The Northern Circuit Route Overview and GPX | Kilimanjaro Sunrise

Kilimanjaro Sunrise
3 min readAug 23, 2023


Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak, looms majestically over northeastern Tanzania. The mountain has captivated the hearts of adventurers from around the globe. Amid the array of routes leading to the “Roof of Africa,” the Northern Circuit Route stands out as the pinnacle of Kilimanjaro’s ascents. In this article, we’ll delve into the essence of the 9-day Northern Circuit Route, tracing its path through diverse ecosystems. We will explore campsite elevations, and highlight the importance of the GPX (GPS Exchange Format) file for this remarkable journey.

The Northern Circuit Overview

The Northern Circuit Route is Kilimanjaro’s newest and longest trail. it offers a unique circumnavigation of the mountain’s northern slopes. Renowned for its exceptional acclimatization profile, this route promises a higher chance of successfully reaching the summit. Beginning in the West, the trail winds its way around the mountain. As you ascend you’ll marvel at breathtaking vistas and diverse landscapes.

Distance and Duration

Spanning approximately 54 miles (87 kilometers), the Northern Circuit covers more ground compared to other routes. This route allows trekkers to ascend gradually and enhance their acclimatization. With a duration of 9 days, this itinerary provides ample time for the body to adapt to the altitude. In turn, this minimizes the risk of altitude-related illnesses.

Number of Days


Lemosho Glades to Big Tree Camp (Mti Mkubwa) Gate Elevation: 7,000 feet (2133 meters) Camp Elevation: Approximately 8,700 feet (2,650 meters) The trek begins through the lush rainforest, and it is a relatively easy day to get accustomed to the trail.


Big Tree Camp to Shira 1 Camp Camp Elevation: Approximately 11,600 feet (3,500 meters) The route continues through the rainforest and into the heather and moorland zone.


Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp Camp Elevation: Approximately 12,800 feet (3,900 meters) This day offers stunning views of the Shira Plateau as the vegetation becomes sparse.

Day 4

Shira 2 Camp to Moir Hut
Camp Elevation: Approx. 13,800 feet (4,206 meters)
The alpine desert zone unfolds as trekkers traverse the rugged landscape.

Day 5

Moir Hut to Buffalo Camp
Camp Elevation: Approx. 13,000 feet (3,962 meters)
The trail descends into a beautiful valley, providing a unique perspective.

Day 6

Buffalo Camp to Third Cave Camp
Camp Elevation: Approx. 12,700 feet (3,871 meters)
The journey continues through the enchanting landscape of Kilimanjaro.

Day 7

Third Cave Camp to School Hut
Camp Elevation: Approx. 15,500 feet (4,724 meters)
The ascent reaches higher altitudes as trekkers prepare for the summit push.

Day 8

School Hut to Uhuru Peak (Summit) to Mweka Camp
Summit Elevation: 19,341 feet (5,895 meters)
Camp Elevation (Mweka Camp): Approximately 10,000 feet (3,100 meters)
The summit attempt begins at midnight, and after reaching the peak, trekkers descend to Mweka Camp for the night.

Day 9

Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
Gate Elevation: 5,400 feet (1,650 meters)
The final journey through the rainforest leads to Mweka Gate. Shortly after reaching the gate, continue to an establishment to receive your summit certificates and celebrate your accomplishments.

GPX File

The Northern Circuit Route, like other Kilimanjaro trails, benefits from the use of the GPX file. This digital GPS data offers a precise navigation tool, guiding trekkers along the route. You can follow along to see your elevation data and distance. By integrating the GPX file into GPS devices or smartphone apps, adventurers can stay on course and monitor their progress in real-time.

You can then upload the route to your smartphone and use an app like Gaia or Garmin Explore. They can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play. You can also view your progress on a Garmin device or watch.


The 9-day Northern Circuit Route offers a route of solitude which isn’t always the case on Kilimanjaro. It weaves through diverse landscapes and provides ample acclimatization time. If you have the time and want to increase your summit success rate then the Northern Circuit is the route for you.

Originally published at on August 23, 2023.



Kilimanjaro Sunrise

Kilimanjaro Sunrise is a Kilimanjaro Trekking and Tanzanian Safari Company