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Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit vs Lemosho

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit vs Lemosho.

Planning a Mount Kilimanjaro adventure and torn between the Northern Circuit and Lemosho routes? This comprehensive guide explores the differences, benefits, and challenges of each route, helping you make an informed decision for an unforgettable experience.

Embarking on a journey to summit Mount Kilimanjaro is a dream cherished by many adventurers. This majestic and iconic mountain in Tanzania, Africa, offers multiple routes to reach its peak. Among the most popular are the Northern Circuit and Lemosho routes. Both are distinct, offering unique experiences to trekkers. In this article, we’ll delve into a detailed comparison of Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit vs Lemosho, helping you choose the route that best suits your preferences, fitness level, and desire for adventure.

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit vs Lemosho: The Ultimate Showdown

In this section, we’ll explore the key differences between the Northern Circuit and Lemosho routes. Each route has its charm and allure, and understanding their characteristics will assist you in making an informed decision. 

Lemosho Route continues along the popular and most scenic southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro to connect with the Machame Route, while the Northern Circuit branches off to avoid the busy southern circuit and circumnavigates the peak on the infrequently traveled northern slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, close to Kenya.

1. Northern Circuit: The Road Less Traveled

The Northern Circuit is the newest route on Mount Kilimanjaro, gaining popularity for its serenity and unspoiled beauty. It is the longest route, taking around 9 to 11 days to complete, making it ideal for trekkers seeking a more gradual ascent and extra acclimatization time. Northern Circuit follows the Lemosho route for the initial days before veering northward along the quieter northern slopes. Northern circuit Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro northern circuit review. Lush rainforests, captivating wildlife, and panoramic views are the highlights of this trail.

2. Lemosho: The Scenic Grandeur

Lemosho is renowned for its breathtaking scenery and diverse landscapes. This route takes approximately 7 to 8 days to conquer, offering a balanced blend of moderate trekking and ample acclimatization. Lemosho starts on the western side of Kilimanjaro, passing through lush rainforests and the scenic Shira Plateau before merging with the Machame route. Trekkers on Lemosho are treated to spectacular vistas, ranging from dense forests to vast alpine deserts.

3. A Tale of Two Routes: Contrasts and Similarities

While the Northern Circuit and Lemosho have distinct characteristics, they share some similarities that make both routes exceptional choices. Both offer remarkable opportunities for acclimatization, reducing the risk of altitude-related issues. Additionally, they provide trekkers with breathtaking views, and wildlife sightings, like the elusive Colobus monkeys, add to the allure of both routes. The Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit vs Lemosho debate boils down to personal preferences, time availability, and physical fitness.

Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit vs Lemosho: Choosing Your Path

In this section, we’ll explore specific factors to consider when choosing between the Northern Circuit and Lemosho routes, ensuring that your decision aligns with your aspirations and abilities.

4. Difficulty Level and Trekking Experience

The first consideration is the difficulty level of each route. Northern Circuit is generally considered to be the easiest and safest route due to its extended duration, offering trekkers more time to acclimatize. On the other hand, the Lemosho route is slightly more challenging but still manageable for fit individuals with prior trekking experience.

5. Scenery and Landscapes

If you’re a nature enthusiast, the scenery and landscapes along the routes will be crucial in making your decision. The Northern Circuit’s unique path along the northern slopes provides trekkers with exclusive views of the untouched wilderness. In contrast, Lemosho treats hikers to diverse landscapes, from dense forests to high-altitude deserts, making each day a new visual delight.

6. Crowd Levels and Serenity

For those seeking tranquility and a more solitary experience, the Northern Circuit has the edge over Lemosho. The latter, being one of the most scenic routes, attracts more trekkers. If you wish to immerse yourself in the beauty of Kilimanjaro without the hustle of crowds, the Northern Circuit is the answer.

7. Duration and Acclimatization

The time you can spare for your Kilimanjaro adventure will play a vital role in selecting the appropriate route. The Northern Circuit’s longer duration ensures a gradual ascent, improving your chances of successful acclimatization. On the other hand, if you’re limited on time but still want a fantastic trekking experience, the Lemosho route offers a great balance between duration and acclimatization.

8. Wildlife Encounters

Both routes offer opportunities to spot diverse wildlife, from vibrant bird species to the striking Colobus monkeys swinging through the treetops. However, the Northern Circuit’s unique path might grant you rare sightings of more elusive animals. If wildlife photography is a priority, the Northern Circuit’s serenity and unspoiled nature provide the perfect setting.

9. Cost and Budget Considerations

Cost is an important factor in any adventure. The Northern Circuit, with its longer duration, usually comes with a higher price tag. Lemosho, while still considered a premium route, offers a more budget-friendly option for trekkers seeking a shorter expedition.

10. Group Size and Social Aspect

The size of your trekking group can influence your decision. If you prefer a more social experience and enjoy meeting fellow adventurers along the way, Lemosho’s popularity may appeal to you. Alternatively, if you desire a more intimate journey with your close companions, the Northern Circuit’s lesser-visited trail will be your preference.

11. Weather Conditions

Kilimanjaro’s weather can be unpredictable, and each route has its distinct climate zones. The Northern Circuit’s northern slope often experiences more rain, but it also means greener landscapes. Lemosho’s western side tends to be drier, offering clear views of the mountain.

12. Summit Success Rate

Ultimately, your goal is to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. While both routes boast commendable success rates, the Northern Circuit’s extended duration and gradual ascent may offer a slightly higher chance of reaching Uhuru Peak.

Which route is more suitable for first-time trekkers?

For beginners, the Northern Circuit is generally more suitable due to its gradual ascent and extended acclimatization period.

Are there any age restrictions for these routes?

Both routes do not have strict age restrictions, but trekkers should be in good physical condition and adequately prepared.

What is the best time of year to attempt Kilimanjaro via these routes?

The best times to trek Kilimanjaro are during the dry seasons, from January to mid-March and from June to October.

How challenging is the summit night on each route?

The summit night is challenging on both routes, with steep and rocky terrain, but the sense of accomplishment makes it worthwhile.

What permits are required to trek Kilimanjaro via the Northern Circuit and Lemosho?

You will need a Kilimanjaro National Park permit, and it’s advisable to obtain it in advance through a licensed tour operator.

Can I do the trek without a guide?

No, climbing Kilimanjaro requires a guide, and it’s for your safety and to protect the environment.


In the grand face-off between Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit vs Lemosho, both routes emerge victorious in their unique ways. The Northern Circuit offers solitude, untouched landscapes, and ample time for acclimatization, while Lemosho impresses with its diverse scenery and shorter duration. Choose wisely based on your preferences, fitness level, and the experience you seek. Whichever route you select, summiting Kilimanjaro will undoubtedly be an extraordinary adventure, etching memories that last a lifetime. TripAdvisor Reviews for Northen Circuit Route Vs Lemosho Route.

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