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9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Hike Via Northern Circuit

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9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Hike Via Northern Circuit

9 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Hike Via Northern Circuit

The Northern Circuit 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.

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.

Day 1: Arrival in Kilimanjaro and transfer to your lodge for overnight

On arrival at Kilimanjaro international airport, you will be received and transferred to your lodge at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro where you will relax and go through your gear as part of your preparation.

Day 2: Drive from the lodge to Lemosho gate

From your lodge, we will make our way to the Londorosi gate on the Western side of Mt. Kilimanjaro (a few hours’ drive from Arusha). We will begin our hike at the Lemosho trailhead. Please note that in rainy/muddy conditions, sometimes the vehicles can’t make it to the true trailhead so there can be some extra hiking – but Serengeti Pride vehicles usually make it farther than any other company due to our great drivers and vehicles.

After a picnic lunch, we will hike for about 4 hours to the forest camp. In the forest, exotic moss and flowers delight the eye while bird calls entertain the ear. You may see Black and White Colobus monkeys as well as signs of the elephants that travel in this area. We will overnight at Forest Camp.

Hiking: 4-5 hours

Overnight Altitude ~9,498’

Day 3: Shira Plateau

As we leave the Montane Forest and enter the Hagenia zone, our views open and we will catch our first views of the Kibo peak. This is a good acclimatization hike, as we go up and down several ridges along the way to our highest point of the day at 11,500’ before descending to camp. Overnight at Shira 1 Camp.

Hiking: 6-9 hours

Overnight Altitude 11,500’

Day 4: Moir Camp

We will traverse the Heath zone of the Shira Plateau and begin climbing the western slope of the Kibo Massif. Along the way, we will enjoy a picnic lunch at Scott Fisher’s memorial camp (the well-known Mt. Everest guide). We will continue on to the upper heath zone and Moir camp. Depending on the weather, acclimatization hikes can be arranged in the late afternoon.

Hiking: 5-6 hours

Overnight Altitude: ~13,580′

Day 5: Pofu/ Buffalo Camp

Hike about 4-7 hours, depending on stops along the way. You have quite a ridge to climb up as you depart Moir camp, so it’s best to start out very slowly until you crest the ridge. This is a great acclimatization day.

Hiking: 5-7 hours

Overnight Altitude: ~13,200′

Day 6: Third Cave Camp

Continue your traverse around the northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro, with expansive views, as you find your way to Third Cave Camp.

Hiking: 5-7 hours

Overnight Altitude: ~12,700′

Day 7: School Huts Camp

We get into our highest elevation camp today. Try to get to bed early for some rest before you start your night-time summit ascent (usually starting around midnight) to Gilman’s Point, through Stella Point, and for the final push up to the summit.

Hiking: 4-5 hours

Overnight Altitude: ~15,600’

Day 8: Summit and Mweka Camp (or Millennium Camp by request)

Summit day. We will start our ascent to the summit (19,340ft – 5,896m) around 11:00 PM or midnight the night prior. The goal for you – and numerous other climbers – is to reach the peak right at sunrise. In reality, due to differences in hiking speed, energy, and altitude acclimatization, there is a several-hour span where most climbers reach the summit. Using headlamps (bring extra lithium batteries, which last much better in cold dark conditions!) you will ascend 6-7 hours to Gilman’s point traverse the Crater Rim to Stella Point, and then up another 1-2 hours to Uhuru point the summit.

After a summit celebration and photo, descend to Barafu camp for lunch and then to Mweka camp to sleep overnight. By advance request we can sleep at Millennium camp instead; this is at ~12,000’ so less descent today, but means more descent tomorrow.

Hiking: Very variable on both the up and the down; 13-17 hours typical

Summit 19,341’

Overnight Altitude: 10,065’

Day 9: Mweka Park Gate

We make the final descent to the trailhead today, about 3-5 hours hiking. Here we will have lunch and say goodbye to our mountain crew before leaving Mount Kilimanjaro and heading back to town. Arrive at your lodge usually between 3-5 PM.

Hiking: 3-5 hours

End of Expedition

Trip includes

  • Trekking permits
  • Hiking crew
  • All transfers
  • Park entrance fees
  • pre and post-safari accommodation
  • Food and beverages for the entire hike
  • Overnight in camps during the hike

Trip Excludes

  • International flights
  • Insurance
  • Tanzania tourist Visa
  • Personal porter
When to book this safari package

We recommend booking this package 6 months to 1 year in advance.

Best time to hike Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania

We generally advise that the best time to climb Kilimanjaro is during the warmest and driest times of the year, from December to mid-March and mid-June to the end of October. However, although these are considered to be the best times to climb the mountain in terms of weather, they are also the busiest months so sometimes it calls for earlier booking.

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