Change Language
Change Language

8 Days Northern Circuit Route

Mount Kilimanjaro




8 days

Tour Type

Tour highlights

The Northern Circuit route is the newest route up Mount Kilimanjaro and arguably the best. That’s because the a combination of all of the best elements of the other routes, rolled into one fantastic hike. If you’re looking for beautiful scenery, plenty of solitude, a healthy challenge, and the potential to spot wildlife, this is definitely the route for you. The Northern Circuit route follows the same route as Lemosho route for the first few days, but rather than sticking to the south side of Kibo, it turns to the little-used northern trails instead.


Max Guests


Min Age


Tour Location

Languages Support

Journey to the Top of Africa with Confidence

Itinerary idea in detail

  • Altitude gained: 396m
  • Distance: ~4.8km / 3 miles
  • Trekking time: 3-4 hours
  • Zone: Rainforest
The Northern Circuit Route begins at Londorossi Gate (2,100 meters) in the West, the same start 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 MtiMkubwa Camp (2,785 meters) begins. You may get lucky and spot large wildlife like elephant 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 MtiMkubwa Camp.
  • Altitude gained: 719m
You will spend the first-hour trekking through the last section of rain forest path before entering the low alpine moorland zone which follows up onto the Shira Plateau. The trek is relatively short and gradual, ending at Shira Camp 1 (3,504 meters).
  • Distance: ~7.9km / 5 miles
  • Trekking time: 5-6 hours
  • Zone: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone
  • Altitude gained: 657m
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 4,161 meters (see map above). This is an important day in your trek as you will get to experience high altitude and then sleep low, which is good for the acclimatization process.
  • Distance: ~ 9.8km / 6.1 miles
  • Trekking time: 5-7 hours
  • Zone: Low alpine zone / High alpine zone
  • Altitude loss: 122m
Today it 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 (4,033 meters). The trek gives great vistas out across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch 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 hiking.
  • Distance: ~9.2km / 5.8miles
  • Trekking time: 5-7 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone
  • Altitude lost: 97m
Starts with a climb up the Buffalo Ridge and down into Pofu Camp where lunch is usually served. The route then continues east around the northern slopes to the Rongai Third Cave at 3,936 meters. The trek is shorter than the day before and by now you should be feeling well acclimatized to the altitude. You will arrive at the Third Cave just around mid-afternoon.
  • Distance: ~6.8km / 4.3miles
  • Trekking time: 5-7 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone and low alpine zone
  • Altitude gained: 781m
Today it involves a steady incline up and over the Saddle which sits between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. Trekkers then continue walking south-west 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. Remember to prepare all your gear, including warm clothes, insulated water bottles, snacks, headlamp, and camera before going to bed.
  • Distance: ~4.8km / 3miles
  • Trekking time: 4-5 hours
  • Zone: High alpine zone and glacial zone
  • Altitude gained: 1178m
  • Altitude lost: 2068m (descent)
You will be awoken around 11:30 with hot tea and biscuits and will then begin the steep incline up to the slopes of Kibo under the cover of darkness. Your first check-point is Hans Meyer Cave where you will take a short break. The climb steepens as you approach Gilman’s Point (5,681 meters), which will be around 5-6 hours after departing School Hut. Take a moment to enjoy the approaching dawn and incredible view out and across to Mawenzi Peak, but remember you still have 2 hours trekking to reach Uhuru Peak so dig deep for the energy. The slope flattens as you head west around the crater rim and you should arrive at the summit at or just after sunrise. Your stay here will be brief so get as many pictures as you can of the incredible views and surrounding glaciers. You will then retrace your steps back around the crater rim to Stella Point (5,739 meters) where you will turn south and head down the heavily screed slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp (4,680 meters). Most trekkers take a short break here before continuing down to Millennium Camp (3,950 meters) for your final night on the mountain. In total, you will be trekking for 14-16 hours on day eight so it is important to pace yourself, remain hydrated and keep your blood sugar levels up. Note: some tour operators return via Gilman’s Point to Horombo Hut using the Marangu Route. You will be awoken around 11:30 with hot tea and biscuits and will then begin the steep incline up to the slopes of Kibo under the cover of darkness. Your first check-point is Hans Meyer Cave where you will take a short break. The climb steepens as you approach Gilman’s Point (5,681 meters)
  • Distance: ~5.9km / 3.7 miles ascent and 8.4km / 5.2 mile descent
  • Trekking time: 6-8 hours ascent and then 4-6 hour descent
  • Zone: Glacial zone and all preceding zones
  • Altitude lost: 2194m
After breakfast and a heartfelt ceremony of appreciation and team bonding with your crew, it’s time to say goodbye. We continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. As the weather is drastically warmer, the terrain is wet, muddy and steep and we highly recommend Gaiters and trekking poles. From the gate, a vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes). Enjoy a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!!
  • Distance: ~12.2km / 7.6 miles
  • Trekking time: 3-4 hours
  • Zone: Rainforest zone
Overnight Kilimanjaro Wonders Hotel 4 stars B&B. before being transferred to your journey home, safari or a relaxing trip to Zanzibar. CERTIFIED ETHICAL CLIMBING: We believe the tourism industry has an obligation and a great opportunity to protect the world’s natural habitats, cultural heritage sites, and communities. We actively promote environmental sustainability and social responsibility.


