The Northern Circuit 11 Days Adventure

Route Overview

Through this approach, you can avoid the traffic on the southern roads, enjoy a magnificent journey, and have a high possibility of reaching the summit.

At a height of 2360 meters, Londorossi Gate marks the start of the ascent. The approach is made from a great distance to the west of the mountain. The Lemosho path is followed, travelling through a magnificent rainforest and some of the most unusual wildlife the area has to offer. Shira Ridge, the third top of the mountain, is reached by continuing up the path. Before going north into the Northern Circuit proper, you will traverse the renowned Shira plateau and see the breathtaking Shira Cathedral from there. The northern slopes of Kilimanjaro are far more isolated and benefit from having less climber traffic. The vistas span the Kenyan Amboseli Plains on a clear day.

The last summit ascent via Gillmans Point begins when the trail reunites with the Rongai and Marangu trails in the east. Instead of going back the way you came, you will take the Mweka trail down once you’ve reached the summit.

For people who haven’t hiked much at high elevations, the Northern Circuit is a nice nine-day trip with an effective extra day of acclimatization, improving success rates. Trekkers with experience might choose the 8-day ascent up the Northern Circuit, which is more challenging.

Route Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

To get to Kilimanjaro International Airport, every hiker must arrange their own flights (JRO). We will set up a private transfer for you from JRO to your hotel. You will meet your local Tito Tanzania agent that evening or early the next morning and receive a thorough pre-climb briefing.

  • Transport: Private transfer (0.8 hour, 40 km)
  • Accommodation: Hotel

Day 2: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa Camp

Transfer in a 4WD to the Londorossi Park Entrance to register. Before we start our ascent up the woodland trail to Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree) campsite at 2895m, our porters prepare and load our provisions and bags. We’ll spend the night here.

  • Transport: 1.7 hours, 80 km
  • Hiking time: 3 – 4 hours
  • Ascent: 535 m
  • altitude: 2895 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 3: Mti Mkubwa Camp to Shira 1 Camp

Shira Cathedral is magnificently visible as we travel farther east on the Shira Plateau. To get to Shira 1 Camp for dinner and overnight camping at 3500m, we cross a moorland meadow. The beautiful glaciers of the Western Breach will be visible by now. Tonight will be significantly colder than last night, with potential lows below zero.

  • Hiking time: 5 – 6 hours
  • Ascent: 605 m
  • altitude: 3500 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 4: Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp

Today, we go up to the top of Shira Cathedral, a massive rock outcropping encircled by sharp spires and pinnacles. This place exudes a real sense of remoteness, especially in the late afternoon. Our camp is close to Shira Hut, and we enjoy the breathtaking views of Mount Meru from there.

  • Hiking time: 3 – 4 hours
  • Ascent: 310 m
  • altitude: 3810 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 5: Shira 2 Camp to Moir Hut

We now leave the moorland behind and travel at a gentle grade to Shira Cave, which offers stunning views of the Arrow glacier, across the high altitude Shira Caldera. Here at 4200m, we’ll set up camp for the night.

  • Hiking time: 6 – 7 hours
  • Ascent: 390 m
  • altitude: 4200 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 6: Moir Hut to Pofu Camp

We leave the Moir Valley and ascend Lent Hills, taking a brief side trip (4700m). We return to the route and circle around the Northern Circuit trail to the east after taking in the vistas. The last part of today’s walk includes some incline before arriving at Pofu Camp.

  • Hiking time: 7 – 8 hours
  • Ascent: 500 m
  • Descent: 680 m
  • altitude: 4700 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 7: Pofu Camp to Third Cave Camp

The trail continues through a landscape with sparser and sparser vegetation from Pofu Camp to Third Cave Camp, passing through numerous tiny valleys.

  • Hiking time: 6 – 7 hours
  • Descent: 60 m
  • altitude: 4020 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 8: Third Cave Camp to School Hut

To get to the Saddle, a lunar scene between Kibo and Mawenzi peaks, there is a steady ascent today. From this point on, we climb more until we arrive at School Hut in the early afternoon. Resting and preparation for the summit day take up the remainder of the afternoon.

  • Hiking time: 5 – 6 hours
  • Ascent: 830 m
  • altitude: 4790 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 9: School Hut to Summit to Millennium Camp

To get to the crater rim at Gillman’s Point, we begin the final and most difficult portion of the climb at around one in the morning on a switchback track through loose volcanic scree. We take a little break here to relax and take in the magnificent sunrise over Mawenzi. Then, as we make our way to Uhuru Peak, we pass not far from the breathtaking glaciers and ice cliffs that still take up the majority of the summit area. Our porters will be waiting for us in Barafu Camp with a lunch bag as we retrace our travels along the crater rim to Stella Point. After that, we’ll keep descending until we get to Millennium Camp.

  • Hiking time: 14 – 16 hours
  • Ascent: 1105 m
  • Descent: 2068 m
  • altitude: 5895 m
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 10: Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate

The last day of your trek. After breakfast, we continue our descent of 1300 meters to the Mweka Park Gate where you may pick up your summit certificates from the Park Headquarters. After that, we’ll travel to our hotel to have a well-deserved shower and celebrate.

  • Transport: Private transfer (0.6 hour, 17 km)
  • Hiking time: 5 – 6 hours
  • Descent: 2027 m
  • altitude: 3827 m
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Meals included: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 11: Departure

We’ll say farewell after a much-needed night of sleep. If you have scheduled a safari or Zanzibar tour with us, we will pick you up from the hotel for your next destination.

  • Transport: 0.8 hour, 40 km
  • Meals included: Breakfast

Booking Now

    Items included:

    • Professional, experienced, mountain guides:
    • All Park fees
    • Rescue fees
    • All meals while on the Mountain
    • Arrival and Departure transfers
    • Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
    • Quality Mess tents with table and chairs
    • Large portions of fresh, healthy, nutritious food
    • Clean, purified drinking water
    • Crisis management and safety procedures
    • Fair and ethical treatment of porters
    • Flying Doctors insurance (AMREF) during the safari

    Items excluded:

    • International Flights
    • Alcoholic and soft drinks not included
    • Visa fees
    • Tips
    • Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
    • Travel insurance
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