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Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit Trekking

Tanzania Tanzania

Trekking Map

The Northern Circuit Route is also known as the 360 Degree Route. It offers you the best Kilimanjaro experience in terms of routes and views of the mountain from all sides.
This 9-day trekking tour offers you excellent acclimatization and a breath-taking landscape with a view over the southern flanks, the western forests, the northern plains of the Kilimanjaro massif to the Kenyan border and its dry eastern slopes. It is the longest route on Kilimanjaro and leads the Lemosho route on the west side of the mountain up to the Shira plateau before it reaches the lava tower, then runs north, circling the main peaks in a clockwise direction to join the Rongai route. Because this route is comparatively more expensive and longer, the paths are significantly less traveled. The summit is climbed via the east side of the mountain, while the descent is made directly via the southern Mweka route.

This trip can be extended by further safari days or beach holidays.

All of our Kilimanjaro routes have been carefully selected to allow adequate acclimatization and to ensure your safety. Experience in altitude, surefootedness and healthy fitness are prerequisites for this tour.

Day 1: Kilimanjaro Airport – Arusha – Briefing and welcome dinner
You will be met by our driver at Kilimanjaro Airport and then driven to your booked hotel in Arusha. The drive takes about an hour and with a little luck you will get a glimpse of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru. After checking in, your guide will give you a short briefing about your booked trip and then check your equipment. You have the rest of the day at leisure. In the evening you will be invited by your guide to the welcome dinner. Overnight at Ilboru Safari Lodge or similar category (D).

Day 2: Sightseeing tour in Arusha and preparation for the tour
On the second day in Arusha (1,400m) you will be able to relax a little from the long journey, prepare for the upcoming trekking tour and get a little insight into the exciting and rich culture of Tanzania. You will be picked up after breakfast for a half-day sightseeing tour. First experience the hustle and bustle of the local market in Arusha, and then be driven to the Art Gallery (Cultural Heritage Gallery), a unique cultural center on the outskirts of Arusha. Here you have enough time to look at handicrafts from all over Africa. If you are interested, there is also the opportunity to purchase handicrafts for a fee. In the afternoon you will be driven back to the hotel after an extensive exploration of the gallery and can relax for the rest of the day. Overnight at Hotel Ilboru Safari Lodge or similar category (B).

Day 3: Drive to Londrossi Gate (2,389 m) to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,785 m) – 2 hours drive and 3-4 hours hike | Rainforest
From Moshi, it’s a 45-minute drive through inviting mountain villages to Kilimanjaro National Park Gate. While we patiently wait for our permits to be issued, we will watch the hustle and bustle of the preparations by the mountain crews. We start our trek through a beautiful rainforest landscape and the windy paths while our guide informs us about the local flora and fauna and the natural fauna. At these lower elevations, the trail can be muddy and quite slippery. Therefore gaiters and trekking poles are beneficial. After a good three hours of hiking, we arrive at our first camp and spend the night under a wonderful starry sky. Overnight in tent camp (B|L|D).

Day 4: Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,785 m) to Shira I Camp (3,504 m) – 4 to 5 hours hike | Moorland
After a good night’s sleep and a tasty breakfast, we emerge from the rainforest and follow an ascending path. We leave the forest behind us now, the path climbs steadily with a wide view and reaches the edge of the Shira plateau. The temperatures are now starting to decrease with the altitude we reach. Overnight in tent camp (B|L|D).

Day 5: Shira I Camp (3,504 m) – Shira II Camp (3,895 m) – 3 to 4 hours | Lower alpine zone
From Shira I Camp we cross the Shira plateau, one of the highest plateaus on earth, on our hike until we reach Shira II Camp. Here we meet the hikers who ascend via the Machame Route. The climb continues east to the Shira Plateau. From Shira II Camp, it is worthwhile to climb a little higher to the plateau to enjoy the breathtaking view over the valley and the western break of Kilimanjaro. The plateau is very exposed, so temperatures below zero must be expected for the first time at night. Overnight in tent camp (B|L|D).

Day 6: Shira II Camp (3,895 m) via Lava Tower (4,650 m) to Moir Camp (4,155 m) – 6 to 7 hours | High alpine zone
Although we end the day at the same altitude as at the beginning, this day is very important for acclimatization. From the Shira plateau we hike further east up a ridge, past the junction to the Kibo summit, before we continue to the southeast to the Lava Tower, also known as the “Shark’s Tooth” (4,650 m). Shortly after the tower we come to a second crossing that leads to the Arrow Glacier. Here we descend to spend the night at Camp Moir Hut, a rarely used camp at the foot of the Lent hills. Overnight in tent camp (B|L|D).

