Mount Kilimanjaro trekking 9 Days via Northern Circuit Route
- Free Cancellation
- No booking or credit card fees
- E-ticket/Mobile voucher
About this activity
- Instant Booking
- Free Cancellation Free cancellation up to 29 day(s) prior departure, after which the tour cancellation policy applies Learn More.
- Duration:9 Day(s)
- Camping & Stargazing Tours
- Mountaineering Tours
- Nature & Sightseeing Tours
- Photography Tours
- Trekking & Hiking Tours
- Travel StyleBudget
- Guiding Type: Live Guide/Instructor
- Guide Language
- Tour Vibe Active
- Recommended For
- For Art Lovers
- Destination Country: Tanzania, Africa,
- Uhuru Peak
Kilimanjaro International AirportFrom: To:
12:00 AM 12:00 AM
Qwine Hotel in Moshi or SimilarFrom: To:
2:00 PM 10:00 AM
- Age Range 12 - 100 (Years Old)
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 allows for the best acclimatization time and the highest summit success rate, therefore this route is highly recommended.
The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi 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.
Duration: 9 or 10 days
There are six established routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai and Umbwe. The Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe route all approach from the south of the mountain. The Lemosho and Shira routes approach from the west. The Rongai route approaches from the north near Kenya. All routes except Marangu and Rongai descend via Mweka.
Elevation: 2389m/7838ft to 2785m/9137ft Altitude gained: 396m Departing from Moshi a 45-minute drive will take you through welcoming mountainside villages to the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate. We will patiently wait for our permits to be issued while watching the hustle and bustle of operations as many crews prepare for the journey ahead Enjoy the beautiful rainforest scenery and windy trails while your guide tells you about the local flora and fauna and natural wildlife. At these lower elevations, the trail can be muddy and quite slippery. We highly recommend gaiters and trekking poles here.
Elevation: 2785m/9137ft to 3504m/11,496ft Altitude gained: 719m After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast, we emerge from the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, we leave the forest behind now, the trail climbs steadily with wide views to reach the rim of the Shira Plateau. Temperatures begin to drop.
Elevation: 3504m/11,496ft to 3895m/12,779ft Altitude gained: 391m Our trek crosses the Shira one of the highest plateaus on Earth, from Shira I Camp to Shira II Camp. Nine-day climbs will stay the night at Shira II Camp joining climbers ascending from the Machame Route. At Shira II Camp it is worth the extra energy to go a bit higher up the plateau to enjoy the stunning view across the valley below and view the Western Breach of Kilimanjaro above. The plateau is exposed so be prepared for a cold night with temperatures getting below zero. Note: 8 Day Climbs continue East to Shira Plateau Ridge to Lava Tower (4,600 meters) and descend to Moir Camp (4,200 meters)
Elevation: 3895m/12,779ft to 3986m/13,077ft Altitude gained: 91m Although you end the day around the same elevation as when you began, this day is very important for acclimatization. From Shira Plateau we continue east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the Kibo peak before we then continue, South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth” (elev. 4650m/15,250ft). Shortly after the tower, we come to a second junction, which leads to the Arrow Glacier. We then continue to descend overnight at Barranco Camp.
Elevation: 4155m/13,632ft to 4033m/13,232ft Altitude loss: 122m We begin with a moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. If you wish, take a small detour here to climb the summit of Little Lent Hill at 4,375 meters before returning to the Northern Circuit trail. The route follows a series of inclines and declines, skirting around the northern slopes of Kibo to Buffalo Camp. Spectacular views of plains north of Kilimanjaro that stretches as far as the eye can see to the Kenyan / Tanzanian border. You will arrive at Buffalo Camp just after midday, where you will have lunch and have time to rest.
Elevation: 4033m/13,232ft to 3936m/12,193ft Altitude lost: 97m Day six starts with a climb up the Buffalo Ridge and down into Pofu Camp where lunch is served. We continue East around the Northern slopes to the Rongai Third Cave. Today’s climb is shorter than the day before and you should be feeling better acclimatized to the altitude at this point. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon
Elevation: 3936m/12,913ft to 4717m/15,476ft Altitude gained: 781m A steady ascent and over the Saddle which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. Continue Southwest to School Hut where you will be served an early dinner and the rest as you will begin just before midnight to start your summit attempt. Remember to prepare all your gear, including warm clothes, insulated water bottles, snacks, headlamp, and camera before going to bed.
