About the Lemosho Route

Of all the routes that lead up to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the Lemosho Route is one of the newest, offering a bit of variation in terms of scenery and terrain. Although some sections of this route are shared with the well-traveled Machame Route, Lemosho is considered by many adventurers to be one of the most picturesque, making it a welcomed addition to the Kilimanjaro adventure tours that are currently on offer.

The Lemosho Route begins at the Londorossi Gate on the western side of the mountain and leads intrepid adventurers on a more remote trail up to the summit. Along the journey you will pass through vibrant rainforests and the open expanse of the Shira Plateau, before eventually merging with the more heavily populated Machame Route for the push up to the summit. This alternate starting point provides a bit of a quieter experience when compared to some of the more established routes up the mountainside.

After joining up with the Machame Trail, you will have the opportunity to take in some classic Kili scenery, such as the Lava Tower and the imposing Barranco Wall, before making your summit ascent. You can expect the paths and campsites on the latter half of this trek to be a bit congested, but that all comes with the territory of climbing the tallest peak in Africa!

When you combine the alternate starting point, extra acclimatization time, and drop-dead gorgeous views along the trail, there is no doubt that the Lemosho Route is one of the best options to explore if you plan on summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. For a more thorough explanation of all that goes into a successful summit, be sure to check out this complete guide to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Lemosho Route Map
Lemosho Route Map

Lemosho Route Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive at Londorossi Park Gate

Your Mount Kilimanjaro summit adventure begins at a charming little village at the Londorossi Gate, after which you will pass through a vibrant stretch of rainforest populated with plenty of wildlife, such as Columbus monkeys, buffalo, and sometimes elephants. Your first overnight location is Mti Mkubwa on the edge of the forest.

Elevation Change: 2690ft Ascent
Distance: 3.7mi
Time: 2-3h
Terrain: Rainforest
Overnight Location: Mti Mkubwa Camp (8694ft)

Day 2 Shira Ridge to Shira Plateau

As you gain elevation you will leave the rainforest behind for the rugged moorland, hiking uphill across heather and streams while taking in beautifully scenic views of the surrounding landscape. Your second camp (Shira 1) is situated in the meadow.

Elevation Change: 2789ft Ascent
Distance: 5.0mi
Time: 4-5h
Terrain: Heath
Overnight Location: Shira 1 Camp (11483ft)

Day 3 Hike to Shira 2 Camp

Today you will travel across the open expanse of the Shira Plateau to Shira Camp 2, where you can do some light exploring and plenty of resting that will help you better acclimate to the altitude.

Elevation Change: 1017ft Ascent
Distance: 5.0mi
Time: 4-5h
Terrain: Heath
Overnight Location: Shira 2 Camp (12500ft)

Day 4 Trek to Barranco Camp

Climbing up out of the valley, you will make your way to the iconic Lava Tower, a rocky volcanic outcropping that is shaped like a shark’s tooth. Here, you will climb higher into the alpine landscape, before descending into the Barranco Camp for the night.

Elevation Change: 295ft Ascent
Distance: 5.0mi
Time: 5-6h
Terrain: Alpine Desert
Overnight Location: Barranco Camp (12795ft)

Day 5 Hike up the Barranco Wall to Karanga Camp

Day 5 of your Kili adventure will see you hike up to the imposing Barranco Wall, before traversing the Karanga Valley and setting up camp. This will help provide some great practice that will come in handy during your summit push.

Elevation Change: 312ft Ascent
Distance: 3.1mi
Time: 3-4h
Terrain: Alpine Desert
Overnight Location: Karanga Camp (13107ft)

Day 6 Trek to Barafu Camp

A bit of a shorter day of hiking, day 6 will see you climb higher into the alpine to complete the South Circuit of the peak. Settle into the Barafu Camp for an early dinner and get plenty of rest in advance of a tough day of hiking on day 7.

Elevation Change: 2133ft Ascent=
Distance: 2.5mi
Time: 3-4h
Terrain: Alpine Desert
Overnight Location: Barafu Camp (15331ft)

Day 7 Ascent to the Summit

The big day has finally arrived where you will climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, although it won’t feel like daytime with an early start around midnight. Climbing uphill through rugged terrain and past glaciers, you will be able to take in a spectacular sunrise at Stella Point, before pushing on to the summit. After taking in the world class views from atop Africa’s tallest peak, you will begin the lengthy descent into the Mweka Camp.

Elevation Change: 3921ft Ascent, 9170ft Descent
Distance: 9.9mi
Time: 10-13h
Terrain: Arctic/Rainforest
Overnight Location: Mweka Camp (10171ft)

Day 8 Hike Down to Mweka Gate

The warmer temperatures and higher levels of oxygen will be a welcome comfort as you continue your descent down the mountainside and through the rainforest. Once you have arrived at the Mweka Gate, you will receive a summit certificate and meet up with a driver who will take you back to Moshi.

Elevation Change: 4626ft Descent
Distance: 6.2mi
Time: 3-4h
Terrain: Rain Forest
Overnight Location: Hotel in Moshi

Plan Your Kilimanjaro Trekking Adventure

While this article outlines some of the elements of the Lemosho Route, there are plenty of other things to take into consideration when planning an epic Mount Kilimanjaro summit adventure. Be sure to leave no stone unturned when doing your initial research and take some time to look into the logistical aspects of a potential trip, such as what to pack and when the best time to climb is.

Additionally, you will need to make sure that you are physically fit enough to undertake such a strenuous multi-day excursion, so it’s best to read up on how hard it is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and what you should do to prepare yourself. A great source of information on this is the CDC webpage on traveling to Tanzania, which provides a great overview of different health factors to consider – If you aren’t from the U.S. you can also check for sources from your home country.

No matter which route up the mountain you ultimately decide to take, it is important to remember that planning early and thoroughly will save you from unneeded hassles when you actually set out on your unforgettable Mount Kilimanjaro adventure.