Trip Overview

With its beautiful panoramic views, low foot traffic, and high summit success rate, the Lemosho Route is a favorite for those who have the time.

The trek starts on the western side of the mountain, with the first couple of days spent hiking through the rain forest, where you have chances of seeing some interesting wildlife. The trail will then take you up to Kilimanjaro’s third summit at Shira Ridge, and from there, you will cross the entire Shira Plateau from west to east; it is an enjoyable, scenic, and fairly flat hike. You will see relatively few other hikers until day three, when the trail connects with the busier Machame Route near the Lava Tower. From there, you will take the Southern Circuit, passing underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field before summitting from Barafu. Hikers on this trail descend via the Mweka route.

Day 1: Arrival Tanzania

Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met by a Tansafari-Tours representative and transferred to your hotel in Arusha.

Day 2: rest day

Enjoy a day at your leisure to rest from your travels and prepare for your climb. Your head Kilimanjaro guide will meet you at your hotel today to give you a thorough briefing about your climb and check your gear. If you need to rent any clothing or equipment, today will be the day to do so.

Day 3 (climb day 1): Arusha – Londorossi Park Gate – Mti Mkubwa Camp

You will be picked up from your hotel at about 8:30am and driven to Londorossi Gate (a drive of approximately four hours), where you will complete park entry formalities. From there, we drive for one more hour to the Lemosho trailhead, where we will have some lunch before heading out. Along the forest trail, you will have chances of hearing/seeing colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, bush hyrax, and birds such as the turaco, silvery-cheeked hornbill, and flycatchers. Late afternoon, we will arrive at Mti Mkubwa (Swahili for “Big Tree”) our camp for the night. Now you can relax and enjoy your new surroundings before dinner.

  • Beginning altitude: 2,360m/7,740ft
  • Ending altitude: 2,820m/9,250ft
  • Zone: Rainforest
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 5.5km/3.5mi
  • Elevation gain: 460m/1,510ft
 

Day 4 (climb day 2): Mti Mkubwa Camp – Shira 1 Camp

Today’s trek to Shira 1 Camp is relatively short and easy, ascending through the lush rolling hills below the Shira Plateau. You will start in the rainforest, but you will not stay there for long; the trail will soon take you up a steep track into a savanna of tall grasses, heather, and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards (tree moss). You will have lunch at Shira Ridge (3,200m/10,500 ft). The trail will finally begin to ease as you reach the edge of the plateau, where you can enjoy views of Kibo Peak. 

  • Beginning altitude: 2,820m/9,250ft
  • Ending altitude: 3,500m/11,480ft
  • Zone: Heath
  • Hiking time: 5-6 hours
  • Distance: 8km/5mi
  • Elevation gain: 680m/2,230ft
 

Day 5 (climb day 3): Shira 1 Camp – moir hut

From Shira 1 Camp, you will continue across and up the Shira Plateau to Shira 2 Camp (3,850m/12,630ft), joining trekkers from the Machame Route while enjoying stunning views across the valley below and the Western Breach of Kilimanjaro above. The plateau is exposed, so be prepared for strong winds and low temperatures. You will then continue up the Shira Caldera and off the beaten track to Moir Hut. En route, you will have lunch at the former Scott Fischer Camp (3,900m/12,800ft) and enjoy the view of Kibo, one of  Kilimanjaro’s three peaks. Today is long, and finishes at a high altitude. It is not unusual at this point for hikers to start feeling the effects of the high altitude: breathlessness, headaches, nausea, dizziness, etc. Your guide will be monitoring you closely, but don’t hesitate to let him know if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Sleeping high tonight night will help you on your trek going forward.

  • Beginning altitude: 3,500m/11,480ft
  • Ending altitude: 4,200m/13,780ft
  • Zone: Moorland/alpine desert
  • Hiking time: 5-7hours
  • Distance: 14km/8.5mi
  • Elevation gain: 700m/2,300ft
 

Day 6 (climb day 4): moir hut – Lava Tower – Barranco Camp

After breakfast, we continue our upward trek for approximately four hours over an expansive desert-like ridge and onward to the Lava Tower – a 90m/300ft-tall volcanic rock formation – for lunch. In the afternoon, we will descend the steep track into the Great Barranco Valley through the strange but beautiful Senecio forest and onward to Barranco Camp. Hanging glaciers can be seen glistening above. Although you begin and end the day at the same elevation, the time spent today at a higher altitude is very beneficial for your acclimatization.

