Climbing Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Route

The Northern Circuit route is one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro, offering nearly 360 degrees of beautiful scenery including the quiet, rarely visited northern slopes. As the longest route on Kilimanjaro, the Northern Circuit also has the most acclimatization time and the highest summit success rate. Thus, the Northern Circuit route is highly recommended. The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorosi Gate. From there, the first two days are spent trekking through the rainforest to Shira Ridge, before crossing the Shira Plateau. The route then heads north and circles clockwise from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp to School Hut, before summiting from the east. Descend is made via the Mweka route.

Northern Circuit Route Map

Day 1Arrival

Arrival Tanzania

Welcome to Tanzania! Upon arrival at the Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met by a Back To Eden Adventures representative and transferred to your hotel in Moshi town. Depending on your arrival time, you will have a pre-trek briefing with your Kilimanjaro guide either this afternoon/evening or the following morning.

  • Overnight: Moshi Leopard Hotel or Kilimanjaro Wonders Hotel
  • Transfer Time: 1 Hour
  • Meals: None
  • Day 2 Lemosho Glades – Big Tree Camp

    Northern Circuit route

    The day begins with a three-hour drive from Moshi to Londrossi Park Gate for registration. Once formalities are completed, you will get back into the car, pass through village communities and arrive at the trailhead at Lemosho Glades to start hiking. You will spend this day in some of the most beautiful forest found on the mountain, with wildlife sightings possible. After a short 2-3 hours you will arrive at Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite. Here, like all days, you’ll have an afternoon snack and delicious hot dinner.

  • Trekking Time: 2-3 hours • Distance: 5 km / 3.1 mi • Altitude Change: +396 m / +1,299 ft
  • Overnight: Big Tree Camp
  • Transfer Time: 3 hours
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 3 Big Tree Camp–Shira Hut 1

    Northern Circuit Route

    Leaving the forest early in the day, the trail gets steeper as it enters the grasses and wildflowers of the heath and moorland zone towards the valley. A gentle grade walk takes you across the high-altitude Shira Caldera past Shira Cave (views of Arrow glacier) and then gently downwards to Shira Hut 1 located near a stream on the Shira Plateau.

  • Trekking Time: 3 hours
  • Distance: 7 km / 4.3 mi
  • Altitude Change: +719 m / +2,359 ft
  • Overnight: Shira Hut 1
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 4 Shira Hut 1 – Moir Hut

    Northern Circuit route

    A gentle hike across the plateau within the moorland meadow takes you towards Shira 2 camp and then diverts to Moir Hut at the base of Lent Hills for the afternoon and overnight. Many walks are available on Lent Hills, making this a great day for acclimatization.

  • Trekking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Distance: 11 km / 6.8 mi
  • Altitude Change: +657 m / +2,155 ft
  • Overnight: Moir Hut
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner>
  • Day 5 Moir Hut – Buffalo Camp

    Northern Circuit route

    Start the day with a moderately steep hike out of the Moir Valley. Then choose to detour to the top of Little Lent Hill before returning to the main trail where you will encounter an undulating trail around the northern slopes of Kibo before reaching Buffalo Camp. You will enjoy expansive views from the northern side of the mountain, stretching across the Tanzania-Kenya border.

  • Trekking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Distance: 12 km / 7.5 mi
  • Altitude Change: -141 m / -463 ft
  • Overnight: Buffalo Camp
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 6 Buffalo Camp – Rongai Third Cave

    Northern Circuit route

    AThe day begins climbing up Buffalo Ridge and then down again, traversing eastward on a path infrequently traveled. Arrive just after mid-day at the campsite.

  • Trekking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Distance: 8 km / 5 mi
  • Altitude Change: -84 m / -276 ft
  • Overnight: Rongai Third Cave
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 7 Rongai Third Cave – School Hut

    Northern Circuit route

    Today we encounter a steady incline up and over the saddle, the area between the two peaks of Kilimanjaro. The views of both Kibo and Mawenzi are breathtaking. Arrive by mid-day to School Hut where you will want to rest as much as possible ahead of the ascent to the summit beginning at midnight.

  • Trekking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Distance: 5 km / 3.1 mi
  • Altitude Change: +781 m / +2,562 ft
  • Overnight: School Hut
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 8 School Hut – Uhuru Peak – Millennium Camp

    Northern Circuit route

    We avoid walking too long in the heat of the sun today by starting around midnight to begin your ascent to Uhuru Peak. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave. You will then take on switchbacks up to Gillman’s Point at 5681 m / 18,638 ft, situated on the crater rim. This section is very steep with much stone scree and is the most demanding section of the route. From Gillman’s Point, hike for another two hours up to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. You made it! Enjoy a short time on the Roof of Africa before beginning the descent.

    •Trekking Time: 5-7 hours • Distance: 6 km / 3.7 mi • Altitude Change: +1178 m / +3,865 ft

    After a quick celebration and photos at the top, you will begin the descent by passing Stella Point and then descending on scree slope to Barafu Camp, finally heading down to Millennium Camp for a meal and well-earned rest. On the descent, you will have fabulous views of the plains and Mawenzi peak.

  • Trekking Time: 6-8 hours
  • Distance: 8.5 km / 5.3 mi
  • Altitude Change: -2068 m / -6,785 ft
  • Overnight: Millennium Camp
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 9 Millennium Camp – Mweka Gate – Moshi

    Northern Circuit route

    A gentle trek takes you down through the rainforest past the Mweka Huts campsite to the Mweka Gate, where park formalities will be completed and you will be met by our vehicles to return you to the Back To Eden Adventures office. Here you will receive your certificate of ascent courtesy of the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority, have the tipping ceremony for your mountain crew and collect any luggage you stored. Thereafter, you will be driven back to your hotel where you can treat yourself to a well-earned shower and a good night’s sleep.

  • Trekking Time: 4-5 hours • Distance: 12 km / 7.5 mi • Altitude Change: -2194 m / -7,198 ft
  • Overnight: Moshi Leopard Hotel or Kilimanjaro Wonders Hotel
  • Transfer Time: 45 mins
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Day 10 Departure

    Northern Circuit route

    Wake up and have breakfast with the team. You have options today. You can to go for a message at the hotel, sit by the pool, play golf or visit the local market before your transfer back to Kilimanjaro International for your flight home. If you have chosen one or our quality safari’s you will start the journey today.





    Lead Guide(s)
    English Speaking & Wilderness First Responder Trained
    Assistant Guide(s), for 2+ people
    Cook Porters,
    equipment Porters,
    personal client luggage (15 kg per client)


    Sleeping tent, 3-person size for 2 people Sleeping mat, 2-inch foam Pillow Walk-in dining tent and table Backed chairs Wash basins with hot water each morning and evening Private portable toilet with toilet paper


    Three meals per day & afternoon snack during the trek Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free upon request Treated drinking water (minimum of 3L per day while trekking with additional water available at camp) Coffee and tea during the trek


    Pulse oximeter Altitude sickness checklists First aid kit Emergency oxygen


    Kilimanjaro National Park fees Camping/hut, rescue, conservation and taxes Pre-trek briefing with your guide


    Roundtrip airport transfer between Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and Moshi Roundtrip transfer between Moshi and the park gate Hotel stays in Moshi pre- and post-trek (2 nights total) on bed & breakfast basis at Kilimanjaro Wonders Hotel


    Personal trekking gear such as sleeping bag and clothing
    Favored beverages (water, soda and alcohol at hotels)
    Additional accommodation or meals resulting from early descent
    Tanzania entry visa
    Travel insurance
    Domestic or international flights
    Expenses of a personal nature

    Tour Prices

    1+ People

    2,400 per person