The Lemosho is one of the newer routes on the Kilimanjaro and was built in the days when the mountain started to rise above itself in terms of popularity. In earlier years it was already very busy on routes like the Marangu and the Machame. In order to meet the increasing demand, the authorities have built the Lemosho. When constructing the trails, acclimatisation and elevation was taken into consideration.
The Lemosho Route has a high success rate due to longer distances, longer periods on the mountain and fewer altitude differences. The route is also experienced as one of the most beautiful. Although the route can be covered in six days and five nights, it is highly recommended to choose a longer itinerary. In eight days and seven nights you have the greatest chance of success and you can take the peace and quiet when you need it.
Having spent loads of time in China and South Korea, Anja is our Asia expert and German content manager.Read More
Reigning from Table Mountain, Cape Town, Sierd is curating our offers on the African continent.Read More
Based in Argentina, Guadalupe knows everything about trekking in South America. Machu Picchu is her next stop.Read More
El Chaltén and skydiving. If she could get higher than that, she would also put it on her bucket list. Agostina is our Patagonia pro.Read More
You can wake up Rintsje for a phone call to the other side of the world to get a trekking adventure organized. You'll meet him in the chat.Read More
Although some would tell you that Marangu Route is the easiest route on Kilimanjaro, its success rates are actually quite terrible compared to others. This early Kilimanjaro climbing route doesn’t allow you to acclimatize as well as some other routes out there. The Lemosho Route is one of those routes that allow you perfect acclimatization.
The Lemosho Route was introduced as an alternative to the more challenging Shira Route, which starts at a higher altitude. The Lemosho Route was is all about acclimatization, and if you choose to the 8-day version of this route, you will be reaping the benefits of this fact.
One thing that is difficult about the Lemosho Route is the fact that climbers will have to pass the Barranco Wall. It requires some scrambling but there is no need to worry about technical climbing. It is very doable.
One way to make your ascent of Kilimanjaro more special is to spend a night at the crater camp. Both the Lemosho Route and the Northern Circuit offer you this opportunity. You would spend the night at only 145 / 450 feet below Uhuru Peak and as such it can be fairly dangerous. Altitude Sickness (AMS) at such an altitude is very realistic.
Nonetheless it is possible to stay at Crater Camp when tackling the Lemosho Route. Note that price are a bit higher on this trek. This is because a stay at Crater Camp comes with a special permit.
The Lemosho Route has a total distance of 70 kilometers or 42 miles from gate to gate.
Day-to-day distance on a 7-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
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 Machame Route it is by no means undoable. On most Machame Route you climb the Barranco Wall on day of the 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!
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 a 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.
Although the Lemosho Route is ideally tackled in 8 days, it is also possible in 7 days. The following itinerary gives you the fastest way to Uhuru Peak.
Day 1: Moshi – Starting point – Mkubwa camp
Early in the morning our driver will pick you up and take you to Londorossi Gate (2,250 m), an approximate two and a half hour drive away. After registration at the gate you will be driven up to a bumpy track that will take you into the dense rainforest to the drop-off point where your trek begins. You will follow a moderately steep track, which leads you through an amazing and unspoilt natural forest to Mkubwa Camp (2,800 m). As this region is also home to wild game, you will be accompanied by an armed ranger during the first 2 days of your trek.
Day 2: Mkubwa camp – Shira Camp 2
Today’s trek will starts on a small trail that passes through the rainforest. As you climb, the forest gradually thins out and the landscape changes into heath and moorland where plants like Erica and lobelia start to dominate the landscape. You now find yourself in the third climate zone of Mount Kilimanjaro. You will cross the Shira Ridge and after 4 to 5 hours of trekking, you will reach Shira Camp 1. Here you will stop for a lunch, relax a bit and enjoy the fantastic views of Mount Meru and the Rift Valley. For the last part of the climb, you will climb another 400 m in altitude. The landscape will change again and at Shira Camp 2 (approximately 4 hours). Shira camp 2 is the final destination for today and you will spend your evening and night there.
Day 3: Shira Camp 2 – Lava Tower – Barranco Camp
Today you will climb approximately 740 m but you will spend the night at an elevation only slightly higher than the previous night. This will allow your body to cope with the changes in altitude, as a height of over 4,600m will be reached before descending again. The trek begins with a long ascent above the Shira Plateau in the direction of the Lava Tower (4,640 m). The climb passes through the wide Barranco Valley with its beautiful flora. After 6 to 7 hours trekking, you will arrive at Barranco Camp – perhaps the most beautiful camp on Kilimanjaro.
