Mountain Top Goat

Lemosho Route – The Most Beautiful Route on Mount Kilimanjaro

by Mountain Top Goat
Mountain Top Goat: Solo Female Travel Blog | Visit Now

One of Kilimanjaro’s newest routes, the Lemosho Route, is a magnificent and little-explored trek on Kilimanjaro.

The route spans the Shira plateau, with different routes and camps providing variation and privacy to the climbing parties. It also has the most adaptable path to the summit of Kilimanjaro.

The Lemosho Route is 71 kilometers (43 miles) long and approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west.

It begins at the Londorossi Gate and travels west to east across the Shira Plateau in a pleasant, reasonably easy journey. Few people are on the road until the path meets with the Machame Route near Lava Tower. Next, the track follows the Southern Circuit path beneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field before summiting Barafu. The descent takes place on the Mweka trail. Lastly, you depart Kilimanjaro National Park via Mweka Gate.

mount kilimanjaro

Beaufiful view of Mount Kilimanjaro

Itinerary For 7 Days – Brief Overview

1. Day: Kilimanjaro Airport / Moshi (950 m/3,120 feet)
2. Day: Moshi – Londorossi – Mti Mkubwa Camp (2650 m/8,694 feet)
3. Day: Mti Mkubwa Camp – Shira II Camp (3850 m/12,631 feet)
4. Day: Shira II Camp – Barranco Camp (3900 m/12,795 feet)
5. Day: Barranco Camp – Karanga Camp (3995 m/13,106 feet)
6. Day: Karanga Camp – Barafu Camp (4673 m/15,331 feet)
7. Day: Barafu Camp – Uhuru Peak (5895 m) – Mweka Camp (3.100 m/10,170 feet)
8. Day: Mweka Camp – Moshi (950 m/3,120 feet)
9. Day: Moshi / Kilimanjaro Airport

How Many Days Is The Lemosho Route?

You can complete the Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route in seven or eight days. The captivating route has an excellent ratio of low crowds, beautiful scenery, and a high summit success rate. In addition, the extra day allows you to acclimate more quickly, which is always a good thing.

The eight-day Lemosho route allows you to spend more time around 4,000m (13,123 feet). That extra day will allow your body to acclimate even better before climbing higher.

Sunset on Kilimanjaro from one of the camps

Sunset on Kilimanjaro from one of the camps

How Hard Is The Lemosho Route?

Due to its excellent acclimatization profile, the Lemosho Route on Kilimanjaro is typically considered an “easier” approach. Keep your mind, though, that no Kilimanjaro ascent is straightforward. You will still need to ascend the Barranco Wall and climb some pretty steep parts on summit night.

It is a non-technical ascent, so anyone with a reasonable fitness level may complete it. You can reach the summit whether you have previous hiking experience or are a first-time hiker.

However, you must put in the work and complete adequate preparation training before the climb to arrive physically fit.

Nevertheless, your guides and the crew are also playing a significant role in your goal of reaching the summit.

Porters are getting ready for the trek

Porters are getting ready for the trek

What Is The Lemosho Route’s Success Rate?

The Lemosho Route is great for acclimatization. When it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro, acclimatization is one of the most important considerations. As a result, the Lemosho Route has one of the best summit success rates of all the Kilimanjaro routes.

The Lemosho Route is a great option to choose if you want to increase your chances of reaching the mountain’s summit.

eleven hikers that climb the top of kilimanjaro via lemosho route

We all made it to the top!

How Busy Is The Lemosho Route?

I was in the high season in August, and the first couple of days were relatively calm. However, around Lava Tower, the Lemosho route connects with the Machame trail. The crowds thicken a little bit at this time.

What Is The Cost Of The Lemosho Seven-Day Tour?

The cost of climbing Kilimanjaro Lemosho varies according to whichever company you choose. Also, when do you want to travel? How far in advance will you book the tour? I spent seven days on the mountain and two days in Moshi at a lovely resort. And it was incredible!

If you need help deciding which operator to go with, check out this list here where you’ll also find companies per route.

kilimanjaro team of eleven climbers and thirty porters and guides and the end of lemosho route

My fantastic Kilimanjaro Team

What Are The Accommodations Like On The Lemosho Route?

