakfast, we can arrange for a private transfer or taxi to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).