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Northern circuit route

  • Price: From $2365 per person (5 hikers in a private 8 day trek without add-ons),* see all prices
  • Summit Success: Offers the highest summit success rate among Kilimanjaro routes due to its excellent acclimatization profile.
  • Difficulty level: Considered one of the easier climbs on Kilimanjaro, thanks to its gradual elevation gain, good acclimatization profile and longer duration.
  • Scenery: Breathtaking scenery traversing around Kilimanjaro in nearly 360 degrees.
  • Ethical climbing: Each and every trek externally monitored by 'KPAP' & 'KRTO' for the highest fair treatment standards.
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Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit route Uhuru Peak Board

Overview

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

Embark on a journey along the Northern Circuit, Kilimanjaro's newest and most scenic route, promising an unparalleled experience around Africa's highest peak. This non-technical, camping-based adventure begins on the western side of the mountain, offering a unique circumnavigation of Kilimanjaro's northern slopes. Renowned for its exceptional acclimatization profile and high summit success rate, the Northern Circuit stands out as a premium choice for climbers.

Spanning approximately 54 miles (87 kilometers), this route is Kilimanjaro's longest, allowing trekkers to gradually adapt to the altitude over a recommended duration of 9 days. As you traverse this path, you'll witness a near 360-degree panorama of breathtaking vistas, encompassing all of Kilimanjaro's diverse ecosystems. From the expansive views at Shira Plateau to the serene northern flank, every step on the Northern Circuit is an invitation to explore the mountain's rich natural tapestry in its entirety.

Unlike other routes, the Northern Circuit offers a journey of solitude and constant discovery, free from the constraints of backtracking. This trek is perfect for those who seek a less crowded, relaxed, yet adventurous climb, as it weaves through varied landscapes and provides ample time for acclimatization. It's a route that not only maximizes your chances of reaching the summit but does so while immersing you in the most stunning sceneries Kilimanjaro has to offer.

Photos & videos

Some hand picked photos or videos from this experience.

Route itinerary options

Click to expand the various itinerary options for this route. Itineraries indicated as * Recommended * are chosen for their duration, acclimatization and good route profile.

Quick itinerary

Itinerary code: STTK16
Difficulty level: Intermediate

Day 1 - Mountain rain forest. Overnight Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) Camp
Day 2 - Heather & Moorland. Overnight Shira One Camp
Day 3 -
Alpine Desert. Overnight Moir Hut Camp
Day 4 -
Alpine desert. Overnight Pofu (Buffalo) Camp
Day 5
- Alpine desert.Overnight Third Cave Camp
Day 6 -
Alpine desert.Overnight School Hut Camp or Kibo Hut Camp
Day 7 -
Summit (Ice cap / arctic zone). Overnight Mweka Campsite
Day 8 -
Mountain rain forest. End of trek.

  • Clients overall rating
  • Shah Tours overall rating
  • Mountain guides overall rating

Route map

Detailed day to day itinerary

Day 0

Arrival and climb breifing

Moshi townToday has no planned activities and is only an arrival day for you to reach your base lodge in time for a pre-climb briefing with your mountain guide.

Approx. driving distance: Optional airport transfers available
Approx. trekking distance: None
Start altitude: Unknown

End altitude: Unknown
Highest Altitude reached: Unknown
Altitude +gain / -loss: Unknown
Meals included today: None


Overnight: Optional (see add-ons below)

Day 1

Lemosho gate to Mti Mkubwa (Big tree) camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Rain forest

You will be transferred by road from Moshi (or Arusha) to Lemosho gate. After registration you continue on the 4x4 track till the trail head where you begin your trek through the rain forest zone with your guide. The forest is thick and diverse with flora / fauna, and you may experience rain this afternoon which is common in this zone making the path slightly slippery. A short and winding path takes you steadily to the first camp

Approx. driving distance: 2-3 hours
Approx. trekking distance: 7km or 4.5mi (2-3 hours)
Start altitude: 2100m or 6890ft

End altitude: 2780m or 9120ft
Highest Altitude reached: 2780m or 9120ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +680m or +2230ft
Meals included today: Picnic lunch, dinner


Overnight: Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite, 2780m or 9120ft

Day 2

Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) camp to Shira One Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Heather and Moorland zoneThis morning you quickly leave the forest zone on a steep path as the dense vegetation slowly eases into the Heather and moorland zone. The remainder of the day takes you on a steady hike across the Shira ridge where views of the Shira peak (the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones) gives you the spectacular jagged scenery of this eroded peak.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 7km or 4.5mi (4-5 hours)
Start altitude: 2780m or 9120ft

End altitude: 3505m or 11500ft
Highest Altitude reached: 3505m or 11500ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +725m or +2380ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Shira One campsite, 3505m or 11500ft

Day 3

Shira One Camp to Moir Hut camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertTodays hike takes you gradually across the Shira Plateau within the heather and moorland and diverts off the main trail towards the Northern circuit bypass into the alpine desert zone to Moir Hut camp at the base of the Lent Hills where you may optionally hike further for additional acclimatization walks. You have already diverted off the commonly used southern circuit trail onto the northern circuit which takes you around the back of the Kibo cone.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 6km or 4mi (3-5 hours)
Start altitude: 3505m or 11500ft

