8 Days Northern Circuit Route is one of the newest routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is not the easiest route despite the long duration of the hike. Hiking this 8 days Northern Circuit is a bit challenging and best for the physically fit and experienced hikers. The Northern Circuit route is arguably one of the best routes along Mount Kilimanjaro, starting from the western part of the mountain.

The Northern Circuit route is arguably one of the best routes along Mount Kilimanjaro, starting from the west side of the mountain. It has a high summit success rate, is recommended for best acclimatization, and offers a 360-degree view of the northern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. The traffic on this route is low, it has great scenery, and it can be trekked by all climbers. It is one of the newly introduce routes on Mount Kilimanjaro and the longest. It follows the same hike routes at the Lemosho route for the first two days before taking the eastern side of the Mountain where the northern slopes are found. The ascent is through Gilman’s point and the descent is via the Mweka hike route.

The Northern Circuit route approaches the mountain from the west side starting with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate, you get to spend two days hiking through the rainforest to the Shira Ridge after crossing the Shira Plateau and then the routes veer off to the northern routes from Mori Hut to the Buffalo Camp to School Hut before heading to the east for the summit hike. The 8-day Northern circuit route does not include the extra day that is spent at the Shira Camp 2 for acclimatization.

8 days Northern Circuit Route Itinerary

Day 0

Arrival into Kilimanjaro Airport - Transfer to Moshi

You will be picked up from the Kilimanjaro International Airport and driven to your hotel in Moshi, where a briefing by our guide is carried out, and they also get to check your equipment to make sure that it is of good quality; if any is lacking, it can be rented on Day Zero for proper planning. If you plan on having us pick you up from the airport at an extra cost, you need to let us know in advance so that we can prepare for the occasion. Booked on bed and breakfast.

Day 1

Moshi - Drive to Londorossi Gate - Hike to Mti Mkubwa Camp

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

Zone: Montane Forest

Distance: 6km

Elevation: 1830 m to 2650 m

Meals: lunch and dinner

Day one starts with breakfast and a briefing from our guide, who will then drive you to the Londorossi Park Gate, where registration is carried out and all hikers get climbing permits. After paperwork normal paperwork has been carried out, we set off in a 4×4 safari vehicle, which will drop us at the Lemosho Glades. This will take about three hours, and from here, a hike or walk to Mti Mkubwa starts, and this is where we get to spend the night after dinner is prepared by the climbing team.

Day 2

Mti Mkubwa, hike to Shira Camp

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

Zone: Moorland

Distance: 7.9km

Elevation: 2650 m and 3500 m

Meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

The second day has a shorter trek, and it starts with leaving Mti Mkubwa Camp, hiking through the last bits of the rainforest, and then changing zones as you head further into the moorland zone.

Day 3

Shira Camp, Hike to Moir Camp

Duration: 6 to 8 hours

Zone: Moorland

Distance: 14km

Elevation: 3500 m to 4200 m

Meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

After breakfast, we set out through the plateau, which goes past Shira Camp 2 in the Moorland region, located near a stream. We rest a bit and then continue to the Garden of Senecios, which leads to the Alpine Desert Zone, and from here we shall continue to the Northern Circuit, hiking down to the Moir Camp for the night.

Day 4

Moir Camp - trek to Buffalo Camp

Duration: 5 to 6 hours

Zone: High Alpine

Distance: 12km

Elevation: 4200m to 4020m

Meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 4 involves an extremely steep climb from the Moir Valley, and hikers get a chance to make a detour climb to the Little Lennox Hill, which is at an elevation of 4375m, after which we return to the main Northern Circuit route. The route from here is all ups and downs across the Kibo slopes, which lead to Buffalo Camp, where we are likely to arrive around midday. The hikers get to rest, spend the rest of the day exploring the camp and its surroundings, and then rest for the night

Day 5

Buffalo Camp to Rongai Third Cave Camp

Duration: 5 to 7 hours

Zone: High Alpine

Distance: 8km

Elevation: 4020 m to 3800 m

Meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

The day starts with breakfast, and hikers climb up the Buffalo Ridge to get to the Porfu Camp, where lunch will be served. The route will then lead you eastwards towards the northern slopes, where we shall rest and set camp at the Rongai Third Cave. This is the day when you get acclimatized to the altitude, and it being shorter than the previous day, we get to the cave mid-afternoon and get to relax and rest.

Day 6

Rongai Third Cave to School Hut

Duration: 4 to 5 hours (ascent)

Zone: Alpine Desert

Distance: 15km

Elevation: 3800 m to 4800 m

Meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

This day is all about pole pole,” meaning slowly, as you hike through the desert saddle that lies between Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. We shall then hike towards the southwestern route that leads to School Hut. An early dinner will be served, and you should as well get some early sleep since you will be awoken a few minutes before midnight to start the summit attempt.

Day 7

School Hut to Uhuru peak (Summit) Descend to Millennium Camp

Duration: 5 to 7 hours (ascent) and 5 to 6 hours (descent).

Zone: Arctic

Distance: 6km (ascent) and 11km (descent).

Elevation: 4800 m to 5895 m (ascent) and 3950 m (descent)

Meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner

The wake-up call is made at 11:30 pm for a small and light breakfast, and the steep climb to Uhuru begins around midnight. Because of the steep slope, we shall take a few stops, the first being at the Hans Meyer Cave. We continue to Gilman’s point, which is at 5681 m, which is about 5 to 6 hours from School Hut. Gilman’s Point is the best place to watch the sunrise before we continue for another two hours to get to Uhuru Peak. We shall spend a few moments celebrating our summit and enjoying the surrounding views, and then we will begin our descent.

The descent will take us around the crater to Stella Point, and then we’ll head down the Kibo slopes towards Barafu Camp for a rest before continuing down to Millennium Camp for the night. The hike is roughly 18 hours, and we advise that you pace yourself so that you can enjoy the breathtaking views around Mount Kilimanjaro.

Day 8

Millenium Camp to Mweka gate. Transfer to Moshi / Arusha

Duration: 3 to 4 hours

Zone: rainforests

Distance: 10km

Elevation: 3950 m to 1680 m

Meals: Breakfast

The descent from the Millennium Camp will start immediately after breakfast, and this will be your last day on the mountain. The descent will take you back to the Mweka gate, where certificates of a successful summit will be issued to all the participants. The trails are always muddy and slippery, meaning that you will need hiking poles and gaiters to keep steady. Do not forget the rain gear and some warm clothing on your way down. Our guide will be waiting at the gate to take you to your hotel in Moshi an hour’s drive.

8 Days Northern Circuit Route Prices & Dates

Northern Circuit Route 8 days

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