The 9 days Northern Circuit Route is one of the easiest routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is a recently introduced route that gives climbers enough time to acclimatize as well as enjoy the beautiful scenery that it offers. If you have enough time on your hands and are not on a tight budget this route will take you to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro with ease.
Boasting a high summit success rate, the rarely visited northern slopes of Kilimanjaro will reward you with beautiful 360 degrees of panoramic views. The 9 Days Northern Circuit route is one of the longest routes hence it takes longer to climb Kilimanjaro using this route. This route can be done as an 8-day itinerary or a 9-day itinerary which we strongly recommend.
How to climb the 9 Days Northern Circuit route
The starting point of the 9 days Northern Circuit route is at the Londorosi gate from the western side of the mountain traversing to the beautiful Shira plateau via the Shira Ridge in the west.
The route takes a different direction compared to the other route as instead of heading south, it takes the northern direction around the mountain towards the Uhuru peak, Mount Kilimanjaro’s main summit. Once it reaches the summit, climbers take a different route going down the mountain as the descent is via the popular Mweka route.
Location: Just like the Lemosho route, the starting point at the Londorosi Gate is located on the western side of the mountain.
Difficulty: Challenging but easier compared to the other routes
Height: The 9 Days Northern Circuit route trails to Uhuru Peak at an altitude of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet).
Duration: The Northern Circuit route has two options, the 8-day itinerary, and the 9-day itinerary, we do recommend the 9-day itinerary though as it guarantees a high summit success rate and enough time to acclimatize.
Trail conditions: This is a newer route, meaning it experiences less traffic as it is not really popular. Another plus side of this route is that it offers beautiful scenery.
Where will you stay along this route?
Another ultimate Kilimanjaro camping experience along this 9 days Northern Circuit Route which also happens to be the longest trail on the mountain. Your nights will be spent in Tents that will be set up by our Tranquil Kilimanjaro porters on designated campsites along this route. Day 1 begins with an overnight at Mti Mkubwa camp, also known as big tree or forest camp. You will then stay at Shira Once Camp, Shira 2 Camp, Lava Tower Camp, Moir Hut, Pofu Camp/Buffalo Camp, and Third Cave Camp then summiting via School Hut Camp before returning to Mweka Camp and finally descending through the Mweka Gate along Mweka Route. We will accommodate you into a hotel room the day before your climb and if need be, even after you descend the mountain, we will book you into a nice hotel/lodge to relax before catching your flight back home or continuing on a safari or Zanzibar beach combo or addon.
How much will this 9-day Northern Circuit trek cost?
The prices for this 9-day Northern Circuit route trip will cost starting from $2,545 for a group of 6 people to $3,435 for a single person. These costs include all taxes and requirements as indicated in the “price” tab under the items included and excluded section.
As for the meals on this trek, rest assured that our chef has expertise in preparing delicious and serving energy-giving foods while on the mountain. Also, be sure to indicate if you have any dietary restrictions that you would like us to be aware of.
Mount Kilimanjaro is somehow challenging but by comparison, the Northern circuit route is easier, in fact, it is one of the easiest routes up the mountain. The reason for this is because first of all it is longer and takes longer to climb, giving hikers plenty of time to acclimatize. Still, that being said, you will still need to be fit to make your climbing routine more enjoyable. This route is also recommended for climbers who do not have any past experience in mountain climbing.
What is the 9-Day Northern Circuit route success rate?
The 9-day northern circuit route has a high success rate of about 95% due to the amount of time it gives climbers to acclimatize. At that rate, this is one of the easiest routes you could choose to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Northern Circuit Route map for 9 days trek
Below is the route map outlining the checkpoints and accommodation options along the Northern Circuit Route trek itinerary for 9 days.
Nine-day Northern Circuit route itinerary
Below is a day-by-day itinerary summary of the Northern Circuit route that takes a duration of nine days.
Shira 1 Camp
Shira 1 Camp
Shira 2 Camp
Shira 2 Camp
9 Days Northern Circuit Reviews
Below are some of the reviews that we gathered from our past clients that climbed the mountain using, Kilimanjaro’s longest route, the Northern Circuit Route.
We chose the Northern circuit route, because we were climbing for the first time, Diannah and the team advised us to take a longer route and more days to acclimatise. So we chose the 9 days northern circuit route and we did not regret it. One tip and word of advice, please drink alot of water and everything will be fine,. The guides were really helpful and the porters helped us alot. We enjoyed the scenic views on the northern slopes of mount Kilimanjaro and the amazing sunrise at Stella Point. We also took amazing pictures at Uhuru Peak. The midnight summit attempt was the hardest part but worth it.