End altitude: 4140m or 13585ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4140m or 13585ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +635m or +2085ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Moir Hut campsite, 4140m or 13585ft

Day 4

Moir Hut Camp to Pofu (Buffalo) Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertLeaving behind the Moir valley you trek on a relatively steep path to the summit of the Lent Hills (if you didn’t reach here the day before) before circling around north of the Kibo cone into the Alpine desert and enjoying this remote part of the mountain with unique scenery of the Northern Kilimanjaro peak and the Kenyan plains below.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 12km or 7mi (7-9 hours)
Start altitude: 4140m or 13585ft

End altitude: 4030m or 13220ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4375m or 14355ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +235m or +770ft / -345m or -1135ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Buffalo (Pofu) campsite, 4030m or 13220ft

Day 5

Pofu (Buffalo) Camp to Third Cave Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertYour final day on the northern circuit bypass today taking you through the remote mountain wilderness of the North which is probably the least used trail on Kili. Your hike takes you back out of the alpine desert through the buffalo ridge and the remote valleys until the drier heather and moorland area around the Third Cave Camp.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 6km or 4mi (3-5 hours)
Start altitude: 4030m or 13220ft

End altitude: 3935m or 12795ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4030m or 13220ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: -95m or -425ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Third Cave campsite, 3935m or 12795ft

Day 6

Third Cave Camp to School Hut Camp (or Kibo Hut Camp)

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertYour hike today takes you abruptly towards the Kibo cone steadily climbing up and over the edges of the alpine desert journeying on the edges of the Kibo saddle. The relatively short distance today means you have plenty of time at your summit camp to rest and prepare for the summit attempt tonight.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 8km or 5mi (3-5 hours)
Start altitude: 3935m or 12795ft

End altitude: 4715m or 15470ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4715m or 15470ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +780m or 2575ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: School Hut campsite, 4715m or 15470ft

Day 7

School Hut Camp to Gilman's point to Uhuru peak to Mweka camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Ice camp / arctic zoneIn the early morning (around 00:00am) you begin your final ascent to the summit of Uhuru peak through the arctic zone. The trek is a steep hike over loose volcanic scree through the dark and cold night and takes a slow pace in a zig-zag pattern towards Gilman’s Point (5681m or 18640ft) which is your first stop on the Kibo crater rim. From here a short (but difficult) hike remains to take you past Stella point (the first stop on the rim for those summiting from Barafu camp / the Southern circuit) and further around till Uhuru Peak (5895m or 19341ft), the highest point in Africa. You usually don’t spend that long at the peak due to the extreme altitude and will descend down via Stella point until the southern circuit base camp (Barafu). After a recovery meal you continue the descent through the alpine desert, heather and moorland and until the rainforest where you stop for the night.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 20km or 12.5mi (14-18 hours)
Start altitude: 4715m or 15470ft

End altitude: 3080m or 10105ft
Highest Altitude reached: 5895m or 19431ft (Peak!)
Altitude +gain / -loss: +1180m or 3961ft / -2195m or -7211ft
Meals included today: Midnight snack, brunch, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Mweka campsite, 3080m or 10105ft

Day 8

Mweka camp to Mweka gate

Kilimanjaro mountain rain forestYour final day on Kilimanjaro is a descent through the southern rain forest until Mweka gate where our vehicle will be waiting to take you back to Moshi town. Usually, the crew will leave you at Mweka gate and it’s a perfect opportunity to say goodbye to your crew who all generally head directly home from the end gate.

Approx. driving distance: 1 hour (to Moshi) / 2 hours (to Arusha) Approx. trekking distance: 10km or 6mi (3-4 hours) Start altitude: 3700m or 12220ft End altitude: 1630m or 5350ft Highest Altitude reached: 3080m or 10105ft Altitude +gain / -loss: -1450 or -4755ft Meals included today: Breakfast* * We do not include lunch on the last day when descending via Mweka as we expect most to descend before lunch time. It is common for many to celebrate with their guides for this lunch just outside of the park or you can have your lunch at your post climb lodge instead.


Overnight: Optional (see add-ons below)

End of itinerary

Quick itinerary

Itinerary code: STTK16+1
Difficulty level: Intermediate

Day 1 - Mountain rain forest. Overnight Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) Camp
Day 2 - Heather & Moorland. Overnight Shira One Camp
Day 3
- Heather & Moorland. Overnight Shira Two Camp
Day 4 -
Alpine Desert. Overnight Moir Hut Camp
Day 5 -
Alpine desert. Overnight Pofu (Buffalo) Camp
Day 6
- Alpine desert.Overnight Third Cave Camp
Day 7 -
Alpine desert.Overnight School Hut Camp or Kibo Hut Camp
Day 8 -
Summit (Ice cap / arctic zone). Overnight Mweka Campsite
Day 9 -
Mountain rain forest. End of trek.