Day 7: Moir Hut (4,155 m) to Buffalo Camp (4,033 m) – 5 to 6 hours | High alpine zone
We start with a moderately steep climb out of the Moir Valley. We can climb the summit of Little Lent Hill at 4,375 meters via a small detour before we return to the Northern Circuit. The route follows a series of ascents and descents that lead to Buffalo Camp on the northern slopes of Kibo. On the way we have spectacular views of the plains north of Kilimanjaro, which extend as far as the Tanzanian border into Kenya. We arrive at Buffalo Camp in the early afternoon, where we have lunch and enough time to rest. Overnight in tent camp (B|L|D).

Day 8: Buffalo Camp (4,033m) to Rongai Third Cave (3,936m) – 6 to 7hrs. | Alpine desert
Day six begins with an ascent up Buffalo Ridge and down to Pofu Camp, where lunch is served. We continue to hike east around the north slopes to Third Rongai Cave. Today’s ascent is shorter than the day before and we should be more accustomed to the altitude by now. We reach the camp in the afternoon. Overnight in tent camp (B|L|D).

Day 9: Rongai Third Cave (3,936m) – Kibo School Hut (4,717m) – 6 to 7 hours | Glacier zone
A steady ascent over the saddle, which lies between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. We continue to hike southwest to the School Hut, where an early dinner will be served as you will be leaving for the summit shortly before midnight. Make sure to prepare all of your equipment, including warm clothing, a thermos, headlamp, and camera, before going to bed. Overnight in tent camp (B|L|D).

Day 10: Kibo School-Hut (4,717 m) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) and descent to Millenium Camp (3,820 m) – approx. 12 to 14 hours
The tension increases. This is the most difficult part of the hike, mentally and physically. After a hot tea and a light snack, the ascent begins around midnight. Warmly dressed and with the light of our headlamps, we climb the scree slopes of the Kibo. It’s steep and uphill in serpentines. After 5 to 7 hours of ascent in the dark, we reach Stella Point (5,756 m), the crater rim of Kilimanjaro. From here strong wind and cold can be expected. Another 1 to 2 hours ascent along the crater ridge lead us to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m). Here we see Kilimanjaro in all its glory and enjoy the 360 ° view over the landscape at sunrise. You are now on the “roof of Africa”. The comparatively easy but long descent leads to Barafu Camp (4,600 m) on the south side of Kilimanjaro. Here we will have our lunch and an one hour break, before we continue descending to Millenium Camp. After another 2 hours we arrive at the camp for dinner. Overnight in tent camp (B|L|D).

Day 11: Millenium Camp (3,820m) to Mweka Gate (1,630m) and drive to Arusha – 4 to 5 hours hike and 2 hours drive
After breakfast and a warm farewell ceremony from our mountain crew, it’s time to say goodbye. We continue the descent to the Mweka Gate. The further we descend, the drastically warmer the weather becomes. We descend steeply through a rainforest with wet, muddy terrain where great caution is required. We recommend using gaiters and hiking sticks. At the gate in the village of Mweka we are picked up by our driver and driven back to our hotel in Arusha. Enjoy a long overdue hot shower, dinner, and some partying! Overnight in the Ilboru Safari Lodge or similar category (B|L).

Day 12: Departure Drive to Arusha-Kilimanjaro International Airport or connecting module Safari / Zanzibar
Free time until departure. Our driver will pick you up from the hotel according to your flight details and drive you to the airport (B).

We reserve the right to make changes to the program due to special events, force majeure or weather reasons.

Legends: B = breakfast | L = lunch | D = dinner

German guided tour
English guided tour

This trekking tour can also be booked for individual travelers at an additional cost or for your group at dates other than shown here.

Duration: 12 days
Costs: € 3.290 per person
Group size: min. 2 Persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of only two persons)
€ 120 for single room supplement (only for hotel accommodation, for hut and camping overnight stays during the trek single accommodation is not available).

