Kilimanjaro – Lemosho Route

Lemosho Route vista

Lemosho Route vista


Lemosho Route Description: 8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS on the mountain

Our favourite route – the Lemosho Route is the one of the most beautiful and best routes for ensuring a successful summit. The Lemosho Route is perhaps the least used initial ascent route on Kilimanjaro, partly because of its remote location and likewise the difficult roads leading to the trailhead. This is a tremendous advantage as there are fewer climbers, more enjoyable campsites and higher success rates of reaching the summit.

While the Lemosho Route is the longest distance to trek up Kilimanjaro, this is the best way to ensure you remain healthy as you have more time to acclimatize to the high altitudes and challenges of climbing Kili.  The trek from Barranco to Barafu is usually done in one day but on this 8-day trek we take two days, allowing for lots of acclimatization time. The many changes of scenery and spectacular hike across the Shira Plateau make this trek truly special. There are no huts on this route; the accommodation is in mountain tents and dining is in our mess tents. Again this is advantageous – the huts are often noisy and uncomfortable which negatively impacts your ability to sleep and rest, both of which are essential for this climb.

Daily itinerary

Climb Day 1                                                                                                           

LEMOSHO TRAILHEAD (7,800 ft./ 2,375 m) ~ FOREST CAMP (9,500 ft./ 2,895 m)

Departure from Arusha for Londorossi gate where you will complete entry formalities. Then drive to the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival at trailhead, eat lunch, and then commence through undisturbed forest that winds to the first camp, only about 3-4 hours of trekking. Overnight at Forest Camp (Mtee Mkubwa Camp)

Climb Day 2 

FOREST CAMP ~ SHIRA 1 CAMP (12,200 ft./ 3,720 m)

Once out of the forest, take a steep track into a Savannah of tall grasses, heather, and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. Ascend through the lush rolling hills below the Shira plateau, finally reaching camp at the edge of the plateau, a day of 5-6 hours trekking. The view of Kibo from across the plateau is amazing. See the photo above of the approach to the Shira 1 camp.

Climb Day 3 

SHIRA 1 CAMP ~ SHIRA 2 CAMP (12,600 ft./ 3,950 m)

Full day exploration of the Shira plateau; Trek east toward Kibo’s glaciered peak, with the option to visit the ancient collapsed Shira cone, the oldest of Kilimanjaro’s three volcanoes. Arrive at Shira 2 camp (Fischers’s Camp); at 12,600 ft. Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth, averaging 12,500 feet. Trekking time without the optional excursions is about 3 hours.

Climb Day 4

SHIRA 2 CAMP ~ BARRANCO CAMP (12,950 ft./ 3,950 mt)

Proceed steadily upward over expansive ridgelines of high desert to Lava Tower, for lunch. The trek is about 4 hours. Lava Tower, a 300-foot volcanic plug, marks an exposed pass at 15,000 feet. In the afternoon, descend the steep track into the Great Barranco Valley. Barranco Camp is set in a valley enclosed on three sides with the massive valley walls and the Kibo massif itself. Hanging glaciers glint in the sunshine above, amidst the eerie landscape of plants such as the giant groundsels (Senecio Kilimanjaro), and the uniquely endemic Giant Lobelia. Trekking time is 6-7 hours.

Climb Day 5

BARRANCO CAMP ~ KARANGA CAMP (13,100 ft./ 3,995 m)

This short trekking day is taken to reach Karanga Valley Camp, at 13,000 feet (3,950 m), between Barranco and Barafu Camps. This has proven to be very important for acclimatization. The day begins with a scramble up the steep ‘Barranco Wall’, then traversing up and down the slopes of valleys that have carved their way into the mountain’s southern face. Kibo’s glaciers loom above to your left and the jagged peaks of Mawenzi jut into the African sky at just under 17,000 feet straight ahead. We reach the Karanga Valley after 3-4 hours of trekking to find a hot lunch served at camp. The afternoon can be taken to relax or take excursions from camp. 

Climb Day 6 

BARRANCO CAMP ~ BARAFU CAMP (15,200 ft./ 4,630 m)

From here the trail turns steadily uphill. The temperature will grow colder and the landscape more sparse as we near Barafu Camp. Barafu Camp is set on a small, exposed flat area on a ridge, acting a base camp from which you will make your summit attempt at midnight tonight. The trekking time is 4-5 hours. Eat and drink as much as possible before retiring early to your tent for rest and sleep.

Climb Day 7 

BARAFU CAMP ~ UHURU PEAK (19,340 ft./ 5,895 m) ~ MWEKA CAMP (10,200 ft./ 3,110 m)

The steaming hot drink will arrive very early on this momentous day. A midnight wake-up call is the start of a juggernaut (12-17 hours of trekking). The winding path of switchbacks will take form and shape in the shadows of the Ratzel and Rebman glaciers at early dawn, and behind you the spires of Mawenzi will be silhouetted against the red glow of the sun from beneath the clouds. After about 6 hours of walking, you will come to the edge of the crater; Stella Point, at 19,000 feet (5,790 m) on the crater rim is the end of the steep track. From here, there is a gentle slope about 1 hour to Uhuru Peak. The strength it takes to ascend this final 340 feet is a challenge with the incredible reward of a successful summit. Celebrate your achievement!

After a short time at the summit, descend the steep scree trail back to Barafu Camp for some rest, and then summon your strength again for further descent to Mweka Camp for the night.

Climb Day 8 

MWEKA CAMP ~ MWEKA GATE (6,000 ft. /1,830 m)                                  

Descend straight to the gate (2-3 hours), where you’ll have lunch and will be awarded climbing certificates. End of our climbing services