  • Clients overall rating
  • Shah Tours overall rating
  • Mountain guides overall rating

Route map

Detailed day to day itinerary

Day 0

Arrival and climb breifing

Moshi townToday has no planned activities and is only an arrival day for you to reach your base lodge in time for a pre-climb briefing with your mountain guide.

Approx. driving distance: Optional airport transfers available
Approx. trekking distance: None
Start altitude: Unknown

End altitude: Unknown
Highest Altitude reached: Unknown
Altitude +gain / -loss: Unknown
Meals included today: None


Overnight: Optional (see add-ons below)

Day 1

Lemosho gate to Mti Mkubwa (Big tree) camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Rain forest

You will be transferred by road from Moshi (or Arusha) to Lemosho gate. After registration you continue on the 4x4 track till the trail head where you begin your trek through the rain forest zone with your guide. The forest is thick and diverse with flora / fauna, and you may experience rain this afternoon which is common in this zone making the path slightly slippery. A short and winding path takes you steadily to the first camp

Approx. driving distance: 2-3 hours
Approx. trekking distance: 7km or 4.5mi (2-3 hours)
Start altitude: 2100m or 6890ft

End altitude: 2780m or 9120ft
Highest Altitude reached: 2780m or 9120ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +680m or +2230ft
Meals included today: Picnic lunch, dinner


Overnight: Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite, 2780m or 9120ft

Day 2

Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) camp to Shira One Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Heather and Moorland zoneThis morning you quickly leave the forest zone on a steep path as the dense vegetation slowly eases into the Heather and moorland zone. The remainder of the day takes you on a steady hike across the Shira ridge where views of the Shira peak (the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones) gives you the spectacular jagged scenery of this eroded peak.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 7km or 4.5mi (4-5 hours)
Start altitude: 2780m or 9120ft

End altitude: 3505m or 11500ft
Highest Altitude reached: 3505m or 11500ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +725m or +2380ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Shira One campsite, 3505m or 11500ft

Day 3

Shira One camp to Shira Cathedral Peak to Shira Two camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Heather and Moorland zoneTodays hike takes you gradually across the Shira Plateau within the heather and moorland and an optional extra hike to the Shira Cathedral peak (3880m) before gradually taking you to Shira two camp. Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones and has been shaped by lava and volcanic activity to create a stunning jagged peak and offering a unique western view of Kibo, the highest of the peaks and your final destination on the tour.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 6km or 4mi (3-5 hours)
Start altitude: 3505m or 11500ft

End altitude: 3845m or 12615ft
Highest Altitude reached: 3872m or 12705ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +340m or +1115ft / -27m or -90ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Shira Two campsite, 3845m or 12615ft

Day 4

Shira Two camp to Lava Tower (optional) to Moir Hut Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertToday you take a steady pace across the edges of the heather and moorland then into the alpine desert towards the northern Kilimanjaro area. If your fitness is high enough you can take an optional detour via the Lava Tower camp which is great for acclimatization. Moir hut is quite an isolated camp mostly used by those on the Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit but provides a unique northern view of the Kibo cone. You can also optionally hike to the nearby Lent group from Moir hut for vies of these eroded cones and ridges from where you may be able to gaze down into the wilderness plains of Kenya to the north.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 14km or 8.5mi (5-7 hours)
Start altitude: 3845m or 12615ft

End altitude: 4140m or 13585ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4630m or 15190ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +785m or 2575ft / -490m or -1605ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Moir Hut campsite, 4140m or 13585ft

Day 5

Moir Hut Camp to Pofu (Buffalo) Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertLeaving behind the Moir valley you trek on a relatively steep path to the summit of the Lent Hills (if you didn’t reach here the day before) before circling around north of the Kibo cone into the Alpine desert and enjoying this remote part of the mountain with unique scenery of the Northern Kilimanjaro peak and the Kenyan plains below.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 12km or 7mi (7-9 hours)
Start altitude: 4140m or 13585ft

End altitude: 4030m or 13220ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4375m or 14355ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +235m or +770ft / -345m or -1135ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Buffalo (Pofu) campsite, 4030m or 13220ft

Day 6

Pofu (Buffalo) Camp to Third Cave Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertYour final day on the northern circuit bypass today taking you through the remote mountain wilderness of the North which is probably the least used trail on Kili. Your hike takes you back out of the alpine desert through the buffalo ridge and the remote valleys until the drier heather and moorland area around the Third Cave Camp.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 6km or 4mi (3-5 hours)
Start altitude: 4030m or 13220ft

End altitude: 3935m or 12795ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4030m or 13220ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: -95m or -425ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Third Cave campsite, 3935m or 12795ft

Day 7

Third Cave Camp to School Hut Camp (or Kibo Hut Camp)

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertYour hike today takes you abruptly towards the Kibo cone steadily climbing up and over the edges of the alpine desert journeying on the edges of the Kibo saddle. The relatively short distance today means you have plenty of time at your summit camp to rest and prepare for the summit attempt tonight.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 8km or 5mi (3-5 hours)
Start altitude: 3935m or 12795ft

End altitude: 4715m or 15470ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4715m or 15470ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +780m or 2575ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: School Hut campsite, 4715m or 15470ft