What’s included:

  • Transfer from and to the airport
  • All transfers in Tanzania by private vehicle
  • Accommodation and breakfast in Arusha
  • Professional, English speaking local mountain guide
  • Camping team (cook & porter)
  • Camping equipment (tents, mattress , kitchen utensils)
  • Three meals and drinking water on the trekking tour
  • All national park fees
  • Welcome dinner

Not included

  • Sleeping bag
  • All flights
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks other than water
  • Visa fees (US $ 50)
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal travel insurance

To enter Tanzania, a passport that is valid for at least 6 months and a tourist visa are required. The visa for German citizens can be applied for three to four weeks before departure at the Tanzanian embassy (approx. 50 EUR plus postage). Alternatively, the visa is also available when entering Tanzania (50 USD, to be paid in cash on site). We recommend this option; it is less complicated and cheaper. An exit tax of USD 30 is required for international flights from Zanzibar (payable locally in cash).
These visa and passport regulations are valid for the EU countries and Switzerland. Other citizens would like to inquire at the respective country consulate.

No compulsory vaccinations, in particular no yellow fever vaccination, are required for direct entry from Germany / Switzerland, Austria to the mainland of Tanzania and Zanzibar. This also applies when entering a yellow fever endemic area in transit; as long as the airport is not left during the stopover and the stay is less than 12 hours. However, you should be vaccinated against COVID-19, tetanus, hepatitis A, diphtheria and polio. Hepatitis B and typhoid vaccinations are recommended for long stays.
We recommend that you consult your doctor in good time. Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

A travel health insurance (with rescue costs) is essential for your own safety and a prerequisite for booking our trips. In the event of an accident in the mountains or on safari that requires a helicopter, the helicopter will not take off until full coverage of the costs has been clarified.
We strongly recommend that you take out travel cancellation insurance. Flights at bargain prices in particular cannot usually be rebooked or cancelled free of charge. In Tanzania there could also be complications with the weather, your health, etc., which would force you to abandon your trip.
We asked ERGO Reiseversicherung to put together different service packages for you. You can book the right travel health insurance for you at https://www.reiseversicherung.de.

It should be noted that geoDiscovery Tours only recommends that its guests book travel insurance through ERGO and assumes no responsibility for the contractual content between the travel guest and the insurance provider. It is up to each guest to book their travel insurance through ERGO or another provider.

Standard of hotels and accommodations
In Tanzania, the hotels we have booked are good and correspond to mid-western standards. The sanitary facilities are clean and functional. The hotel kitchen is adapted to Western eating habits and the food is safe to enjoy. Sometimes there can be power cuts or sometimes no hot water is available. The hotel staff is generally very friendly and makes every effort to ensure the well-being of each guest. The hotels we have booked are as follows:

Arusha: Ilboru Safari Lodge, Mount Meru Game Lodge, Karama Lodge
Moshi / Kilimanjaro: Chanya Lodge, Weru Weru, Kaliwa Lodge, Salinero

Tour program
The travel program is optimally coordinated for all of the trips we recommend. However, it can happen that roads are closed or impassable without prior notice, that waiting times of several hours arise due to traffic jams or fuel shortages, that access to sites can be closed for various reasons, or other restrictions such as flight delays or even cancellations due to bad weather, strikes, Health of the participants, a pandemic or unfavourable conditions during trekking make the implementation of the travel program difficult or, in the worst case, impossible. However, our local guides are prepared for such situations and will endeavour to carry out all program points to your satisfaction. The inconvenience is usually limited. Nevertheless, it must be pointed out at this point that, for the reasons mentioned, program changes are possible at any time and are not the responsibility of the organizer. Any resulting costs are borne by the traveller. We ask for your understanding.

Flying in Tanzania
Domestic flights in Tanzania may be postponed for days due to limited airspace or weather conditions, or for technical or other reasons. Under these exceptional circumstances, our team will try – in cooperation with you – to relocate the tour to other regions or to organize road transport. The risk of delay and cancellation of these flights is borne by all participants.
In the event of a delay of several days, all participants are personally responsible for changing their flight home at least 48 hours in advance. We are of course happy to help you.

The domestic flights booked by us are:

  • Air Tanzania
  • Precision Air
  • Flightlink
  • Coastal Aviation
  • Auric air

Please note that our trips are not suitable for people with limited mobility.

Trip Details

  • Duration: 12 days
  • Holiday Type: Camping
  • Best trekking period: Jun/Jul/Aug/Sep/Dec/Jan/Feb
  • Difficulty: Demanding
  • Max Altitude: 5.895 m
  • Group size: Min. 2 persons (all the tour dates are guaranteed with a minimum group size of onl two persons)
  • Tour guide: English speaking, trained Tanzanian mountain guide
  • Difficulty:
  • Fitness:
  • Price: 3.290,00 
  • Single room supplement: 120,00 €
    (only for hotel accommodation, for lodge overnight stays during the trek single accommodation is not available)