10 Days Kilimanjaro Climbs The Northern Circuit Route With A Crater Overnight

The Northern Circuit is the newest and longest route on Mount Kilimanjaro. It begins in the West at the Londorossi Gate and follows the same path as the Lemosho Route for the first two days. After crossing the Shira plateau the path veers north near Lava Tower, following the longer Northern Circuit instead of the more popular Southern Circuit via Barranco Valley The route circles around the quieter northern slopes to the east side of the mountain. The Northern Circuit is longer than the other trails on Kilimanjaro, taking a minimum of nine to eleven days to complete. The eight-day trek skips the additional acclimatization day that is usually spent at Shira Camp 2 and continues straight on to Moir Camp.

About Crater Camp on Kilimanjaro

Crater camp is not a route in its own right but a challenging extension that in principle can be added to any route. It involves sleeping overnight in the bowl of the crater. An amazing experience enjoyed by only a few of the most adventurous climbers. The period depends on the route. Camping at the crater is a bit expensive since it’s charged extra by the park authority and the crew wages are paid extra.


Day 1

Arrive In Tanzania

You will be picked up at the Kilimanjaro International Airport and transferred to your hotel in Moshi/Arusha town; you will meet your guide who will brief you on your upcoming trek and do an equipment check to make sure you have all the necessary mountain gear. The missing gear can be rented in our store.

Meal plan: Dinner only.

Day 2

LONDOROSSI GATE (2,100 M) – START POINT (2,360 M) TO MTI MKUBWA CAMP (2,820 M). (Mti Mkubwa is a Swahili word meaning A big tree)

The Northern Circuit Route begins at Londorossi Gate (2,100 meters) in the West, the same starting point as the Lemosho Route. The drive to Londorossi Gate takes approximately two hours from Moshi and considerably longer from Arusha. Registration with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities occurs at the gate and then you will be driven further up the mountain to the trailhead starting point. Most tour operators serve lunch here before the short first-day trek to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,820 meters) begins. You may get lucky and spot large wildlife like elephants and buffalo that sometimes emerge from the rainforest onto the path as you trek towards your first camp. Dinner will be served when you reach Mti Mkubwa Camp.

• Distance: 5.5km / 3 miles
• Trekking time: 3-4 hours
• Zone: Rainforest
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 3


On day two you will spend the first hour trekking through the last section of the rainforest path before entering the low alpine moorland zone which follows up onto the Shira Plateau. The trek is relatively short and gradual,  passing at Shira camp one and ending at Shira Camp two.

Distance:14km / 9miles

Trekking time: 6-7 hours

Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 4

SHIRA 2 CAMP (3850 M) TO MOIR CAMP (4,200 M).

Day four is a long trek heading east which passes through the ‘Garden of the Senecios’ and then enters the high alpine desert zone. The morning is spent trekking up to Lava Tower and the iconic Shark’s Tooth rock formation at 4,600 meters, where you will have lunch. After lunch, you will join the northern circuit heading down to Moir Camp at 4,200 meters (see map above). This is an important day in your trek as you will experience high altitude and then sleep low, which is good for acclimatization.

Distance: 14km / 8 miles

Trekking time: 5-7 hours

Zone: Low alpine zone / High alpine zone

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 5

MOIR CAMP (4,200 M) TO BUFFALO CAMP (4,020 M).

Day five involves a moderately steep climb out of Moir Valley. Trekkers can take a small detour here to climb the summit of Little Lent Hill at 4,375 meters before returning to the Northern Circuit trail. 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 across the plains north of Kilimanjaro and stretches 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 of hiking.

• Distance: 12km / 7 miles
• Trekking time: 5-7 hours
• Zone: High alpine zone
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 6


Day six starts with a climb up the Buffalo ridge and down into Porfu Camp where lunch is usually served. The route then continues east around the northern slopes to the Rongai Third Cave at 3,800 meters. The trek is shorter than the day before and you should be feeling well-acclimatized to the altitude by now. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon.

• Distance: 8km / 5 miles
• Trekking time: 5-7 hours
• Zone: High alpine zone and low alpine zone
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 7

THIRD CAVE (3,800 M) TO SCHOOL HUT (4,800 M).

Day seven involves a steady incline up and over the Saddle which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. Trekkers then continue walking southwest up to School Hut (4,800 meters). After arriving at School Hut you will be served an early dinner and then you should get some shut-eye as you will be awoken before midnight to start your summit attempt. Before going to bed, remember to prepare all your gear, including warm clothes, insulated water bottles, snacks, a headlamp, and a camera.

• Distance: 15km / 8 miles
• Trekking time: 4-5 hours
• Zone: High alpine zone and glacial zone
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 8

SCHOOL HUT (4,800 M) TO UHURU PEAK (5,895 M) TO CRATER CAMP (5,790 M).

You will awake before dawn to start your summit attempt, meandering up the switchbacks to Gilman’s Point before hiking around the edge of the caldera to Uhuru Peak – The Roof of Africa. After pictures are taken and the views enjoyed, you will head to Crater Camp inside the volcano.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 9


In the morning after early breakfast, we begin our descent by returning to Stella Point and then descending on the scree slope passing Barafu camp for a short break before heading down to Millennium Camp for a long well-earned rest.

• Distance: 13.4km / 8.3miles
• Approx. time: 11 – 13 hours
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included

Day 10


The final day is a short hike through the dense montane rainforest from Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters). At the gate, you will need to sign out with the authority, who will also provide you with your official certificate – a green certificate for those who made it to Gilman’s Point and a gold certificate for those who reached Uhuru Peak. It is customary to give your guide and porter tips before being driven back to your hotel in Moshi.

• Distance: 10km / 6.5 miles
• Trekking time: 3-4 hours
• Zone: Rainforest zone
• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


Price includes:

  • Private transport to & from Kilimanjaro International Airport to your accommodations in Arusha.
  • Nights of accommodation in Moshi/Arusha.
  • Transportation to & from the Kilimanjaro gate
  • Park entry fees,
  • Camping fees
  • Rescue fees
  • 18% VAT on tour fees & services
  • 4 Season Mountain tents
  • Double-layered Sleeping Mats
  • Friendly and professional mountain guides, cooks, and porters
  • Three hot meals daily while on the mountain, hot drinks, and snacks
  • Enough treated & filtered drinking water throughout the trek
  • Hot water for washing
  • Fair wages for the mountain crew as approved by the Kilimanjaro National 
  • Government taxes
  • Portable oxygen tanks & ox meter
  • Emergency first-aid kit

Price Not Included

  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Laundry (Available at the hotel)
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Surcharge for online payment of balance (5%)
  • Tips for guides, porters, and cooks (this is a guide to tipping on the mountain