Discover the beauty and solitude of Mount Kilimanjaro through its newest and arguably most picturesque route, the Northern Circuit Route. This trail encapsulates the finest elements from other routes, offering a unique and comprehensive hiking experience for those seeking scenic vistas, tranquility, wildlife encounters, and a rewarding challenge.

Merging with the Lemosho Route initially, the Northern Circuit Route distinguishes itself by veering towards the less-traveled northern trails of Kibo. This divergence ensures a serene and nearly untouched journey, with campsites that promise peace and solitude amidst the mountain’s captivating landscapes.

Being a longer trail, the Northern Circuit Route affords trekkers the opportunity to immerse themselves more deeply in the diverse terrains of Mount Kilimanjaro. Participants traverse the stunning Shira Plateau, witness the majestic Kibo Peak and Uhuru Summit, and relish breathtaking views over the expansive plains to the mountain’s north – a sight granted to only a select few adventurers ascending Kilimanjaro.

If a harmonious blend of solitude, natural beauty, and a sense of adventure is what you seek, the Northern Circuit Route on Mount Kilimanjaro is the ideal choice. Explore the quiet trails, revel in the diverse landscapes, and enjoy a truly unparalleled hiking experience on this remarkable route.

The Northern Circuit Route boasts the highest success rate for reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, standing impressively at 98%. This route, originating from the southern side of Kilimanjaro, is the newest and longest, offering climbers an encompassing 360-degree panoramic view of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Undertaking the ascent via this route typically requires 8 to 9 days to reach the summit.

The noteworthy success rate of the Northern Circuit Route can be attributed to its prolonged duration and extensive traverse around the same altitude, significantly aiding in better acclimatization for climbers. This aspect makes it a preferred choice for many seeking to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, granting them not only breathtaking views but also a higher likelihood of summit success.

Choose your Mount Kilimanjaro Route

Machame Route

Machame Route

At Kilimanjaro Trails we offer Mount Kilimanjaro climbing through the Machame
machame Route

Marangu Route

Also known as the Coca-Cola route, this is the easiest route of all Kilimanjaro trails
Lemosho Route

Lemosho Route

This is a fairly new route on the mountain and it is greatly recommended by operators.
Northern Circuit Route

Northern Circuit Route

Climbers having ample time for this trek should actually think of taking
Rongai Route

Rongai Route

The only route that approached the summit from the north, close to Kenyan border
umbwe route

Umbwe Route

This is the most challenging route on mountain Kilimanjaro.

While the Northern Circuit Route offers a myriad of advantages, including diverse landscapes and serene trails, it does present a challenge in terms of time commitment. Unlike most other Kilimanjaro routes that can be completed in approximately six or seven days, the Northern Circuit demands around nine or more days. This extended duration may limit the number of adventurers who can incorporate this trail into their itinerary. However, for those who can allocate the time, the unique and enriching experience offered by this route is unequivocally rewarding.

Climbing Kilimanjaro along the Northern Circuit Route commences at Londorossi Gate, ascending the western flanks of Mount Kilimanjaro. The trek traverses through the lush rainforest before reaching the Shira Ridge and progressing to the expansive Shira Plateau. The route then heads north, encircling Kilimanjaro in a clockwise direction. The trek starts from Moir Hut, advances to Buffalo Camp, and concludes at School Hut. Throughout this adventure, trekkers experience a nearly 360-degree circumnavigation around Kilimanjaro, ultimately summiting from the east.

Northern Circuit Mount Kilimanjaro

Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro

Where does the Northern Circuit route diverge from the Lemosho Route?

The Northern Circuit Route diverges from the Lemosho Route at the Lava Tower. After the initial days of trekking, both routes converge at the Lava Tower, which is a significant landmark on Mount Kilimanjaro located at an altitude of approximately 4,630 meters (15,190 feet). From the Lava Tower, climbers on the Lemosho Route will typically proceed towards the Barranco Camp, whereas those on the Northern Circuit Route will head northwards to more remote and quieter parts of the mountain, such as the Northern Slopes, before looping around to approach the summit. The Northern Circuit provides a more extended and less crowded experience, offering more time for acclimatization and the opportunity to explore the quieter, northern side of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Northern Circuit Route Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How difficult is the Northern Circuit Route?

A: The Northern Circuit Route is considered to have the lowest difficulty level among all the Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes. While it is the longest route, its extended itinerary provides the best acclimatization profile, consequently making the trek less strenuous. Spanning over nine days, the journey is generally easy underfoot and excellent for altitude acclimatization. Nonetheless, a good level of fitness is highly recommended to tackle the challenges and enjoy the expedition.

Q: What is the distance of the Northern Circuit Route and how many days does it take?

A: The Northern Circuit Route covers an exact trekking distance of 88 km (53 miles). The minimum number of days typically required for this route is 8; however, shorter ascents can result in some strenuous trekking days. Once arrival and departure days are accounted for, the total trip duration may be 10 to 12 days. Given that the Northern Circuit is one of the longest routes on Mount Kilimanjaro, a 9-day trekking itinerary is often recommended to enhance acclimatization and increase the chances of a successful summit.

Q: What is the Northern Circuit Route Summit Success Rate?

A: The Northern Circuit Route, being the longest path up Mount Kilimanjaro, offers optimal opportunities for acclimatization, thereby increasing the chances of a successful summit. While there are no official statistics available, the average success rate across various operators is approximately 90%. Notably, our operations boast an impressive summit success rate of over 98% for trekkers choosing the Northern Circuit Route!

Q: What is the scenery like on the Northern Circuit Route?

A: The Northern Circuit Route offers a diverse and captivating array of landscapes. The initial segment of the journey takes trekkers through the lush Lemosho forest and across the expansive Shira Plateau. As climbers navigate to the remote and seldom-visited northern side of Kilimanjaro, the scenery transitions to a more arid and stark environment. This area’s remoteness offers glimpses of the elusive eland and occasional buffalos that visit to extract minerals from the natural caves located on the higher slopes of Kilimanjaro. The varied landscapes and unique wildlife sightings contribute to a rich and memorable trekking experience.

Q: When is the best time to trek the Northern Circuit Route?

A: The ideal time to trek the Northern Circuit Route is from July to September. During these months, the weather is typically stable, and the likelihood of encountering rain is minimal, making the conditions favorable for the trek. However, given Kilimanjaro’s proximity to the equator, it is feasible to climb the mountain at any time of the year. It is advisable to avoid the months of April and May, as this is the rainy season, which can make the trekking conditions more challenging.