The Lemosho route is considered the most scenic trail on Kilimanjaro, granting panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain. As one of the newer routes, Lemosho is a superb choice for your climb. It is our preferred route due to its ideal balance of low crowds, beautiful scenery and a high summit success rate. Ultimate Kilimanjaro specializes in guiding on the Lemosho route. Most of our clients climb Kilimanjaro using this route and they consistently report that they loved it. Thus, Lemosho is highly recommended.
The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate. From there, the first two days are spent trekking through the rain forest to Shira Ridge. The Lemosho route crosses the entire Shira Plateau from west to east in a pleasant, relatively flat hike. Crowds are low until the route joins the Machame route near Lava Tower. Then the route traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. Descent is made via the Mweka route.
Day 1: Lemosho Trailhead (2,000m/6,600ft) to Big Tree Camp (2,800m/9,100ft)
Elevation Gain: 800 metres / 2,500 feet
This morning you will drive from Moshi to the Londorossi gate, taking approximately 3 hours. Here you will complete entry formalities. From Londorossi your drive continues for around 1 hour to the Lemosho trailhead along a 4WD track. Upon arrival at the trailhead you will eat lunch and then commence trekking through lush undisturbed forest where you may be lucky enough to see Colobus monkeys. The path undulates, steeply in places, to arrive at the first camp after 3-4 hours of trekking. Overnight at Big Tree Camp (Mti Mkubwa Camp).
Day 2: Big Tree Camp (2,800m/9,100ft) to Shira 1 Camp (3,500m/11,500ft)
Elevation Gain: 700 metres / 2,400 feet
Today your trek will begin in the forest; however you will soon leave this ecosystem behind taking a steep track into a zone of giant heather and volcanic rock. This is a full day ascending through the lush rolling hills below the Shira Plateau. Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones. It is filled with the lava flow from Kibo and its rim has eroded and been blasted away by weather and volcanic action. Finally the trail begins to ease as you reach the edge of the plateau. You will camp at Shira One after 5-6 hours of trekking. The view of Kibo from across the plateau is incredible.
Day 3: Shira 1 Camp (3,500m/11,500ft) to Shira 2 Camp (3,800m/12,500ft)
Elevation Gain: 300 metres / 1,000 feet
Your third day on the mountain consists of a trek across the Shira Plateau with an optional climb to Shira Cathedral (3,880m). Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth. The day finishes with a gradual climb to Shira 2 Camp. Trekking time without the optional excursion is approximately 3 hours. Including the optional acclimatisation to the peak of Shira Cathedral will add approximately 1 hour.
Day 4: Shira 2 Camp (3,800m/12,500ft) to Barranco Camp (3,850m/12,650ft) via Lava Tower (4,550m/14,900ft)
Elevation Gain: 750 metres / 2,400 feet
Elevation Loss: 700 metres / 2,250 feet
Your climb today will take you steadily up and over the expansive ridgelines of high desert to Lava Tower. The trek to the base of Lava Tower is about 4 hours. This tower is a 300 foot high volcanic plug. If time and energy allow, you can scramble to the top of Lava Tower for fabulous panoramic views. From Lava Tower we begin our steep descent into the Barranco Valley, passing large flowering plants which actually look like trees, the scenecios. This is good practice for your descent from the summit in a few days time and will take 1-2 hours. Although you will end your day at almost the same elevation as you started, today is very important for acclimatisation and will help your body prepare for summit day. Barranco Camp is in a beautiful, sheltered valley below the imposing Barranco Wall.
Day 5: Barranco Camp (3,850m/12,600ft) to Karranga Camp (3,950m/13,000ft) via the Barranco Wall (4,200m/13,800ft)
Elevation Gain: 350 metres / 1,150 feet
Elevation Loss: 250 metres / 820 feet
After breakfast, we leave Barranco Camp and begin our climb up the Barranco Wall. This is an impressive scramble where you will be rewarded with fantastic views back towards camp. The porters climbing the wall are also an impressive sight. From the top, at 4,200m, you will follow an undulating path around the mountain side. On a clear day there are spectacular views of Kibo to your left and Mount Meru to your right. After descending into the Karranga Valley your climb takes you up a short steep path to Karranga Camp. Walking time approximately 3-4 hours.
Day 6: Karranga Camp (3,950m/13,000ft) to Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft)
Elevation Gain: 650 metres / 2,150 feet
Today you will spend the morning climbing steadily on to Barafu, which is Swahili for ice! This camp is located on the ridge below the summit cone. You have now completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. This walk will take around 3 hours meaning that you will arrive at Barafu in time to spend the afternoon resting and enjoy an early dinner in preparation for the summit climb. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo can be seen from this position.
Day 7: Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,300ft) then descending to Mweka Camp (3,110m/10,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,295 metres / 4,200 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,785 metres / 9,100 feet
In the early hours of the morning you will begin your final ascent to the summit of Uhuru Peak. This part of the climb takes approximately 6-8 hours. It can be very cold at night at these elevations, but it will be quite warm by the end of the hiking day and therefore you will want clothing for both extremes. Just when you think you’ve had enough of climbing in the dark the sun will rise and you will be rewarded with a rich red sky framing Mawenzi. At Stella Point (5,750m) you join the crater rim. From here, climb less steeply to Uhuru Peak which is the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. From the summit the descent will take you straight down to Mweka Hut, with lunch served on the way. This part of the descent takes about 6 hours. Later in the evening enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep. Beer and soda may be available for purchase at Mweka Hut, the only place it is available on this route.
Day 8: Mweka Camp (3,110m/10,200ft) to Mweka Gate (1,830m/6,000ft)
Elevation Loss: 1,280 metres / 4,220 feet
Descend straight to the gate through lush forest (2-3 hours), looking for monkeys along the way. Return to Moshi from Mweka Village.
Park fees, camping fees, rescue fees, head guide, assistant guides, cook, & porters salaries, all food, drinking water, tents, transport to/from park entry gate.
* Hiring of clothing, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, walking poles etc.
* Tipping to your guides, cook and porters. The standard recommendation for this is USD$20 per day to the head guide, $12 per day to the assistant guide, $12 per day to the cook and $5 per day per porter. These costs are split between everyone doing the climb.