Day 8

School Hut Camp to Gilman's point to Uhuru peak to Mweka camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Ice camp / arctic zoneIn the early morning (around 00:00am) you begin your final ascent to the summit of Uhuru peak through the arctic zone. The trek is a steep hike over loose volcanic scree through the dark and cold night and takes a slow pace in a zig-zag pattern towards Gilman’s Point (5681m or 18640ft) which is your first stop on the Kibo crater rim. From here a short (but difficult) hike remains to take you past Stella point (the first stop on the rim for those summiting from Barafu camp / the Southern circuit) and further around till Uhuru Peak (5895m or 19341ft), the highest point in Africa. You usually don’t spend that long at the peak due to the extreme altitude and will descend down via Stella point until the southern circuit base camp (Barafu). After a recovery meal you continue the descent through the alpine desert, heather and moorland and until the rainforest where you stop for the night.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 20km or 12.5mi (14-18 hours)
Start altitude: 4715m or 15470ft

End altitude: 3080m or 10105ft
Highest Altitude reached: 5895m or 19431ft (Peak!)
Altitude +gain / -loss: +1180m or 3961ft / -2195m or -7211ft
Meals included today: Midnight snack, brunch, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Mweka campsite, 3080m or 10105ft

Day 9

Mweka camp to Mweka gate

Kilimanjaro mountain rain forestYour final day on Kilimanjaro is a descent through the southern rain forest until Mweka gate where our vehicle will be waiting to take you back to Moshi town. Usually, the crew will leave you at Mweka gate and it’s a perfect opportunity to say goodbye to your crew who all generally head directly home from the end gate.

Approx. driving distance: 1 hour (to Moshi) / 2 hours (to Arusha) Approx. trekking distance: 10km or 6mi (3-4 hours) Start altitude: 3700m or 12220ft End altitude: 1630m or 5350ft Highest Altitude reached: 3080m or 10105ft Altitude +gain / -loss: -1450 or -4755ft Meals included today: Breakfast* * We do not include lunch on the last day when descending via Mweka as we expect most to descend before lunch time. It is common for many to celebrate with their guides for this lunch just outside of the park or you can have your lunch at your post climb lodge instead.


Overnight: Optional (see add-ons below)

End of itinerary

Quick itinerary

Itinerary code: STTK16+2
Difficulty level: Intermediate

Day 1 - Mountain rain forest. Overnight Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) Camp
Day 2 - Heather & Moorland. Overnight Shira One Camp
Day 3
- Heather & Moorland. Overnight Shira Two Camp
Day 4 -
Alpine Desert. Overnight Moir Hut Camp
Day 5 -
Alpine desert. Overnight Pofu (Buffalo) Camp
Day 6
- Alpine desert. Overnight Third Cave Camp
Day 7
- Alpine desert. Overnight Mawenzi Tarn Camp
Day 8 -
Alpine desert. Overnight School Hut Camp or Kibo Hut Camp
Day 9 -
Summit (Ice cap / arctic zone). Overnight Mweka Campsite
Day 10 -
Mountain rain forest. End of trek.

  • Clients overall rating
  • Shah Tours overall rating
  • Mountain guides overall rating

Route map

Detailed day to day itinerary

Day 0

Arrival and climb breifing

Moshi townToday has no planned activities and is only an arrival day for you to reach your base lodge in time for a pre-climb briefing with your mountain guide.

Approx. driving distance: Optional airport transfers available
Approx. trekking distance: None
Start altitude: Unknown

End altitude: Unknown
Highest Altitude reached: Unknown
Altitude +gain / -loss: Unknown
Meals included today: None


Overnight: Optional (see add-ons below)

Day 1

Lemosho gate to Mti Mkubwa (Big tree) camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Rain forest

You will be transferred by road from Moshi (or Arusha) to Lemosho gate. After registration you continue on the 4x4 track till the trail head where you begin your trek through the rain forest zone with your guide. The forest is thick and diverse with flora / fauna, and you may experience rain this afternoon which is common in this zone making the path slightly slippery. A short and winding path takes you steadily to the first camp

Approx. driving distance: 2-3 hours
Approx. trekking distance: 7km or 4.5mi (2-3 hours)
Start altitude: 2100m or 6890ft

End altitude: 2780m or 9120ft
Highest Altitude reached: 2780m or 9120ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +680m or +2230ft
Meals included today: Picnic lunch, dinner


Overnight: Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite, 2780m or 9120ft

Day 2

Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) camp to Shira One Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Heather and Moorland zoneThis morning you quickly leave the forest zone on a steep path as the dense vegetation slowly eases into the Heather and moorland zone. The remainder of the day takes you on a steady hike across the Shira ridge where views of the Shira peak (the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones) gives you the spectacular jagged scenery of this eroded peak.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 7km or 4.5mi (4-5 hours)
Start altitude: 2780m or 9120ft

End altitude: 3505m or 11500ft
Highest Altitude reached: 3505m or 11500ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +725m or +2380ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Shira One campsite, 3505m or 11500ft

