How To Train For A Successful Kilimanjaro Climb On The Northern Circuit Route

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African Scenic Safaris

Last updated on April 11th, 2023 at 07:14 am

Northern Circuit Route

The Northern Circuit Route is one of the newest and least travelled routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. This Kilimanjaro Route is known for its excellent acclimatization profile, scenic views, and low traffic. It is a longer route that offers a more gradual climb and a higher chance of summit success.

Proper training is required for a successful Kilimanjaro climb on the Northern Circuit Route. As it is a long and challenging route, it requires physical and mental preparation. The steep inclines and exciting terrain can be very demanding for even the most experienced hiker. Only proper training can improve your physical endurance, build strength, and acclimatize your body to high altitude conditions. Training correctly can also reduce the risk of altitude sickness and reduce injuries. In the end, this will increase the chances of a successful and enjoyable climb on Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro.

Understanding The Northern Circuit Route

Kilimanjaro Route

The Northern Circuit Route is the longest route on Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing. It takes around 9 days to reach the summit following the route. But, there is a hidden advantage here too. This extended duration allows for better acclimatization and a more gradual ascent. Thus, reducing the risk of altitude sickness.  

Let us highlight some advantages of choosing the Northern Circuit Route over other Kilimanjaro Routes:

  • Excellent acclimatization profile allows trekkers to adapt to high altitude conditions.
  • The route has the highest success rate. Your chances of reaching the summit are high.
  • It is a long route (around 9 days). The extended period is only better for acclimatization.
  • The Route is less traveled which makes it a quieter and more intimate experience.
  • This route offers some spectacular views of Kilimanjaro. Panoramic views of the northern slopes, the Kenyan plains, and Mount Meru are some of the notable features of the route.
  • Trekkers will encounter various ecosystems on their trek up to Mount Kilimanjaro.

Looking at the highlights might seem that the trek to Kilimanjaro is a trek without challenges. But, that’s not true. Northern Circuit Route Kilimanjaro is an inspiring trek. High altitude (5895 meters) and lower oxygen levels can cause altitude sickness. This may be severe in some cases.

Sometimes, the weather conditions can change rapidly too. Trekkers may encounter rain, snow, hail, high winds, and extreme temperatures. The combination of steep ascents and descents, and rocky and uneven terrain can be physically demanding. This is where you will realize the importance of training properly before summiting Kilimanjaro. Trekkers must get into proper physical training and become well-prepared to cope with these challenges.

Preparing For The Climb On Northern Circuit Route

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit

Preparing for a Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit climb requires careful planning and physical conditioning. Here are some important things to consider when preparing for the climb:

Training for the challenging climb

The Northern Circuit Route is a challenging climb. So, it’s important to train your body for the physical demands of the climb. This includes cardiovascular exercise and strength training.  You can also practice hiking on steep and uneven terrain with a backpack.  This will simulate the weight you will carry during the climb and make you acquainted.

Proper acclimatization to prevent altitude sickness

The high altitude of Mount Kilimanjaro requires proper acclimatization. Being a 9-day trek, Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route offers excellent opportunities for acclimatization. The gradual ascent allows you to spend more time at higher altitudes and lets you get acquainted with climatic conditions.

Gears are an essential safety equipment

Proper gear is essential for a successful and safe climb. This includes warm and waterproof clothing, sturdy hiking boots, a good-quality sleeping bag, and a backpack. It’s also important to pack enough food, water, and snacks for the climb.

Health should be your priority

It’s essential to be in good physical and mental health before embarking on the climb. This includes consulting with a doctor to ensure you’re healthy enough for the climb.  Taking any necessary medications, and getting proper rest and nutrition in the weeks leading up to the climb should be a part of the preparation drill too.

Mental preparation- Stay positive and motivated

The Northern Circuit Route is a challenging climb, both physically and mentally. It’s important to be mentally prepared for the climb. 

