12 Days Mount Kilimanjaro Trek Northern Circuit Route

The Northern Circuit Route is the longest route on Kilimanjaro, a nine-day trek initially ascending Lemosho route on the western side of the Mountain up onto the Shira Plateau

before reaching the Lava Tower, then heading north and circumnavigating the main summit massif in a clockwise direction and joining up with the Rongai route. The summit is then climbed from the eastern side of the mountainand descent is straight down via the southern Mweka route.

Understandably this also known as the Grand Traverse or the 360 Route and offers the complete Kilimanjaro experience in terms of all the habitats and the views of the mountain from all sides. The longer journey has excellent acclimatization and stunning scenery with views across the southern flanks, western forest, the northen plains to the Kenyan border and the arid eastern slopes. The paths are comparatively quiet and less used. Also, the altitude gains each day is less than on other routes, with gentle gradient until reaching Kikelewa or third Cave Camp, therefore over nine days the likelihood of altitude sickness is significantly less.



Days Summary

  • Day 1: arrival in Tanzania on your custom dates.
  • Day 2: resting, hydrating and briefing, with time to pick up rental items and buy any snacks in town.
  • Day 3: Moshi to Big Tree Camp.
  • Day 4: Big Tree Camp to Lower Shira Camp
  • Day 5: Lower Shira Camp to Upper Shira Camp
  • Day 6: Upper Shira Camp to Moir Hut.
  • Day 7: Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp.
  • Day 8: Buffalo Camp to Rongai Third Cave
  • Day 9: Rongai Third Cave to School Hut.
  • Day 10: School Hut to Uhuru Peak-Millennium Camp or Mweka Camp.
  • Day 11: to Mweka Gate Day
  • 12: Depart to any other destination.


Day 1: Arrival in Tanzania

  • Elevation: N/A
  • Time :  N/A

Arrive into Tanzania. Most people fly into Kilimanjaro airport either direct or via Kenya. Afternoon / evening free.

Day 2: Moshi.

  • Elevation: 900m
  • Time :  N/A

Rest and relax by the pool, visit Moshi town / market. Meet guides chef for mountain briefing and kit checking.

Day 3: Londorossi Gate-Big tree Camp.

  • Elevation: 2385-2780m.
  • Time :  3-4hrs.

We leave the Hotel and drive to the Londorossi Gate, which can take 3.5hrs but if there’s been a lot of rain the last section is on foot due to poor roads. We then meet the team of porters, guides and head upwards through the pristine forest to Mti Mkubwa Camp. (2780m).

Day 4: Mti Mkubwa Camp-Shira 1 Camp.

  • Elevation: 2780-3500m
  • Time :  5-6hrs

We make our way further through the forest then out on to open heathland which savannah of tall grasses, heather and volcanic rock. The land in undulates gently and after crossing several streams, we reach the Shura Ridge and descend gently to Shira 1 Camp (3500m).

Day 5: Shira 1 Camp-Shira 2 Camp.

  • Elevation: 3500m-3840m
  • Time :  3-4hrs

This is a relatively short day from Shira 2 to Shira 2, but an important day in terms of rest and acclimatization. We’ll explore the vast Shira Plateau as we enjoy the gentle walk across the heathland meadows of wildflowers and Senecio trees whilst only a stone throw away and the cloud which will be below us.

Day 6: Shira Camp 2-Lava Tower-Moir Hut.

  • Elevation: 3840-4600-4200
  • Time :  6-7hrs.

This is an important day in terms of acclimatization as we continue across the Shira plateau to the Lava Tower, which is a 100m volcanic rock skyscraper of a formation and our high point at 4600m not just for the day but also up until our summit attempt. We then divert from the main trail and drop in altitude to Moir Hut at 4200m which is a seldom used Camp at the base of the lent hills.

Day 7: Moir Hut-Buffalo Camp.

  • Elevation: 4200m-4000m
  • Time :  6-5hrs

We trek out of Camp and the Moir Valley starting with a bit of a steep climb and then we have a detour option to the summit of little Lent Hill at 4700m, which is great for acclimatization before returning to the main circuit trail. The path crosses a rock field and undulates up and down before reaching Buffalo Camp at 4200m. the views this day are simply stunning across the plains to the north of Kilimanjaro to the border and Kenya’s famous Amboseli National Park.

Day 8: Buffalo Camp-Rongai Third Cave.

  • Elevation: 400m-3800-
  • Time  :  6-7hrs.

We leave Camp and head up the Buffalo Ridge in the morning and usually have some lunch at porfu Camp before we start our trek around the northern slopes heading towards the eastern side of the mountain. The terrain becomes increasingly sparse and dry with little shrubs. This route is rarely travelled and feels remote, wild and free as we then reach our Camp at what’s known as Rongai Third Cave at 3800m.

Day 9: Third Cave-School Hut.

  • Elevation: 3800m-4800-
  • Time :  4-5hrs.

We climb steadily up and over the saddle, which sits between Kilimanjaro’s two peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi through an environment akin to the moon or a high-altitude desert. We then continue to our high Camp at School Hut. We the have plenty of time to rest in the afternoon and to prepare for early and summit day.

Day 10: School Hut-Uhuru Peak-Millennium Camp.

  • Elevation: 4800m-5895-3850
  • Time :  Up 6-8hrs- Down 4-6hrs

Around midnight, we begin our push to the summit. This is a night-time ascent on rock, scree and occasionally snow to the rim around the crater and beyond to the summit. We wake around 11:30pm and have tea, biscuits and some snacks before starting our trek up to the summit. It’s not a steep climb from the beginning to the end but undulates and changes throughout. We stop for rests along the way and the pace is slow. The final slope to the crater rim is steep and have loose scree and you can expect cold temperatures and wind chills throughout, however as you approach the crater rim you will start to see the sun rising over the African plains thousands of feet below.

The rising sun brings warmth and delivers scenery that will remain with you forever more. The heat and light also bring motivation and encourages you to make the final 45-minute climb up from the crater rim to the summit of Kilimanjaro.
After some time on the summit we then descend to Barafu for a rest and early lunch and then walk down along a gentle path to Millennium Camp, dropping out of altitude, normally arriving mid-afternoon.

Day 11: Millennium Camp-Mweka Gate-Moshi.

  • Elevation: 3850m-1640m-900m
  • Time :  4hrs

Descending through the lush forest to Mweka gate where we sign out of the National Park and pick up our summit certificate. This is a walk surrounded by Monkeys, lush ancient forest and can be slippy underfoot especially with tired legs! After a rest at the gate, we’ll say thank you and farewell to our team of porters before transport back to the Moshi hotel, arriving back mid-afternoon for a hot shower, cold drink and overnight in the hotel.

Day 12

Today you can either fly back to your sweet home, or we can organize for you to experience the wild side of East Africa though our short Safaris.


$3850 P/P. Minimum 2Pax

Price and booking enquiries.

Note: the cost of this trek will vary depending on the number of the persons traveling as well as the dates of travel.
Please indicate preferred date of travel, number of adults and number and ages of children if any.

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Quotation price Includes:
  • Pick up from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the Airport.
  • Three or Two night accommodation in Moshi hotel B&B.
  • All government fees (Entry fees, Camping fees , Rescue fees, Crew fees and forest fees).
  • Guide and Porter wages.
  • Food three meals a day while you’re on the mountain.
  • Oxygen bottle
  • (Equipment) Tent, table, chair, mattress, mess tent, private toilet etc.
Not included are:
  • Personal Gear like sleeping bag, walking stick, cameras etc.
  • Tips for the crew.
  • Flight ticket
  • Visa

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