Northern Circuit Route

9 Days Northern Circuit Route

If you have the luxury of time and a generous budget, the Northern Circuit route is one of the most beautiful routes on Kilimanjaro, offering sweeping 360-degree views across the rarely visited northern slopes. The route is long and will cost more, but it allows for the longest period of acclimatisation time, and boasts the greatest summit success rate. 

As for the direction of travel, the route starts in the west from the Londorossi Gate, travels to the Shira Ridge, and crosses over to the Shira Plateau. Then, instead of travelling south and following the direction that other routes take, the Northern Circuit swings north, travelling clockwise to the summit from the east. The descent is made along the Mweka route.

Previous trekking experience is highly recommended, as the days will feature 6-8 hours hiking with daily ascents of 900m to 1,000m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 1,100m to 1,200m.

Depending on the route, you may be trekking at an altitude of over 3,500m. You need complete confidence in your ability to trek for many days over difficult terrain.

  • Location: Travelling from the west and starting at the Londorossi Gate, the route starts in the same direction as the Lemosho route. 

  • Difficulty: Challenging

  • Height: The Northern Circuit route makes its way to the Uhuru peak and reaches a height of 5,895 metres (19,341 feet). 

  • Duration: The Northern Circuit route can be completed in 8 or 9 days, and the additional time on the mountain means the success rate is much higher than other routes. 

  • Trail conditions: Hikers and trekkers will enjoy the peacefulness of the trail, as it is a newer route and less popular (as it is one of the most expensive routes to complete). The trail itself is one of the most beautiful, offering breathtaking vistas. 

DAY START ALTITUDE (M/FT) FINISH ALTITUDE (M/FT) TIME (HRS) DISTANCE (KM/MI)
1 Londorossi Gate 2,360m/ 7,742ft Mti Mkubwa 2,895m/ 9,498ft 3-4 6km/ 4mi
2 Mti Mkubwa 2,895m/ 9,498ft Shira 1 Camp 3,505m/ 11,500ft 5-6 8km/ 5mi
3 Shira 1 Camp 3,505m/ 11,500ft Shira 2 Camp 3,810m/ 12,500ft 3-4 7km/ 4mi
4 Shira 2 Camp 3,810m/ 12,500ft Lava Tower 4,630m/ 15,190ft 3-4 7km/ 4mi
  Lava Tower 4,630m/ 15,190ft Moir Hut 4,200m/ 13,800ft 2-3 7km/ 4mi
5 Moir Hut 4,200m/ 13,800ft Buffalo Camp 4,020m/ 13,200ft 5-7 12km/ 7mi
6 Buffalo Camp 4,020m/ 13,200ft Third Cave 3,870m/ 12,700ft 5-7 8km/ 5mi
7 Third Cave 3,870m/ 12,700ft School Hut 4,750m/ 15,600ft 4-5 5km/ 3mi
8 School Hut 4,750m/ 15,600ft Uhuru Peak 5,895m/ 19,341ft 6-8 6km/ 4mi
  Uhuru Peak 5,895m/ 19,341ft Mweka Camp 3,068m/ 10,065ft 4-6 12km/ 7mi
9 Mweka Camp 3,068m/ 10,065ft Mweka Gate 1,640m/ 5,380ft 3-4 10km/ 6mi