Day 3

Shira One camp to Shira Cathedral Peak to Shira Two camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Heather and Moorland zoneTodays hike takes you gradually across the Shira Plateau within the heather and moorland and an optional extra hike to the Shira Cathedral peak (3880m) before gradually taking you to Shira two camp. Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones and has been shaped by lava and volcanic activity to create a stunning jagged peak and offering a unique western view of Kibo, the highest of the peaks and your final destination on the tour.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 6km or 4mi (3-5 hours)
Start altitude: 3505m or 11500ft

End altitude: 3845m or 12615ft
Highest Altitude reached: 3872m or 12705ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +340m or +1115ft / -27m or -90ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Shira Two campsite, 3845m or 12615ft

Day 4

Shira Two camp to Lava Tower (optional) to Moir Hut Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertToday you take a steady pace across the edges of the heather and moorland then into the alpine desert towards the northern Kilimanjaro area. If your fitness is high enough you can take an optional detour via the Lava Tower camp which is great for acclimatization. Moir hut is quite an isolated camp mostly used by those on the Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit but provides a unique northern view of the Kibo cone. You can also optionally hike to the nearby Lent group from Moir hut for vies of these eroded cones and ridges from where you may be able to gaze down into the wilderness plains of Kenya to the north.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 14km or 8.5mi (5-7 hours)
Start altitude: 3845m or 12615ft

End altitude: 4140m or 13585ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4630m or 15190ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +785m or 2575ft / -490m or -1605ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Moir Hut campsite, 4140m or 13585ft

Day 5

Moir Hut Camp to Pofu (Buffalo) Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertLeaving behind the Moir valley you trek on a relatively steep path to the summit of the Lent Hills (if you didn’t reach here the day before) before circling around north of the Kibo cone into the Alpine desert and enjoying this remote part of the mountain with unique scenery of the Northern Kilimanjaro peak and the Kenyan plains below.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 12km or 7mi (7-9 hours)
Start altitude: 4140m or 13585ft

End altitude: 4030m or 13220ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4375m or 14355ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +235m or +770ft / -345m or -1135ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Buffalo (Pofu) campsite, 4030m or 13220ft

Day 6

Pofu (Buffalo) Camp to Third Cave Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertYour final day on the northern circuit bypass today taking you through the remote mountain wilderness of the North which is probably the least used trail on Kili. Your hike takes you back out of the alpine desert through the buffalo ridge and the remote valleys until the drier heather and moorland area around the Third Cave Camp.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 6km or 4mi (3-5 hours)
Start altitude: 4030m or 13220ft

End altitude: 3935m or 12795ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4030m or 13220ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: -95m or -425ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Third Cave campsite, 3935m or 12795ft

Day 7

Third Cave Camp to Mawenzi Tarn Camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertYour hike today takes you away from the main Kibo cone and east towards the third of the Kilimanjaro peaks; Mawenzi. Mawenzi is the only peak that is not regularly climbed (if at all). You hike is through the barren alpine desert and takes you on the edge of the saddle between the two peaks. Your camp today is quite scenic at the base of the jagged peaks near the Mawenzi tarn lake.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 9km or 5.5mi (5-6 hours)
Start altitude: 3935m or 12910ft

End altitude: 4310m or 14140ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4390m or 14400ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +455m or 1490ft / -80m or -260ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Mawenzi Tarn campsite, 4310m or 14140ft

Day 8

Mawenzi Tarn Camp to School Hut Camp (or Kibo Hut Camp)

Kilimanjaro Mountain Alpine DesertYour hike today takes you back towards the Kibo cone steadily climbing up and over the edges of the alpine desert journeying through the ‘saddle’ between the Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. The environment becomes more barren and air thinner as you ascend to your base camp where you will rest for the summit journey starting tonight.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 8km or 5mi (3-5 hours)
Start altitude: 4310m or 14140ft

End altitude: 4715m or 15470ft
Highest Altitude reached: 4715m or 15470ft
Altitude +gain / -loss: +405m or +1330ft
Meals included today: Breakfast, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: School Hut campsite, 4715m or 15470ft

Day 9

School Hut Camp to Gilman's point to Uhuru peak to Mweka camp

Kilimanjaro Mountain Ice camp / arctic zoneIn the early morning (around 00:00am) you begin your final ascent to the summit of Uhuru peak through the arctic zone. The trek is a steep hike over loose volcanic scree through the dark and cold night and takes a slow pace in a zig-zag pattern towards Gilman’s Point (5681m or 18640ft) which is your first stop on the Kibo crater rim. From here a short (but difficult) hike remains to take you past Stella point (the first stop on the rim for those summiting from Barafu camp / the Southern circuit) and further around till Uhuru Peak (5895m or 19341ft), the highest point in Africa. You usually don’t spend that long at the peak due to the extreme altitude and will descend down via Stella point until the southern circuit base camp (Barafu). After a recovery meal you continue the descent through the alpine desert, heather and moorland and until the rainforest where you stop for the night.

