The Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit route is a special route on Kili Climb. African mountain climbing expedition on this Kilimanjaro climbing route is the least-used route on Kilimanjaro Climbing. The Kili climb trail begins on the Shira Plateau.
About The 9 Day Kili Climb
The hike across the plateau is said to be one of the most stunning and beautiful hikes in Africa. Early on you leave the tourist trails and head off across the north side of the mountain.
Northern Circuit Route
The Northern Circuit Route is the longest route on Kilimanjaro, a nine day trip initially ascending Lemosho route on the western side of the mountain up onto the Shira Plateau before reaching the Lava Tower, then heading north and circumnavigating the main summit massif in a clockwise direction and joining up with the Rongai route. The summit is then climbed from the eastern side of the mountain and the descent is straight down via the southern Mweka route.
Understandably this is also known as the Grand Traverse or the 360 Route and offers the complete Kilimanjaro experience in terms of all the habitats and the views of the mountain from all sides. The longer journey has excellent acclimatisation and stunning scenery with views across the southern flanks, western forests, the northern plains to the Kenyan border and the arid eastern slopes. The paths are comparatively quiet and less used.
Also the altitude gain each day is less than on other routes, with a gentle gradient until reaching Kikelewa or Third Caves camp, therefore over nine days the likelihood of altitude sickness is significantly less. Yet the overall length of the route is 96 kilometres, not much more than the other routes. An alternate route which summits directly up the northern slopes from School Hut is about 79 kilometres.
9 Day Tanzania Kili Climb Itinerary
Day 1: MORUM BARRIER GATE (12,362 ft) – SHIRA 1 CAMP (12,200 ft)
You will be met by our Tanzania safari rep in Arusha. Enjoy a detailed brief on the Kili climb package. This is followed by a departure from Arusha at 0730 hrs. You will head to Londorossi gate which is 4 hours away. On arrival, you will complete entry formalities.
Your Kili climb proceeds up by car to Morum Barrier Gate. It will take another hour to reach the trailhead. Your arrival will be in time for lunch. Start the trek through heather and moorland that leads to the first camp. This will only be about 1-2 hours of trekking. The view of Kibo from across the plateau is stunning.
Day 2: SHIRA 1 CAMP – MOIR CAMP (13,800 ft)
You will trek across the Shira plateau, east toward Kibo’s glaciered peak. Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth. It averages 12,500 feet. You will immediately veer away from the tourist trails.
Your Kili climb heads toward the northeast edge of the Plateau. This is to Moir Camp. The trek is about 4-5 hours over easy terrain. Moir camp is an isolated and seldom used camp. It affords views over the Shira Plateau.
Day 3: MOIR CAMP – POFU CAMP (13,200 ft)
You will start the morning trek on Kili climb heading out of the moorland. The trail gets into the stark alpine desert. Get on a steep ridge off the main trail. Here you will begin our venture on the Northern Circuit Route.
The total trekking time is about 5 – 7 hours. You will make camp at the Pofu Campsite. From here, you are able to enjoy magnificent views of Kenya’s wild lands to the north.
Day 4: POFU CAMP – KIKELEWA CAVES CAMP (11,800 ft)
Your Kili climb proceeds onward through valleys. You will go over ridges through the alpine desert and moorland. Continue your circuit to the east.
Here you will enjoy a vast mountain wilderness to yourselves. Trekking time on Kili climb today takes 5 – 7 hours.
Day 5: KIKELEWA CAVES – MAWENZI TARN CAMP (14,160 ft)
You will trek 3-5 hours steadily upward. This will take you to a placid mountain tarn. It is located at the foot of the majestically rising steep ridges of Mawenzi.
This is Kilimanjaro’s second highest volcano. The camp here is nestled along the tarn in a protected alcove. It has magnificent views towards the steeply rising rocks of Mawenzi.
