Until the Northern Circuit opened recently, the Lemosho Route was widely considered to be the overall best route to climb Kilimanjaro. It combines all the best feature of the Machame route in terms of success rate but by starting further round to the West it takes you up and over the spectacular Shira Plateau and at the same time avoids the crowds on the early part of the Machame route. Over 8 days, you have a fantastic journey and a great chance of summiting successfully.
The climb begins at Londorossi Gate, at an altitude of 2360 metres, with an approach far to the west of the mountain. It then circles around Kilimanjaro to the south, passing through majestic rainforest where some of the region’s most unique wildlife can often be seen. The route continues up to the mountain’s third summit at Shira Ridge. From there you will cross the famed Shira Plateau and see the awe inspiring Shira Cathedral before reaching Shira Camp on the main Machame route on day three. This allows a few days of quiet climbing overlooking some amazing terrain before taking the more heavily travelled route to the summit. After reaching the summit, you will descend by the Mweka trail, rather than retracing your steps along the ascent route. You can download a detailed itinerary here.
The Lemosho route is an improved version of the older Shira route that has only recently been introduced by the Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA). The original Shira route started much higher (3600 metres) and offered relatively little acclimatisation. While it was prone to altitude sickness, the Shira route had been popular because of the fantastic scenery it offered. The new Lemosho route joins the older Shira route after the first day, providing the same fantastic climb with a much improved safety profile.
The Lemosho route is a good eight day ascent for those who have not trekked much at high altitudes, as the single pre-summit day of the 7 day Lemosho route is split into two easier days, giving a better success rate. Experienced and already acclimatised mountaineers may opt for the more difficult 7 day ascent along the Lemosho route.
We run several open group climbs on the Lemosho route each season. Please check our availability and schedule below.
On day one, you will arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport, where we will meet you and take you to your hotel in Moshi.
For our first day on the mountain, we will collect you from the hotel and drive to Londorossi Gate where we will register with the park, whilst our porters sort out the supplies and equipment for the trek.
Next, we'll be hiking through the forest along a lovely trail until we reach Mti Mkubwa (which means Big Tree) Camp, where we will spend the night.
Today, we'll head out for the Shira plateau. Shira was once Kilimanjaro's third and lowest volcanic peak, but has eroded to a high plateau in the aeons since it last erupted.
As we make our way out of the forest and into high moorlands, the nights will begin to get really cold. The campsite at Shira 1 will be warm and dry, though.
This will be a long hike but at a steady and gentle gradient. We'll cross the high point over the Shira Caldera, then descend to an off-the-beaten-path camp at Moir Hut.
Moir Hut Camp offers an amazing view of Arrow Glacier, and a welcome night's sleep after a long trek.
Day five of our trek follows a rugged path southwards, rising to 4600 metres at Lava Tower where we will stop for lunch and a chance to get used to the altitude. Expect to be at least winded, as the effects of the low air pressure usually begin to make themselves felt at this height.
Camp will be around two hours away in Barranco Valley, beneath the Great Barranco Wall and more than 600 metres lower. Walk high, sleep low. The view of the Western Breach from camp is amazing.
The sixth day of our trip (and our fifth on the mountain) takes us to the top of the Great Barranco Wall for lunch before descending the scree to Karanga Valley Camp for the night.
You won't need poles to ascend the Wall, but you'll want to keep your hands free. This part of the trek is a bit more work than it has been so far, but the view from atop the Wall (and another day of acclimatisation to prepare us for the summit) is well worth it.
Keep an eye out for the Kersten, Decken and Heim Glaciers as we near the valley!
This is the last day before the summit attempt, and it is deliberately short so we can get some rest, and as much sleep as possible. We'll link up with the Mweka descent trail and make our way up towards Barafu Hut and the end of the Southern Circuit.
The peaks of both Mawenzi and Kibo can be seen from camp, but don't spend too much time enjoying the view. Big day tomorrow!
This is it, Summit Day!
We'll be up before midnight for a hot drink and a snack, then up the mountain we go! Our path will take us north-west from Barafu across heavy scree, then we'll snake between Rebman and Ratzel Glaciers to reach Stella Point (5732 metres) just before dawn.
We'll take a breather at Stella Point, and see something few in the world ever will: sunrise at the top of Kilimanjaro! Next is the final ascent (in daylight) to Uhuru Peak itself, and the actual summit of Kilimanjaro.
Finally, we'll make our way to Mweka Camp, some 2700 metres below. The good news is it is much easier going down, and we'll have a big dinner and our cosy sleeping bag & tent waiting for us for our last night on the mountain.
Our last day on Kilimanjaro will see us going back through the jungle to Mweka Park Gate. There you will receive your official summit certificate, and we will drive you back to your hotel in Moshi. Celebrate a little, then get some rest. You've earned it!
On day ten, we'll drive you to Kilimanjaro Airport, where you will make your return flight.
Congratulations! You made it to the very top of Africa, and came back to tell the tale!
Q1HOW DIFFICULT IS THE LEMOSHO ROUTE?
The Lemosho route is considered one of the easiest routes on Kilimanjaro as its longer itinerary allows for better acclimatization. However, hikers will still need to ascend the Barranco Wall and climb steeply on summit night. No technical climbing is required but a good level of fitness is recommended.
Q2WHAT IS THE DISTANCE OF THE LEMOSHO ROUTE?
The exact trekking distance for the Lemosho Route is 67km or 41 miles.
Q3WHAT IS THE LEMOSHO ROUTE SUMMIT SUCCESS RATE?
Due to its longer length profile, summit success rates on the Lemosho route are one of the highest on the mountain. Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all operators is 90% for the 8 day trek and a 85% success rate for the 7 day trek. However, Kandoo have a success rate of over 95% for the 8 day Lemosho route and a 90% success rate for the 7 day option. .
Q4WHAT IS THE SCENERY LIKE ON THE LEMOSHO ROUTE?
The Lemosho Route is considered to be the most scenically beautiful of all the routes. The route takes trekkers from the west side of the mountain through lush rainforest before joining up with the Lemosho Route to cross the spectacular Shira Plateau. The route takes in the west and south of the mountain and the views are incredible, particularly from on the southern circuit.