8 Days Northern Circuit Route

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Inclusion
  • Trekking gear
  • Online Booking

This 8-day 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. Descend is made via the Mweka 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.

If you would like to climb another route, variations of these routes, and/or select a custom date, contact us at info@zorillasafaris.com to arrange a private climb.

Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa

  • Distance: 11 km
  • Hiking Time: 3 hours
  • Habitat: Rain Forest

Drive from Moshi or Arusha to  Londorossi Gate, where we will complete entry formalities. From here a forest track requiring one hour drive to Lemosho Glades. After lunch, we will walk along forest trails to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite,

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira Camp 1

  • Distance: 8km
  • Hiking Time: 7 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland

We will follow a trail that leads out of the forest and into a savannah  giant heather moorland zone. Our ascend through scenic rolling hills, we will cross several streams to reach the Shira Ridge before descending to Shira 1 camp. The view of Kibo from the plateau is spectacular.

Day 3: Shira Camp 1 to Moir Hut

  • Distance: 11km
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
  • Habitat: Moorland / Alpine Desert

Today we follow an easy path to the summit of Shira Cathedral before reaching Moir hut in the alpine zone. For extra acclimatization one can take walk around for the higher lands around the camp; views are superb. Lunch will be served at Fisher camp. The afternoon will be the acclimatization walk up onto the Lent Hills, with the summit at 4700m.

Day 4: Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp

  • Distance: 12km
  • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert

Today we take moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. You will have opportunity for small detour to climb the summit of Little Lent Hill at 4375m before returning to the Northern Circuit path. From here the route follows a series of inclines and declines, skirting around the northern slopes of Kibo to Buffalo Camp (4,020 meters).The trek gives great vistas out across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan / Tanzanian border. You will arrive at Buffalo Camp just after midday, where you will have lunch and have time to rest after a long day hiking.

Day 5: Buffalo Camp to Third Cave

  • Distance: 8km
  • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: High Alpine zone

As we head up Buffalo Ridge, and down to Porfu Camp where the lunch will be served.  This route is rarely travelled and we will enjoy its mountain wilderness feel. We trek through remote valleys on to the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro until we arrive at Third Cave in the afternoon.

Day 6: Third Cave to School Hut

  • Distance: 15km
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: High Alpine zone

Today we take steady ascend over the Saddle, nested between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. The path leads further south-west toward School Hut, where you will be served with early dinner, after which you should get some sleep, because you will be awoken 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.

Day 7: School Hut to Uhuru Peak to Millennium Camp

  • Distance: 6km (Descend distance 11km)
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours ascent and 4-6 hour descent
  • Habitat: Glacial zone and all preceding zones

You will be awoken around midnight and served with hot tea and biscuits, after the refreshment will begin the steep incline up the slopes of Kibo, under the cover of the night. The first check-point is Hans Meyer Cave where you will take a short break, and then climb steep to the Gilman’s Point (5681m. Take a moment to enjoy incredible view of Mawenzi Peak, before we start final 2 hours trekking to Uhuru Peak. The slope flattens as we head west around the crater rim and should arrive at the summit at dawn. We will stay briefly at the top for you to get as many photos as you can of the incredible views and surrounding glaciers. We will then retrace our steps back around the crater rim to Stella Point, where we turn south and head down the heavily screed slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp. After a short break here we continue down to Millennium Camp for your final night on the mountain. In total you will be trekking for 14-16 hours on day eight so it is important to pace yourself, remain hydrated and keep your blood sugar levels up.

Day 8: Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate

  • Distance: 6km (Descend distance 11km)
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours ascent and 4-6 hour descent
  • Habitat: Rainforest zone

Today the path descends steeply through the lush Mweka Rain Forest. The route follows the crest of a broad ridge separating two river valleys until it meets with a road that leads us for the last 40 mins to the Mweka Park gates where we stop for a well deserved picnic lunch where successful hikers will receive their summit certificates (gold for Uhuru Peak, green for Stella Point) from the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority. A vehicle will meet you at gate to drive you back to hotel in Moshi or Arusha.


  • Transfers from/to Kilimanjaro airport (JRO)
  • Transfers to/from Kilimanjaro entrance gate
  • All national park gate fees
  • Certified, experienced, English-speaking guides
  • Porters and Cook salaries
  • Rescue fees (required by national park)
  • All meals on the mountain
  • Mountain tents
  • Double layered Sleeping Mats
  • Filtered water throughout the trek
  • Cooking equipment and eating utensils
  • All government tax


  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fee
  • Tips to mountain crew
  • Laundry Services
  • All items of a personal nature
  • Portable flush toilet with a toilet tent is extra


For the Head

Wool Hat, Balaclava, Sunglasses, glacier glasses better, Sunscreen (SPF 25+), Lip Balm (SPF 25+), Sun Hat, Bandana

Clothes (No Cotton)    

Synthetic base layer (2) , Wool or synthetic layer (2)Wool or fleece sweaterWind/Water-proof jacket, Convertible hiking pants, Underwear, Water-Proof Pants, Synthetic or wool pants for layering, Gloves or mittens, Glove Liner, Lycra tights.

For the Feet

Thin sock liners (2), Wool hiking socks (6), Good- broken-in hiking boots, Gaiters (knee lengthy is better), Tennis shoes or sandals (for camp)

For Sleeping

Zero degree sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner (optional), Inflatable pillow (optional)

For Hiking

Day pack (no larger than 2,200cu), Water bladder 100oz/3ltr, Rain cover for pack, Headlamp, Extra batteries, Large duffel bag for gear (porters carry), Energy bars/gels, Plastic bags

Personal Items

Toiletries, Small first aid kit, Small towel, Diamox for altitude sickness, Cash for tipping, Wet wipes, Bug Spray

Other Items

Sunglasses, Sunscreen (SPF 25+), Lip Balm (SPF 25+), Sun Hat, Bandana, Camera, Bug spray, Malaria pills, Flashlight/torch, Batteries, Cash for tips, etc.


    If you would like to climb another route or you wish to go on safari, or have questions about variations of this itinerary, and/or select a custom date, contact us at info@zorillasafaris.com to arrange a private climb or safari based on your specific desire.