9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route1
9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route
9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route2
9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route3
9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route4
9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route5

9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route


9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route

9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route is the longest and most remote route. The 9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route offers some of the most stunning views of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This 9 days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route is the longest Kilimanjaro Climbing Route. Hence, you get to Climb Kilimanjaro via the crowd-free and beautiful trails while enjoying 360 views of the mountain.

That’s why 9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route is fondly called the 360 route or Orbit Kilimanjaro. What’s more, this route has the highest Kilimanjaro Success Rate and comes highly recommended by African Scenic Safaris. 9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route is our longest Kilimanjaro Climbing Package, both in distance and time, ‘Orbit Kilimanjaro’ offers excellent acclimatization, exceptional scenery, very little traffic and some challenging terrain.

Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route

The Northern Circuit orbits the mountain beginning in the west, traversing the north and descending via the Mweka Route to the south. This 9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route involves hiking for long periods of time and good level of fitness is recommended. Starting on the Lemosho route, soak in your first up-close view of Kibo, the daunting but surmountable summit cone, from the Shira Plateau and climb on wards to the impressive Lava Tower. From here part ways and begin to explore the northern slopes, circumnavigating Kibo, which rises high above as a constant reminder of the task ahead.

Throughout this traverse you will find few other trekkers. From the high camp the trail climbs steeply, eventually scrambling over Jamaica Rocks and popping out on the rim of the crater at Gilman’s Point. The chance of reaching Uhuru Peak is extremely high. Descend from Stella Point alongside trekkers from Lemosho and Machame. Highly recommended if time and budget allow! Understandably this is also known as the Grand Traverse or the 360 Route and offers the complete Kilimanjaro experience in terms of all the habitats and the views of the mountain from all sides.

Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route

The 9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route is a longer journey which has excellent acclimatization and stunning scenery with views across the southern flanks, western forests, the northern plains to the Kenyan border and the arid eastern slopes. The paths are comparatively quiet and less used. Also, the altitude gain each day is less than on other routes, with a gentle gradient until reaching Kikelewa or Third Caves camp, therefore over nine days the likelihood of altitude sickness is significantly less. Yet the overall length of the route is 96 kilometers, not much more than the other routes.

An alternate route which summits directly up the northern slopes from School Hut is about 79 kilometers. The 9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route is one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro, offering nearly 360 degrees of beautiful scenery including the quiet, rarely visited northern slopes. As the longest route on Kilimanjaro, the Northern Circuit also has the most acclimatization time and the highest summit success rate. Thus, the Northern Circuit route is highly recommended.

Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route

The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate. From there, the first two days are spent trekking through the rainforest to Shira Ridge, before crossing the Shira Plateau. The route then heads north and circles clockwise from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp to School Hut, before summiting from the east. Descend is made via the Mweka route.

The Northern Circuit Route is the longest route on Kilimanjaro, a nine day trip initially ascending Lemosho route on the western side of the mountain up onto the Shira Plateau before reaching the Lava Tower, then heading north and circumnavigating the main summit massif in a clockwise direction.

Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking Hiking

  • Reviews 0 Reviews
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
      Africa Trekking and Guided Birding Safari
    • Activity Level Challenging
    • Group Size Large Group
    All about the 9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Hiking Route.

    The Northern Circuit route follows the same route as Lemosho route for the first few days, but rather than sticking to the south side of Kibo, it turns to the little-used northern trails instead.

    Northern Circuit route

    This path is virtually devoid of other trekkers and as a result, the campsites are quiet, peaceful, and practically deserted. Because the Northern Circuit route is longer than the other trails, it gives trekkers a chance to take in more of the mountain. Not only do they get a chance to hike across the awe-inspiring Shira Plateau, they’ll also catch glimpses of Kibo Peak and Uhuru Summit along the way. It also provides amazing views down onto the open plains that are found to the north of the mountain, something that is seen by only a handful of other hikers while climbing Kilimanjaro.

