Northern Circuit Route: Unveiling the Majestic Beauty of Kilimanjaro

If you’re in search of an extraordinary adventure that showcases the unparalleled beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro, look no further than the Northern Circuit Route. Renowned for its scenic grandeur, untouched wilderness, and unparalleled views, the Northern Circuit Route offers an unforgettable journey to the summit of Africa’s highest peak. In this article, we will delve into the unique features, highlights, and essential information about the Northern Circuit Route.

Unraveling the Northern Circuit Route

The Northern Circuit Route is the newest and longest route to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro. It follows a clockwise path around the mountain, starting from the remote and less crowded Lemosho Gate. The Northern Circuit is known for its longer duration, typically spanning over 9 to 10 days, allowing for excellent acclimatization and higher chances of reaching the summit. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the diverse ecosystems and awe-inspiring landscapes that Kilimanjaro has to offer.

Key Features and Highlights of the Northern Circuit Route

1. Scenic Beauty

The Northern Circuit Route treats climbers to an ever-changing tapestry of stunning landscapes. From lush rainforests teeming with life to vast moorlands adorned with colorful alpine flowers, each step offers breathtaking views that will leave you in awe. As you ascend further, the rugged alpine desert and the imposing glaciers will captivate your senses, offering a visual spectacle that is unmatched.

2. Wildlife Encounters

The Northern Circuit is renowned for its unique wildlife encounters. As you traverse through the pristine wilderness, you may be fortunate enough to spot native wildlife species such as elephants, buffalos, and a variety of monkeys. The chance to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat adds an extra layer of excitement to the journey.

3. Remote and Less Crowded

Compared to some of the more popular routes like the Machame and Marangu, the Northern Circuit Route is relatively remote and less frequented by climbers. This allows for a more tranquil and serene trekking experience, with fewer fellow adventurers sharing the trail. The sense of solitude and connection with nature is truly unparalleled.

4. Varied Terrain and Ecosystems

The Northern Circuit Route takes you through an array of diverse ecosystems, each with its distinct charm. From dense rainforests and heathlands to moorlands and arctic-like landscapes, you’ll witness the dramatic transformation of the environment as you ascend. The ever-changing terrain keeps the journey exciting and promises an adventure filled with surprises at every turn.

5. Enhanced Acclimatization

With its longer duration, the Northern Circuit Route provides ample time for proper acclimatization. This gradual ascent profile significantly improves your chances of reaching the summit successfully while minimizing the risk of altitude-related illnesses. The additional time spent at higher altitudes enhances your body’s ability to adapt to the changing conditions, making the climb safer and more enjoyable.

Essential Tips for Conquering the Northern Circuit Route

To ensure a successful and memorable climb on the Northern Circuit Route, consider the following tips:

1. Physical Preparation

The Northern Circuit Route is a demanding trek that requires a good level of physical fitness. Engage in a comprehensive training program that includes cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and regular hiking. Strengthening your muscles and improving your endurance will help you tackle the challenges of the trail with confidence.

2. Proper Gear and Equipment

Invest in high-quality gear and equipment to ensure your comfort and safety throughout the journey. Some essential items include sturdy and waterproof hiking boots, layered clothing for varying temperatures, a reliable sleeping bag suitable for cold conditions, a headlamp with extra batteries, trekking

poles for stability, a backpack with proper weight distribution, and a water purification system. Remember to pack essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, gloves, and a first aid kit.

3. Expert Guides and Porters

Hiring experienced guides and porters is highly recommended for the Northern Circuit Route. These knowledgeable professionals not only ensure your safety but also enhance your overall trekking experience. They are familiar with the route, can provide valuable insights about the surroundings, and assist with logistics, allowing you to focus on the journey and immerse yourself in the beauty of Kilimanjaro.

4. Hydration and Nutrition

Proper hydration and nutrition are vital for a successful climb. Drink plenty of water throughout the trek to stay hydrated and combat altitude effects. Carry energy-rich snacks like nuts, dried fruits, and energy bars to maintain your energy levels during the long days of hiking. It’s essential to fuel your body adequately to cope with the physical demands of the climb.

5. Respect the Environment

As you embark on the Northern Circuit Route, it’s crucial to practice responsible and sustainable trekking. Respect the natural environment by adhering to the principles of Leave No Trace. Pack out any waste, dispose of it properly, and avoid damaging flora and fauna. By leaving the trail as you found it, you contribute to the preservation of this pristine wilderness for future generations to enjoy.