Will Spencer – Sydney, Australia
Arrive in Arusha
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport or similar to begin your 9-day Northern Circuit Route trek, where our Tranquil Kilimanjaro staff will meet and greet you. Transfer to Chanya Lodge and meet with your mountain guide for a thorough briefing and afterward go through your gear for a check. Chanya Lodge or other recommended accommodation options is where you’ll spend the night.
Starting point: The starting point for the 9-day Northern circuit route is at the Londorossi Gate.
We drive to Londorosi Gate from Moshi town, a short drive that takes a duration of about 4 hours. It is at the gate where you will complete the paperwork and registration for beginning your climb. After registration at the gate, drive to Lemosho trailhead where hiking begins by going through the tranquil rainforest zone which leads to your first camp of the day, the Mti Mkubwa Camp.
Elevation: 9,498 ft to 11,500 ft Distance: 8 km/5 miles Hiking Time 5-6 hours Habitat: Heath
We begin hiking through the rain forest and into grassland, heath, and moorland zone with patches of lichen bearded volcanic rocks outcropping the savannah terrain. As begin climbing up through the green rolling hills and traverse meandering streams, we come across the Shira Ridge before descending sharply to the second camp of the route, the Shira 1 Camp. From here we can see a partial view of Kibo on the backdrop of the plateau.
We spend our hike on the epic Shira Plateau from Shira 1 camp, a stone’s throw away on the eastern side of the Shira 2 camp. Located in the heath and moorland zone, this area is rich of wild flowers dotted with beautiful Senecio trees.
We climb eastwards to the Shira ridge and then proceed to the Lava Tower located on the south eastern side, it is– a towering, 300 ft gigantic volcanic rock formation. Then we deviate from the main route to head to Moir Hut, a seldom frequented site located below the Lent Hills which is a popular place on Mount Kilimanjaro used for acclimatization purposes. We do a few walks on Lent hills to acclimatize.
We descend to Moir Valley and then take a steep climb to the summit of Lent Hills before returning to the main path of the Northern Circuit route. The trail traverses a rock field and gently goes up and down to reach the resting camp of day 5 of the route itinerary, the Buffalo/ Pofu Camp. This part of the route offers amazing views across the plains that are situated to the north of the mountain extending to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border.
As we move towards the Buffalo Ridge, the terrain becomes suddenly bare. This route is seldomly used by trekkers and you will get the true feeling of the real wilderness while you trek this segment. The northern slopes offer very scenic views, as we trek through remote valleys as we head towards our next campsite called Third Cave.
We reach the alpine zone in dramatic style as we climb up and over the “Saddle,” which is sandwiched between Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Our trek continues on to the next camp for overnight, at School Hut Camp. We find the camp set up and dinner already prepared. We enjoy early dinner and prepare for waking up early for summit day.
The push to attempt summiting begins around midnight, very early in the morning. Most climbers find it a very challenging segment of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, both mentally and physically as well, especially because of the extreme weather in the alpine zone.
Ascending the mountain towards the summit happens during the night in total darkness for a few hours with short intervals of resting in between. Once you reach Gilman’s point at an altitude of 18,600 ft, you will be rewarded with the most amazing sunrise views you have probably ever, with the sun rising from the direction of the Mawenzi Peak.
Descent from the summit takes the Mweka Route, with the first stop going down being the Mweka Hut camp site, making a brief lunch break at Barafu. The descent trail is full of outcropping rocks on the ground and can be quite hard on the knees; it is advisable to use poles for descending. The zone where Mweka camp is located receives plenty of rain and precipitation, most of the time it is wet as it is located on the upper rainforest zone. Later in the evening, we will have our last dinner on the mountain and a good night’s sleep, away from the worries of climbing.
This is the final day of the 9 days Northern Circuit route package, we descend up to Mweka Gate to be awarded summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be a little bit muddy or wet. After collecting our certificates, we head to Mweka Village where a vehicle awaits to take us to our hotel in Moshi.
Tranquil Kilimanjaro will supply some of the gear and equipment you will need, but some of the gear you have to either buy or hire such as waterproof gear, a headlamp, sunglasses, appropriate hiking boots, personal medication, a non-disposable water bottle, and headgear.
How to get to Northern Circuit Route?
To begin your Northern Circuit Route itinerary, you will need to reach Mount Kilimanjaro first. Travellers flying from the UK, the US, Australia or Canada, and other parts of the world can choose to fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport located between Moshi and Arusha, Tanzania, or any other airport near Moshi like the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
What are the climbing requirements for Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro welcomes hikers of all levels of fitness and ability, but if you’re planning to reach the summit, careful planning, and vigorous training is vital. Consider adding extra time to your itinerary to avoid altitude sickness and to enjoy your time climbing Kilimanjaro.
What permits do I need?
The costs for the 9 Days Northern Circuit Route are inclusive of park fees and entry permit to Mount Kilimanjaro, all you need is VISA for visiting Tanzania and your Air ticket and a few other things mentioned to be excluded from the costs for this route.