Day 4: Barranco Camp – Karanga Camp
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, en route to the Karanga Valley campsite. Then, we leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. Karanga camp is situated at an altitude of 4,640 m and will be reached in about 3 to 4 hours. In the afternoon you can relax and stretch your legs in preparation for the night in which we will push for the summit.
Day 5: Karanga Camp – Barafu Camp
Today we trek to Barafu Camp. At this point, you have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo can be seen from this side.
Day 6: Barafu Camp – Uhuru Peak – Mweka Camp
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 7: Mweka Camp – Mweka Gate – Moshi
After breakfast, we continue our descent to Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevation, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear but it will be good to keep rain gear and warmer clothes handy. From the gate, you continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to hotel in Moshi.
The following 8-day Lemosho Route itinerary is great for acclimatization and gives you the best chances for a successful ascent of Kilimanjaro.
Day 1 – Londorossi Gate – Forest Camp
The drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate takes about four hours. A few formalities await us here. From the gate it will take an hour to reach the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival we will enjoy an energizing lunch. We then start our hike through an untouched forest. After about four hours we arrive at Forest Camp.
Day 2 – Forest Camp – Shira Camp 1
Coming out of the forest we arrive at a savannah: we see high grasses, heathland and volcanic rock covered in lichens. As we ascend through the lush rolling hills and cross a number of streams, we reach the Shira Ridge. From here we descend calmly to Shira Camp 1. The view of Kibo is stunningly beautiful.
Day 3 – Shira Camp 1 – Shira Camp 2 – Moir Huts
Today we are exploring the Shira Plateau. It is a relatively easy hike towards the Kibo glaciers. Over heathlands and through a brook we finally arrive at Shira Camp 2. Here we cross with trekkers on the Shira Route. We continue our way to the Moir Huts. The Moir Huts are located on the Shira Plateau and are part of a relatively quiet camp. From here several shorter hikes are possible to make acclimatization as smooth as possible.
Day 4 – Moir Huts – Lava Tower – Barranco Camp
From the Shira plateau we continue our way to the east over a shoulder and pass the crossing to the summit of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the southeast towards the Lava Tower, also called the “Shark Tooth”. Shortly after the Lava Tower we arrive at the second crossing that brings us to the Arrow Glacier at an altitude of 4800 meters (15800ft). We now continue down to the Barranco Hut at an altitude of 3962 meters (13000ft). Here we enjoy the peace and quiet, have dinner and stay for the night. It seems crazy to end up at the same altitude as we started this morning, but your body will be grateful later on. It helps to acclimatize for the day we are going to push for Uhuru Peak.
Day 5 – Barranco Huts – Karanga Camp
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue along the famous Barranco Wall, to the campsite in the Karanga Valley. Today you’re glad you chose the 7-day option and not the 6-day hike. Today we keep it simple and short to acclimatize as effectively as possible.
Day 6 – Karanga Camp – Barafu Huts
After breakfast, we leave Karanga and arrive at the crossing that connects to the Mweka Trail. We continue to the Barafu Hut. At this point, you’ve completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from various angles. Here you can camp, rest, enjoy dinner and prepare for Uhuru Peak. From the Barafu Huts you can see the two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo.
Day 7 – Uhuru Peak via Stella Point – Mweka Camp
You hike onwards to Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trip. At Stella Point, you will stop for a short break and will be rewarded with the most beautiful sunrise you will ever see. If you started a little earlier and would have trotted a bit faster, you can also enjoy the same sunrise from the top. From Stella Point you can encounter snow on your 1 hour climb to the top. At Uhuru Peak, you have reached the highest point of Kilimanjaro. Congratulations, you are now on the roof of Africa.
The day has only just begun. From the top we now descend straight down to the Mweka Hut. On the way we stop at Barafu for lunch. You will want to wear gaiters and use hiking poles for the loose gravel on the way down. Mweka Camp is located in the higher forest and in the late afternoon rain or fog can be expected. Later in the evening we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and get ready for a well deserved night’s sleep.
Day 8 – Mweka Camp – Mweka Park Gate
After breakfast we continue our descent to the Mweka Park Gate. Here you will receive a certificate for making it to Uhuru Peak. These always do well at birthday parties. At the lower altitudes it can be wet and muddy again. Gaiters and hiking poles are recommended. Although this last segment is easy to do in shorts and a t-shirt, it is recommended to keep rainwear handy. At Mweka we finish our trekking. From here you will be taken back to Moshi.
*This itinerary is subject to change and may vary from one tour operator to another.