  • All meals on the hike.
  • All Park entrance fees.
  • All prices are quoted in US Dollars.
  • Camping equipment if applicable (tents
  • mattresses
  • sleeping bags
  • pillows
  • table and chairs)
  • Flying Doctors rescue insurance for the time of the tour with Smile With Us Africa.


  • Flights (International)
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Tips for Guides, Porters & Chef
  • Personal expenses in nature such as money for souvenirs, travel insurance, visa fees etc.
  • Visa fees (100 USD for American and 50 USD for non-American)
  • Immunization documents (yellow fever recommended for visa processing on arrivals)
  • Government imposed increase of taxes and /or park fees

Inquire This Tour

All of our Tanzania holiday tours and Packages on this site, its just an ideas. Our Kilimanjaro Climbing and Safari trips and tours are tailor-made, so we’ll always adapt them to suit you. Fill your details below and submit the form, our Expert will get back to you within 24 hours.

Planning For Tanzania?

Planning For a Tanzania Holiday, whether Hiking or Safari, can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! We have a pool of travel experts in this industry for more than a decade. Consult to get started.

Words From Our Happy Clients

Fulfillment of a lifelong dream! Dear team at "Smile with us", My mom, my sister, and I had the pleasure of participating in a two-day safari organized by your company. I must say, we are absolutely thrilled! Our guide Murshid went above and beyond to provide us with the best possible safari experience, despite our limited time. His kindness and care made us feel safe and well taken care of throughout our journey. I cannot emphasize enough how grateful we are for that. As German visitors, "Smile with us" helped us fulfill a lifelong dream, and we couldn't be happier. We are already planning to come back in the next few years - this time for a whole week! We are impressed by your ability to tailor individual trips according to customers' wishes. The fact that we had the entire vehicle and our guide exclusively for us made our stay even more enjoyable. Thank you to the entire team at "Smile with us". You have made us overjoyed! Warm regards, Celine
Absolutely brilliant safari From start to end the experience with Jacob and Smile With Us was brilliant. We'd never been on safari before but Jacob made it simple, suggesting a fantastic 6-day trip from Dar es Salaam to Selous and Mikumi national parks. Nothing was too much trouble. On the day we started the wonderful driver and guide Omari showed up with a rugged Land Cruiser, which is just as well as there had been a lot of rain and the vehicle's 4-wheel drive was needed at times as we sloshed through deep mud and water. Throughout Omari was incredible. Really knowledgeable and nothing was too much trouble. He also has a deep respect and love for animals and wildlife, even to the extent of waiting for a column of soldier ants to cross the road in front of us. We saw elephants, lions, hippos, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, impala, warthogs, hyaena, zebra and loads of birds and other animals. Perhaps one of the highlights was seeing a huge crocodile eating a zebra on land right next to our vehicle while hordes of vultures waited to come in for their turn. Omari always seemed to have a six sense when it came to finding interesting things to see. He was also one of the most friendly and sociable people I've met, always stopping to chat and exchange info with other drivers and park rangers, or helping change a tyre on another car. The accommodation was good, and we never had to worry about food or water. There were long distances covered, especially driving between Selous and Mikumi, but for us that was part of the fun, and having the opportunity to see ordinary life across Tanzania. The last night was our wedding anniversary and Jacob arranged for a group of Maasai warriors to sing and dance for us at dinner while delivering a cake. Truly special memories. We can't recommend Smile With Us Tours enough. If you choose one company, choose this one.
Anja K
Anja K