Day 6: MAWENZI TARN – OUTWARD BOUND CAMP (15,585 ft)
Your trekking time on Kili climb today is 5 – 7 hours. This is a relatively easy hike across the wide saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo.
The trek takes you across the massive saddle. It is a crossing that is impressive and the landscape spectacularly stark. The temperatures will turn cold as you near the foot of Kibo. You will reach Outward Bound Camp after 5-7 hours of trekking.
Prepare all your gear for the day ahead, and turn in early to rest. A re-supply of fresh food and supplies will reach camp on this afternoon.
Day 7: OUTWARD BOUND – UHURU – CRATER CAMP (18,800 ft)
Today’s Mount Kilimanjaro hike starts at 0500hrs. This will be with a wake-up call for breakfast. You have a juggernaut (7-10 hours of trekking) on this day. You will embark on trekking at 0600hrs. This will be up the winding path of endless switchbacks.
From your camp you will head to the rim of the crater. This is Gillman’s located at Point 18,750 ft./ 5,712 m. Your 7 – 8 hours trek gets you to Uhuru Peak. The slope is steep, with switchbacks. You will go over loose rock and scree. There are some boulders as you near Gilman’s Point. You will stop at Hans Meyer cave on the way.
Once at Gilman’s Point the trail to the summit is less demanding. You will arrive at the summit in the early afternoon hours. There are usually no other tourists there at that time. This is also the time with the best weather of the day.
From the summit we take a short descent to reach the Crater Camp. The camp is set in soft sands. This is near the retreating vertical ice walls of the Furtwangler glacier. Rest and enjoy snacks and hot drinks in the mess tent. You can opt to explore the strange landscape of the inner crater.
This will include a visit to Reusch Crater, the ash pit, and the glaciers. Not so many people on Mount Kilimanjaro hike ever experience the summit zone in this way.
Day 8: CRATER CAMP – MWEKA CAMP (10,070 ft)
Your day on Mount Kilimanjaro hike starts with a morning walk. This is to the Reusch Crater and central ashpit. You will then descend via Stella Point to Barafu Camp for lunch.
Continue with the descent after lunch into the Heather Zone to Mweka Camp. It is here that you will spend your night. The trekking time from the Crater to Mweka Camp ranges between 6-8 hours.
Day 9: MWEKA CAMP – MWEKA GATE (5,370 ft)
Last day on Mount Kilimanjaro hike begins with a descent. This will be a 2 – 3 hours trek straight to Mweka gate. Here you will have your lunch and to be awarded climbing certificates. Enjoy a transfer back to Arusha for a much-welcomed shower.
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9 Day Tanzania Kili Climb Costs:
Mount Kilimanjaro Climb Inclusions/Exclusions
- Group transport to and from Moshi to the trail head
- Kilimanjaro National Park permits, camping/hut fees, rescue fees and Value Added Tax (VAT)
- Expert guide, assistant guides, cook and porters
- Bottled oxygen, for emergency rescue only
- Private toilet
- Four season, 3 person mountain tents, double occupancy
- Sleeping pad, foam, 1.5 inches thick
- Mess tents, tables, chairs, lanterns
- Fresh, nutritious meals on the mountain
- Breakfast at hotel
Not included in 9 Day Tanzania Kili Climb price:
- Lunch or dinner at hotel
- Beverages at hotel
- Personal gear and equipment
Costs of extra services:
- Single supplement, for single tent/room, per trip $250
- Extra porter, for excess gear, per day $30
- Extra hotel night in Moshi, check in 11AM, check out 10AM, per double room $90
- Sleeping bag rental, Mountain Hardwear Lamina, synthetic -30F, per trip $50
- No rental reservations necessary, payable in Tanzania
- Trekking poles rental, telescopic, per trip $20
No rental reservations necessary, payable in Tanzania
- Mount Meru climb (4 days/3 nights + 2 nights hotel)
per person $1,495 (2+ climbers), solo climber $1,695