The Lemosho Route is a newer route on Mount Kilimanjaro that approaches from the west. It is a difficult and long route, but one that is favored by most reputable Kilimanjaro outfitters due to its smaller crowds, scenic variety and high success rates. This is the longest and most remote route to Kilimanjaro. After beautiful forests and moorlands it crosses the Shira Plateau to meet up with the Machame Route. The forests around the Lemosho Glades are rich in buffalo, elephant and Other game. The South Circuit is then followed, offering superb views of the Southern Icefields, past the Barranco Hut Then on to Barafu and hence the summit. Descent is by the Mweka Route. However the campsite A party wishing to ascend slowly can comfortably take 8 days on this route as described below. At Shira Hut and at Karanga Valley could be left out by a very strong party on request. The Mweka Route is used for the descent. Accommodation on the mountain is in tents 'except Marangu Route which they use huts'which our team will pitch for you. The route begins in the west and rather than simply intersecting Shira Plateau (like Machame), Lemosho crosses it from Shira Ridge to Shira Camp. 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. Lemosho is considered the most beautiful route on Kilimanjaro and grants panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain. It is our favorite route because it offers a great balance of low traffic, scenic views and a high summit success rate. Thus, Lemosho comes highly recommended. (Click on Map to open larger image).
Recommended Tipping Guidelines:
Those who have climbed Mt Kilimanjaro before know that without the hard work and strength of the mountain crew, one would not be able to fully experience the magnificence of the mountain. At Naomi Grace Tours, we pay our crew more than the salary suggested by the Kilimanjaro National Park and Tanzania Tour Operator Association. However, many crew also heavily depend on tips to support their families. The following are recommended daily rates for the entire group to tip per staff member:
Senior guide - $20 – 30 / day
Assistant guide - $15 – 25 / day
Cook - $12 – 15 / day
Waiter - $10 – 12 /day
Porter - $8 – 10 / day
Summit porter - $12 – 15 / day
Toilet crew - $10 – 12 / day
In general for all Kilimanjaro routes except Marangu you will have*:
1 Climber: 1 senior guide, 1 cook and 3 porters
2 Climbers: 1 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook and 6 porters
3 Climbers: 1 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook and 9 porters
4 Climbers: 2 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook, 1 waiter and 9 porters
For Marangu you will have*:
1 senior guide and 1 cook for each 8 climbers
1 additional assistant guide for each 3 climbers
2 Porters per climber
* These are estimates and actual numbers may vary depending on the needs of the group.
It is ideal to have a tipping ceremony with the climbers and crew on the last day on the mountain. Ideally tips should be given to the individual crew members directly to ensure the full amount of the tip is received.
Below are sample itineraries for the 7,8, and 9 day climbs for the Lemosho route.
7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS CLIMBING ITINERARY (But 8Day for acclimatization is optional)
Upon arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Meet your climbing guide for briefing and final gear check. Overnight at the hotel.
Moshi – Mti Mkubwa camp (9,020ft/2750m)
Drive to Londorossi Park Gate then on to the Lemosho glades to the trailhead at 6,890 ft/2100m. Walk through the forest to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite for dinner and overnight stay.
Mti Mkubwa - Shira plateau camp (11,480ft/3500m)
Trek across several streams in the heather zone of the mountain and cross the Shira Ridge on to the Shira Plateau where we camp for the night.
Shira plateau - Shira hut (12,470ft/3800m)
This day’s trek is a gentle one across the plateau to Shira Hut camp on moorland meadows zone. The afternoon can be used for walks on the plateau which helps climbers to acclimatize.
Shira hut - Barranco campsite (12,960ft/3950m)
Head eastward to a junction where we continue to Lava Tower Campsite (14,760ft/4500m), then descend to Barranco camp thus allowing your body to adjust to altitude change. Take the day’s rest here.
Barranco camp - Barafu camp (15,090ft/4600m)
Across the Karanga Valley and ascend to Barafu campsite. Have dinner and take the day’s rest ready for the hike to the summit.
An extra day for acclimatization can be added by staying overnight at Karanga camp then proceed to Barafu camp the next day.
Start at mid-night for the Summit (Uhuru peak) arriving at sunrise. Descend back to Barafu for breakfast then further down to Mweka Hut. Have lunch and spend the rest of the day relaxing.
Mweka hut - Moshi
After Breakfast, descend to the park gate where a vehicle awaits to transfer you to the hotel in town.
8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS CLIMBING ITINERARY
Arrive in Moshi/Arusha (B&B).
Drive to Londorossi Park Gate then on to the Lemosho Glades (2100m, 3h.). Walk along forest trails to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite, (2650m, 3h.)
The trail steepens and crosses several streams in the giant heather zone. The Shira Ridge is crossed (3600m) to the Shira Plateau, camp by stream. (3500m, 5 h.).And this camp today called Shira one.
A gentle walk across the plateau leads to Shira Hut camp on moorland meadows by a stream (3840m, 1h30min.). A variety of walks are available on the Plateau making this an excellent acclimatisation day.
A rocky path leads east up towards the Lava Tower (4600m). Shortly beyond this, you descend to Barranco campsite (3950m, 4-5h.).
Scramble easily to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over screes and ridges to the Karanga Valley campsite (3h, 3937m.), Beneath the icefalls of the Southern Glaciers.