Elevation: 4717m/15,476ft to 5895m/19,341ft Altitude gained: 1178m Descent to 3106m/10,190ft Altitude lost:2789m Excitement is building as morning comes with an early start between midnight and 2 a.m. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. We continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers trying to stay warm and focused on the amazing sense of accomplishment that lies ahead. With a switchback motion in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. You will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise during your short rest here. Faster hikers may view the sunrise from the summit. From here on your remaining 1 hour ascent to Uhuru Peak, you are likely to encounter snow all the way. Congratulations, one step at a time you have now reached Uhuru Peak the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the entire continent of Africa! After photos, celebrations and maybe a few tears of joy we take a few moments to enjoy this incredible accomplishment. We begin our steep descent down to Mweka Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch and a very brief rest. We strongly recommend gaiters and trekking poles for uncooperative loose gravel and volcano ash terrain. Well-deserved rest awaits you to enjoy your last evening on the mountain. Overnight Mweka Camp.
Elevation: 3106m/10,190ft to 1633m/5358ft Altitude lost: 1473m After breakfast and a heartfelt ceremony of appreciation and team bonding with your crew, it’s time to say goodbye. We continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. As the weather is drastically warmer, the terrain is wet, muddy and steep and we highly recommend Gaiters and trekking poles. From the gate, a vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes). Enjoy a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!!
|Moshi||2||Hotel||Qwine Hotel or Similar||3 Star||Private|
|Mount Kilimanjaro||8||Camping||Mount Kilimanjaro Campsites||Unrated||Private|
- 2 Nights accommodation at Qwine hotel or similar (First Night upon arrival and the other night after descending from Mount Kilimanjaro)
- 8 Nights at The campsites of Mount Kilimanjaro
- Airport Transfer
Professional and well experienced English Speaking Mountain Guide
Except for the 2 nights at your hotel
- Private Vehicle
-All Park Fees and taxes
-Return transfers Kilimanjaro airport to Moshi and Moshi to Kilimanjaro airport
-Hotel the night before and the night after the climb, with breakfast included
-Large portions of fresh, healthy, nutritious food all 3 meals a day
-All Kilimanjaro National Park gate fees, camping fees and climbing permits.
-Kilimanjaro National Park rescue fees (Kilimanjaro Rescue Team)
-Emergency oxygen (for use in emergencies only – not as summit aid)
-Basic first aid kit
-Qualified mountain guide, assistant guides, porters and cook + Their wages as per the standard set
-Camping equipment (tents, camp chairs, tables & sleeping mattresses)
-Fresh Water for drinking & Hot water for a wash daily
- Extra Services
-Visas, Flights and airport taxes
-Items of a personal nature
-Health requirements (Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if travelling to Tanzania)
-Highly recommended travel and medical insurance.
-Personal hiking/trekking gear (you may opt to rent the gears from equipment stores in Moshi)
-Optional but highly recommended Portable toilet
-Personal medicine and water purifying tablets
-Meals & drinks not specified and snacks
Extra additional services:
-A refreshing Day trip after a trek
-Extra hotel night in Moshi, check-in 2 PM, check-out 10 AM,
-Zanzibar Island Visit & Tours
-Face masks are required for travellers in public areas
-Face masks are required for guides in public areas
-Face masks provided for travellers
-Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
-Social distancing enforced throughout the experience
-Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
-Gear/equipment sanitized between uses
-Transportation vehicles are regularly sanitized
-Guides required to regularly wash hands
-Regular temperature checks for staff
-Temperature checks for travellers upon arrival
-Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
-Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
Tour Cancellation Policy
Free cancellation up to 29 day(s) prior departure, Or traveler will pay 20 % of the tour amount
Any cancellation of a reservation must be in writing, either by e-mail or fax, and shall only be effective upon its receipt and acknowledgement. The following cancellation fees will be made for cancellations: More than 29 days prior to trip commencement 20% of the tour price 15 to 10 days prior to trip commencement 30% of tour price No show to 5 days prior to trip commencement (or no show) 50% of the total tour price No refunds are given for the following: Lost travel time or substitution of facilities Itineraries amended after departure Presence of circumstances beyond the company's control which requires alternative arrangements be made to ensure the safety or further participation and enjoyment of your tour, Lack of your appearance for any accommodation, service, activity, or tour segment without prior notice (see above) Premature contract termination
Tour Date Change Policy
Tour Date can be changed 2 day(s) prior departure
Good To Know
Most days climbing Kilimanjaro are no worse than an average day hiking at home. There are though a number of factors that make this a really tough challenge.
First, you will be hiking for at least 7 days continuously. This puts a big strain on all your muscles and joints.
