NORTHERN CIRCUIT ROUTE
The Northern Circuit is longer than the other trails on Kilimanjaro, taking a minimum of eight days to complete, with most tour operators offering a nine-day trek. The additional time on the mountain means that success rates for Northern Circuit trekkers are relatively high.
The eight-day trek skips the additional acclimatization day that is usually spent at Shira Camp 2 and continues straight on to Moir Camp, via Lava Tower. The itinerary below is for a nine-day trek, using the Mweka Route for descent.
NORTHERN CIRCUIT ROUTE ITINERARY
10-day Kilimanjaro adventure via Northern Circuit route (8-day trekking + 2 days in a hotel)
Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), where you will meet an Wonderland representative, and transfer to the hotel under the rate. The hotel will provide all the essentials for a comfortable stay: cozy rooms, hot water, polite staff, a swimming pool, and Internet access. In the evening, there will be a briefing with our managers, who will also make sure you are ready to begin the climb.
A guide and a mountain support crew will arrive at the hotel in the morning in order to meet you and hold another briefing, after which you will travel by vehicle (roughly 3–4 hours) to Kilimanjaro National Park’s western entrance: Londorossi Gate (2,200 m). After the quick formality of acquiring climbing permits and registering with the search and rescue service, the group continues upwards towards their drop off point by off-road vehicles (reaching 3,500 meters). Here you can see stunning views of the Shira Plateau for the first time.
The route from your drop off point to your first high-altitude camp Shira 1 features a small gain in altitude and is not too physically challenging. Due to this, you will be able to properly begin the process of acclimatization. By the time you reach the camp, our professional mountain crew will prepare everything necessary, put tents and cook dinner for you. This will be your first day at this altitude, so it is strongly recommended you heed the following instructions from this point on:
- Abstain from consuming alcohol and caffeine
- Drink over 4 liters of bottled water daily (little by little, frequently)
- Take a Diamox pill to help alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness. Most mountain climbers take Diamox in the morning, before they start their ascent, in order to reduce discomfort associated with altitude sickness. We recommend you consult your doctor prior to the trip in case of potential allergies.
At night you may experience discomfort associated with acclimatization to the high altitude: because of a reduction in
your waking breathing pattern, your body gets less oxygen than during the day. Taking altitude into account, you may therefore start feeling sick and have a headache. Pay attention to your own body and tell your guide if you start feeling any symptoms of altitude sickness.
Change in Elevation: Lemosho Glades (3,500 m) — Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m)
Hiking distance: 4 km
Hiking time: 1 hour
Departing from Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m) and a light trekking towards the second-high altitude camp: Shira 2 Camp (3,810 m). This trek is not difficult and you will be able to enjoy spectacular views of Africa and the unique flora of Kilimanjaro and the surrounding area. Shira 2 Camp is the best place on the trip to see Mount Meru (the fifth summit of Africa), weather permitting.
When you arrive to camp you will have lunch, and after a two-hour rest everyone will complete an acclimatization hike towards Lava Tower Camp that features a 300-meter gain in altitude.
Trekking from Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp:
Change in Elevation: Shira 1 Camp (3,505 m) – Shira 2 Camp (3,810 m)
Hiking distance: 7 km
Hiking time: 3-4 hours
Change in Elevation: Shira 2 Camp (3,810 m) – Destination point on the way to Lava Tower (4,110 m)
Hiking distance: 2 km
Hiking time: 1-2 hours
After breakfast you leave Shira 2 Camp (3,810 m) and start trekking for the day towards the route’s key feature: Lava Tower (4,630 m). This section of the route has a lot of highs and lows that end in a camp at over 4,600 meters. It will be hard, and you may encounter some discomfort, but in order to successfully acclimate to the altitude you have to spend at least 1-2 hours here, so this is where lunch will be offered.
After lunch you will trek a little higher, after which there is a gradual descent to Moir Hut. This camp is located on the way to the northern part of Kilimanjaro.
Note: If one or more participants feel sick, the group may refrain from passing the Lava Tower and adjust the route, following instead the road for porters. In this case you will not reach an altitude of 4,630 meters, getting up only to a maximum of 4,400 meters.
Change in Elevation: Shira 2 Camp (3,810 m) – Lava Tower (4,630 m) – Moir Hut (4,200 m)
Hiking distance: 14 km
Hiking time: 5-7 hours
On this day you will have a rather long but at the same time easy trek. After a short steep climb out of Moir Valley you will start going around the northern slope of Kilimanjaro, and just like on the way to Lava Tower the path will be full of highs and lows, without any steep gains in altitude. This route passes close to the border with Kenya, so you will be treated to amazing views of the Tsavo and Amboseli Valleys.
Change in Elevation: Moir Hut (4,200 m) – Buffalo Camp (4,020 m)
Hiking distance: 12 km
Hiking time: 5-7 hours
You will finish trekking up the northern slope of Kilimanjaro and stop for the night in 3rd Cave Camp, where the route will meet up with the traditional Rongai route. On this day the trekking will be shorter than on the day before, and by this time your body will already have become completely acclimated to an altitude of 4,000 meters, which will contribute to your general feelings of well-being.
Change in Elevation: Buffalo Camp (4,020 m) – 3rd Cave Camp (3,870 m)
Hiking distance: 8 km
Hiking time: 4-6 hours
On this day you will be trekking to the School Hut Summit Camp (4,750 m). The actual trekking is not very hard, so remember to just choose an appropriate pace in order to keep your strength up for the trekking to Kilimanjaro’s summit. When you reach the camp, we recommend you sleep well, avoid strenuous activity and drink as many fluids as you can, because that very night you will complete the trekking to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m).
