Lemosho Route – 5 or 6 days mountain climb

The Lemosho Route benefits from stunning views and scenery with long itineraries that start a lower altitude than other routes. Relatively easy initial stages through the forest.

The Lemosho Route is the broad name given to all the treks that start at the Lemosho trailhead and generally have the first night at Forest Camp (also known as Mti Mkubwa Camp). This camp is at 2860 metres so, although high, is not as punishing as the Shira Route.

The variations on this route all allow for pretty good acclimatisation but of course the longer ones are better in this respect. The routes all cross the Shira Plateau which is particularly scenic. You can do a 7 or 8 day version via Stella Point. These join the Machame Route after the Shira Plateau and have the option of an overnight at Karanga Valley on the 8 day version or pushing through from Barranco to Barafu in one day on the 7 day version (as does the Machame Route). These summit via Stella Point and descend via Mweka.

Then there are options to do the Western Breach after crossing the Shira Plateau. For this route you just join the Machame route briefly and then head up past the Arrow Glacier through the Western Breach. This brings you into the top of the crater which is a pretty amazing thing to do. It can be done as an 8 day trip or for a longer 9 day option you camp at Arrow Glacier then do the breach and have an overnight IN the crater, summiting to Uhuru Peak a day later. However, for both options the Western Breach is a potentially hazardous route – see notes and itinerary in our Western Breach route section.

Another alternative is to go from Lemosho, across the Shira Plateau and then go around the north of the mountain on what is known as the Northern Circuit. This takes you to the east to summit via Gillman’s Point. This would be an 8 day climb and is less extreme than the equivalent northern circuit starting on the Shira Route. This is a truely off the beaten track itinerary and worth considering so long as you appreciate you need to be very fit for this one. Have a look at the itinerary on our Northern Circuit Route page.

And finally for all these Lemosho options there is a really brilliant 9 day route that takes you across Shira, along the Machame Route and then a daytime ascent to the crater rim at Stella point and down the other side into the crater. You camp the night in the crater and the next morning just have a one hour hike to the summit at Uhuru Peak before descending the Mweka Route. This is an ultimate Kilimanjaro trip with all the highlights of the Lemosho Glades, the Shira Plateau, a daytime ascent and a night in the crater, without the dangerous ascent through the Western Breach.

Lemosho 7 day Route Map and Itinerary via Stella Point

  • Day 1
    On arrival in Kilimanjaro airport you’ll be driven to the base hotel. This evening you’ll have a briefing where you’ll be given details about the forthcoming climb and have a chance to ask any questions.
  • Day 2
    We set out in vehicles to the starting point of the Lemosho trail. Here you meet the rest of your crew and set off at a leisurely pace into montane forest. Lunch is taken on trail and camp is reached mid afternoon. Overnight Forest Camp – 2,860m
  • Day 3
    From the forested slopes of Lemosho you ascend through Podocarpus and Juniper forest and break out of the forest on to the heath zone and the Shira Plateau. Lunch is taken on trail and you arrive in camp mid afternoon. Overnight Shira 1 Camp – 3,560m
  • Day 4
    After a relatively long hike and significant altitude gain yesterday, today is a short day and you arrive in Shira 2 camp in time for lunch. A good day for acclimatisation with the option of an afternoon walks with your guides. Overnight Shira 2 Camp – 3,850m
  • Day 5
    Today is a walk high sleep low day. You ascend into alpine desert and for those that are feeling strong you can even head up to Lava Tower before descending to Barranco camp. Lunch is taken as a picnic lunch on route. This is long day but pays dividends later on – great acclimatisation day! Overnight Barranco Camp – 3,910m
  • Day 6
    From Barranco camp, famous for its giant groundsels (Dendrosenecio species), you ascend the Barranco wall and hike glacial valleys to Karanga camp. Lunch is taken at Karanga valley before heading to Barafu in the afternoon. Desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp and yet in the evening splendid views of Mawenzi peak are the norm. A relatively early dinner is taken before heading to rest for the evening. Overnight Barafu – 4,600m
  • Day 7
    This is it – summit day! You’ll be woken at about midnight with a hot drink before you set out, torch in hand, for the initial climb to Stella Point. Patience and persistence is the name of game to reach Stella Point on the crater rim at around dawn. It’s then a relatively short final push to the summit, Uhuru Peak – The Roof of Africa!. You’ll see the glaciers and if the weather is clear may get wonderful views of the plains far below. Having achieved your goal, it’s time to head back down to Mweka Camp. You’ll arrive, exhausted but elated, by mid-afternoon.
    This is a seriously long day with 12 – 16 hours hiking time. – 4,600m – 5,895m – 3,600m
  • Day 8
    After breakfast you descend once again through montane forest and around mid day after saying farewell to your crew, you are picked up and transfer back to your hotel for a well deserved shower!
  • Day 9
    Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport or your onward travels.