Second, as you climb, the oxygen content in the airdrops rapidly. This means that with every breath you are getting less and less power. At the summit, each breath has about half the amount of oxygen that you would normally have.
hird, although most days are not overly difficult, summit night is extremely hard with an ascent of over 1500m, a descent of nearly 3000m and between 16-18 hours walking on average. TO be successful you need to be in the best physical condition of your life. We have detailed advice on training to climb Kilimanjaro. The key factors are cardio strength, muscle strength in the legs and flexibility. If at all possible try to get out and do some long days hiking at least twice in the weeks before your climb. And don't forget that the biggest difference between those who summit successfully and those who turn back is often just mental tenacity.
Staying well hydrated and eating plenty
Each day as you climb Kilimanjaro you will burn about 4000 calories. This is almost double your normal intake. On summit night you will burn well over 6000 calories. And as mountaineers say, you need to fuel the climb! So even if you have lost your appetite because of the effects of altitude you have to keep eating. Our menus are designed to be varied and really tasty but even if you don't feel hungry you must eat. Before you travel to Tanzania find a number of snacks that you really enjoy. Bring a good and varied supply. Even if you love Mars Bars you can find that when you are faced with your third in a night they are not quite so appetising.
And drinking plenty is even more important than eating. In the cold, dry air it is very easy to become dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration are very similar to altitude sickness. It is not uncommon for someone to descend and then find that all they needed was lots of water. You will be given 2 litres of water daily. There will also be unlimited amounts of hot drinks at breakfast and dinner. You must ensure that you keep drinking. As a good guide, if your pee is yellow you are under-hydrated and need to drink more. Try to look after yourself in Kilimanjaro in such away.
Good equipment starts with your feet. Do not turn up for your climb in a shiny new pair of boots. Make sure your boots are well worn in and are comfortable. After your feet make sure you are looking after your head. On the lower slopes, you will need something that provides good sun protection. For summit night you need a really warm beanie or even balaclava. These can double up as a nightcap on really cold nights.
Finally, think about clothing layers. The daily temperature variation can be as much as 35c. The best way of coping with this is with layering rather than relying on one single jacket. Also, we strongly recommend gaiters and mittens. Kilimanjaro is very dusty and a boot full of dust is very uncomfortable. And we have not found a pair of gloves that are really warm enough for summit night so make sure to pack mittens or over-mittens.
The single biggest reason why people fail to summit is because they have not acclimatised well. We have lots of information on acclimatisation how to avoid altitude sickness but there are three key points to remember. First is go slowly. No matter how fit you are, if you go too quickly the risk of getting altitude sickness goes up. You will always hear our guides advising "Pole Pole", swahili for slowly, slowly. As a good measure of your speed, if you cannot manage a conversation comfortably you are going fast.
Second is hydration, the really serious problems caused by altitude are due to changes in pressure. This happens badly in the lungs where fluid from your blood leaks into your lungs giving pneumonia like symptoms. It also happens in your skull where fluid moves from your brain into the gap between the brain and the skull causing pressure headaches. If you are poorly hydrated you will increase the risk that this becomes a problem.
And third is consider taking Diamox. This is a drug that is proven to help the body acclimatise to altitude faster. It is not a cure though and you can still get ill taking it. For most people though it is a safe way to reduce the risk of getting ill. You will need to see your doctor to obtain a prescription for Diamox. He can assess you personally for suitability.
Rainfall at the foot (cm) ?Kilimanjaro
The short answer is to either go between May and October, or December and March. You also can read lots more about the Kilimanjaro weather.
Simply put, Kilimanjaro has a long monsoon season in April and May, and a shorter monsoon season in November. During these periods there is a high probability of rain every day. Outside these periods the weather is mainly dry and clear.
Of course, most people want to climb when it is dry, so if you choose one of these two periods you can expect to meet a lot of other climbers. To mitigate this, choose one of the less popular routes. The Northern Circuit is a great choice at this time of year. If you want to climb when it is quieter, or during one of the rainy seasons, then look at the Rongai route. It lies in Kilimanjaro's rain shadow and is much drier all year round.
Mount Kilimanjaro Difficulty
For experienced climbers, Mount Kilimanjaro will take around 5 to 6 days to reach the top. But it is important to understand the while the trek is shorter than others, the length of the trek doesn’t mean it is any easier. In fact, Mount Kilimanjaro is incredibly difficult because of its short trek.
You ascend rapidly up the mountain, which means your body needs to acclimate to the changing conditions very quickly. Thus, can lead to acute mountain sickness and if you aren't prepared for that, you can have to turn back to get help.
How fit do you need to be to climb Kilimanjaro?
We have helped lots of novice trekkers summit Kilimanjaro safely. You need to be fit enough for "weekend walking" and able to do 5-7 hours on your feet for two days back to back. Besides being fit though you will need to look after yourself all the way and have bucket loads of determination.
