Ethical Private Mount Kilimanjaro Climb: Northern Circuit

From $3,900 pp

  • Duration

    11 days
  • Bookable From

    June - October December - March
  • Trip Style

    Privately Guided
  • Country

    Tanzania
  • Physical Rating

    Mildly Strenuous

Overview

This privately-guided, ethical, and carbon-offset climb takes you up to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro via the 9-day Northern Circuit Route.

The Northern Circuit route is the longest and one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro. This path along the rarely-visited northern slopes rewards you with nearly 360-degree views of beautiful scenery and a quiet trail. The 9-day Northern Circuit Route is particularly well-suited for mature travelers as it allows for the most acclimatization time and also the highest summit success rate.

The total trip length is 11 days: arrival day, 9-day climb, departure day.

There are many routes by which you can conquer Kili! If you're looking for a specific length or difficulty of climb, contact us about the best route options.

  • All 6-7 day climb routes: Machame, Lemosho, Rongai, Shira, Umbwe, and Marangu.
  • All 8-10 day climb routes: Lemosho, Northern Circuit, Crater Camp.

Safaris can range from 2-6 days. Depending on the length, you can visit Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara, and Tarangire National Parks. Contact us to customize your Climb & Safari package.

Highlights

  • Summit the tallest mountain in Africa via a less-trafficked path
  • Trek through jungles and ravines
  • Soak in incredible panoramic views
  • See fabulous moorland views
  • Enjoy healthy, fresh-cooked meals designed for climbers
  • Support an ethical climbing company

The Northern Circuit Route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate. From there, the first two days are spent trekking through the rainforest to Shira Ridge, before crossing the Shira Plateau. The route then heads north and circles clockwise from Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp to School Hut, before we approach the summit from the east. Descent is made via the Mweka route.

As you climb, you'll be nourished by three full meals daily. We provide plentiful, fresh food on the mountain and it’s well prepared by skilled professional chefs who join us on the trek. We also consider the choice of food that you would prefer (vegetarian and non-vegetarian). The menu is specially designed for climbers.

Seasonal Notes

The best time for this ethical Mount Kilimanjaro climb is June through October and December through March. The best time for big game viewing on a safari is June through October, January, and February.

June through October will have less rain than December to March. Temperatures are relatively consistent year-round (around 75-80°F / 24-27°C), being on the warmer end from December to March. Please note that this route is very popular, which means it can be crowded at times - this can cause it to lose some of its splendor. Unfortunately, traveling during the shoulder season during April, May, and November is not advisable due to bad weather that can cause safety hazards.

Please ask us about less-trafficked routes (like this one!), which help promote tourism dispersal, for a different and more off-the-beaten-path climbing experience.

Itinerary

Day 1 Moshi [Tanzania] (arrival day)

Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met by our guide at the airport and transferred to the hotel in Moshi. Hotel accommodation includes storage facilities for excess luggage during hikes.

Accommodation: Panama Garden Resort
Room plan: Double Occupancy

Day 2 Start Trek. Londorossi Gate (2100m) - Mti Mkubwa (2800m)

The day begins with a long drive (about 4 hours) to Londrossi Park Gate (2100 m) for registration and entry formalities. Then we'll drive to the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival at the trailhead, we begin hiking through undisturbed rainforest which winds to the first campsite at Mti Mkubwa, also called Big Tree Camp or Forest Camp.

  • Trekking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 6 km (4 miles)
  • Altitude Gain: 535 m

Accommodation: Camping at Mti Mkubwa
Room plan: Double Occupancy (2 people will share 1 tent)
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 3 Mti Mkubwa (2800m) - Shira Hut 1 (3500m)

We continue on the trail leading out of the rainforest and into a savanna 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. Here we catch our first glimpse of Kibo across the plateau.

  • Trekking Time: 5-6 hours
  • Distance: 8 km (5 miles)
  • Altitude Gain: 610 m

Accommodation: Camping at Shira Hut 1
Room plan: Double Occupancy (2 people will share 1 tent)
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 4 Shira Hut 1 - Shira Hut 2

We explore the Shira Plateau, one of the highest plateaus on earth. It is a gentle walk east on moorland meadows towards Shira 2 Camp. The heath zone displays abundant wildflowers and unique Senecio trees. This is a great day for acclimatization.

  • Trekking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 7 km (4 miles)
  • Altitude Gain: 321 m

Accommodation: Camping at Shira Hut 2
Room plan: Double Occupancy (2 people will share 1 tent)
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 5 Shira Hut 2 (3500m) - Lava Tower (4600m) - Moir Hut (4200m)

We continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast through an alpine desert towards the Lava Tower – a 300-ft-tall volcanic rock formation at 4600 m.

