The Northern Circuit
Almost a complete circuit of Kilimanajro
Northern Circuit Overview
The Northern Circuit Route is a relatively new route and is undoubtedly the most remote and quite option taking you on a circumnavigation of Kilimanjaro. Due to its longer walk, this “grand traverse” of Kilimanjaro from west to east offers a very high summit success rate due to its longer walk and acclimatization advantage.
The Northern Circuit route starts at 2360m on the far west of Kilimanjaro. It traverses through rainforest, where wild game may be seen, continuing up to Shira Ridge, Kilimanjaro's third summit. From here you will ascend and cross the expansive Shira Plateau with fantastic views of Shira Cathedral. It then turns north and works around the remote northern slopes of Kilimanjaro overlooking Kenya and the famous Amboseli National Park.
The descent is via the Mweka trail, making a more interesting climb. Most climbers who are fit and well-acclimatised take 9 days to climb Kilimanjaro by the Northern Circuit route.
- Newest and longest route on Kilimanjaro
- Fantastic views with great acclimatisation
- Almost a circumnavigation of the mountain starting from the West
The Northern Circuit Day-tp-Day Itinerary
Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and transfer to hotel
Upon your arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport you will be greeted by one of our team and then driven to your lodge in Arusha where you can freshen up and relax into Tanzania.
ELEVATION 2.360m to 2.895m
TREK TIME 3-4 hours
CLIMATE Mountain Forest
After breakfast in your hotel you will be given an overall briefing from your guide. At 9am you will be met by our staff, who will drive you several hours to the Western side of Mt. Kilimanjaro and to the Londrossi Gate, where our guides and porters will prepare and pack the equipment and supplies Once at the gate you will be given a packed lunch and after registration with the Kilimanjaro Park office, we will drive for another 45mins to Lemosho Glades where your trek will begin with ascending into the rainforest. You will ascend for approx. 3 hours in dense rain forest which could be very wet and muddy so be ready with your gaiters and trekking poles. During the trek we will have a break and you can enjoy the rest your packed lunch. We will reach the Mti Mkubwa Camp also known as 'Big Tree' Camp in late afternoon. After arrival, you will be taken to your camp and tent which has already been set up by the porters who ran ahead, where you will be greeted with boiled drinking water and hot washing water. Once you have freshened up and settled in, a hot dinner will be served in the mess-tent.
Todays hike is a long one. There are some steep stretches as you traverse around and over the lava flows that make up the outer flanks of the Shira crater. You'll leave the forest zone a short while out of the camp and enter the heathland with the giant heather trees and St John's wort bushes.. The vegetation thins out to moorland habitat at the crater rim. then a short descent followed by a fairly flat stroll to camp. The camp is on the western side of the Shira plateau. Late afternoons will often bring breath-taking first views of Kibo.
Elevation 3505m to 3895m -
Distance 10 km
Trekking-Time 5-7 hours -
After breakfast you will continue on your hike across and up the Shira plateau to Shira Camp 2 at 3,850 meters. Here you will join trekkers from the Machame Route whilst enjoying 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.
Elevation 3810m - 4200m
Distance 14 km
Time 6-7 hours
Habitat Semi desert.
We leave the forest behind now and a gentle grade walk takes you across the high altitude Shira Caldera to Shira Cave with fabulous views of Arrow glacier. We will camp here for the night at 4200m.
Elevation 4200m to 4000m
Distance 12 km, Hiking
Time 7-8 hours
Habitat Semi desert.
We climb out of the Moir Valley and take a short detour to reach the summit of Lent Hills (15,400ft). After admiring the views we return to the trail and head eastwards around the northern circuit trail. The final section of today’s walk undulates until reaching the location of Pofu Camp.
Elevation 4020m to 3960m
Distance 7 km
Trekking Time 6 hours
Habitat Semi desert.
From Pofu Camp we cross numerous small valleys as the trail continues eastwards through a landscape that has increasingly sparse vegetation to eventually reach Third Cave Camp.
Elevation 3960m to 4790m
Distance 6 km,
Trekking Time 5 hours
Habitat Alpine desert.
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 in the early afternoon. The remainder of the afternoon is spent resting and preparing for the summit day.
Elevation 4790 to 5895m to 3100m
Distance 18 km
Trekking Time 10-14 hours
Habitat Stone scree and moorland.
We start the final and most demanding part of the climb around 1 a.m on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point We rest here for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. We then head on to Uhuru Peak, 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 Mweka Camp
ELEVATION 3.100m to 1.800m
TREKKING-TIME 3-4 hours
Once again you will be woken for your final celebratory breakfast where our team will thank and congratulate you in their unique, special way! We will then set off for the final 3 hour scenic descent to Mweka Gate. After lunch you will dropped off at the hotel where you can relax under a long, well deserved hot shower.
If your time in Africa ends today our transfer team will drive you back to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) for your departure. If you have booked with KCC for a safari or a few days to dissolve into the pristine sandy beaches and tropical waters of Zanzibar, we will be there to help you comfortably transition from your climb into your next Tanzanian adventure.
- Return airport transfer from Kilimanjaro International Airport to your hotel
- Two nights bed and breakfast hotel accommodation
- An expedition briefing prior to leaving for the mountain
- Kilimanjaro park entry permits
- Kilimanjaro park camping permits
- Mountain rescue permit
- Helicopter evacuation registration fee
- Bilingual guides
- Expedition porters and cooks
- Expedition food to include a hot breakfast,packed lunch, a hot evening meal and snack food available at camp + hot drinks.
- Staff transport, meals & wages
- High quality sleeping tents, 2 persons per tent
- Mess tent with tables and chairs
- Safety equipment to include short wave radios, a satellite phone, oxymeters, oxygen cylinder, large expedition first aid kit and means of evacuation.ate toilet
- Uhuru or Stella Point certificate of achievement
What's Not Included
- Return flights to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport
- Entry Visa ($50 Europe/ $ 100 USA) can be obtained on entry
- Personal travel INSURANCE (specific to high altitude trekking and travel in rural Africa)
- Vaccinations for travel to region