    Which Kilimanjaro route has the highest success rate?

    orthern Circuit Route has the highest Kilimanjaro Success Rate which is 98% and approaches from south of Kilimanjaro. It is the newest and longest route which offers the most spectacular view of overall 360-degree scenery of Mount Kilimanjaro. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on this route takes 8 to 9 days for the summit.

    Due to its extended length, much of which hovers around the same altitude for improved acclimatization, the Northern Circuit route has the highest success rate of any of the routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. The trek begins at the Londorossi Gate and makes its way up the western flanks of the mountain, passing through the rainforest and climbing onto the the Shira Ridge.

    From there, it is up to the Shira Plateau itself, before heading north to circle in a clockwise direction starting at the Moir Hut, then moving on to Buffalo Camp, and finally School Hut. Along the way, trekkers make an almost 360 degree hike around Kilimanjaro, before summiting from the east.

    So with everything that the Northern Circuit route has going for it, what’s the downside? The only issue with hiking this route is that it requires a bit of extra time, something that few travelers have. While most of the other routes can be done in as few as six or seven days, the Northern Circuit route often requires as many as nine or more. That often limits the number of people who can work this trail into their schedule, although those that do will find that it is completely worth it.

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
    What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

    Qualified guides with mountain crew
    National park fees
    Hut/camping fees and tents
    Tents foam sleeping pads, cooking equipment, and (Cutlery / Crockery) eating utensils.
    Rescue fees (required by the National Park)
    Pulse oximeters
    First aid kit
    Guides, porters, cook, waiter salaries
    Boiled water on the mountain
    Airport transfers (JRO – Kilimanjaro International Airports)
    All meals on the mountain (breakfast, lunch & dinner)
    Guides, porters, waiter, cook accommodation and entry fees on the mountain

    What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.

    Single rooms supplement at Springlands Hotel.
    Guides, Porters, Cook & Waiters tips
    Meals and drinks not specified
    Mountain equipment (eg sleeping bags)
    Gear for your climb, Some equipment is available for rent.
    Car Supplement USD$145 per car for clients who go through Lemosho/Rongai/Shira Routes
    Items of personal nature (expenses)
    Emergency Oxygen
    Additional nights beyond the two standard hotel nights included
    Extra activities (waterfall tour, cultural village visit).
    Visa fees & travel insurance.
    Flight tickets.

    1. Trek Day 1: Lemosho Trailhead (2,400m/7,880ft) to Big Tree Camp (2,800m/9,190ft)

      Elevation Gain: 400m/1,310ft

      This morning you will drive to the Londorossi gate where you will complete entry formalities. From here your drive continues for around 1 hour to the Lemosho trailhead. Enjoy lunch before commencing your trek through lush undisturbed forest where you may be lucky enough to see Colobus monkeys. The path undulates, steeply in places, to arrive at the first camp after 2-3 hours of trekking.

      Overnight Big Tree Camp (Mti Mkubwa)

    2. Trek Day 2: Big Tree Camp (2,800m/9,190ft) to Shira 1 Camp (3,550m/11,650ft)

      Elevation Gain: 750m/2,460ft

      Your trek will begin in the forest; however, you will soon leave it behind, taking a steep track into a zone of giant heather and volcanic rock. This is a full day ascending the lush rolling hills below the Shira Plateau. Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones. The trail begins to ease as you reach the edge of the plateau, reaching camp after 5-6 hours. The view of Kibo across the plateau is incredible

      Overnight Shira 1 Camp

    3. Trek Day 3: Shira 1 Camp (3,550m/11,650ft) to Shira 2 Camp (3,850m/12,650ft)

      Elevation Gain: 300m/1,000ft

      Trek across the Shira Plateau with an optional climb to Shira Cathedral (3,880m). Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth. The day finishes with a gradual climb to Shira 2 Camp. Trekking time without the optional excursion is approximately 3 hours. Including acclimatization to the peak of Shira Cathedral will add approximately 1 hour.