  • Trekking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 7 km (4 miles)
  • Altitude Gain: 820 m

Then we divert from the main trail to Moir Hut (4200m), a little used site on the base of Lent Hills. A variety of walks are available on Lent Hills making this another excellent acclimatization opportunity.

  • Trekking Time: 2-3 hours
  • Distance: 7 km (4 miles)
  • Altitude Loss: -490 m

Accommodation: Camping at Moir Hut
Room plan: Double Occupancy (2 people will share 1 tent)
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 6 Moir Hut (4200m) - Buffalo Camp (4000m)

We trek out of Moir Valley with a moderately steep climb, then hike to the summit of Lent Hills before returning to the main trail. The path crosses a rock field and gently undulates before reaching Buffalo Camp. This section of the trail offers great views across the plains that lie north of Kilimanjaro and stretch out to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border.

  • Trekking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Distance: 12 km (7 miles)
  • Altitude Loss: -200 m

Accommodation: Camping at Buffalo Camp
Room plan: Double Occupancy (2 people will share 1 tent)
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 7 Buffalo Camp (4000m) - Third Cave (3900m)

As we head up Buffalo Ridge, the terrain becomes increasingly sparse. This route is rarely traveled and we will enjoy its mountain wilderness feel. We trek through remote valleys onto the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro until we arrive at Third Cave.

  • Trekking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Distance: 8 km (5 miles)
  • Altitude Loss: -100 m

Accommodation: Camping at Third Cave
Room plan: Double Occupancy (2 people will share 1 tent)
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 8 Third Cave (3900m) - School Hut (4800m)

We climb steadily up and over the “Saddle,” which sits between Kibo and Mawenzi. We continue on to our camp, School Hut. Once here we rest, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.

  • Trekking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Distance: 5 km (3 miles)
  • Altitude Gain: 900 m

Accommodation: Camping at School Hut
Room plan: Double Occupancy (2 people will share 1 tent)
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 9 School Hut (4800m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Mweka Camp (3100m)

Around midnight, we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this arctic elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s Point (18,600 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak - the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Uhuru means freedom in Swahili.

  • Trekking Time: 6-8 hours
  • Distance: 6 km (4 miles)
  • Altitude Gain: 1095 m

From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

  • Trekking Time: 4-6 hours
  • Distance: 12 km (7 miles)
  • Altitude Loss: -850 m

Accommodation: Camping at Mweka Camp
Room plan: Double Occupancy
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Day 10 Mweka Camp (3100m) - Mweka Gate (1676m); End Trek

On our last day, we continue the descent from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate and collect the 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 us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

  • Trekking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 10 km (6 miles)
  • Altitude Loss: -434 m

Accommodation: Panama Garden Resort
Room plan: Double Occupancy
Included Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 11 Moshi (Departure day)

We will transfer you from the hotel in Moshi to the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) where you will fly back home.

Included Meal: Breakfast

Customization

Contact us if you wish to:

  • Spend only 8 days (instead of 9) climbing Kili via the Northern Circuit Route.
  • Add-on a safari to your trip. These can range from two to six days. We're near to: the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater & Conservation Area, Lake Manyara National Park, and Tarangire National Park. If you add on a safari, you can opt to visit the Olduvai Gorge, a Maasai Village, or enjoy a hot air balloon safari.
  • Continue on to Zanzibar.

Pricing will be adjusted based on the final itinerary.

Route Map

A route map for Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, showing all of the possible climbing and trekking routes, color-coded by route.

Inclusions & Exclusions

  • 2-way transfer to/from Kilimanjaro Airport.

  • 2 nights in a Moshi hotel.

  • 2-way transfer to and from the route gate(s).

  • 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, and 8 dinners.

  • 3-4 liters of mineral water (per climber) provided daily during the climb.

  • Hot drinks and hot water for washing are provided daily during the climb.

  • All park, camping, & team fees.

  • Guides, cooks, & mountain support crew for your trek.

  • Crew's equipment for the trek.

  • Pulse Ox meter for blood-oxygen level readings, carried by the chief guide.

  • Porter to carry your duffel bag.

  • Sleeping mattress pad(s) and tent(s).

  • Dining tent(s).

  • Portable toilets with a tent.

  • Emergency oxygen (for use in emergencies only – not as summiting aid).

  • Basic first aid kit (for use in emergencies only).

  • Emergency evacuation with the Kilimanjaro SAR helicopter (see Health & Safety section).

  • Kilimanjaro National Park rescue team fees.

  • Carbon offset certificate.

  • Kilimanjaro National Park certificate for your successful summit attempt.

  • Concession fees.

  • Government taxes.

  • Tanzania 18% VAT on tourism activities and park fees.

  • International flights to/from Tanzania.

  • Travel insurance.

  • Extra nights at the hotel.

  • Any meals not mentioned in the itinerary.

  • Drinks and beverages in the Moshi hotel.

  • Drinks and beverages at the safari lodge.