Unforgettable adventure! Great time! It was a very special experience! Henry is a super friendly and pleasant guide with whom we learned and laughed a lot. The car was well maintained and in good condition. We will never forget these 6 days. The safari exceeded our expectations. Everything was organized smoothly, there was always enough to eat and drink, and the opportunity to customize the schedule. Asante 🙏 Kwa heri!
Sheela A
Sheela A
1 Day Safari from Zanzibar The one day safari from Zanzibar to Mikumi was excellent! We had originally booked Nyerere, but due to the weather the location was changed. Smile with Us was great about facilitating this change and everything went smoothly. Our tour guide Jacob was amazing and made sure we got great close up photos of lions, giraffes, elephants, etc. The only small problem we had was at the end when the driver was 20 minutes late to pick us up and was not responding to us.
Katja S
Katja S
Memories of a lifetime! We are back from our incredible 17-days-tour and I would highly recommend booking with Smile with us Tours in Africa! The communication and planning of the tour, choosing accommodations and activities was a very good experience. Jacob has arranged all accommodations and activities for our exciting individual itinerary and everything was very well organized, whereever we arrived. Our guide on our long safari was Erick: He is speaking very good English and is just an amazing person with so much knowledge about nature, wildlife and culture – it was really a pleasure to travel with him! Up from our arrival at the airport we have enjoyed every minute of our long safari. There is nothing, he can’t deal with or what is impossible for him. Asante sana – we left with memories of a lifetime! For sure we will plan our next trip with Jacob and his team to explore more places of this beautiful country.
Great experience From start to end of the trip, Smile With Us Tours in Africa was very attentive and provided us with an unforgettable safari tour. Starting with Jacob who helped us out in the reservations and also tweaking the tour for our needs. And Hendrick, our guide and driver, who was very professional. During the two day trip to Mikumi we were able to see a total of 14 lions, giraffes, elephants, hippos, impalas, zebras, jackals, and more. We had a great time and unforgettable experience.
Great experience with a great guide! We (couple) went on 2 day safari with Smile With Us Tours Africa. It was a great experience, much thanks to our great guide Apollo. The guide picked us up in Dar es Salaam and drove us to Nyerere National Park/Selous (app. 4 hours). The drive to the park is itself interesting. We were able to see parts of rural Tanzania we would otherwise not have seen. When we arrived in Selous we had a small breakfast before beginning the safari gane drive. It was amazing. We had not expected to see so many animals, and to get so close. The guide was very knowledgeable. In the evening we had dinner and spent the night at Selous Safari Lodge. It was a great place, with good service, and all facilities. The second day we went on a walking safari with a great Mwanda guide before ending the safari with a river boat tour. Our guide then drove us back to Dar. We had an amazing experience. Thank you so much to Smile With Us Tours and especially our friendly and skilled guide Apollo.
Fantastic, Wow, Amazing!! We have just got back from an amazing safari / trip with this company!!!! From initial contact with the Jacob via email it was totally seamless .... Collection by Mr Nurdin at our hotel to airport transfer was completely private along with the tour. We had a safari jeep to ourselves, unlike others we saw that were "full" and seemed cramped Our guide 'Mr Maarufu' was superb - nothing was a problem for him and he made sure we got close to the animals but was respectful and always kept the animals feeling safe. His knowledge was outstanding, a really really nice man. The lodge which we had chosen to stay at was Selous Impala, it was very comfortable and luxurious, All the staff were very friendly. 5* Luxury We would highly recommend Smile with Us tours - 5* company Jacob and Maarufu made the whole trip amazing!!
Aurore M
Aurore M
