overview

This 9-day trek makes the most of the Lemosho Route, which heads up the western side of Mount Kilimanjaro.  A lesser-known circuit, Lemosho winds up from lush rainforest into the moorland zone, taking in superb views of Shira Ridge and Mount Kibo’s glacier along the way, giving you a magical, crowd-free start to your trek.

Compared to the Marangu and Rongai routes, Lemosho is definitely a bucket list choice. It is more challenging, arguably more beautiful and offers one of Kilimanjaro’s few crowd-free experiences during the initial ascent. All routes converge at Barranco Camp, where the primary trekking path of Machame continues to the summit.

Technical climbing skills are not required but be prepared for a handful of very steep sections on this route. The trekking day ranges from four to eight hours long and guides use the longer days to trek up to a scenic spot then descend to sleep lower down. This technique helps acclimatize your body to the rigours of high altitude.

Most trekkers experience some effects of increased altitude - summiting Kilimanjaro is not for the faint hearted, but it is very achievable. To put it in context: Uhuru Peak rises to 5 895m (19 340ft), which is higher than Mount Everest’s South Base Camp at 5 364m (17 598ft), and a mere 2 953m (9 689ft) shy of Everest’s summit.

Once you have summited Africa’s highest mountain, it is worth celebrating with some R&R on the nearby island of Zanzibar, off Tanzania’s glorious sun-drenched coastline.

  • Tour duration: 9 days
  • Start: Kilimanjaro Airport
  • End: Kilimanjaro Airport
  • Destinations:
    Tanzania
       Mount Kilimanjaro,
       Kilimanjaro
  • Accommodation:
    1 night at Keys Hotel
    6 nights at Camping
    1 night at Keys Hotel
  • Comfort Level: Comfortable
  • Type of Tour: Packaged Tour
  • Type of Accommodation: Mixed

Itinerary Highlights

  • Extraordinary Lemosho Route up the western side
  • Superb views of Shira Ridge & Kibo’s glacier
  • Incredible scenery: rainforest, moorland & alpine desert
  • Summit iconic Uhuru Peak at 5 895m (19 340ft)
  • Add-on R&R time in the Serengeti or on Zanzibar Island

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport

You are met on arrival at the airport and transferred to Keys Hotel in Moshi for an afternoon of relaxation after your flight. Dinner is at the hotel along with a detailed briefing ahead of your first day of trekking.

Day 2

Trek to Big Tree Camp (2 800m /9 186ft)

A road transfer of about 2.5 hours ferries you to the Londorossi Gate where you register with the National Park authorities before driving along a rugged track to the starting point of the Lemosho Route. Your mountain crew carries your luggage and all the food, water and camping gear that will accommodate you for the next seven nights. You set off with your guide and, for the next two-to-three hours, hike along a moderately steep footpath through lush tropical forest. The mountain crew forges ahead to erect camp and greet your arrival at Big Tree Camp with snacks and refreshments. 

Day 3

Trek to Shira Camp 2 (3 850m / 12 631ft)

This is a long trek day of about eight hours, which sees you emerge from the rainforest onto rolling moorland. It is noticeably cooler and drier above the forest, making for comfortable trekking conditions as you soak up the beautiful views of Shira Ridge and the Kibo summit. Lunch is a picnic at Shira Camp 1, from where you can see Mount Meru and the Rift Valley. After lunch, the last three hours of your trek ascends 250m (820ft), up out of the moorland and onto an ancient lava flow. In this strange and wonderful landscape giant plant species emerge, including 9m (30ft) senecios, members of the daisy family. If you reach Shira Camp 2 in time, you earn a breath taking view of the Kibo Summit at sunset.

Day 4

Trek to Barranco Camp (3 960m / 12 992ft)

Today is a long trek of about seven hours, taking you above the Shira Plateau towards the Lava Tower. As you trek higher, the heather dwindles and gives way to the afro-alpine desert zone. Your path descends to the Barranco Valley which, with its lobelia and giant senecio plants, is the setting for one of Kilimanjaro’s most beautiful sites, Barranco Camp.

Day 5

Trek to Karanga Camp (4 250m / 13 944ft)

Today you have a short but challenging trek of about four hours. It begins with a steep climb over the Barranco Wall – the steepest ascent of the entire route. The path is full of long ascents and short descents, and you may need to use your hands to steady yourself as you on some of the rockier paths. You are likely to be experiencing some effects of the altitude, making you a little less sure-footed. Your guide knows this and since your safety is his number one concern, he will assist you whenever necessary. After reaching the top of Barranco Wall, you are rewarded with superb views of Kibo’s southern glacier and summit. Your route continues along the mountain ridge, reaching Karanga Camp in time for lunch.

Day 6

Trek to Barafu Camp (4 640m / 15 223ft)

The trail today is another short trek of about four hours to Barafu Camp. The landscape is fascinating alpine desert – there is no wildlife except for the glossy black crows riding the thermals and the occasional skull of a long-dead antelope that wandered too far from the moorland. You reach Barafu Camp by lunchtime and have the afternoon and evening to relax and rest your legs in preparation for the long trek to Uhuru Peak. After an early dinner, you catch a few hours’ sleep before waking at midnight to start the summit trek. 

Day 7

Summit Uhuru Peak (5 895m/ 19 340ft)

Today is a long and exhilarating day. After hot tea and a light snack at midnight, you begin your summit by torchlight. The lava ash is still frozen and it is chilly! For many travellers, the effects of altitude become challenging on this final push to the top. Your guide encourages you to go slow and steady, taking anywhere between five and seven hours to reach Stella Point, the crater rim. The trek continues for about two hours along the crater ridge to the summit of Uhuru Peak at a magnificent 5 895m (19 340ft).

You are on Africa’s Roof, the highest point on the continent! The air is too thin to linger for long, so you capture a victory photo and stop to admire the sun rising over the moonscape of the crater. You return to Barafu Camp by midday to a joyous welcome from your mountain crew. The cook has prepared a warm lunch to restore you and your guide encourages you to rest for an hour or two before starting the 3-hour descent to Mweka Camp (1 630m / 5 348ft).

Day 8

Mweka Camp to Moshi

Today is an easy 3-hour trek along comfortable paths through the rainforest. After breakfast, your mountain crew sing a traditional farewell – they bear witness to your accomplishment and have played a big part in your success. Your driver meets you at Mweka Gate, transferring you back to the Keys Hotel in Moshi. Life’s little luxuries await: hot showers, sun-drenched loungers at the pool, and ice-cold drinks to celebrate your summit.

Day 9

Depart Kilimanjaro International Airport

After breakfast, a road transfer returns you to Kilimanjaro International Airport to continue your vacation – there is a rich variety of nearby attractions to choose from, including a Serengeti big game safari and the exotic spice island of Zanzibar.  

Inclusions

  • Professional English-speaking guide & Professional English-speaking guide
  • Meals according to the itinerary & Drinking water
  • 01 night on a dinner only basis
  • 06 nights on a Full Board basis
  • Camping equipment (tents, sleeping mats, chairs, tables etc.)
  • All national park fees
  • All mentioned transfers
  • 01 nights on a Half Board basis

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature
Emma Hill

Emma Hill

Africa Safari Expert

"Lemosho is my favourite for hikers wanting a less congested experience, offering less foot traffic, dramatic and diverse scenery en-route to the top. This is a great option for hikers who also want a better chance of reaching the summit."

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