Mount Kilimanjaro Trek: Northern Circuit & Lemosho Routes | Altitude Guide

Are you an adventure enthusiast seeking a thrilling trekking experience? Look no further than the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Standing tall at an impressive altitude of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet), Kilimanjaro offers a challenging yet rewarding journey to its summit. In this blog post, we will explore two popular routes – the Northern Circuit Route and the Lemosho Route – and delve into the unique features of each, as well as the importance of Kilimanjaro altitude in your trekking experience.

The Northern Circuit Route

The Northern Circuit Route is the newest and longest route to the summit of Kilimanjaro. This route provides an unparalleled trekking experience, allowing climbers to explore the untouched wilderness of the northern slopes. The route starts at the Lemosho trailhead and takes approximately 9-10 days to complete.

One of the major advantages of the Northern Circuit Route is its excellent acclimatization profile. The longer duration and gradual ascent increase the chances of successfully reaching the summit while minimizing the risk of altitude-related illnesses. This makes it a popular choice among trekkers who prioritize safety and comfort.

Highlights of the Northern Circuit Route:

  • Scenic beauty: The Northern Circuit Route offers breathtaking views of the untouched northern slopes, with diverse landscapes ranging from rainforests to alpine deserts.
  • Low traffic: Compared to other routes, the Northern Circuit Route sees fewer climbers, providing a more serene and peaceful trekking experience.
  • Wildlife encounters: As you traverse through the pristine wilderness, you may spot various wildlife species, including elephants, buffalos, and monkeys.

The Lemosho Route

The Lemosho Route is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and scenic routes to the summit of Kilimanjaro. This route combines the best features of the longer Northern Circuit Route and the popular Machame Route. It typically takes 7-8 days to complete, allowing for better acclimatization and a higher chance of reaching the summit.

One of the key highlights of the Lemosho Route is its diverse and picturesque landscapes. You will start your journey through lush rainforests, gradually transitioning to moorlands and alpine deserts as you ascend. This variety in scenery adds to the overall allure of the trek.

Highlights of the Lemosho Route:

  • Scenic beauty: The Lemosho Route offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including the Shira Plateau and the Western Breach.
  • Less crowded: Although gaining popularity, the Lemosho Route still sees fewer trekkers compared to the more crowded routes like Machame and Marangu.
  • Photographic opportunities: With its diverse landscapes and breathtaking vistas, the Lemosho Route provides ample opportunities for capturing stunning photographs.

The Importance of Kilimanjaro Altitude

As you embark on your Kilimanjaro trek, understanding the importance of altitude is crucial for a safe and successful climb. The higher you ascend, the lower the oxygen levels become, making it harder for your body to function optimally. This is why proper acclimatization is essential.

Both the Northern Circuit Route and the Lemosho Route are designed to maximize acclimatization. The longer durations and gradual ascents allow your body to adapt to the increasing altitude, reducing the risk of altitude sickness. It is important to listen to your body, follow the guidance of your experienced guides, and take the necessary rest days to acclimatize properly.


Embarking on a Mount Kilimanjaro trek is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that requires careful planning and preparation. The Northern Circuit Route and the Lemosho Route offer unique experiences, each with its own highlights and advantages. Whether you choose the untouched wilderness of the Northern Circuit or the scenic beauty of the Lemosho Route, reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro will undoubtedly be an unforgettable achievement.