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Lemosho route

lemosho-routeThe Lemosho route is an unspoiled, remote, less-used, and beautiful way up to the Shira Plateau. Trekkers sometimes use it to ascend the Western Breach route or follow it with the Kibo South Circuit to ascend by the easier Barafu Route. The first day of the route hardly ever has any game animals, and armed rangers never accompany a group.

The Lemosho Route is typically completed in 7or 8 days. This is a great option if you want a longer trek for acclimatization. It connects with the Machame Route at Shira 2 Camp. The drive to trail head is about 4/5 hours.

“Long access drive, remote, less used, beautiful forests, scenic traverse to Barafu, camping. Excellent for acclimatization.”

The standard route takes 7 days on the mountain, and is sometimes extended to 8 days with a stay at Karanga Valley.

However the Lemosho route can be done in as little as six days (five nights) on the mountain but 7 Days is good for acclimatization. However, it is ideally tackled over eight days (seven nights) for a better altitude acclimatization schedule. The trek begins at Londorossi Gate, located in the western base of mountain, within its lush, fertile rainforest. The route heads across the Shira Plateau, before circling along the southern circuit halfway around the mountain, exposing the climber to great views from all angles. The approach to the summit is made from the east, and the descent follows the Mweka trail. With eight days (seven nights) on the mountain, your chances of reaching the “Roof of Africa” are very high, around 90%.

The Lemosho route is approximately 70 km/ 42 miles from gate to gate. It is designed for physically fit people with some hiking experience. The table below depicts a variation of the 8 day Lemosho climb with starting and finishing points, altitude, distance and hiking time. This is considered to be the ideal Lemosho route variation.

Lemosho route also Known as Shira

  • High success rate. Good for acclimatization
  • Remote and spectacular, dramatic gorges and views of west Kilimanjaro
  • Converges with Machame on day 4 at Baranco
  • Shira offers higher start point compared to Lemosho and poorer acclimatisation
  • Fully catered camping only

The Lemosho route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west. Rather than simply intersecting Shira Plateau (like Machame), Lemosho crosses it from Shira Ridge to Shira 2 Camp, in a pleasant hike. Climbers encounter low traffic until the route joins the Machame route. Afterwards, Lemosho follows the same route through Lava Tower, Barranco and Barafu, known as the southern circuit. There are several options to complete the trek over (7, 8, or 9 days) based on your experience.

Route Outline

  1. Drive from Moshi or Arusha to Londorossi Park Gate (2,250 metres (7,380 ft), 4/5 hours). From here a forest track requiring a four wheel drive vehicle leads to Lemosho route Glades (2,100 metres (6,900 ft), 11 kilometres (6.8 mi), 45 minutes) and a possible campsite (park fees are not paid to camp here). Walk along forest trails to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite, ((2,750 metres (9,020 ft), 3 hours).
  2. The trail gradually steepens and enters the giant heather moorland zone. Several streams are crossed then it gains the Shira Ridge at about (3,600 metres (11,800 ft) and drops gently down to Shira 1 camp located by a stream on the Shira Plateau ((3,500 metres (11,500 ft), 7 hours). This campsite could be omitted.
  3. A gentle walk across the plateau leads to Shira 2 camp on moorland meadows by a stream ((3,850 metres (12,630 ft), 4 hours). A variety of walks are available on the plateau making this an excellent acclimatization day.
  4. Continue east towards Kibo passing the junction, then east towards the Lava Tower. Shortly after this, you descend to Barranco hut ((3,940 metres (12,930 ft), 6 hours).
  5. A short scramble to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over scree and ridges to the Karanga Valley ((4,000 metres (13,000 ft), 3 hours), beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten, and Decken Glaciers. After climbing out of the Karanga Valley, the trail ascends a ridge to the Barafu Hut, a bleak location with little vegetation at (4,600 metres (15,100 ft), (3 hours walking).
  6. An early start for the ascent to the rim of the Kibo Crater between the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers, (6 hours). The last section before the rim can sometimes be snow-covered and an ice-axe or ski stick is useful for balance. At the rim, Stella point is reached (18,652 feet (5,685 m)). From here, a further hour leads to Uhuru Peak, from where there are often fine views of Meru to the west and the jagged peak of Mawenzi to the east. Descend to the Barafu Hut (3 hours) for a rest and lunch before continuing on past Millenium camp down to camp at Mweka Hut in the giant heather zone on the forest edge (4 hours). Those with energy on the summit may wish to descend to the Reutsh Crater and visit the ice pinnacles of the Eastern Icefields.
  7. A 3-4 hour descent through forest brings you to the park gate.