The trail ascends a ridge to a campsite by the Barafu Hut, An airy location with little vegetation (3h, 4600m.),
Start just after midnight for the ascent of the screes leading to Stella Point (6h, 5732m.). From here a further 40mins. leads to Uhuru Peak. Descend to the Barafu Hut for a rest and brunch before continuing down to camp at Mweka Hut at 3100m,
(11-13h total walking time).
A 3-4 hour descent through beautiful forest brings you to the Park Gate. This ends the trekking.
9 DAYS / 8 NIGHTS CLIMBING ITINERARY
Day One: Londorossi Gate (2,100m/6,890ft) to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,750m/9,023ft)
Elevation Gain: 650 meters, 2,133 feet
The Lemosho Route offers a more private Kilimanjaro experience than the other routes of Marangu and Machame. Although the trail joins with the more popular Machame route on day three, the first two days on the mountain are relatively private, with few other trekking groups around. On the first day, arrive at Londorosi Gate at about 11am. Once you arrive, you'll spend about an hour waiting at the gate while Ascend Tanzania registers your climb and the porters and guides make final preparations.
At around 12pm, you will begin hiking with your guides to Mti Mkubwa Camp. Hike through the rain forests of Kilimanjaro viewing trees and birds along the way. You will eat a packed lunch on the trail while enjoying the sounds of the forest. Arrive at the campsite at about 4pm to rest for the next day.
Day Two: Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,750m/9,023ft) to Shira 1 Camp (3,720m/12,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 970 meters, 3,177 feet
Leave the forest on day two for Kilimanjaro's moorland. When the trail flattens out, you will have your first views of Kibo peak. After lunch, you will climb the Shira Plateau, created when Kibo's lava flows filled up the Shira crater. Stop at Shira 1 Camp, where you will relax for the rest of the day.
Faster hikers may continue to Shira 2 Camp (3,830m/12,560ft).
Day Three: Shira I Camp (3,720m/12,200ft) to Shira II Camp (3,840 meters/12,532ft)
Elevation Gain: 120m, 332ft
This is an acclimatization day that allows you to take day hikes that explore the Shira Plateau. You will hike only a short while and gain just over 1000 feet in elevation.
Day Four: Shira II Camp (3,840m/12,532) to Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft)
Elevation Gain: 110m, 428ft
Although this up-and-down day ends with an elevation gain of only 110 meters, by early afternoon you will have climbed 690 meters to a height of 4,530 meters before beginning your descent to Barranco Camp. Although the route is somewhat frustrating, this day is crucial for acclimatization.
After breakfast, continue east on the Shira Plateau for two hours before reaching the junction for Shira and Lemosho Routes. Continue on through the barren landscape for another half an hour before stopping for lunch. Shortly after lunch you will reach the highest point of the day before descending quickly to Barranco Camp. From the high point, you can see Lava Tower, a 300-foot lava formation jutting out of the mountainside. Faster hikers can take a detour via Lava Tower.
Barranco Camp is considered to be the most scenic campsite on the Machame Route. It is set in a valley among forests of Senecio kilimanjari. From the campsite you will see magnificent views of Mount Meru, Heim Glacier and Kibo's southern face.
Day Five: Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft) to Karanga Valley (4,200m/13,780ft)
Elevation Gain: 250 meters, 820 feet
Leave Barranco Camp after breakfast for Karanga Valley. The day begins with an hour and a half scramble up the Barranco Wall. This is the hardest part of the day and in some places you may have to use your hands to pull your body up. After reaching the top, make a short descent into the greener Karanga Valley. We generally camp on the ridge above the valley to allow for greater acclimatization.
Day Six: Karanga Valley (4,200m/13,780ft) to Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft)
Elevation Gain: 400 meters, 1,320 feet
After breakfast, begin the hike to Barafu Camp. On the way to Barafu, view several of Kibo's glaciers as well as the junction that connects the descent route, Mweka, with the Machame trail. During day four, hike by the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. Although the trail to Barafu passes through alpine desert with little vegetation, there are stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks along the way. Try to sleep as soon as you finish dinner as you will awake before midnight for your summit hike.
Day Seven: Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft) to Crater Camp (5,715m/18,750ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,115 meters, 3,650 feet
Due to the steep ascent at high altitude, this is the most challenging day of the ascent. Leave Barafu Camp early in the morning to begin your hike to the top of Kibo Crater. It is important to remember to snack during the ascent to keep your energy up. You will likely lose your appetite during this day and begin to feel new effects of altitude sickness.
After ascending Kibo's wall, hike to Crater Camp, the highest camp on Kilimanjaro. The camp is located inside Kilimanjaro's Kibo crater, and offers stunning views of the surrounding glaciers.
Day Eight: Crater Camp (5,715m/18,750ft) to Summit (5,895m/19,340ft) to Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft)
Elevation Gain: 180 meters, 590 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,795 meters, 9,170 feet
At dawn, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. The hike to the summit is slow, taking up to two hours to gain 180 meters. Reach Uhuru around 8am and take photos at the roof of Africa. Descend to Barafu Camp where you'll eat brunch. At 1pm, continue to Mweka Camp your final camp on Kilimanjaro.
Day Nine: Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft) to Mweka Gate (1,500m/4,920ft)
Elevation Loss: 1,600 meters, 5,250 feet
After breakfast, finish the trek with a descent to Mweka Gate. Your last hike on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through Kilimanjaro's cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent, as the trail can be slippery. Our vehicles will be waiting at the lower station of Mweka Gate to take you back to Moshi/Arusha. You will be able to buy t-shirts and sodas at the gate.