Approx. driving distance: None
Approx. trekking distance: 20km or 12.5mi (14-18 hours)
Start altitude: 4715m or 15470ft

End altitude: 3080m or 10105ft
Highest Altitude reached: 5895m or 19431ft (Peak!)
Altitude +gain / -loss: +1180m or 3961ft / -2195m or -7211ft
Meals included today: Midnight snack, brunch, picnic lunch or lunch, dinner


Overnight: Mweka campsite, 3080m or 10105ft

Day 10

Mweka camp to Mweka gate

Kilimanjaro mountain rain forestYour final day on Kilimanjaro is a descent through the southern rain forest until Mweka gate where our vehicle will be waiting to take you back to Moshi town. Usually, the crew will leave you at Mweka gate and it’s a perfect opportunity to say goodbye to your crew who all generally head directly home from the end gate.

Approx. driving distance: 1 hour (to Moshi) / 2 hours (to Arusha) Approx. trekking distance: 10km or 6mi (3-4 hours) Start altitude: 3700m or 12220ft End altitude: 1630m or 5350ft Highest Altitude reached: 3080m or 10105ft Altitude +gain / -loss: -1450 or -4755ft Meals included today: Breakfast* * We do not include lunch on the last day when descending via Mweka as we expect most to descend before lunch time. It is common for many to celebrate with their guides for this lunch just outside of the park or you can have your lunch at your post climb lodge instead.


Overnight: Optional (see add-ons below)

End of itinerary

Price, includes & add-ons

Click to see price indication for the various group options and group sizes avaialble. You can always request a custom quote: contact us.

Price per person (USD $)

  • 1 passenger (private trek)

    from $3525 per person*
  • 2 passengers (private trek)

    from $2885 per person*
  • 3 passengers (private trek)

    from $2595 per person*
  • 4 passengers (private trek)

    from $2365 per person*
  • 5 passengers (private trek)

    from $2365 per person*
  • 6-10 passengers (private trek)

    from $2235 per person*
  • 11-15 passengers (private trek)

    from $2235 per person*
  • 16+ passengers (private trek)

    from $2155 per person*
  • Scheduled group (shared departure)

    Not available
  • * All prices are in USD ($) and serve as indications only for a standard package excluding pre/post accommodation, add-ons and comfort upgrades.

    Private treks are with their own dedicated crew, equipment and transfers not shared with other hikers.
  • 1 passenger (private trek)

    from $3890 per person*
  • 2 passengers (private trek)

    from $3205 per person*
  • 3 passengers (private trek)

    from $2880 per person*
  • 4 passengers (private trek)

    from $2630 per person*
  • 5 passengers (private trek)

    from $2630 per person*
  • 6-10 passengers (private trek)

    from $2495 per person*
  • 11-15 passengers (private trek)

    from $2180 per person*
  • 16+ passengers (private trek)

    from $2400 per person*
  • Scheduled group (shared departure)

    Not available
  • * All prices are in USD ($) and serve as indications only for a standard package excluding pre/post accommodation, add-ons and comfort upgrades.

    Private treks are with their own dedicated crew, equipment and transfers not shared with other hikers.
  • 1 passenger (private trek)

    from $4250 per person*
  • 2 passengers (private trek)

    from $3520 per person*
  • 3 passengers (private trek)

    from $3165 per person*
  • 4 passengers (private trek)

    from $2925 per person*
  • 5 passengers (private trek)

    from $2900 per person*
  • 6-10 passengers (private trek)

    from $2750 per person*
  • 11-15 passengers (private trek)

    from $2730 per person*
  • 16+ passengers (private trek)

    from $2645 per person*
  • Scheduled group (shared departure)

    Not available
  • * All prices are in USD ($) and serve as indications only for a standard package excluding pre/post accommodation, add-ons and comfort upgrades.

    Private treks are with their own dedicated crew, equipment and transfers not shared with other hikers.
  • Green season discount

    5% off*
    For treks starting from 15 March 2024 to 31 May 2024
  • Mid season discount

    2.5% off*
    For treks starting from 01 November 2024 to 15 December 2024
  • * Special offers are only applicable to new bookings and valid only at the time of confirming an itinerary. All numbers after discounts will be rounded to the nearest whole number. Please check with your sales consultant if offers can be combined.

Standard packages usually include

  • All taxes, VAT and National Park conservation, park entry, camping and rescue fees as applicable.
  • Trained, certified, and experienced English-speaking Mountain guide/s at KINAPA minimum ratios.
  • Personal luggage allowance of 15kg per person carried by 1 x luggage porter between campsites.
  • Specialist tent crew to service and set-up campsites.
  • Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project and Kilimanjaro Responsible Tourism Organization monitoring on Kilimanjaro treks for fair treatment standards. Learn More about fair treatment.
  • Trained and experienced personal mountain cook and waiter to prepare all meals on the mountain including eating utensils, cutlery, bowls, cups etc.
  • A carefully planned standard non-vegetarian or vegetarian or gluten-free or vegan or Hindu or Jain or Halal menu specially crafted for high altitude treks.
  • Pre-climb briefing / equipment check with the guide / tour consultant in Moshi (or optionally Arusha with a supplement).
  • 1 x transfer from a Moshi (or Arusha with a supplement) based lodge to park gates per group / 1 x transfer from park gates to Moshi (or Arusha with a supplement) per group.
  • Boiled drinking water on trek (from 1st camp onward).
  • 1 Emergency oxygen cylinder per 5 passengers and first aid kit.
  • Twice daily health checks with guides and a high-grade medical oximeter.
  • Hand washing station and small personal wash basin at campsites.
  • Private portable camping toilet (1 per 5 hikers) at campsites including porter to carry / clean the unit, toilet tent, toilet rolls, dedicated hand washing station. (A private toilet is mandatory on the Northern Circuit route and you still get access to shared public toilet facilities at campsites where available).
  • 1 x approx. 100Ltr rubberized hold all bag / packsack.
  • Basic 1” foam sleeping pad per person.
  • Four season tent (sharing for even numbered groups + 1 single tent for odd numbers), chairs, tables, dining tent for camping routes.
  • A guaranteed participation medal and certificate from Shah Tours
  • A certificate from Kilimanjaro National Park (when you reach Stella Point, Gilman's Point or Uhuru Peak).

