The Lemosho Route is our favourite Kilimanjaro climbing route and that makes writing this blog post an absolute joy. Why wouldn’t the Lemosho be our favourite route? It is most definitely the most scenic and diverse one, it has one of the newer and thus fresher trails and it is perfect for acclimatization. Acclimatization is the word you see over and over again when researching the climbing routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. When you have found the Lemosho Route, there’s no need to worry too much about acclimatization anymore.
As the popularity of climbing Kilimanjaro grew, the park authorities needed extra routes to spread the volume and one of those routes was the Lemosho.
As one learns from mistakes in the past, the same way people learned a lot from the older routes and applied this to the construction of the new route. As a result, the Lemosho Route was designed with acclimatization in mind. This makes the Lemosho Route one of the routes with the absolute highest success rates.
The route starts west from the mountain at Londorossi Gate from where you hike through the rain forest bush for about two days before you reach a noticeable altitude. Via the Lava Tower and Barafu, you find your way to Uhuru Peak before your descend to Mweka Gate.
The Lemosho Route can be done in seven days and six nights or eight days and seven nights. The latter option would strongly increase chances for success as there will be more time for adequate acclimatization.
How Long is the Lemosho Route?
From gate to gate the Lemosho Route is 71 kilometers/ 43 miles long. Although the Northern Circuit is still much longer, the Lemosho Route is considered to be one of the longer routes on Kilimanjaro. The route can be done in either eight days or seven days.
Day-to-day distance on a 8-day climb:
- Day 1: 6 km / 3,8 mi
- Day 2: 8 km / 5 mi
- Day 3: 14 km / 8.6 mi
- Day 4: 7 km / 4.3 mi
- Day 5: 5.5 km / 3.5 mi
- Day 6: 3.5 km / 2.2 mi
- Day 7: 15 km / 9.3 mi
- Day 8: 20 km / 12.4 mi
How Hard is the Lemosho Route?
The difficulty of Kilimanjaro climbing routes is hard to gauge and even harder to explain. There are different ways to get up Kilimanjaro and the one route is more technical than the other. However, the difficulty should not be measured in technical aspects but in terms of acclimatization.
When it comes to acclimatization, the Lemosho Route is the easiest route. Especially if you also take distance into consideration and compare this to the much longer Northern Circuit. Yes, the Northern Circuit is best for acclimatization but it also comes with about 40 kilometers of extra hiking than any other route.
If you like hiking, by all means, the Northern Circuit is the better route, but in all other situations, the Lemosho Route beats all the other Kilimanjaro routes.
Yes, the Lemosho Route has some technical sections like the Barranco Wall, but it also makes it the better option when it comes to climbing high and sleeping low. Acclimatization is the deciding factor when it boils down to whether or not you will be able to summit Kilimanjaro.
In that regard, the Lemosho Route may be considered as one of the easiest routes on Kilimanjaro, especially when tackled in 8 days and 7 nights.
What is the Success Rate for the Lemosho Route?
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the Lemosho Route is good for acclimatization. This is one of the deciding factors when it comes to ascending Kilimanjaro. Good acclimatization allows for a good state of body and mind and for high success rates.
The shorter version of the Lemosho Route, the 7-day one, has a success rate of about 80%. If you take a day longer and thus choose the 8-day option, your chances increase significantly. The success rate of the 8-day version of the Lemosho Route is around 90%.
Best Season for the Lemosho Route
There are no seasonal restrictions on Kilimanjaro. The mountain is open to trekking and climbing expeditions all year round. Having said that, there are certain months which are more suitable than others. The rainy season lasts from April to May and November to December.
The dry season includes January to March and June to October. As such, the Lemosho Route is a route which is best enjoyed during the dry season. The dry season is also the busy season. If you are looking for a quieter time to climbing Kilimanjaro, you can actually consider taking the Lemosho Route during the rainy season
The Barranco Wall on the Lemosho Route
The Barranco Wall isn’t just part of the Lemosho Route. Also, the Umbwe Route, the Machame Route, and the old Shira Route cross the Barranco Wall. Elevation on the Barranco Wall is 257 meters and although this is seen as the hardest part of the Lemosho Route it is by no means undoable. On most Lemosho Route itineraries you climb the Barranco Wall the day before your ascent.
You don’t need to worry about technical climbing when crossing the Barranco Wall. Scrambling does the trick. This means that you can use both arms and legs climbing the wall. Again, this does not mean that you will be entirely vertical. Because the Barranco Wall is the first thing you will do after breakfast, it is also called the Barranco Breakfast. You will love it!
