Mount Kilimanjaro - Lemosho Route


About this route

The Lemosho Route offers an unspoiled, remote and beautiful trail up to Shira Plateau. It can either be used in combination with the Western Breach Route or with the Kibo South Circuit ascending via Barafu Camp. This route is one of the quietest on the mountain and offers panoramic vistas.

It is one of the few routes where climbers may be rewarded with some game viewing as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are rich in buffalo, elephant and other big game animals.

  • high difficulty
  • beautiful scenery
  • medium traffic
  • high success rate

Lemosho Route

Duration: 6 days

Starts from: Arusha or Moshi

Ends at: Arusha or Moshi

Accommodation: Camping

Price: from 2060 USD per person

The route day-to-day

(click on the day to expand)

Day 1: Lemosho Glades (2100 m) to Mti Mkubwa / Big Tree Camp (2780 m)
Hiking time: 3 h / Distance: 7 km / Ascent: 680 m

Your day starts early with a breakfast followed by a 2-3 hour drive from your lodge in Arusha or Moshi to Londorossi Park Gate. The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment at the Gate while you register with the Gate warden. You will receive a lunch pack from your mountain team. From here a forest track requiring a 4WD vehicle leads to Lemosho Glades (2100 m, 11 km, 45 min).

From the Glades it is a 2-hour walk along forest trails to Mti Mkubwa / Big Tree Camp (2800 m). Your porters (hopefully arriving at the camp site before you) will have your tent set up on your arrival. In the evening the porters will boil drinking and washing water and the cook will prepare dinner before you retire to your tent for the night. Night temperatures can already drop to freezing point at this campsite.

Accommodation: Big Tree Camp. (-/L/D)

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa / Big Tree Camp (2780 m) to Shira 2 Camp (3900 m)
Hiking time: 7-8 h / Distance: 14 km / Ascent: 1120 m

Today is a long day so it is important to rise early for breakfast. After breakfast, you climb an hour or so till you exit out of the forest zone. From here the trail gradually steepens and enters the giant heather moorland zone. Several streams are crossed along the way. A gentle walk across the plateau which is actually a caldera (a collapsed volcanic crater) leads to Shira 2 Camp located on moorland meadows alongside a stream.

By now you will be able to see, in an easterly direction, Kibo with its stunning Northern Icefield glaciers. After arriving at the Camp the porters will boil drinking and washing water, before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will be even colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing.

Accommodation: Shira 2 Camp. (B/L/D)

Day 3: Shira 2 Camp (3900 m) via Lava Tower (4640 m) to Barranco Camp (3960 m)
Hiking time: 6-7 h / Distance: 10 km / Ascent: 700 m / Descent: 680 m

The route now turns east into a semi-desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4640 m after about a 5 hours walk. Just before the lunch break your path will join that of the climbers ascending via the Machame Route. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4640 m). This is definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches.

After lunch you descend by almost 680 m to the Barranco Camp and, after reaching the high altitude of 4640 m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatisation benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco Camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Great Barranco Wall. The camp is situated in a valley full of lobelia (Lobelia deckenii) and tree groundsels (Senecio Kilimanjari) just below the Western Breach and Great Barranco Wall. If the weather is good you might even witness a memorable sunset while you wait for your dinner. As soon as the sun sets though, so do the temperatures!

Accommodation: Barranco Camp. (B/L/D)

Day 4: Barranco Camp (3960 m) to Barafu Camp (4640 m)
Hiking Time: 7-8 h / Distance: 10 km / Ascent: 850 m / Descent: 250 m

After spending a night next to the Great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this impressive-looking obstacle which, in the end, normally turns out easier than what you anticipated. Arriving at a viewpoint just below Heim Glacier, you now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The track then heads down through a valley and over intervening ridges before descending steeply into the Karanga Valley where a steep ascent winds its way up towards Karanga Camp where a hearty lunch awaits you. For those doing a 7-day ascent the 4th night is spent here at this camp before proceeding on to Barafu Camp. There is also a short cut which connects the Machame Route with the Mweka Route at Karanga Camp.

The last water stop on this route is the Karanga Valley, as there is no water at Barafu camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarise yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. The summit is now a further 1345 m up and you will make the final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, walking poles and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 19:00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep.

Accommodation: Barafu Camp. (B/L/D)

Day 5: Barafu Camp (4640 m) to Uhuru Peak (5895 m) and down to Mweka Camp (3080 m)
Hiking time: 7-8 h to reach Uhuru Peak, 7-8 h to descend to Mweka Camp / Distance: 19 km / Ascent: 1255 m / Descent: 2815 m

You will rise around 23:30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. For many climbers, this 5-6 hour walk to Stella Point is mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5740 m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point it is approx. another hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life.

The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well-earned but short rest before you collect the rest of your gear and depart for Mweka Camp. The route is not difficult and after the first 1.5 hours, a welcomed break can be enjoyed at the Millennium Camp before continuing down a rocky path through a heather and moor landscape dotted with proteas (Protea Kilimandscharica). Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. It is often a muddy, damp and cold camp but after a cat wash with warm water and a hearty dinner you are most likely to be too exhausted to care.

Accommodation: Mweka Camp. (-/Brunch/D)

Day 6: Mweka Camp (3080 m) to Mweka Gate (1680 m)
Hiking time: 3-4 h / Distance: 10 km / Descent: 1280 m

After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike through the rainforest back to the Park Gate. It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. At Mweka Gate you sign your name and details in a register.

This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5740 m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895 m) receive gold certificates. Transfer back to your accommodation.


Requirements on Kilimanjaro

Persons attempting the climb must be physically very fit and in very good general health. You need surefootedness, trekking experience, good physical shape for the hiking stages lasting several hours, team spirit and acceptance to staying in simple accommodations.


Please note

Campsites and toilet facilities on the mountain are very basic and water for personal hygiene on the mountain is limited. Clients climb at their own risk. It is at the guide’s discretion to break off a climb in case weather conditions or clients health dictate it for safety reasons.

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