Only camping is available on the Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route. The good news is that most companies include all of the necessary gear (tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping mat) in their pricing.

Guides and porters transport all of the equipment from camp to camp. They also set up the tent for you, so you don’t have to learn how to put it together yourself. Most importantly, fantastic cooks are also there to prepare delicious and fresh cuisine daily, so you have more energy while trying to conquer the mountain.

the view of over the clouds from the tent

The view from the tent

When Is The Best Time To Climb The Lemosho Route?

Tanzania has two seasons: wet and dry. Therefore, the ideal time for the trek would be during the dry period, which is also the busiest. However, If you wish to climb Kilimanjaro at a leisurely pace, take the Lemosho Route during the rainy season.

March through June, as well as November and December, are wet months. Conversely, the months of January and February, as well as July and October, are dry. We didn’t see a drop of rain during our climb in August.

hikers walking the lemosho route on a beatiful weather day

Great weather in August

Lemosho Route Detailed Itinerary (Seven Days-Six Nights):

Day 1: MTI MKUBWA CAMP (2650 m/8,694 feet)

  • Distance: 6 km / 4 miles
  • Hiking time: 3-4 hours
  • Vegetation zone: Montane forest

You will start after breakfast with the bus from your lodge. The Londorossi Gate is a three to four-hour trip from Moshi and Arusha.

You will sign up for your Kilimanjaro hike at the gate before being transported another 12 kilometers to the Lemosho route starting point. The walk passes through lowland forests, where you’ll most likely see Colobus monkeys. It takes about four hours of hiking to reach Mti Mkubwa Camp.

first camp on lemosho route

Mti Mkubwa camp – the first stop on the Lemosho route

Day 2: MTI MKUBWA CAMP (2650 m/8,694 feet)  TO SHIRA II CAMP (3850 m/12,631 feet)

  • Distance: 16 km / 9 miles
  • Hiking time: 7-8 hours
  • Vegetation zone: Montane forest/Moorland

The first half of the day’s journey is relatively complex as you ascend from the rainforest into the moorland ecosystem. To get to Shira I Camp, one must first cross the Shira ridge (3600 m/11,811 feet) and then continue slightly downward across the Shira Plateau’s vast expanse. Following a lunch break at Shira I Camp, a leisurely 4-hour stroll leads you further over the plateau to Shira II Camp, located on a moorland meadow next to a stream (3850 m/12631 feet).

shira camp two, second camp on lemosho route

Shira II Camp with a view of Mount Kilimanjaro

Day 3: SHIRA II CAMP (3850 m/12,631 feet) TO BARRANCO CAMP (3900 m/12,795 feet)

  • Distance: 12 km / 7.5 miles
  • Hiking time: 6-8 hours
  • Vegetation zone: Moorland

The Lemosho route continues across a dry environment on Day 3, with the massive Western Breach of Kilimanjaro before you. By lunchtime, you’ll reach the Lava Tower (4600 m/15,091 feet) — at this point, the altitude may be starting to affect you.

After the break, it’s back downhill to Barranco Camp (3983 m/13,067 feet). Just before the campsite is the “Garden of the Senecios,” which has numerous huge Senecio plants. It takes 7 to 8 hours to walk. Although the overall elevation is only 110 m/360 feet, the acclimatization benefit of going higher and then back down is significant.

a group of hikers taking photo next to huge senecio plant

Huge Senecio plants between Shira II Camp and Barranco Camp

hikers taking lunch break at lawa tower

Break/lunchtime for the group at Lawa Tower 4600 m/15,091 feet

Day 4: BARRANCO CAMP (3900 m/12,795 feet) TO KARANGA CAMP (3995 m/13,106 feet)

  • Distance: 5.5 km / 3.4 miles
  • Hiking time: 4-5 hours
  • Vegetation zone: Moorland/Alpine desert

The Barranco Wall, also known as the Barranco Breakfast, is the first task you’ll do after breakfast. You’ll love it!

It’s a challenging climb up a steep rock face of 257 meters (843 feet) — not quite technical climbing, but you’ll need to use your hands. It is, nonetheless, one of the trek’s highlights.