  • Airport taxes (amount depends on where you’re flying from).

  • Tipping for the Mountain Crew.

  • Visa fees, to be paid upon arrival (ranges from $50 to $100 USD).

  • Personal hiking/trekking gear – you can rent some gear in Tanzania.

  • Snacks, personal medicine, and water purifying tablets.

Pricing

Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.

Prices are for double room occupancy unless indicated otherwise.

TIPPING RECOMMENDATION

  • Climbing Guide - $15 to $20 per day.
  • Climbing Assistant Guide - $10 to $15 per day.
  • Climbing Cook - $10 to $15 per day.
  • Climbing Porters - $6 to $10 per day per porter.
  • Deposit per person

    30% of trip price

  • [Private Climb] Shared room - sleeps 2 - price per adult

    $3,900 pp

  • [Private Climb] Shared room - sleeps 2 - price per adult

    $3,130 pp for children between 5-15 years old

  • Single Supplement

    $250 for the Climb only

Optional Add-ons

Climb:

  • Sleeping bag rental (Mountain Hardware Lamina, synthetic -30F): $50 per person.
  • Telescopic trekking poles rental: $20 per trip.
  • Extra porter (personal porter) for excess gear: $30 per day.
  • Extra night at the hotel: $90 for double occupancy, $70 for single occupancy

Sustainability

We pride ourselves on taking good care of our mountain crew, who make our climbs possible, and also giving back to our local community in Moshi.

We focus on organizing responsible and ethical tours that make places better for people to both live in and visit. Our dream is to combine community development with cultural tourism and conservation. We believe that the tourism industry has an obligation and a great opportunity to protect the world's natural habitats, cultural heritage sites, and communities.

We are a member of Carbon Offsetting Tanzania and for every climbing trip done with us, we offset the carbon impact and travelers will receive their carbon offset certificate. We provide Leave No Trace Tanzania training to our workers and donate some of our profits to planting trees in Moshi.

We do not indulge in animal slavery, cruelty, or luring through bait during the wildlife experiences. We stay at hotels that use or are trying to use renewable energy and eco-friendly cleaning products. We also stay in tents during the climb.

Our company has created employment opportunities for more than 400 locals (porters, guides, chefs), which helps with Tanzania's unemployment problem. We do not believe in "cheap climbs." Our prices reflect fair and ethical wages for all. We do not exploit any of our Mountain Crew (porters, guides, and chefs), without whom our climbs would not be possible. To ensure this, we are a member of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) which requires that our Mountain Crew are paid fair wages, receive proper equipment and sleeping conditions, and are fed well. KPAP audits our climbs raises public awareness of fair treatment of porters.

We also collaborate with KPAP to provide financial education to our Mountain Crew about saving, spending, and investing their money. We profit share with our community to ensure they benefit from the tourism revenue as well (for example, we support disabled children and help fund the building of schools.)

For every client, we ensure one child in Moshi gets health insurance for 1 year.

Health & Safety

Be sure you have traveler's insurance that covers up to 6000 meters above sea level! Proof is required prior to arrival. This is needed in case an emergency evacuation with the Kilimanjaro SAR helicopter is required.

FAQs

What does the Physical Rating of "Mildly Strenuous" mean?

Kilimanjaro climbing involves physical training. You will have to be fit for this trip as it involves hiking for long hours. The safari portion is easy as it involves sitting in the car and watching animals during game drives.

What are the accommodations like?

This is a mid-range tour that includes 3 to 4-star hotels at Moshi. While on the climb you will be sleeping in a four-season tent. During the safari you will be staying in tented lodges or camps. If you want a more luxurious safari stay, contact us for pricing.

Is this tour fully escorted?

Yes, this trip is fully guided by a professional Mountain Guide who will escort you throughout the climb, as well as the adequate and appropriate number of guides, porters, and cooks. Your safari will include an English-speaking guide.

Is this trip safe for solo travelers?

Yes, it is safe and feasible for solo travelers. Solo travelers can book this as a private tour. Contact us for pricing.

Do I need a visa?

Yes, you will need a visa upon arrival in Tanzania.

How much can my bag weigh? (For the climb)

Your bag that a porter will carry for you from one camp to the next can have a maximum weight of 15kg / 32 lbs.

How frequently will our blood-oxygen levels be checked? (For the climb)

The Pulse Ox meter, carried by the chief guide, will be used to take blood-oxygen level readings twice a day.

Reviews

Kris B.

Mar 13, 2023

8 Days Kilimanjaro Climb (Lemosho Route) + 4 Days Safari

Hilary assisted me in finding the perfect Kilimanjaro climb and safari! The trip was everything we dreamed of.

Guides and Porters were amazing and friendly and helped us make it to the top as well as see every African animal! Food was good and energizing but repetitive. We were eating for sustenance.

Would recommend Yugen Earthside.

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