      Overnight Shira 2 Camp

    4. Trek Day 4: Shira 2 Camp (3,850m/12,650ft) to Moir Huts (4,200m/13,780ft) via Lava Tower (4,600m/15,090ft)

      Elevation Gain: 750m/2,400ft

      Elevation Loss: 400m/1,310ft

      Your climb today will take you steadily up and over the expansive ridge lines of high desert to Lava Tower. The trek to the base of the tower, a 300-foot-high volcanic plug, takes around 4-5 hours. From Lava Tower head north west beginning your circuit of Kibo, the almighty summit cone of Mount Kilimanjaro. Moir Huts is an isolated and seldom used camp, affording views over the Shira Plateau. Total trekking time approximately 6-7 hours. An alternative would be to take a gentle ascent across the alpine desert to Moir Huts in the morning and spend the afternoon on a guided trek of the nearby Lent Group, a series of wind eroded parasite cones from which you can gaze down to the plains of Kenya.

      Overnight Moir Huts

    5. Trek Day 5: Moir Huts (4,200m/13,780ft) to Buffalo/Pofu Camp (4,020m/13,190ft)

      Elevation Gain: 180m/590ft

      Today you will delve more deeply into the stark alpine desert. If you chose not to explore the Lent Group yesterday, take a short detour to the top of Little Lent Hill (4,375m/14,350ft) in the morning before regaining the trail to Buffalo Camp. The total trekking time today is approximately 5 – 7 hours covering a distance of 12km.

      Overnight Buffalo/Pofu Camp

    6. Trek Day 6: Buffalo/Pofu Camp (4,020m/13,190ft) to Third Cave Camp (3,870m/12,700ft)

      Elevation Loss:150m/490ft

      Proceed onwards passing valleys and hiking ridges, through alpine desert and moorland, continuing your circuit towards the east. This rarely traveled route allows you to enjoy the vast mountain wilderness in peace. Trekking time today is 5 – 7 hours.

      Overnight Third Cave Camp

    7. Trek Day 7: Third Cave Camp (3,870m/12,700ft) to School Huts (4,750m/15,580ft)

      Elevation Gain:880m/2,880ft

      Climb steadily to reach the saddle, a lunar landscape between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. From here, continue upwards to reach School Hut Campsite in the early afternoon. The remainder of the day is spent resting and preparing for your summit ascent, which will begin in the early hours of the morning. Despite the short distance of 5km covered, trekking time is approximately 4-5 hours due to the high altitude and steep incline.

      Overnight School Huts

    8. Trek Day 8: School Huts (4,750m/15,580ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft) then descending to Mweka Camp (3,110m/10,200ft)

      Elevation Gain: 1,145m/3,760ft

      Elevation Loss: 2,785m/9,140ft

      Around midnight, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. For the next six hours, hike by the light of your flashlight. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek. The trail consists mostly of steep switchbacks, with a rocky section known as Jamaica Rocks to scramble over as you approach the crater rim at Gilman’s Point (5,756m). The hike from here to Uhuru Peak is gradual and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude however makes it feel long and tiring. After summit celebrations descend from the rim at Stella Point, to Barafu Camp and then straight down to Mweka Hut, with lunch served on the way. This part of the descent takes about 6 hours, covering new terrain. Enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

      Overnight Mweka Camp

    9. Trek Day 9: Mweka Camp (3,110m/10,200ft) to Mweka Gate (1,830m/6,000ft)

      Elevation Loss: 1,280m/4,200ft

      Descend to the gate through lush forest (2-3 hours), looking for monkeys along the way. You will be collected from Mweka Village and taken to your hotel in Moshi.

      Overnight Ameg Lodge (Classic) or Pink Flamingo Boutique Hotel (Premium)

    African Safari Frequently Asked Questions

    If this is your first time on safari, you probably have countless questions. To get you started our safari experts have assembled a list of frequently asked ones. Kindly click the link above and read more.

    Overall Rating