The Lemosho Route is widely considered to be the best route on Mount Kilimanjaro and a relatively new route, is preferred by reputable operators 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. We begin from the west, trekking in the fertile rainforest until we reach the wildflowers of the heath ecosystem. Approaching from the west, we cross one of most beautiful areas on Kilimanjaro, the Shira Plateau, before traversing the mountain along the southern circuit.
The trek using the Lemosho route starts above the Londorosi Gate, already at an altitude of 2360 metres. This route takes longer, is often considered to be the most scenically-varied, and as a newer route it experiences lower numbers of trekkers. More time is spent in the atmospheric rainforest and the extra time spent acclimatizing means a high success rate in reaching the summit. All that we all want is that you to have the best possible Kilimanjaro climb experience!
Day By Day Itinerary
Elevation (ft): 7,800ft to 9,500ft
Distance: 6 km
Hiking Time:3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
After an early breakfast (07.00), we leave the hotel one hour later to arrive at the Londorossi Gate for registration around 12.00, and in time to have our picnic lunch. After Londorossi, we have a short drive to the start-point of today’s walk. Today our walk is a distance of 7km, with an expected 3.5 to 4 hours of walking time. Our starting altitude is some 2100 metres and we finish at 2700 metres. Our approach to the mountain is from the west and some people say this provides the best views of Kilimanjaro. At the start of our walk, we may be lucky enough to spy some colobus or blue monkeys, though an encounter with buffalo, elephant or leopard would be rare nowadays. Our walk, steadily upwards, is a wonderful experience, with fantastic forest and some colourful flowers. Mti Mkubwa Camp (‘Big Tree Camp’) is normally reached by 18.00 and dinner is served at 19.30.
Elevation (ft): 9,500ft to 11,500ft
Distance: 8 km
Hiking Time 5-6 hours
You will soon become used to the early, 07.00 breakfast and our departure time is at 08.00. Although our walking distance is similar to yesterday, today we will be ascending from 2700 metres to 3500 metres and we expect a longer walking time of between 6.5 and 7 hours. Today, the trees of our first day thin out, we eventually leave the forest environment behind as we move onto the moorland and are able to get our first view of both the Shira Plateau and Kibo itself. As ever, you should concentrate on walking pole pole (slowly) to reduce the chances of feeling unwell. Our direction is largely eastwards, picnic lunch is taken around 13.00. Walking is steep at first after lunch, but then flattens and with the snow-topped Kibo ahead of you, you descend slightly to the Shira 1 Camp. Arriving at around 16.00, our dinner will be ready at 18.30.
Elevation (ft): 11,500ft to 13,800 ft
Distance: 14 km
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Compared to yesterday, our climbing today is less (350 metres of ascent) and takes us up to an altitude of 3850 metres. The distance we cover will be similar, at approximately 7km. It is a steady, uphill climb and you should expect about 3.5 to 4 hours of walk time in total. Our breakfast today is at the civilised hour of 08.00 and our departure one hour later. We set off in a south-eastern direction across the moor and heathland of the Shira Plateau. Buffalo, dik-dik and klipspringer graze here and can occasionally be seen. We intend to reach Shira 2 Camp – which is also known as Shira Huts – by 13.00, in time to be served a hot lunch. Dinner tonight will be 18.00.
Elevation (ft): 13,800ft to 13,000ft
Distance: 7 km
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
Habitat: Semi Desert
Today we are back to our early, 07.00 breakfast time, ready for 08.30 departure. We have around 10km to cover, but although we will finish our day only 90 metres higher than we started it, in between we have to climb to the foot of the Lava Tower (4267 metres) before we then descend once more, down to Barranco for our overnight stop. You can expect around 6.5 to 7 hours of walking, during which time you leave the Shira Ridge and the Lemosho Route joins up with the more popular Machame trail. The scenery today changes to predominantly Alpine desert. Your picnic lunch will be at 13.00, arrival at Barranco around 16.00 and dinner at about 19.00.
Elevation (ft): 13,100ft to 15,300ft
Distance: 4 km
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Another short day -in terms of distance – begins with our breakfast at the camp at 07.30 and another 08.30 departure. Today we will ascend about 500 metres in a distance of around 5km and walking time once again is between 3.5 and 4 hours. We will be aiming to arrive the Barafu Camp by 13.00, when we will be rewarded with a hot lunch. (With tomorrow being the summit day, it will be important to relax and prepare for the hard work ahead.) Dinner tonight is served at 17.30, giving you time to get to bed early. After leaving Karanga, today’s stage climbs steadily, passing through barren, rocky landscape, with the Decken and Kersten glaciers visible away to your left. At the top of the climb, the landscape remains bleak as you descend into a valley and you get your first sight of another glacier, Rebmann. At the end of this valley is today’s goal, the Barafu Camp, at which you arrive after a short, steep scramble and a walk.
Elevation (ft): 15,300ft to 19,345ft (and down to 10,000ft)
Distance: 5 km ascent / 12 km descent
Hiking Time: 7-8 hours ascent / 4-6 hours descent
Today is the most challenging day, but hopefully with the great sense of achievement of reaching your goal – the summit of Kilimanjaro! Our schedule for our ‘Summit Day’ is of course very different. Rising at 23.00, we take our tea and biscuits (23.30) before a midnight departure. The day starts with the long, tough climb from Barafu at 4600 metres to Stella Point at 5745 metres; for some of this you will be walking on scree, making your trek more difficult. From there it is another 150 metres of ascent and 45 minutes’ walk to the summit. Our goal is to reach the summit by around 07.00 then celebrate reaching the top, take our precious photos and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. After the summit, we return to Barafu, where we rest for a couple of hours and enjoy a hot lunch. At 13.30, we depart to descend to Mweka Camp (3100 metres) where we should arrive at around 17.00, take our dinner at 19.00 and spend the night. (In total today, we cover around 17km with about 13 hours of walking.)
Elevation (ft): 10,000ft to 5,400ft
Distance: 10 km
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
Still thrilled by your achievement, breakfast is taken at 07.00 and at 08.00 you can take the chance to reward your trekking team at the “After Climb Celebration.’ Departure is at 09.00 and you descend down to Mweka Gate at an altitude of 1640 metres, where you will be served a hot lunch at midday and be presented with your hard-earned certificate. Your transport will be waiting to return you back to your hotel in Arusha, where you can choose to relax – or celebrate!
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