Northern Circuit Route
9 Day Northern Circuit Route Itinerary
Day 1: Arusha / Moshi – Londorossi Gate – Mti Mkubwa Camp (7,742 ft – 9,498 ft, 6 km, 3 – 4 hrs)
We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours, where you will complete entry formalities. Then drive to the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival at trailhead, we eat lunch, then commence our hike through dense rain forest to the first camp site.
Day 2: Mti Mkubwa Camp – Shira 1 (9,498 ft – 11,500 ft, 8 km, 5 – 6 hrs)
We continue on the trail leading out of the rain forest and into a savannah of tall grasses, heather, and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. As we ascend through the lush rolling hills and cross several streams, we reach the Shira Ridge before dropping gently down to Shira 1 camp. The view of Kibo from across the plateau is amazing.
Day 3: Shira 1 – Shira 2 (11,500 ft – 12,500 ft, 7 km, 3 – 4 hrs)
After breakfast, we continue to traverse the Shira Plateau. The trail ascends gently through the semi-alpine zone and that offers abundant wildflowers and unique Senecio trees. Today’s hiking time is short and once at camp it is a good idea to use free time to take short acclimatization walks around and above the area, dinner and overnight at Shira 2.
Day 4: Shira Camp 2 – Lava Tower – Moir Hut (12,500 ft – 15,190 ft, 14 km, 5 – 7 hrs)
From Shira 2, we continue east and gain more than 2,500 ft in elevation as we make our way towards Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth.” Then we descend to Moir Hut, a little used site on the base of Lent Hills. This is an important day in our trek as we experience high altitude during the day and sleep at lower altitude; it is great for the acclimatization process.
Day 5: Moir Hut – Buffalo Camp (13,580 ft – 13,200 ft, 12 km, 5 – 7 hrs)
Trekking out of Moir Valley is a moderately steep climb. We hike to the summit of Lent Hills before returning to the Northern Circuit trail. The path crosses a rock field and gently undulates before reaching Buffalo Camp. This section of the trail offers great vista views across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan / Tanzanian border.
Day 6: Buffalo Camp – 3rd Cave (13,200 ft – 12,700 ft, 8 km, 5 – 7 hrs)
Throughout the day we will cross ribs and gullies as we head up the Buffalo Ridge. The terrain becomes increasingly sparse as the trail continues on to the northern slopes of the Rongai 3rd Cave. This route is rarely travelled and we will enjoy its remote wilderness feel.
Day 7: 3rd Cave – School Hut (12,700 ft – 15,600 ft, 5 km, 4 – 5 hrs)
Today we have a steady incline up and over the “Saddle,” which sits between Kibo Peak and Mawenzi Peak. From here we continue upwards and reach School Hut. The remainder of the day is spent resting and preparing for summit day, which will begin in the late evening around 11pm, so it is important to try to get to bed by 7pm.
Day 8: School Hut – Uhuru Point – Mweka Camp (15,600 ft – 19,341 ft – 10,065 ft, 18 km, 10 – 14 hrs)
We wake in the middle of the night and begin the final push to reach the Roof of Africa. The trail to Gilman’s Point is very steep and the ascent will be slow and steady. From Gilman’s, it is a traverse along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak. We stay at the summit for a short time, to take photos and enjoy the views, before retracing our steps to Stella Point, and then descend down a long, rocky path to Mweka Camp.
Day 9: Mweka Camp – Arusha / Moshi (10,065 ft – 5,380 ft, 10 km, 3 – 4 hrs)
After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Arusha / Moshi.