Northern Circuit Route – The Quietest Route to the Summit of Kilimanjaro - Mountain IQ

Northern Circuit Route – The Quietest Route to the Summit of Kilimanjaro

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This page provides a comprehensive and impartial guide to climbing Kilimanjaro via the Northern Circuit.

Please note: We are not a tour operator, but we can put you in touch with our recommended partner, see details below.

As this is a very long and detailed article on the Northern Circuit, we recommend using the quicklinks below to navigate to the sections that interest you most. Alternatively, bookmark this page for future reference.

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Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro

Route Overview

The Northern Circuit, as the newest and longest route up Kilimanjaro, links together portions of several other routes. It is operated as an eight- or nine-day trek by most tour operators. Success rates are relatively high for this route because trekkers have plenty of time to acclimatise.

Beginning in the West, the Northern Circuit follows the same route as the Lemosho Route for the first two days before veering north towards Lava Tower and around to the eastern side of the mountain. Trekkers reach the crater rim at Gilman's Point and traverse around to Uhuru Peak before descending via either the Mweka or Marangu Route.

Northern Circuit Pros and Cons

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    Can be completed on a 8 or 9 day route variation. Both have great summit success rates!
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    Great Walk High, Sleep Low profile which aids acclimatisation
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    Quiet and remote route, ideal if you want to avoid crowds and have the mountain to yourself
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    The longest route in days and distance. This means trekking fatigue is quite common

Northern Circuit Route Map

The map illustrates the Northern Circuit Route, which begins on the remote Western side of Mount Kilimanjaro before heading to the North and East.

You can see how the route follow the Northern Circuit around Kilimanjaro and summits via the apporach at Gilman's Point.

Descent is via the Mweka route.

Northern-Circuit-Route-Map

Northern Circuit Altitude Profile

The schematic diagram shows the altitude profile for the Northern Circuit.

You can see how the route initially ascends to Lava Tower, but then gradually descends to Rongai Cave. This provides good time to acclimatise for the summit push. 

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We do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote from our recommended partner click Get a Quote.

Northern Circuit Itinerary

The Northern Circuit Route is operated as an eight-day or a nine-day trek. Below is a detailed itinerary for the nine-day route. For details on the eight-day variation, see the Route Variations section below.

Click each day to read more...

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

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Northern Circuit Route Variations

The Northern Circuit Route can be hiked in eight days, rather than the more-typical nine days. Eight-day trekkers skip the additional acclimatisation day at Shira Camp 2, heading straight to Moir Camp via Lava Tower. Otherwise, the two routes are identical.

Video Overview

See a detailed, animated tour of the Northern Circuit Route for a taste of what can be expected on this long and beautiful trek.

Get a Kilimanjaro Trek Quote

We do not sell tours, we simply provide impartial advice. If you would like an exact quote from our recommended partner click Get a Quote.

Recommended Guidebook

mount-kilimanjaro-guide

Mount Kilimanjaro: Trekkers Guide to the Summit

Mount Kilimanjaro: Trekkers Guide to the Summit is a practical and super insightful guidebook that has been used by 1000s of climbers as an authoritative resource to prepare for Mount Kilimanjaro.

The book is available on Amazon Kindle or an eBook version can be downloaded here.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the Northern Circuit cost?

Are permits required for the Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro?

When is the best time to trek the Northern Circuit?

Is altitude sickness a risk?

How difficult is the Northern Circuit?

What gear do I need?

What travel insurance do I require?

Other Routes

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