You’ll reach the top in roughly two hours. Before lowering into the Karanga Valley, you’ll be able to take in the breathtaking sights.

Note: An extra acclimatization day at Barranco Camp (Day 3) or Karanga Camp (Day 4) boosts the chances of reaching the summit (Day 4).

Barranco Wall

Barranco Wall

Day 5: KARANGA CAMP (3995 m/13,106 feet) TO BARAFU CAMP (4673 m/15,331 feet)

  • Distance: 6 km / 4 miles
  • Hiking time: 4 hours
  • Vegetation zone: Alpine desert

Today you’ll reach Base Camp and realize how your lengthier early days paid off. The goal for today is to travel from Karanga Campsite, which is just under 4000 meters, to Kilimanjaro Base Camp (Barafu), which is approximately 4700 meters.

Even though it’s only 700 meters/2297 feet, go slowly. It’ll take around four hours, with plenty of time for photographs and take in the sights. Arriving at Barafu at midday lets you relax and prepare for the big push to Africa’s highest point.

After a delicious dinner, retreat to your tents for some rest before beginning your ascent around midnight.

Summit night

Day 6: BARAFU CAMP (4673 m/15,331 feet) TO UHURU PEAK (5895 m/19,341 feet) AND THAN TO MWEKA CAMP (3100 m/10,170 feet)

  • Distance: 5 km / 3 miles ascent and then 12 km / 7 miles descent
  • Hiking time: 12-16 hours (7-8 hours to the summit and then 5-7 hours to Mweka Camp
  • Vegetation Zone: Glacial zone and all zones as you descend

Around 11 p.m., you’ll wake up to prepare for the summit attempt. Then, around midnight, the last push on the Lemosho Route taking you to the summit of Kilimanjaro will begin. After that, it’s a six-hour climb up the steep hill to the summit rim, which is cold and exhausting.

You will eventually reach the peak rim – Stela Point at 5756 m/18,885 feet) as the sun rises and after 5-6 hours of persistent walking.

Finally, after a brief pause, it’s a very flat climb around the rim to Uhuru Peak (5895 m/19,341 feet), Africa’s ultimate summit and highest point.

The Roof of Africa!

You’ve made it! Congratulations! Appreciate where you are right now. Hug your travel companions, snap some photos, and revel in your triumph.

two friends enjoying the sunrise at the top of Africa

Sunrise at the top of Africa

You will begin to descend gradually after spending half an hour at the summit. Heading down will feel like three hours of battling through loose scree.

Return to Barafu Hut for a snooze and food before going down for another three hours to Mweka Camp (3068m / 10,065ft).

You’ll have walked for roughly 12-16 hours today, so you’ll most likely be exhausted.

One of the purposes of such a long hiking day is to avoid acclimatization problems and to return to a lower height as quickly as possible.

Useful Tip! Try not to start with too many layers when dressing up for summit night. You’ll warm up quickly and begin to sweat even with your fantastic moisture-wicking clothing. Also, having less clothing at the beginning will assist you in avoiding being hypothermic. Yes, that happened to me. Keeping extra layers in your pack will allow you to put them on when and if needed. Besides, you can’t do much when you get cold from sweating at 20 degrees below zero. So be bold, and start cold!

Day 7: MWEKA CAMP (3068m/10,065 feet) TO MWEKA GATE (1640m/5,381 feet) TO MOSHI

  • Distance: 10 km / 6 miles
  • Hiking time: 3-5 hours
  • Zone: Heather and forest

On your final day, you will continue to descend, returning you to the rainforest scenery you witnessed on the first day. Everyone will be anxious to get to the hotel at this point, so depending on how tired you are and in what shape your knees are, you may be able to get there quickly.

hikers celebrating their achievement at mweka camp

Celebration photo – we did it!

Finally, a 4-5-hour descent through the forest will bring you to Mweka Gate, where you’ll get yourself a cold beer to toast. Then, for the night, return to Moshi. Get your certificates and, of course, have a final farewell dinner with your guides.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! Check out my blog post “How to climb Mount Kilimanjaro” to learn everything you need to know if you want to climb the highest mountain on the African continent.


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