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Climb Mount Kilimanjaro: Lemosho Route  The Natural Adventure Company

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro: Lemosho Route

Overview

Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world at 5895 m above sea level. It is located in Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania and is one of the most popular climbing destinations globally. All our Kilimanjaro itineraries are privately guided – you can start on any date you wish, subject to availability, and we are happy to accommodate solo travellers, too (supplement may apply). We typically provide one chief English-speaking guide plus an assistant guide per every two people, as well as three porters per climber and one cook for the group. Our Kilimanjaro private departures offer arguably the best value for money on the market with an above-average success rate.

There are several trekking routes to the summit. Among them, the Lemosho Route is a newer one, but already one of the preferred routes as it offers a great combination of fewer crowds, amazing scenery and high summit success rate. The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, via the Londorossi Gate, and goes through the rain forest to Shira Ridge. The Lemosho route crosses the entire Shira Plateau from west to east in a pleasant, relatively flat hike. Near Lava Tower, the route joins the Machame Route. Then it traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. The descent is made via the Mweka route. There are several possible variations to the Kilimanjaro Lemosho route, so don’t be surprised if you see an itinerary that mentions different camps and different heights.

Our standard Lemosho Route itinerary is 8 nights (7 trekking days, 9 days total). As all our departures are private, we can be quite flexible and on request, we can adapt the itinerary and make it shorter or longer to suit your preferences and stamina.

Click to view map

*This map is for general reference only and it should not be used for navigation purposes.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Arusha | 1400 m

Pick up at Kilimanjaro international airport, met with your guide and drive to your hotel in Arusha, where you overnight before the trek begins.

Day 2: Londorossi Gate – Mti Mkubwa Camp | 2650 m

A 3-hour drive from Arusha brings you to the Londorossi Park Gate located on the western side of Kilimanjaro. At the gate, we pick up our game ranger who will accompany you, as you might encounter elephants and buffaloes during the trek. Drive to the trailhead at Lemosho Glades and start trekking through the rain forest. In places, the vegetation is so untouched that it grows right across the narrow track. Flora and fauna are richer here than on the other more popular routes through the rain forest. The trek today will be along a little-used track known as Chamber’s Route. In about 3-4 hours, you reach the camp in the rain forest at Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree).

  • Hiking for the day: 3 hours, ~6 km ↑650 m; final elevation: 2650 m

Day 3: Mti Mkubwa Camp – Shira One Camp | 3610 m

After breakfast, you start climbing across the remaining rain forest towards the expansive moorland zone. A great lunch stop is One, a beautiful valley just outside the Shira Crater. After lunch, you cross into the Shira Caldera, a high altitude desert plateau that is rarely visited. Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro volcanic cones and is filled with lava flow from Kibo Peak. The crater rim has been decimated by weather and volcanic action. Today you will get your first close views of Kibo – the dramatic summit of Kilimanjaro.

  • Hiking for the day: 5-6 hours, ~8 km ↑950 m; final elevation: 3610 m

Day 4: Shira One Camp – Shira Two Camp | 3850 m

After breakfast, you continue hiking east across the Shira Plateau past the Shira Cathedral towards Shira Two Camp. We only gain about 200 m in elevation, but this allows you to acclimatize slowly to the altitude. The views of the plateau are spectacular.

  • Hiking for the day: 5-6 hours, ~5 km ↑240 m; final elevation: 3850 m

Day 5: Shira Two Camp – Barranco Camp | 3950 m

Today is the last of the relatively easy days. It is about a 7-hour superb hike. You pass the Lava Tower, around the southern flank of Kibo, and slowly descend into the spectacular Barranco Valley, interspersed with giant lobelia and senecia plants. After arriving at the most spectacular campsite, everyone stands in awe at the foot of Kibo Peak, looming high above, on the left. The camp is only 100 m higher than where you were the night before, but during the day, you will have climbed to just over 4260 m. This is one of the most valuable days for acclimatization.

  • Hiking for the day: 5 hours, ~6 km ↑100 m; final elevation: 3950 m

Day 6: Barranco Camp – Barafu Camp | 4600 m

On the eastern side of the valley, across the stream is the Barranco Wall – a 300 m barrier of volcanic rock. Although it is tall and looks steep, it is straightforward to climb. This is the first challenge of the day. The views from the wall are magnificent. The rest of the day is spent skirting the base of Kibo peak. You descend into the Karanga Valley for a short rest and then proceed to Barafu Camp, where you will have an early dinner and get prepared for the summit day.

  • Hiking for the day: 6-8 hours, ~8 km ↑650 m; final elevation: 4600 m

Day 7: Barafu Camp – The Summit – Mweka Camp | 5895 m

Dress warmly, because you start climbing around midnight, on the steepest and most demanding part of the mountain. The moon, if present, will provide enough light, and you will reach the crater rim by sunrise, after a 7-hour hike, and welcome a new dawn. From the crater rim, rugged Mawenzi Peak is a thrilling sight, with the Kibo saddle still in darkness beneath you, and the crater’s ice walls looming ahead. You now continue to Uhuru Peak (1-2 hrs.) This is the highest point in Africa, and the world’s highest solitary peak (5895 m). The descent is invigorating. It is a good idea to have a little rest once in a while as you continue down back to Barafu camp, and then down the Mweka route to Mweka camp (5 hours). This is where you spend our last night on the mountain.