  • Beginning altitude: 4,200m/13,780ft
  • Altitude at Lava Tower: 4,630m/15,190ft
  • Ending altitude: 3,950m/12,960ft
  • Zone: Alpine desert
  • Hiking time: 6-8 hours
  • Distance: 12km/7.5mi
  • Elevation gain: 430m/1,410ft
  • Elevation loss: 680m/2,230ft
 

Day 7 (climb day 5): barranco camp – Karanga Camp

Having enjoyed an early breakfast, it is now time to face and conquer the Great Barranco Wall! Do NOT be intimidated! You do not need any special talent to scale the wall. While the task in front of you may look daunting, there is always a guide nearby to offer a helping hand and, in the end, you will find that it was easier than you expected. The trick is to go slowly and be deliberate with each step you take. 

When you have finally arrived on  top of the wall, take a moment to enjoy the amazing views. From here, we will cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into the Karanga valley. One more steep climb takes us to Karanga Camp. This shorter day, with its ups and downs, is important for your acclimatization.

  • Beginning altitude: 3,950m/12,960ft
  • Ending altitude: 4,200m/13,780ft
  • Zone: Alpine desert
  • Hiking time: 4-5 hours
  • Distance: 5km/3mi
  • Elevation gain: 250m/820ft

 
Day 8 (climb day 6): Karanga Camp – barafu camp

After breakfast, we begin our hike steadily uphill toward Barafu Camp, the base from which we will start our climb to the summit late tonight. As we advance, the temperature will begin to drop (“barafu” is the Swahili word for ice),  the landscape will become increasingly more desertic, and our excitement about the challenge awaiting us tonight will begin to mount. We will arrive at camp early afternoon, where you will be rewarded with stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks, as well as a hot lunch. The afternoon is yours to rest and prepare for the long night ahead. Eat and drink as much as possible before retiring early to your tent to get some sleep. The summit is now only 1,295m/4,250ft above, and  we will start making the final ascent just after midnight. This last push is likely to be one of the hardest things you will ever put your body through, so take some quiet time to mentally prepare yourself.

  • Beginning altitude: 4,200m/13,780ft
  • Ending altitude: 4,600m/15,100ft
  • Zone: High alpine
  • Hiking time: 3-5 hours
  • Distance: 6km/4mi
  • Elevation gain: 400m/1,310ft


day 9 (climb day 7) BARAFU CAMP – UHURU PEAK – MWEKA CAMP

Rise and shine! A midnight wake-up call with a hot drink will kick off this momentous day. We will start our trek to the Roof of Africa at about 12:30am (do not forget your headlamp). Temperatures will range from just below freezing at midnight to between -10  and -12 degrees Celsius (14-10 degrees Fahrenheit) just before dawn at the summit. 

We will head out in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree toward Stella Point on the crater rim (which marks the end of the steep track). The six-hour walk to Stella Point is, for many climbers, the most challenging part of the climb to the summit, both mentally and physically.  Don’t give up! Use all of your mental energy to keep moving one small step at a time. At Stella Point (5,685m/18,650ft), you will stop for a short rest before continuing to the summit.

The last one-hour push from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb, and as far as hikes go, not very difficult. That said, the altitude makes the hike long an tiring; just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will arrive at the Roof of Africa at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet)! Look around you at the beautiful vistas, take a deep breath, and congratulate yourself! Do not stop for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue.

The trek back down to Barafu Camp from the summit takes about 2-3 hours over slippery scree; just take your time. At Barafu Camp, we will have a short well-earned rest and a hot lunch. We will then collect the rest of our gear and start heading down to Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft) for dinner and overnight. The trek from Barafu to Mweka Camp is relatively easy, but since you will be tired, you will need to summon all your strength to reach it.

  • Beginning altitude: 4,600m/15,100ft
  • Altitude at the summit: 5,895m/19,340ft
  • Ending altitude: 3,100m/10,170ft
  • Zones: Stone scree & arctic 
  • Hiking time: 15-16 hours
  • Distance: 17km/10.5mi
  • Elevation gain: 1,295m/4,250ft
  • Elevation loss: 2,795m/9,170ft


DAY 10 (CLIMB DAY 8)  MWEKA CAMP – MWEKA GATE

After breakfast, we will descend through the rainforest from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate. At the gate, you will collect your certificate and then be transferred back to Arusha or to Kilimanjaro Airport, depending on your travel plans. 

  • Beginning altitude: 3,100m/10,170ft
  • Ending altitude: 1,500m/4,920ft
  • Zone: Rain forest
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 9km/5.5mi
  • Elevation loss: 1,600m/5,250ft

 

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