6. Capture Memories

Don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone to capture the breathtaking moments along the Northern Circuit Route. From sweeping panoramas to close encounters with wildlife, you’ll want to immortalize these memories. However, remember to also take moments to simply soak in the beauty and appreciate the experience firsthand. Sometimes, the best memories are etched in our minds, not just in photographs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is the Northern Circuit Route suitable for beginners? The Northern Circuit Route is generally recommended for experienced trekkers due to its longer duration and challenging terrain. It requires a good level of physical fitness and previous hiking experience. It’s advisable for beginners to gain some trekking experience on other routes before attempting the Northern Circuit.
  2. What is the best time to climb the Northern Circuit Route? The best time to climb the Northern Circuit Route is during the dry seasons, which are generally from January to mid-March and June to October. These periods offer more stable weather conditions and clearer views. However, it’s important to note that weather can be unpredictable on Mount Kilimanjaro, and it’s always wise to check the forecast before planning your climb.
  3. Are there huts or campsites along the Northern Circuit Route? Yes, the Northern Circuit Route features designated campsites where trekkers can set up their tents. These campsites provide basic facilities, such as toilets and dining areas. Unlike some other routes, there are no permanent huts along the Northern Circuit, so be prepared to camp in tents throughout the trek.
  4. Is altitude sickness a concern on the Northern Circuit Route? Altitude sickness is a potential risk on any high-altitude trek, including the Northern Circuit Route. The gradual ascent profile of the route helps with acclimatization, but it’s important to monitor your body for symptoms of altitude sickness. It’s advisable to discuss altitude sickness prevention strategies with your guides and take necessary precautions.
  5. How challenging is the Northern Circuit Route compared to other routes? The Northern Circuit Route is considered one of the more challenging routes on Mount Kilimanjaro due to its longer duration and higher elevation gain. It requires a good level of physical fitness, mental determination, and proper acclimatization. However, with adequate preparation and the support of experienced guidesand porters, the Northern Circuit Route is definitely achievable for those with a sense of adventure and a passion for exploration.
    1. What are the accommodation options on the Northern Circuit Route? Accommodation on the Northern Circuit Route is primarily in tents. Trekkers usually camp at designated campsites along the route, where they can set up their own tents. These campsites provide basic facilities such as toilets and dining areas. It’s important to note that there are no permanent huts on the Northern Circuit Route.
    2. Are there any side trips or attractions on the Northern Circuit Route? The Northern Circuit Route offers a few side trips and attractions that can enhance your trekking experience. One popular side trip is to visit the stunning Crater Camp, located near the summit. It provides an opportunity to explore the inner crater and witness the breathtaking views of the surrounding glaciers. Additionally, trekkers often take a detour to visit the beautiful Ash Cone, a volcanic cone formed by past eruptions.
    3. What permits or fees are required for the Northern Circuit Route? Like all routes on Mount Kilimanjaro, a climbing permit is required for the Northern Circuit Route. The permit fees cover park entrance fees, camping fees, and rescue fees. It’s important to obtain the necessary permits in advance through a licensed trekking operator. They will assist you with the permit process and ensure all the required fees are paid.
    4. Is it possible to combine the Northern Circuit Route with other routes? Yes, it is possible to combine the Northern Circuit Route with other routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. Some trekkers choose to start their ascent on the Lemosho or Rongai routes and then merge with the Northern Circuit Route at a certain point. Combining routes allows for a more varied and comprehensive experience of the mountain. However, it’s essential to consult with experienced guides to plan the logistics and ensure a safe and successful climb.
    5. What makes the Northern Circuit Route unique compared to other routes? The Northern Circuit Route stands out for its sense of exclusivity and pristine wilderness. With its longer duration and fewer trekkers, it offers a quieter and more remote experience. The route allows trekkers to explore a wide range of ecosystems and landscapes, from lush rainforests to alpine deserts. The breathtaking scenery, wildlife encounters, and enhanced acclimatization make the Northern Circuit Route a truly remarkable adventure.


    The Northern Circuit Route on Mount Kilimanjaro is a hidden gem that offers trekkers an extraordinary journey through diverse ecosystems, awe-inspiring landscapes, and untouched wilderness. With its longer duration, stunning beauty, and lower crowds, it provides an unparalleled experience for those seeking an unforgettable adventure. Whether you’re an experienced trekker or embarking on your first high-altitude climb, the Northern Circuit Route promises a transformational journey that will test your limits, connect you with nature, and leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.