The best training to climb Kilimanjaro you can do is to get your boots on and cover as many miles as your can before your climb. If you follow this advice, most days will be pretty comfortable for you. However fit you are though, summit night is a very tough experience. You will be climbing for 8-10 hours and descending for 6 - 8 hours.
What training do you recommend to prepare for my climb?
We always answer this question by saying you should try and get out and do as much hill-walking as you can. Nothing prepares your body better for climbing Kilimanjaro than some weekends doing long walks of 7-8 hours.
For a more technical answer, there are four aspects of fitness you need to work on.
- The first is pure cardio. As you ascend there is less and less oxygen in the air and this makes your cardio system work very hard. Prepare for this with any intense cardio exercise. We are big fans of High-Intensity Interval Training where you work very hard for a short period and then rest.
- The second is leg strength. Consecutive days of climbing puts a lot of strain on the legs and specific leg exercises like squats work really well.
- The third is stamina. On summit night you need to keep going and going. Try and do some longer exercises that require real stamina like a long ride or a really long day hill-walking.
- And finally, don't forget your flexibility as lots of injuries are caused by a lack of flexibility. So both before your climb, and on it, remember your stretches. Read more detailed advice on training to climb Kilimanjaro.
What are the toilets like on Kilimanjaro?
The public toilets on Kilimanjaro are horrible. Fortunately, we now provide private toilets on Kilimanjaro as standard on all climbs. This is a chemical toilet in a small tent. This is kept clean and hygienic by our crew. Lots better than the long drop public loos.
How well do you treat your crew? are you a member of kpap?
We treat all our crew and guides really well. This is recognised by KPAP ( the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Program). You can see our most recent KPAP audit report.
KPAP do great work to ensure porters are treated fairly on the mountain. This is not just about wages, but food, clothing, tents and tipping policy. Sadly far too few Kilimanjaro operators are members of KPAP. We have been a leading member of KPAP since we started on Kilimanjaro. There is a KPAP porter on all our climbs to ensure that our treatment of porters always is up to high standards.
What is altitude sickness?
Altitude sickness (often just called AMS) is caused by climbing to altitudes where the air pressure is much reduced.
By the time you have reached the summit of Kilimanjaro air pressure is down to 49% of what it is at sea level. The first effect of this is that every lungful of air contains only half the amount of oxygen it would normally have. This makes any physical exertion very hard work. Slowly, slowly is the key.
The second and most dangerous effects of low pressures are on the parts of the body where fluid and air meet. The two most important areas in the skull and lungs. With low air pressure fluid gets into the lungs and the gap between the brain and the skull. In the lungs, this causes something like pneumonia, where your lungs fill with water. In the brain, it causes bad headaches. Both of these can become so bad they will kill you.
The good news is that we plan our ascents very carefully to minimise the risk of you getting AMS and have well-tested emergency plans on how to prevent altitude sickness.
What is the difference between an open group climb and a private climb?
Private climbs to climb Kilimanjaro are your own personal tailor-made adventure. They give you total flexibility and the highest chance of success. Just choose your date, route and any of our tailor-made options. Perfect for a group of friends or a charity group. Or perhaps for a couple looking to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary. Upgrades to private climbs start from £100 per person depending on the size of the group.
If you want the company of others while you climb Kilimanjaro then an open group is perfect for you. Our group climbs run every week during the main climbing season from June - October and December - March. They are limited to a maximum of 12 climbers to make sure you get the best chance of summit success. Particularly popular are our open group full moon climbs which run every month.
What will the food be like?
The food our cooks prepare on Kilimanjaro is amazing. What they can create on a mountain is beyond belief and everybody raves about our food. This is really important as keeping yourself hydrated and ensuring you eat well is one of the most important factors in success. You can read more about our Kilimanjaro food. If you have special dietary requirements or are a vegetarian then just let us know when you book so that we can be sure to have a suitable menu planned.
How will I wash during my climb?
Every morning and evening you will be provided with a bowl of hot water for washing. As well as this we strongly recommend a good supply of baby wipes for cleaning hands during the day. Also when it gets very cold higher on the mountain you can get by with what we call a "pits and bits" wash for which a baby wipe is perfect. Remember though that whatever you take up the mountain has to come down so you will need a waste bag to carry used wet wipes.
Are there any age restrictions on climbers?
Kilimanjaro Park Authority does not allow any climbers on the mountain younger than 12 years of age. There is no maximum - our oldest client who summited was 75. You should be aware though that we do not allow children younger than 16 to join an open group. This is primarily because we feel that for children under 16 we need to provide the more personalised care that is only available on a private trip. Also, we have sometimes had negative feedback from adults about having children on a climb with them.