Lemosho 8 day Route Map and Itinerary via Stella Point

  • Day 1
    On arrival in Kilimanjaro airport you’ll be driven to the base hotel. This evening you’ll have a briefing where you’ll be given details about the forthcoming climb and have a chance to ask any questions.
  • Day 2
    After breakfast you’ll be driven to the Marangu Gate at the south-east of the mountain. You’ll have about 4-5 hours walking through lush rainforest before arriving at Mandara Hut, 2,700m.
  • Day 3
    You’ll walk about 15kms today through changing vegetation. It’ll take 5-6 hours to reach Horombo Hut, 3,720m 3,720m
  • Day 4
    This is your acclimatisation day. You can to take an optional hike to Mawenzi Hut and then descend back to Horombo Hut, about 2-3hrs walking. This allows your body to get used to the effects of altitude and should increase your chance of success.
  • Day 5
    From Horombo you’ll continue the climb, crossing The Saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. Your destination is Kibo Hut, 4,703m. This will be a long and tiring day as altitude will start to tell. Expect to spend between 6 and 8 hours walking.
  • Day 6
    Summit day! You’ll be woken at around midnight for the 5 hour walk up steep scree to Gillman’s Point at 5,690m. There will be plenty of rest stops on the way. It’s another 1-2 hours around the crater rim to Uhuru Peak at 5,895m. Give yourself a few moments to enjoy your achievement before beginning the descent back to Horombo Hut, a descent of some 4-5 hours.
  • Day 7
    After breakfast at Horombo you’ll continue down to the park gates a Marangu, 1,843m, 5-7 hours walking. Here you’ll be picked up and driven back to the base hotel. Check into your room and enjoy the luxury of a hot shower before a drink or two in the bar and a celebratory dinner.
  • Day 8
    Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for your onward travels.

Lemosho 9 day Route Map and Itinerary via Stella Point

  • Day 1
    On arrival in Kilimanjaro airport you’ll be driven to the base hotel. This evening you’ll have a briefing where you’ll be given details about the forthcoming climb and have a chance to ask any questions.
  • Day 2
    We set out in vehicles to the starting point of the Lemosho trail. Here you meet the rest of your crew and set off at a leisurely pace into montane forest. Lunch is taken on trail and camp is reached mid afternoon. Overnight Forest Camp 2,860m
  • Day 3
    From the forested slopes of Lemosho you ascend through Podocarpus and Juniper forest and break out of the forest on to the heath zone and the Shira Plateau. Lunch is taken on trail and you arrive in camp mid afternoon. Overnight Shira 1 Camp – 3,560m
  • Day 4
    After a relatively long hike and significant altitude gain yesterday, today is a short day and you arrive in Shira 2 camp in time for lunch. A good day for acclimatisation with the option of an afternoon walks with your guides. Overnight Shira 2 Camp – 3,850m
  • Day 5
    Today is a walk high sleep low day. You ascend into alpine desert and for those that are feeling strong you can even head up to Lava Tower before descending to Barranco camp. Lunch is taken as a picnic lunch on route. This is long day but pays dividends later on – great acclimatisation day! Overnight Barranco Camp – 3,910m
  • Day 6
    From Barranco camp, famous for its giant groundsels, you ascend the Barranco wall and hike glacial valleys to Karanga Valley. Today is a relatively short day hiking and lunch is taken at Karanga camp. In the afternoon a walk can be taken with your guides for great views of the southern walls of Kibo and deep glacial valleys. Overnight Karanga Camp. It’s just 4-5 hours walking today giving you plenty of time for acclimatisation. – 4,100m
  • Day 7
    Today is another half day ascending to Barafu camp. Once again lunch is taken in camp allowing plenty of time to relax before the summit bid. You are in desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp. But on the plus side you get great views of Mawenzi peak. An early dinner before heading to rest for a few hours. Overnight at Barafu Camp. It’s just 4-5 hours walking today but you’ll be gald of the rest before a big day tomorrow. – 4,600m
  • Day 8
    Unlike other routes with a night time ascent, your hike selection affords you a day time ascent to Kibo crater. The going is slow but with constant encourangement from your climb team the rim of Kibo is reached before decending a little way into the caldera to Crater camp. The afternoon is spent relaxing and short walks can be taken with one of your guides. Overnight Kibo Crater Camp – 5,750m
  • Day 9
    This is it – summit day! After a night in the crater you now have the shortest final summit bid of any route. With such a short distance to the summit from the crater (around 1 hour) means that timing arrival with the sunrise is much easier and quite spectacular. The summit of Kilimanjaro is the top of the highest freestanding mountain in the world. After your summit bid you then descend for a final night on the mountain at Mweka Camp passing back through the heath zone. Overnight Mweka Camp – 5,750m – 5,895m – 3,600m
  • Day 10
    After breakfast you descend once again through montane forest and around mid day after saying farewell to your crew, you are picked up and transfer back to your hotel for a well deserved shower!
  • Day 11
    Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport or your onward travels.
L

Amanda Marks

Managing Director
Self confessed Africa-lover, but keen on all new travel experiences, Amanda is passionate about getting to know different cultures.

L

Tracy Edwards

Travel Consultant
Tracy was been born and spent her youth in South Africa, the draw of the animals, the people and wilds of Africa have always run through her veins.

L

Sinead Bailey

Travel Consultant
Sinead caught the travel bug following a year out after university. She has worked in the travel industry ever since, and visited many countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia.

L

Christine MacDougall

Travel Consultant
The African dust is firmly planted in Chris’s heart. Born in Tanzania she spent much of her childhood in and around Ruaha. Travel and safari was part of life and through into adulthood fun and travel has never left her.