Staying motivated and maintaining a sense of determination will help you in successfully summiting the peak. Also, climbers can try meditation, visualization, and stress management techniques to ensure an unforgettable experience when summiting Kilimanjaro.

Gear And Equipment

Here’s a checklist of gears and equipment for climbers using the Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit to ensure a safe and successful climb.

Clothing essentials

Layering is key to staying warm and dry. You’ll need:

  • Moisture-wicking base layers
  • Warm mid-layers
  • A waterproof and breathable shell jacket
  • Insulated pants
  • Waterproof gloves.


A sturdy pair of waterproof hiking boots with ankle support is essential. Be sure to break them in before the climb.


You’ll need a backpack to carry your gear and supplies. The capacity should be at least 30-40 liters.

Sleeping bag

A 3-season sleeping bag rated for at least -10°C/14°F is recommended.


A good-quality, lightweight tent designed for cold-weather camping is necessary for overnight stays on the mountain.


A hands-free headlamp is essential for early morning and evening hikes.

Trekking poles

These will help with balance and reduce the strain on your knees during the descent.

Water bottles and hydration system

You’ll need to stay hydrated, so bring at least two 1-liter water bottles or a hydration system with a capacity of at least 3 liters.


Protect your eyes from the sun’s glare and UV rays with a good pair of sunglasses.

Hat and sunscreen

A wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen with at least SPF 30 will protect your skin from the sun.

First-aid kit

Be prepared with a basic first-aid kit that includes bandages, pain relievers, and altitude sickness medication.

Personal items

Bring personal toiletries, including wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper.

Note: Some of these items can be rented in Tanzania, including sleeping bags and trekking poles. But it’s recommended to bring your own if possible for comfort and hygiene reasons.

Altitude Sickness Prevention

When climbers ascend to high altitudes too quickly, it is difficult for the body to acclimatize to reduced oxygen levels at such high altitudes. This leads to a condition that is commonly known as altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS).

To prevent altitude sickness when Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, it is recommended to follow a gradual ascent and acclimatization schedule. This involves spending a day or two at certain elevations to allow the body to adjust to the altitude.

Climbers can also take medication, such as Diamox, to help prevent altitude sickness. Other prevention measures include staying hydrated and avoiding alcohol and tobacco during the climb. Eating high-carbohydrate meals, and resting when needed can also help.

If you have taken the mighty task of scaling Kilimanjaro, these challenges are just a part and parcel of the game. But, recognizing the symptoms and descending to lower levels immediately will help alleviate the symptoms. So, adopt all preventive measures and increase your chances of Climbing Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro.

Tips For A Successful Climb On The Northern Circuit Route

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Here are some tips for a successful Mount Kilimanjaro climb on the Northern Circuit route:

  • Choose the right time to climb the mountain. The best time is during the dry season from June to October or from December to February.
  • Proper training and physical fitness are important for a successful climb. Focus on building endurance and strength, and practice hiking at high altitudes
  • Pack light. But make sure to bring all the necessary gear and equipment. This includes warm clothing, rain gear, a sleeping bag, and a headlamp.
  • Drink plenty of water and bring a water filtration system or purification tablets to treat water on the trail.
  • Follow a gradual ascent and acclimatization schedule to help prevent altitude sickness.
  • A licensed guide and porter can provide valuable support and help ensure a safe and successful climb. Make sure to be friends with them.
  • Mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation. Stay positive and motivated, and enjoy the experience.

Train For Climb Via The Northern Circuit Route

As Northern Circuit Route is an exciting trek, proper training is crucial for a successful climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. Climbers are going to face challenges. But taking necessary precautions and following all the survival tips will only assist you in your endeavor to successfully climb the mountain.

At African Scenic Safaris, we have specifically designed Kilimanjaro Climbing Packages that are incredibly useful for individuals or groups planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Make sure you check out them for a comprehensive and all-inclusive experience that ensures a successful and enjoyable climb.

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