Optional extras, add-ons and comfort upgrades

Although our standard package can be more than enough for most, we appreciate many desire certain comfort upgrades and add-ons and our tours can be customized to include as much or as little as you need.

A comfortable mid-range pre and post climb lodge just outside of Moshi town, especially convenient for the Rongai and Marangu routes.

A comfortable and budget friendly mid-range lodge in Moshi town center, convenient for all ascent and descent routes.

A convenient mid range pre-climb option for the Western routes (Lemosho, Shira, Northern Circuit) in Sanya Juu (near West Kilimanjaro).

A beautiful mid to high range post climb coffee lodge when descending via Mweka (Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe).

A western style high range lodge just outside of Moshi town centre and convenient for all ascent and descent hiking routes.

A superbly comfortable high range lodge near Arusha city center, for a luxury pre and post climb experience with a view of Mount Meru.

A recommended insulated super warm folding bed rated R5 (for extreme cold) for the most comfortable sleeping experience on Kilimanjaro.

We usually expect groups of 2 or more to share sleeping tents however if you prefer not to share your sleeping tent you can book your own single tent.

You can easily include your arrival and departure airport transfers from Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha Airport or Moshi Airport with our reliable fleet.

If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon or other special occasion you can let us know in advance to prepare something special for your day.

A more premium hiking menu to include more fruit, meat, vegetables and complex dishes. A customized premium menu can be included for your hike.

We appreciate those without expereince may need a personal mountain guide or a ratio of 1 guide to 1 client and you can hire additional guides for your trek as required.

Those with more luggage can increase your allowed allowance on the trek by 15kgs for each additional luggage porter you hire for your expedition.

A personal assistance porter can help you carry your personal day pack (max 10kg) from the gate to the summit and back down to let you focus on your trek.

  • Anorak / Jackets

    USD $20 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Balaclava

    USD $5 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Boots - walking / trekking

    USD $20 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Duffel bag

    USD $20 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Hat

    USD $5 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Head Torch

    USD $10 per trip
    Mixed brands, excluding batteries
  • Gaiters

    USD $10 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Gloves / warm mits

    USD $8 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Glove liners

    USD $5 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Mattres (self-inflatable)

    USD $50 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Neck warmer

    USD $7 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Raincoat / poncho

    USD $20 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Rain / wind / waterproof trousers

    USD $20 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Ruck sack / day pack

    USD $20 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Scarf

    USD $5 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • 4 season sleeping bag (Synthetic filled)

    USD $30 per trip
    Snugpak Softie 15 Discovery (-12.5oC comfort rating)
  • 4 season sleeping bag (Down filled)

    USD $50 per trip
    Marmot Never Summer (-12.5oC comfort rating)
  • Socks

    USD $5 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Sunglasses

    USD $10 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Sweater / fleece / jumper

    USD $10 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Travel pillow

    USD $10 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Walking poles (pair)

    USD $10 per trip
    Mixed brands
  • Water bladder / Water hydration system

    USD $15 per trip
    Mixed brands

Standard packages usually exclude

FAQ's

Frequently asked questions about this route

The Northern Circuit is considered one of the least challenging routes on Kilimanjaro due to its extended itinerary, which allows for optimal acclimatization. Its terrain is straightforward, lacking technical segments like the Barranco Wall found on the Lemosho and Machame Routes. It's a relatively gentle trek despite being the longest route.

The risk of altitude sickness is reduced on the Northern Circuit due to its longer itinerary, which aids in better acclimatization. The route's design allows for a gradual ascent, helping the body adapt to the altitude optimally.

The Northern Circuit can be completed in either 8 or 9 days. The 8-day itinerary involves a more condensed schedule with longer trekking days, while the 9-day itinerary allows for a more leisurely pace and additional time for acclimatization.

We do not believe in success rates as each hiker and individual can be very unique in their experience and bodies ability to acclimatize. That being said we would say a 8 day trek via the Northern Circuit route has a good chance of reaching the peak, a 9 day trek has an excellent chance of reaching the peak. Longer routes usually contribute significantly to higher success for reaching the summit.

