Climbing Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route | 9-10 Days
Itinerary for Climbing Kilimanjaro via Northern Circuit Route
The northern circuit route is the longest route up Africa's tallest mountain, providing awe-inspiring views of Kilimanjaro's glaciers, valleys, and forests, as well as the chance to spot unique wildlife along the way.
Recommended Northern Circuit Route Itinerary - 8-10 Days
Day 1 – Lemosho Glades
From your lodge, we will make our way to the Londorosi gate on the Western side of Mt. Kilimanjaro (a few hours drive from Arusha). We will begin our hike at the Lemosho trailhead. Please note that in rainy/muddy conditions, sometimes the vehicles can’t make it to the true trailhead so there can be some extra hiking – but Serengeti Pride vehicles usually make it farther than any other company due to our great drivers and vehicles.
After a picnic lunch, we will hike for about 4 hours to the forest camp. In the forest, exotic moss and flowers delight the eye while bird calls entertain the ear. You may see Black and White Colobus monkeys as well as signs of the elephants that travel in this area. We will overnight at Forest Camp.
Hiking: 4-5 hours
Overnight Altitude ~9,498’
Day 2 – Shira Plateau
As we leave the Montane Forest and enter the Hagenia zone, our views open and we will catch our first views of the Kibo peak. This is a good acclimatization hike, as we go up and down several ridges along the way to our highest point of the day at 11,500’ before descending to camp. Overnight at Shira 1 Camp.
Hiking: 6-9 hours
Overnight Altitude 11,500'
Day 3 – Moir Camp
We will traverse the Heath zone of the Shira Plateau and begin climbing the western slope of the Kibo Massif. Along the way, we will enjoy a picnic lunch at Scott Fisher’s memorial camp (the well-known Mt. Everest guide). We will continue on to the upper heath zone and Moir camp. Depending on the weather, acclimatization hikes can be arranged in the late afternoon
Hiking: 5-6 hours
Overnight Altitude: ~13,580′
Day 4 – Pofu/Buffalo Camp
Hike about 4-7 hours, depending on stops along the way. You have quite a ridge to climb up as you depart Moir camp, so it’s best to start out very slowly until you crest the ridge. This is a great acclimatization day.
Hiking: 5-7 hours
Overnight Altitude: ~13,200′
Day 5 – Third Cave Camp
Continue your traverse around the northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro, with expansive views, as you find your way to Third Cave Camp.
Hiking: 5-7 hours
Overnight Altitude: ~12,700′
Day 6 – School Huts Camp
We get into our highest elevation camp today. Try to get to bed early for some rest before you start your night-time summit ascent (usually starting around midnight) to Gilman’s Point, through Stella Point, and for the final push up to the summit.
Hiking: 4-5 hours
Overnight Altitude: ~15,600’
Day 7 – Summit and Mweka Camp (or Millenium Camp by request)
Summit day. We will start our ascent to the summit (19,340ft – 5,896m) around 11:00 PM or midnight the night prior. The goal for you – and numerous other climbers – is to reach the peak right at sunrise. In reality, due to differences in hiking speed, energy, and altitude acclimatization, there is a several-hour span where most climbers reach the summit. Using headlamps (bring extra lithium batteries, which last much better in cold dark conditions!) you will ascend 6-7 hours to Gilman’s point, traverse the Crater Rim to Stella Point and then up another 1-2 hours to Uhuru Peak, the summit.
After a summit celebration and photo, descend to Barafu camp for lunch and then to Mweka camp to sleep overnight. By advance request we can sleep at Millenium camp instead; this is at ~12,000’ so less descent today, but means more descent tomorrow.
Hiking: Very variable on both the up and the down; 13-17 hours typical
Day 8 – Mweka Park Gate
We make the final descent to the trailhead today, about 3-5 hours of hiking. Here we will have lunch and say goodbye to our mountain crew before leaving Mount Kilimanjaro and heading back to town. Arrive at your lodge usually between 3-5 PM.
Hiking: 3-5 hours
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