Sandhill Adventures

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro via The Northern Circuit Route

The Northern Circuit route is widely regarded as one of the finest ways to experience the beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro. This route allows you to enjoy nearly 360 degrees of breathtaking scenery, including the less-traveled northern slopes. As the longest route on Kilimanjaro, the Northern Circuit provides ample time for acclimatization, leading to a higher success rate in reaching the summit. This makes the Northern Circuit a highly recommended choice for those seeking an exceptional and successful Kilimanjaro climb.

Day 1: Lemosho Gate to Mti Mkubwa

Your incredible journey begins at Lemosho Gate. As you step onto the trail, the pristine wilderness of Kilimanjaro surrounds you. The day’s trek takes you to Mti Mkubwa, a serene campsite within the lush rainforest, setting the stage for the adventure ahead.

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1

The trail ascends through the rainforest, gradually giving way to the expansive moorland. As you make your way to Shira 1, you’ll be greeted by the panoramic views of the Shira Plateau. The transition from forest to moorland offers a captivating change in scenery.

Day 3: Shira 1 to Shira 2

Today’s hike continues from Shira 1 to Shira 2. The landscape becomes rockier and more rugged as you ascend further. Shira 2 is nestled amidst the alpine desert, offering a unique and tranquil setting.

Day 4: Shira 2 to Mweka Hut

The trail leads you from Shira 2 to Mweka Hut, where you’ll be surrounded by the otherworldly beauty of the high-altitude desert. The stark contrast between the barren terrain and the lush rainforest of the previous days is striking.

Day 5: Mweka Hut to Buffalo Camp

Your journey takes you from Mweka Hut to Buffalo Camp. The trail offers solitude and immersion in nature as you make your way through the alpine environment. Buffalo Camp provides a serene and picturesque setting amidst the harsh landscape.

Day 6: Buffalo Camp to Third Cave

As you continue to ascend, the landscape becomes more challenging. The trek from Buffalo Camp to Third Cave offers a blend of rocky terrain and stunning vistas. This part of the journey provides a sense of isolation and introspection.

Day 7: Third Cave to Kibo Hut

The trail now leads you from Third Cave to Kibo Hut, your base for the summit attempt. As you approach Kibo, the barren lunar-like landscape becomes more prominent. Spend the evening at Kibo Hut, mentally preparing for the ultimate challenge.

Day 8: Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak

Summit day has arrived. In the pre-dawn darkness, you’ll begin your ascent to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. The effort and determination required are immense, but the reward of witnessing the sunrise from the summit is unparalleled. After celebrating your achievement, you’ll descend to Mweka Camp.

Day 9: Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

Your descent continues from Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp. As you descend, the terrain transitions from the harsh alpine environment to the lush rainforest. Take in the beauty of the forest as you reflect on your incredible achievement.

Day 10: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

The final day of your journey leads you from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate. Descending through the rainforest, you’ll appreciate the rich biodiversity and vibrant vegetation. Your Kilimanjaro adventure concludes at Mweka Gate before you return to your destination.

The 9-day Northern Circuit Route offers a comprehensive exploration of Kilimanjaro’s diverse landscapes, from rainforests to high-altitude deserts and the summit. It’s a journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and a deep connection to the natural wonders of this iconic mountain.

Related Routes

Climbing FAQ

More than 30,000 hikers visit the famous mountain, known as the roof of Africa, each year, drawn not just by its height but also by the panorama it offers. While scaling Mount Kilimanjaro is not for the faint of heart, many trekking aficionados have it on their bucket list to reach the mountain’s snow-capped summit.

The dry season, which lasts from June to October and December to March, offers beautiful scenery, a clear view, and a high success rate for summit attempts.

In our opinion. The Machame Route comes in second, followed by the Lemosho Route, while the Rongai Route comes in third.

The gateway to both Kilimanjaro and the safari is Kilimanjaro International Airport. From there, you’ll be driven an hour to Moshi town or an hour to Arusha City for the night. Drive to the gates of the Kilimanjaro mountain park the following day.

You need all of the equipment from the Kilimanjaro Climb Gear List as well as layered clothing because the summit is extremely cold.

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