Unforgettable experience ! Leaving in June 2023, we had an excellent time with your team, from start to finish! First, with Omary, very friendly and a very good driver. It allowed us to meet children for the school supplies that we had brought, to enjoy the country thanks to the 5-hour car ride to go to the mainland, to observe the magnificent animals of the Nyerere park (zebras, leopard , elephant, impala, baboons, hyena, giraffe, crocodiles, hippos...), we saw very few tourists, it was great thank you very much! And he helped us a lot with the ferry! Then, Mickaël, our French-speaking guide, perfect too! Very kind, attentive, he explained to us very well the life of animals and men in Tanzania, we met the villagers for supplies thanks to him, great time! There was also Abdul the driver of the safari boat, nice too! Then Didi the bushman gave us a great demonstration of jungle plants, he’s funny! The Selous is magnificent... The accommodation was also very good, the restaurant staff chat easily and are always smiling and attentive, and the Maasai are good handymen to repair our broken sandal, and are also very friendly! The organization was perfect, we thank you for everything, the memories are engraved forever, good luck to you! Aurore and Laurent
Elliot B
Elliot B
Amazing Safari Experience - Felt like a dream! Our adventure with Smile With Us Tours Africa was simply out of the ordinary. Jacob’s helpfulness in answering all our questions in the booking phase, to helping storing our luggage whilst we were away was second to none. Nurdin came to pick us up directly from our hotel at 4am to drive us to the airport, he was punctual, welcoming and extremely polite. Our exceptional guide Maarufu was waiting for us when the plane arrived in Mtemere airstrip. Maarufu really made our trip, he was extremely knowledgable of the animals and area as well as super friendly and great fun! We started the stay with breakfast in a lodge outside Nyerere National Park. This was followed by a “Walking Safari” accompanied by a Maasai. We learnt about the different trees, plants and animals droppings of the bush - a really useful background prior to the game drives. The Maasai also demonstrated and let us attempt to make fire the traditional way. Before lunch, we embarked on a “Boat Safari” during which we were able to see crocodiles, hippos and many birds. After lunch, we left with Maarufu on our first game drive. After a brief discussion we agreed to travel along the highway for an hour with the goal of finding lions that had been spotted earlier. On the road, we met giraffes, impalas, pumbas, buffaloes and even elephants! After about an hour and a half, and Maarufu’s expert guidance, the ultimate reward, a large family of lions with lots of cubs. The dream! The lions came so close to the car to find shade that we could have reached out and touched them! The drive back to the lodge was full of more animals everywhere we looked. We spent the evening and night at Selous Impala Camp. The tents were very comfortable, the service very attentive and the food delicious. The next morning we left at sunrise for a “Bush Breakfast”. Maarufu used his expertise to track the elephant footprints and to locate a family of elephants with many baby elephants. We had breakfast by one of the park’s many lakes, a unique and memorable moment. We continued the safari before returning for lunch at the lodge, before leaving for Mtemere airstrip, still spotting a number of animals on the way. Throughout the Safari, Maarufu knew how to find the animals, bring the car as close as possible, without scaring them so that we could be as close as possible to them. He also have us a lot of information about the animals and how the entire ecosystem works. It is important to note that we were provided with an open top Jeep, entirely open on the sides, that was just for us. This was very different from the occasional others companies we saw which had a mixture of people crammed into the car, or no open sides. Thank you to Jacob and the whole team for organising a wonderful two days and especially Maarufu for making it truly unforgettable, making us laugh and smile non stop and guiding us to all the animals of the Selous!

Other tours you may be interested in