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8-day Lemosho Route Itinerary
Because the 8-day version of the Lemosho Route allows for the best acclimatization and the highest success rates, we focus only on this itinerary. Why would you want to cut climbing Kilimanjaro short anyway? It’s not like you spend every month on the Roof of AfricaThis comes from the best seller8-day version of the Lemosho Route as operated by Enosa Expeditions.
Day 1: Londorossi Gate (2,300m) to Mount Mkubwa (2,750m) Right after breakfast, we are on our way to Londorossi Gate (1800m). The three-hour drive brings us to an unpaved stretch of bumpy road through the town of Boma N’gombe and the Sanya Juu village offers us an opportunity to meet the locals. After completing the necessary registration formalities, you will be transported to the initial point of your trek at 2350m. The glory of the forest is revealed in the illuminating radiance from the sun. Almond-brown trees stand serenely, brimming with a tender glow. Green canopies deliver shelter for the exotic blue monkeys. The short trek through the rainforest leads you straight to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2750m).
Day 2: Mount Mkubwa (2,750m) to Shira Camp 1 (3,550m) As the trail begins to move towards Shira Camp 1, the scenery transforms dramatically from lush rainforest to the barren heather moorland zone. We are now entering the third climate zone of Mount Kilimanjaro. The parched landscape is speckled with enormous lobelias, contrasting white fauna and flora, and dusty sand dunes. We will journey up the steep ridges leading to the Shira Plateau, featuring the glorious views of the looming Kilimanjaro and the raging bloodshot orb of light slowly sinks beneath the horizon of Mount Meru in the west. We will cross several tranquil streams as we continue over Shira Ridge (3,600m) and on a declining slope to Shira Camp 1.
Day 3: Shira Camp 1 (3,550m) to Shira Camp 2 (3,840m) You will begin the day with a delicious breakfast and trek through an exposed area. This route is less frequented making it tranquil and untouched. Reaching Shira Plateau will reveal great views of Uhuru Peak. The exhilarating sensation of witnessing the summit is magical. A hot lunch will be served at Shira Camp 2 (3,810m). Your guide will lead a short break away for acclimatization, afterward you are free to relax.
Day 4: Shira Camp 2 (3,840m) to Barranco Camp (3,950m) via Lava Tower Lemosho connects with the Machame Route before approaching the molten Lava Tower. The gentle incline leading to the Barranco Camp is encompassed in beautiful sceneries and encrusted in vivid desert shrubberies (6-7 hour hike). Shark’s Tooth is an enormous, serrated rock that a volcano discharged thousands of years ago, it is also an indication that we must travel south and cross the light valleys to the immense Lava Tower (4,600m). Specks of snow will gradually scatter themselves on the scenery and as we descend to Barranco Camp the frosted landscapes of the Western Breach will begin to show. The ashen Barranco Wall is engraved with extraordinary indents and olive foliage is strewn across what is known as the ‘Breakfast Wall’.
Day 5: Barranco Camp (3,950m) to Karanga Camp (3,930m) The day commences with a simple trek up the astonishing Barranco (200m high). For a short time, you will need to use your hands and feet to scramble up the wall and upon reaching the surface you will have an opportunity to marvel at the scenic splendor of the vistas of Kibo. The trail traverses up and down with various shallow streams leading to the flickering, glittery streams of the Karanga River. An appetizing lunch will be served at the Karanga campsite (3,930m). This short trek will boost your acclimatization process.
Day 6: Karanga Camp (3,930m) to Barafu Camp (4,700m) The Alpine desert zone provides an uphill trail that features landscapes battered in the crystal glow of the Southern Glaciers. Intersecting with the Mweka route allows us to witness splendid vistas. A sixty-minute climb up a steep, rock-strewn Lava Ridge is your ticket to the Barafu Camp (4681m). Reaching the camp signifies that you have dominated the Southern Circuit of the mountain and the enchanting, sky-piercing view of the summit is submerged in in the clouds. The landscape is covered in a thin layer of snow with sparse vegetation. A warm meal will be served and we suggest that you jump into your sleeping bag as soon as possible. We will push for the summit at midnight.
