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Northern Circuit Route

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Northern Circuit Route

The Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route approaches the mountain from the west. It’s the newest and longest of the Kilimanjaro Routes and offers some of the most splendid views of the 360-degree scenery of the mountain.

This trail comes highly recommended by us at African Scenic Safaris and is also fondly known as the 360 Route or Orbit Kilimanjaro. If you want a combination of remoteness, a challenging climb, beautiful sceneries, and great acclimatization rolled into one then the Northern Circuit Route is for you. Because of the route’s great acclimatization profile with chances for climbing high and sleeping low, it has one of the best success rates. This means that with the right amount of preparation, anyone can climb Kilimanjaro via this route.

The 9 Days Northern Circuit Route begins at the Londorossi Gate and makes its way up the western side of the mountain.

The trail passes through the rainforest and climbs onto the Shira Ridge. A Typical Day on Northern Circuit Route heads north and circles clockwise from the Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp and School Hut. Climbers will summit from the east and descent will be from Stella Point via the Mweka Route. The Northern Circuit Route Cost starts from $3,300 per person and includes the fees for 9 days on the mountain. It is undoubtedly one of the best routes to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro. You too can experience a distinctive climb via the Northern Circuit Route with our selection of comprehensive Kilimanjaro Climbing Packages.

Quick Facts About The Northern Circuit Route

  • Distance– 98 Km/60.8 Miles
  • Duration– 9 Days
  • Difficulty Level – Medium
  • Success Rate – High
  • Crowd Factor – Low
  • Zones You’ll Traverse – Rainforest, Heath, Moorland, & Arctic
  • Accommodation Option – Camps

Escape the Crowds

Embrace the beauty of exclusivity on the remote Northern Circuit Route

Ascend Now!

Climb Kilimanjaro Via the Northern Circuit Route?

Below is a comparison of other Kilimanjaro Routes with the Northern Circuit Route. It’ll help you to decide whether you should take on this route for your climbing journey.



LENGTH (in km)





Northern Circuit Route



9 Days




Lemosho Route



8-9 Days

Low to Moderate



Machame Route



7-8 Days



Very Good

Marangu Route



5-6 Days




Rongai Route



6-7 Days

Low to Moderate


Very Good

Umbwe Route

Very Hard


6-7 Days



Very Good

Challenge yourself, witness greatness

Start your adventure on the Northern Circuit Route today!

Unlock the Secrets

Orbit Kilimanjaro

Most Beautifull Route On Kilimanjaro

Arrival & Briefing

Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport you will be transferred to your accommodation where your guide will meet you for a full briefing and equipment check.

Overnight Simba Farm Lodge (Classic) or Ndarakwai Ranch (Premium)

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)

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

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 acclimatisation to the peak of Shira Cathedral will add approximately 1 hour.

Overnight Shira 2 Camp

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

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

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

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

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

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)

Departure or Onwards Travel

Today you will be transferred to Kilimanjaro Airport in time for your flight, or if you’ve decided to extend your Tanzanian adventure, begin the next part of your journey!

Northern Circuit Route Faq’s

The difficulty level of the Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro Route is moderate. It’s considered easier than some of the shorter Kilimanjaro Routes because it offers plenty of time for acclimatization.

June to September is the Best Time to Visit Northern Circuit Route for a Kilimanjaro Climb.

The cost of a standard Kilimanjaro Climb via the Northern Circuit Route starts from $3,300 per person. Remember that this cost varies based on certain factors like the season, tour operator, and duration of the climb.

Essential gear for the Northern Circuit Route includes high-quality hiking boots, warm clothing layers, a reliable sleeping bag, trekking poles, a sturdy backpack, and a good-quality headlamp.

Yes, a permit is mandatory for climbing Kilimanjaro using the Northern Circuit Route. If you join an organized tour, these will be arranged beforehand.

While prior hiking or trekking experience is helpful, you do not need any technical climbing skills for the Northern Circuit Route. However, good physical fitness and mental preparation are important.

Temperatures on the Northern Circuit Route can vary significantly, ranging from warm during the day to sub-zero temperatures at higher altitudes and during the night. Proper cold-weather gear is essential.

Yes, hiring a certified guide is mandatory for all climbers on the Northern Circuit Route. They are essential for safety, navigation, and providing assistance throughout the trek.

The Northern Circuit Route offers camping accommodation throughout the trek, with designated campsites along the trail where tents are set up for hikers.

Like any high-altitude trek, there are risks associated with altitude sickness. However, the Northern Circuit Route's longer duration and slower ascent profile minimize the risks and increase acclimatization.

More Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes

What is the best route up Mount Kilimanjaro?

Machame Route

Machame Route

Machame route is one of the most popular paths among all 7 Kilimanjaro Climbing routes.

Northern Circuit Route

Northern Circuit Route

It is the longest Kilimanjaro Climbing Route. Hence, you get to Climb Kilimanjaro via the crowd-free

Rongai Route

Rongai Route

Rongai Route is the only Kilimanjaro Climbing Route approaching from the northern side of the mountain

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The following are the opinions of our satisfied clients who visited Tanzania and had the time of their life.

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