How to Plan Your Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro Adventure

Are you looking for a unique and challenging adventure that will take you to the highest point in Africa? Do you want to experience the diverse and stunning scenery of Mount Kilimanjaro, from lush rainforest to barren desert? If so, then the Northern Circuit route might be the perfect choice for you.

Kilimanjaro’s Northern Circuit route offers nearly 360 degrees of spectacular views, including the quiet and seldom visited northern slopes, if you’re a nature lover. However, climbing it is not a walk in the park. 

It requires proper planning, preparation, and perseverance to reach the top of Africa’s highest mountain. This blog post will guide you through the essential steps of planning your Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro adventure.

How to Plan Your Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro Adventure

Choose the Right Season

One of the first things you must consider when planning your Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro adventure is the best time of the year to climb. You can climb Kilimanjaro all year round, but some months are better than others regarding weather and crowds.

Generally speaking, Kilimanjaro has two main seasons: dry and wet. The dry season runs from June to October and from December to February, while the wet season runs from March to May and from November to December. 

The dry season is often the optimal time to climb Kilimanjaro due to clear skies, warm temperatures, and minimal precipitation. However, it also attracts more climbers, which means more trail traffic and higher tour prices.

Conversely, the wet season is less popular among climbers, bringing cloudy skies, cold temperatures, and high chances of rain or snow. However, it also offers advantages like fewer crowds, lower prices, and greener scenery. Ultimately, the best time to climb Kilimanjaro via the Northern Circuit depends on your preference and availability. 

Train and Keep Fit

A physical fitness level is another factor that can affect your success on the Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro trek. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb but a strenuous one. You will be hiking for an average of 6 to 8 hours per day for nine days, covering a distance of 88 km (53 miles) and ascending from 2,360 m (7,742 ft) to 5,895 m (19,341 ft). 

Moreover, you will face high altitude conditions, which can cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

Therefore, you must prepare your body and stamina for this challenge before you embark on your adventure. Ideally, you should start training at least 3-6 months before departure. 

Starting a training program is an excellent idea for an active and exciting weekend, which may include aerobic exercises such as running, cycling, swimming, or hiking; strength exercises such as squats, lunges, or push-ups; and flexibility exercises such as stretching or yoga. It would help if you also tried to simulate the conditions of climbing Kilimanjaro by hiking on hills or stairs with a backpack that weighs at least 10 kg (22 lbs).

In addition to physical training, you should prepare yourself mentally for climbing Kilimanjaro via the Northern Circuit. You should research the route details, itinerary, weather conditions, and potential risks, set realistic goals and expectations, and adopt a positive attitude and mindset. 

Select a Tour Operator

Choosing the right tour operator is a key step in planning your adventure on the Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro trail. A tour operator is a company that organizes and leads guided tours on Kilimanjaro. They provide transportation, accommodation, food, equipment rental, porters, guides, and emergency support.

Choosing a reputable tour operator can make a huge difference in your adventure’s safety, comfort, and enjoyment. However, choosing a tour operator can also be daunting, as hundreds of options are available online.

How do you know which one to trust?

When researching and choosing a tour operator for your Northern Circuit Kilimanjaro adventure, you should consider several factors.

Some of the most important ones are: 

  • Experience: You should look for a tour operator who has been in business for at least five years and has a proven track record of leading successful tours on the Northern Circuit route. You should also check their credentials and certifications, such as membership in the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) or the Kilimanjaro Association of Tour Operators (KIATO).
  • Safety: You should look for a tour operator who follows high safety standards and protocols, such as carrying oxygen tanks, first aid kits, and emergency communication devices, employing qualified and trained guides and porters, and monitoring your health and altitude throughout the climb.


Climbing Kilimanjaro via the Northern Circuit route is an unforgettable adventure that will challenge you physically and mentally and reward you with breathtaking views and memories. 

The Northern Circuit route is Kilimanjaro’s longest and most scenic route, offering the best acclimatization and summit success rate. However, it also requires proper planning, preparation, and perseverance to reach the top of Africa’s highest mountain.


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