Change in Elevation: 3rd Cave Camp (3,870 m) – School Hut (4,750 m)
Hiking distance: 5 km
Hiking time: 4-5 hours
Night departure from School Hut (4,750 m) and the start of your trekking to Kilimanjaro’s summit: Uhuru peak (5,895 m). Technically the climb is relatively simple; however, the most challenging part is the high altitude. Each pair of climbers will get a personal guide for the entire ascent to monitor your physical and mental conditions. After your successful ascent to Uhuru Peak, you can descend to the nearest glacier if desired. Then you will descend to Barafu Camp, on the south side of Kilimanjaro. After a two-hour rest and lunch, you will continue trekking down to Millennium Camp (3,820 m).
Note: Don’t forget that 90% of all accidents occur during the descent, including all broken arms and legs. Please pay attention to your feet, as there is a high risk of damaging your toenails.
Change in Elevation: School Hut (4,750 m) – Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) – Millennium Camp (3,820 m)
Hiking distance: 6 km
Hiking time: 6-8 hours
The camp is situated in a tropical rainforest. When you wake up, you will feel relief from the reduction of the height and the satisfaction of reaching the summit. After a warm breakfast, you will head for the park’s exit: Mweka Gate (1,640 m). After your descent the whole group will gather to congratulate you, followed by offering you a chance to share your opinions on the climb in the guestbook. Lastly, we will present you with your commemorative certificates in our office and provide you a transfer back to the hotel.
Change in Elevation: Millennium Camp (3,820 m) – Mweka Gate (1,640 m)
Hiking distance: 12 km
Hiking time: 4-5 hours
Rest in the hotel and transfer to the airport.
Note: Hotel check-out is at 11:00 AM. In case you need a late check-out because of an evening flight, there is the option to extend your hotel stay for an extra fee.
NORTHERN CIRCUIT ROUTE TREK COST
All payments in Tanzania are in USD only.
Our standard adventures are what the majority of climbers are looking for. The combination of great comfort and high safety standards makes our classic hikes enjoyable and memorable. This is the most popular option among our clients.
This climbing package includes everything that a climber may need for the hike – our experienced mountain crews, high-quality group equipment and nutritionist-designed meals. Our safety protocols, though, are the same for all our hiking adventures – only the guides with Wilderness First Responder certification are assigned to lead a party.
Other safety measures include a supply of oxygen cylinders, complete medical kits and compulsory medical check-ups (two per day).
The progress of each trekking party is tracked with GPS device. You may share the link with your family and friends, who will be able to monitor your progress in a real-time mode. Before and after the adventure you will stay in a good hotel with caring staff, hot water, reliable Wi-Fi, restaurant and swimming pool.
8-Day Climb + 2 Days in a Hotel
- Pick-up and drop-off at Kilimanjaro International Airport.
- Transfer to the trailhead – entry gate to Kilimanjaro National Park.
- Pick-up at the exit from Kilimanjaro National Park and transfer to the hotel.
- All park fees collected by the Kilimanjaro National Park (conservation fees, camping fees, crew fees, vehicle fee, rescue fee and all other fees collected by the Tanzania National Parks Authority).
- One night at 3* Hotel or Lodge in Moshi before the expedition and one night after; The hotels have everything for your comfortable stay – caring staff, nice rooms, reliable Wi-Fi, restaurant and swimming pool).
- Tented accommodation on Mount Kilimanjaro.
All accommodation is on sharing basis (i.e. you will be sharing with your travel companion a twin/double room in the hotel and a tent during the hike. If you travel alone, we will match you with a same-sex adventurer).
- Breakfast in the hotel before and after the hike.
- All meals on the hike. Our Kilimanjaro diet includes energy-rich and highly nutritious meals prepared by our professional high-altitude cooks. A typical diet on Kilimanjaro includes different soups, garnishes, several types of fish and meat, fresh fruit and vegetables; vegetarian/ gluten-free/halal options are available at no extra cost
- All drinks on the hike (coffee, tea, hot chocolate and water).
Hiking and safety equipment
- 4-inch (10-cm) thick and comfortable sleeping mats.
- All group equipment (spacious and comfortable dining tent, camping table and chairs, crockery and cutlery);
- Oxygen cylinders and oximeters.
- GPS-tracking service.
- Complete medical kits.
- Professional guides, licensed by Kilimanjaro National Park. All our guides are the holder of Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness First Aid certifications. All our guides have 7+years of successful mountaineering experience.
- Dedicated support crew (assistant guides, camp master, porters, cooks, etc.).
The climb cost excludes:
- Airline tickets.
- Visa fee.
- Lunch and dinner at the hotel (before and after the ascent).
- Personal gear rentals.
- Tips for the mountain crew (200–250 USD per person).
- Mountaineering insurance.
Trip prices are based on Wonderland costs, fees, and supplier prices in effect at the time of booking. Wonderland reserves the right to alter trip prices should inflation, cost of fuel, labor, materials, or exchange rates change. If the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) raises park fees, or any hotel, lodge, camp, airline, or any other service provider raises their rates Wonderland reserves the right to require additional payment from the client.
Head Office: Block E of Plot No.45A & 45B, Ursino Street, P.O. Box 71941 – Dar es salaam – Tanzania. Tel: +255713123776
Branch Office: Ngorongoro Tower – 6th Floor, Arusha – Tanzania. Tel: +255 745 333 467