Hiking for the day:

  • Barafu – Uhuru: 7 hours, ~5 km ↑1300 m; final elevation: 5895 m
  • Uhuru – Mweka Camp: 5 hours, ~12 km, ↓2800 m; final elevation: 3100 m

Day 8: Mweka Camp – Mweka Gate – Arusha | 1400 m

Today you descend about 1400 metres through the forest on a jungle path for about 10 km in 3-4 hours to reach Mweka Gate. The driver will transfer you back to your hotel in Arusha city.

  • Hiking for the day: 4 hours, ~10 km ↓1250 m; final elevation: 1828 m
  • Overnight in Arusha: SG Premium Resort or similar

Day 9: Departure

Transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport and departure. Possible safari extension on request.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation in Arusha is in a 3-star hotel on a twin share basis. The accommodation during the hike is in tents in camps. There is no electricity in the camps inside the national park, and we recommend climbers to bring battery chargers they can plug in the car, or the driver will take you to the nearest lodge to charge batteries. Public toilets are available at the camps, but they are often quite filthy; therefore, our standard package always includes a private portable toilet. There are no showers in the camps and no Wi-Fi.

Sample hotel in Arusha: SG Premium Resort

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a property of equal standard. We will provide full accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

All meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – are included during the hike – from lunch on day 2 to the lunch on day 8. In Arusha, only breakfast is included. A typical breakfast includes porridge, fruits, omelette, toasted bread, cheese, sausages, coffee, tea, hot chocolate. A lunch box contains chicken or fish, fruits, biscuits, chocolate, fruit juice. Dinner includes soup, bread, pasta, rice, chicken, fruits, tea, coffee etc. A vegetarian menu can be arranged on request.

Difficulty & terrain

This is a demanding trek but is not a technical climb (read more about difficulty grades). Both experienced hikers and beginners can do the tour as it does not require technical skills and mountaineering equipment. But it is mandatory that you are in great shape and should have properly trained before the tour. Walking pace will be slow and steady.

When to go

This trip is available with daily private departures, year-round. Best time to climb weatherwise is either between June and October or between December and February – which are also the busiest times. In April and May, there are generally fewer climbers because of the rain season. Mt. Kilimanjaro climate features 5 different zones. At the beginning of the climb, the average temperature is around 27°C to 32°C and tends to be relatively stable year-round. At the summit, Uhuru Peak, evening temperatures range between -18°C to -26°C. As the weather is often unpredictable, you should always be prepared for lower temperatures than expected and for rain even in the dry season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Recommended airport: Kilimanjaro International Airport

  • Transfers Kilimanjaro Airport – Arusha and Arusha – Kilimanjaro Airport are included in the price (one arrival and one departure transfer per party)
  • It is also possible to fly to Nairobi Aiport and take a shuttle to Arusha, about 5-hour drive. You will need a visa to Kenya.

Good to know

  • Guides: the guides used are highly trained and qualified, registered with the Kilimanjaro National Parks Board. There will be one chief guide, and one assistant guide will be provided if more than 2 climbers are travelling.
  • Visas: the citizens of most European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia, need a visa to enter Tanzania, it is recommended that you apply online for an eVisa in advance
  • Luggage transportation: your luggage will be placed in specially designed waterproof bags carried by the porters, giving it that extra protection if it is wet on the mountain.
  • Altitude sickness: while climbing, you may experience different symptoms of mild altitude sickness, with the most common being headaches, light-headedness, nausea, sleeplessness and a loss of appetite, loss of balance and dizziness. In most cases, these can be controlled by taking painkillers such as panadol or similar. It’s important to eat well and maintain your energy. Staying hydrated is essential, and you should drink a minimum of 3 litres daily.
  • Sun injuries: it is strongly recommended to use a 30+ sun protection cream at lower altitudes, and a total block cream above an altitude of 3000 m. Wearing sunglasses when climbing is a must, especially for the summit hike as the morning reflection of the sun can lead to snow blindness.
  • Tips guidelines: head guide – 200-250 USD; assistant guide – 100-150 USD; cook – 100-120 USD; porter – 30-40 USD
  • Equipment: we recommend that you travel as lightly as possible, bringing backpacks and not suitcases.

Inclusions

Included

  • Transfers from/to Kilimanjaro Airport
  • Transfers to/from the national part gates
  • 7-day Lemosho route trek with a full board from lunch on day 2 to lunch on day 8
  • 2 overnights at a 3-star hotel in Arusha in private rooms with ensuite facilities and included breakfast
  • All park fees and government taxes
  • Tents and mattresses on the trek
  • Private chemical toilet available on all days
  • Boiled water
  • First aid kit box, oxygen cylinder
  • Services of a private English-speaking professional mountain guide and one assistant guide per every two climbers
  • 3 porters per climber, 1 cook per party

Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Lunches and dinners in Arusha, drinks, snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips to guides and porters
  • Sleeping bag, own climbing equipment
  • Tanzanian visa
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as some costs are not shared
  • Extra nights in Arusha are available upon request
  • A sleeping bag can be rented on the spot for about 20 USD

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