Northern Circuit Route

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Ascent Distance: 40.16 Km

No Of People Climbing –3, 339 Per Year

Trek Difficulty: Medium

Duration: 8-10 days

Success rate: High

Northern Circuit Route

The Northern Circuit route is the longest and newest of the seven established Kilimanjaro routes. It’s one of the best routes because of its great acclimatization profile, high summit success rate, stunning views, and comparatively relaxed pace. It’s also much less crowded than the other Kilimanjaro routes. Simply put, it’s one of the best ways to experience the roof of Africa.

You also get to explore more of Kilimanjaro via this slightly longer route, thereby enjoying its various environments thoroughly. We recommend choosing this Kilimanjaro climb route if you have the extra time and money available. It is one of the most beautiful of all seven established Kilimanjaro routes. In fact, it might be the most beautiful route of all! Along the route you have the chance to witness all of the different environments and ecosystems the mountain has to offer.

The Northern Circuit Route is one of the longest and newest routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. It offers a comprehensive trekking experience, circumnavigating nearly the entire mountain and providing stunning panoramic views and excellent acclimatization opportunities. Here’s a detailed overview:

Key Features:

  • Length and Duration:

    • The route is approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles) long.
    • Typically, the climb takes 9-10 days, offering ample time for acclimatization.
  • Starting Point:

    • The trek begins at Londorossi Gate, located at an altitude of about 2,100 meters (6,890 feet).
  • Major Campsites:

    • Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) Camp: The first campsite, located at 2,750 meters (9,020 feet).
    • Shira 1 Camp: Situated at 3,610 meters (11,844 feet), on the Shira Plateau.
    • Shira 2 Camp: At 3,850 meters (12,600 feet), offering expansive views of the plateau.
    • Moir Hut: Located at 4,200 meters (13,800 feet), excellent for acclimatization.
    • Buffalo Camp: At 4,020 meters (13,188 feet), offering views of the northern plains.
    • Third Cave: Located at 3,870 meters (12,700 feet).
    • School Hut: The final camp before the summit push, located at 4,800 meters (15,750 feet).
  • Summit Attempt:

    • The summit push starts from School Hut around midnight.
    • Climbers aim to reach Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters / 19,341 feet) by sunrise.
  • Descent Route:

    • The descent is typically via the Mweka Route, offering a faster and more direct path down the mountain.


  • Panoramic Views: The Northern Circuit offers some of the most diverse and expansive views on Kilimanjaro, including vistas of the Northern Icefields.
  • High Success Rate: Due to the longer duration and gradual ascent, the route offers excellent acclimatization, leading to a higher success rate.
  • Less Crowded: The Northern Circuit is one of the less crowded routes, providing a more tranquil and solitary trekking experience.

Preparation and Considerations:

  • Physical Fitness: Adequate physical preparation is essential due to the demanding nature of the climb and the length of the trek.
  • Altitude Sickness: The route’s gradual ascent helps with acclimatization, but climbers should still be aware of altitude sickness symptoms and take appropriate measures.
  • Gear and Equipment: Proper gear, including warm clothing, sturdy hiking boots, and a high-quality sleeping bag, is necessary.
  • Guides and Porters: Hiring experienced guides and porters is mandatory and enhances safety and the overall experience.

Typical Itinerary:

  1. Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa Camp
  2. Day 2: Mti Mkubwa Camp to Shira 1 Camp
  3. Day 3: Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp
  4. Day 4: Shira 2 Camp to Moir Hut
  5. Day 5: Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp
  6. Day 6: Buffalo Camp to Third Cave
  7. Day 7: Third Cave to School Hut
  8. Day 8: School Hut to Summit to Mweka Camp
  9. Day 9: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

Route Advantages:

  • Comprehensive Experience: The Northern Circuit offers a full circumnavigation of Kilimanjaro, providing a unique and varied trekking experience.
  • Optimal Acclimatization: The longer duration and gradual ascent profile significantly improve acclimatization.
  • Solitude and Scenery: The route’s remoteness and panoramic views make it ideal for trekkers seeking solitude and stunning scenery.

The Northern Circuit Route is perfect for those who have the time for a longer trek and want to maximize their chances of reaching the summit with excellent acclimatization. Its diverse landscapes, less crowded paths, and comprehensive mountain experience make it a top choice for a Kilimanjaro climb.

Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Guide

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