Day 7: Barafu Camp (4,700m) to Summit (5,895m) (midnight start) descent to Mweka Camp (3,100m) You will be woken up at 11:00 pm and we will provide you with a light snack and a steaming cup of tea before you begin your 5km trek to the summit. This is an extended hike that lasts approximately 16 hours making this the most challenging day on the 8-day Lemosho Route. Temperatures typically range between -5°C and -10°C. The gradual incline of the valley located near the eerily tranquil scree fields traverses amongst the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers – the view is so astonishing that the freezing temperatures will be forgotten. At Stella’s Point (5,672m) brilliant gold and orange hues bleed like fire over the rocks. The first slither of the sun peeks over the skyline in a radiant, white form and the snow turns liquid gold and silver. After about an hour you will reach the highest point in Africa, Uhuru Peak (5,89m).
You will have the chance to take some photos and marvel at the surrounding scenery, glinting ice cliffs, and the jagged Mawenzi Peak. Our descent requires us to turn around and embark on the trail to Barafu Camp where we will rest for a while. The spectacular, vast plains of the Kilimanjaro are so enchanting that the 9km route to Mweka Camp (3,100m) feels rapid. The route is moderate and takes us around five hours. As you venture on the declining rocky spree trail, the scenery will start to sprout and the ice will melt away. The barren landscapes of the moorland will be the first milestone, dense vegetation, and exotic wildlife will begin to radiate as we approach lower climate zones. We will proceed to the campsite where you can scoff down a scrumptious, piping hot dinner whilst seizing the last opportunity to see the Milky Way without any light pollution.
Day 8: Mweka Camp (3,100m) to Mweka Gate (1,800m) to Moshi The melodies of your porters celebrating will fill the air whilst you enjoy an appetizing breakfast. The 1300m descent to the Mweka gate is classified as an easy trek and will only last a few hours. Gold Summit Certificates will be awarded to every member in your group as a small souvenir. Our drivers are one relaxed stroll to the Mweka village away and they will back to Moshi. *This itinerary is subject to change and may vary from one tour operator to another.
Lemosho Route Map
The following map takes you from Lonodorossi gate all the way to Uhuru Peak and down to Mweka Gate.
How To Get Fit For The Lemosho Route
One sure way to get good at what you do is to practice. The best practice for hiking is hiking. Seeing that you are interested in climbing Kilimanjaro, we assume that you already like hiking to some extent. Hike a bit more. If you are lucky enough to be surrounded by hills or even mountains, it is time to see them more often. When? If you are new to this, we suggest starting six months before your planned departure by simply going for an hour (or two) hike a week. When you get the hang of it, after about three weeks, it’s time to beef up your intensity. Bring a pack of 10 to 15kg and add a longer hike of three hours to your week. If this lifestyle is new to you, you will soon reap the benefits of trekking.
After a good few months of solid hiking, it is time to put your endurance to the test. Do back to back long hikes. You can simulate a few days of constant trekking by going hiking for a few days. Easy at that. Plan a smaller trekking holiday or keep it simple by hiking your favorite route on repeat. If you are comfortable hiking for 4 hours a day, 3 days in a row while carrying a 10kg to 15kg backpack, you will be fine.
Moderate Strength Exercise
You will need to get a bit stronger. One way to get stronger is to do some basic strength work. You don’t need a gym membership, as merely using your bodyweight can already give you the results you are looking for. Once or twice a week, depending on how you are feeling, you can do two sets of 10 lunges, 10 squats, and 10 step ups. If you want to push yourself a bit more, you can try to add some pull ups and push up to your routine. Going the extra mile in your strengthening is, however, really not necessary. You can already enjoy trekking when you just stick to the basics. This is not a fitness competition.
That should get you fit!
Where To Book The Lemosho Route?
It is not easy to find the perfect trekking company when you want to climb Kilimanjaro. Travel agencies like to offer full packages with flights, hotel and more. However, if you are intrepid enough to climb Kilimanjaro, you can also put your own plans together. It is therefore always advised to find a local trekking company that meets your demands and expectations.
On Bookatrekking.com you can easily compare and book local providers and hikes. In addition, we have the lowest price guarantee. Have you found the Lemosho Route Kilimanjaro ascent of your dreams? In that case, you can proceed with the booking. At Bookatrekking.com you pay a deposit of 15% of the total amount. You pay the remaining amount on location prior to the trek directly to the trekking company.
Find here allour climbing options for Kilimanjaroand check this page to get all our quotes for the Lemosho Route. Have you checked this blog post about climbing Kilimanjaro yet?
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