The Northern Circuit is ideal for those looking for a less crowded and more scenic experience. It offers more hiking, spectacular scenery, and trails that are less frequented. Its longer duration also contributes to a higher success rate for reaching the summit.

The Northern Circuit is less crowded compared to other routes on Kilimanjaro. As it takes a less-traveled path and is predominantly used by a smaller group of trekkers, it offers tranquil and nearly deserted camping grounds, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a more peaceful trek.

People with serious medical conditions like heart disease, severe asthma, or uncontrolled diabetes should avoid climbing Kilimanjaro. Pregnant women and individuals with altitude sickness susceptibility should also consider other options. It's crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before planning a climb.

Expect a challenging but rewarding experience. You'll encounter diverse terrains, from rain forests to arctic conditions. Acclimatization days are essential, and you should be prepared for long trekking hours, basic camping conditions, and altitude-related challenges.

Weather plays a pivotal role in deciding when to climb Kilimanjaro. Dry conditions ensure easier hikes and dry gear, while wet weather can turn your trek into a muddy challenge. However, Kilimanjaro's weather patterns have become unpredictable recently. You might encounter unexpected rainfalls even during what's traditionally considered a dry season or vice versa. Moreover, the dry seasons often see a surge in trekkers, leading to crowded routes. Read more about weather here.

Traditional showers are not available during most Kilimanjaro climbs. However, climbers can use wet wipes and water basins for basic hygiene. It's important to maintain cleanliness to avoid infections.

The summit attempt of Kilimanjaro typically begins at midnight, aiming for climbers to reach Uhuru Peak by sunrise. Undertaking this ascent at night serves several strategic purposes. Firstly, it allows for better acclimatization, as the gradual overnight climb aids the body in adapting to the high altitude. Secondly, the ground remains firmer during the night, as the sun during the day can soften the ice and snow, making the climb more challenging. Additionally, reaching the summit at dawn not only presents climbers with a breathtaking sunrise view but also provides a significant safety advantage. After the summit attempt, climbers have enough daylight to descend almost halfway back down the mountain. This descent is crucial as it brings climbers to a lower altitude with richer oxygen levels, which is much safer and helps in recovery following the exertion of the summit climb. This strategic timing of the ascent and descent ensures a safer and more rewarding experience for those tackling the challenge of Kilimanjaro.

Why book with Shah Tours?

Some of the reasons why you should book your hike with Shah Tours.

We are proud to operate hikes on Mount Kilimanjaro for 40+ years and with this comes a highly skilled and experienced team of mountain guides who have led 100's of expeditions and are some of the most experienced on Kilimanjaro.

Our expert guides use a preventive health management system to monitor your health twice a day using medical grade finger oximiters. Each expedition is always equipped with 1 emergency oxygen and a first aid kit.

We provide superior equipment for a comfortable hiking experience. Each trek will come with a spacious and roomy all season 4 person tent (for a maximum of 2 or 3 people) made by Hilleberg or The North Face.

justinecharTrip advisor
My husband and I booked our Kilimanjaro climb through Shah Tours, and could not have been more pleased with our experience. To start, I think we had the best guides on the entire mountain. Baraka and Vincent were extremely knowledgeable, not only about mountain safety, but also about the history of Kilimanjaro, the flora, the fauna, the tribes in Tanzania, languages, and everything else we had questions about. We learned so much on our hike up to the summit, which made the whole experience even better than anticipated.
Read more reviews.

We are proudly monitored by KPAP and KRTO on each and every trek since 2017 for the highest fair treatment, salary and crew standards on Mount Kilimanjaro. We also support multiple local social and environmental organizations.

All participants on our Kilimanjaro treks will receive a participation certificate and unique achievement medal. You will also get a climb certificate from the National Park if you reach Stella point, Gilman's point or Uhuru peak.

We have been a licensed operator of Kilimanjaro climbs since 1984 and have guided tens of thousands to Africa's highest peak. Booking with us means you are booking directly with the operator without any middle man.

Ahmed BazaraTrip advisor
Myself, and kids (three adults) enjoyed this lifetime experience. It was exciting, somehow tiring, but rewarding. The lovely two guides and many porters made our trip as easy as possible. The cook and assistant prepared just the right meal at the right time. Although we did not complete the hike to Uhuru peak (just 6 km away) due to high altitude sickness two of my children suffered, and we were advised to descend accordingly, we will never forget these days. I am planning to return in the near future. To conclude, I want to say thank you Shah Tours, thank Kalvin, Umari, Emanuel and entire crew for your passion, care and support extended to us throughout this wonderful hike.
Read more reviews.

Kilimanjaro Preparation Guide

Need some help planning a Kilimanjaro trek?

Please visit our dedicated section below to find out more about private or group treks, when to climb, getting to Kilimanjaro / Tanzania, visas, documents, choosing a route, training for your climb, health and vaccines, Kilimanjaro packing list, hiking boots, rental equipment, tipping, insurance, money:

Other routes

If this isn't the right route for you, some of the below are alternative routes to consider.

Combine with

This package is usually combined with one of the below. We can also tailor a custom itinerary combining any of our packages for you.

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