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Mount Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route

Lemosho, a relatively new route, and perfect route due to its beauty, remoteness and success rate. In short, it maximizes the chances that a climber will reach the summit, and enjoy the experience overall.

The first two days of this route take you through lush rainforest before you emerge into heath and moorland then join the Machame Route on the third day. This narrow trail, which begins on the Western side of Kilimanjaro, has some very steep and undulating sections.

This route has the highest success point to the summit compared to all other Kilimanjaro routes due to the acclimization factor.

OUR PROGRAM

Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa

We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours, where we will complete entry formalities. Then drive to the Lemosho trailhead (another hour to reach the trailhead). Upon arrival at trailhead, we eat lunch, then commence through undisturbed forest which winds to the first camp site.

Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa
Elevation: 2,360m/7,742ft to 2,895m/9,498ft
Distance: 6km/4miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Zone: Rainforest

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp

We continue on the trail leading out of the forest and into a savannah of tall grasses, heather, and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. As we ascend through the lush rolling hills and cross several streams, we reach the Shira Ridge before dropping gently down to Shira 1 camp. The view of Kibo from across the plateau is amazing.

Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp
Elevation: 2,896m/9,500ft to 3,505m/11,500ft
Distance: 8km/5miles
Hiking Time 5-7 hours
Zone: Heath

Day 3: Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp

After breakfast, we hike east up a steepening path above the highest vegetation toward Kilimanjaro’s looming mass. After several hours, we walk through a rocky landscape to reach the prominent landmark called Lava Tower at 4,630m/15,190 ft. This chunky remnant of Kilimanjaro’s earlier volcanic activity is 91m/300ft tall, the trail passes right below it. The sure-footed can scramble to the top of the tower. After lunch we descend for 2 hours below the lower cliffs of the western breach wall to Barranco Camp at 3,950m/12,960ft. We numerous photo opportunities on this hike, especially if the walls are festooned with ice. Barranco Camp is in a valley below the breach and great Barranco Walls, it provides a memorable sunset while we wait for our dinner. On this day, be careful to notice any signs of altitude sickness.

Shira 2 Camp to Lava Tower
Elevation: 3,810m/12,500ft to 4,630m/15,190ft
Distance: 7km/4miles
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
Elevation: 4,630 m/15,190ft to 3,976m/13,044ft
Distance: 3km/2miles
Hiking Time: 2-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Day 4: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

After breakfast, we continue up a steep ridge to the Great Barranco Wall, then we climb an imposing obstacle, it’s easier than it looks. Topping out just below the hem glacier we can now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro truly is. With Kibo’s glaciers soaring overhead, we descend into the lush Karanga valley to the Karanga valley campsite. From the camp, we can look east and see the jagged peaks of Mawenzi jutting into the African sky. After a hot lunch in camp, the afternoon is at leisure for resting or exploring. After two long days, this short day is very important for acclimatization since our summit push is about to start.

Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
Elevation: 3,976m/13,044ft to 3,995m/13,106ft
Distance: 5km/3miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Day 5: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

In the morning, we hike east over intervening ridges and valleys to join the Mweka route, which will be our descent route. We turn left toward the mountain and hike up the ridge through a sparse landscape for another hour to the Barafu hut where we will receive a hot lunch. The last water on the route is in the Karanga valley; there is no water at Barafu Camp, even though barafu is the swahili word for ice. The famous snows of Kilimanjaro are far above Barafu Camp near the summit of the mountain. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this position.
Your tent will be pitched on a narrow, stony, wind-swept ridge, so make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. After an early dinner, we go to bed for a few hours of precious sleep.

Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
Elevation: 3,995m/13,106ft to 4,673m/15,331ft
Distance: 4km/2 miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Day 6: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. Near Stella Point 5,761m/18,900ft, we will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak
Elevation: 4,673m/15,331ft to 5,895m/19,341ft
Distance: 5 km/3miles
Hiking Time: 7-9 hours
Zone: Arctic

From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest, mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp
Elevation: 5,895m/19,341ft to 3,068m/10,065ft
Distance: 12km/7miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Zone: Rainforest

Day 7: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

After a well-deserved breakfast, it is a short, scenic 3-hour hike back to the park gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will be waiting for us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
Elevation: 3,068m/10,065ft to 1,640m/5,380ft
Distance: 10km/6 miles
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Zone: Rainforest

Congratulations! 

 OUR PROGRAM

Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa Camp

We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours, where we will complete entry formalities. Then drive to the Lemosho trailhead (another hour to reach the trailhead). Upon arrival at trailhead, we eat lunch, then commence through undisturbed forest which winds to the first camp site.

Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa
Elevation: 2,360m/7,742ft to 2,895m/9,498ft
Distance: 6km/4miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Zone: Rainforest

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp

We continue on the trail leading out of the forest and into a savannah of tall grasses, heather, and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. As we ascend through the lush rolling hills and cross several streams, we reach the Shira Ridge before dropping gently down to Shira 1 camp. The view of Kibo from across the plateau is amazing.

Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp
Elevation: 2,896m/9,500ft to 3,505m/11,500ft
Distance: 8km/5miles
Hiking Time 5-7 hours
Zone: Heath

Day 3: Shira 1 Camp to Moir Hut

We explore the Shira plateau for a full day. It is a gentle walk east toward Kibo’s glaciered peak, across the plateau which leads to Shira 2 camp on moorland meadows by a stream. Then we continue to Moir Hut, a little used site on the base of Lent Hills. A variety of walks are available on Lent Hills making this an excellent acclimatization opportunity. Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth.

Shira 1 Camp to Moir Hut
Elevation: 3,505m/11,500ft to 4,206m/13,800ft
Distance: 14km/9miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Zone: Heath

Day 4: Moir Hut to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp

From the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth.” Shortly after the tower, we come to the second junction which brings us up to the Arrow Glacier at an altitude of 4,877m/16,000ft. We now continue down to the Barranco Hut at an altitude of 3,962m/13,000ft. Here we rest, enjoy dinner, and overnight. Although our day ends at the same elevation as when we started, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for the summit day.

Moir Hut to Lava Tower
Elevation: 4,206m/13,800ft to 4,630 m/15,190ft
Distance: 7km/4miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
Elevation: 4,630 m/15,190ft to 3,976m/13,044ft
Distance: 3km/2miles
Hiking Time: 2-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

Day 5: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

We begin the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then we climb a steep cliff nearly 274m/900ft. From the top of the Barranco Wall we cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads us to Karanga Camp. This is a shorter day meant for acclimatization.

Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
Elevation: 3,976m/13,044ft to 3,995m/13,106ft
Distance: 5km/3miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Zone: Alpine Desert

Day 6: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

We leave Karanga and reach the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, we have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this position.

Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
Elevation: 3,995m/13,106ft to 4,673m/15,331ft
Distance: 4km/2 miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Zone: Alpine Desert

Day 7: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. Near Stella Point 5,761m/18,900ft, we will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak
Elevation: 4,673m/15,331ft to 5,895m/19,341ft
Distance: 5 km/3miles
Hiking Time: 7-9 hours
Zone: Arctic

From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest, mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp
Elevation: 5,895m/19,341ft to 3,068m/10,065ft
Distance: 12km/7miles
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Zone: Rainforest

Day 8: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate 

On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will be waiting for us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
Elevation: 3,068m/10,065ft to 1,640m/5,380ft
Distance: 10km/6 miles
Hiking Time: 3-5 hours
Zone: Rainforest

Congratulations!

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