Lemosho Route: Climb Kilimanjaro along the Road Less Travelled

A relatively new route, but one that is fast becoming the most successful route on Mount Kilimanjaro, the Lemosho Route offers the perfect balance of low traffic, breath-taking scenery (and I’m not referring to the altitude!) and a high summit success rate.

P1010385Available as an 8 or 9 day expedition, the Lemosho Route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, starting with a long drive to Londorossi Gate, before a slow but steady ascent through verdant rainforests to the Shira Ridge.  Longer and less crowded the popular (but less successful) Marangu Route, the Lemosho Route is a great choice for those who want to take their time, enjoy the experience, and make it to Uhuru Peak.

Here’s a brief overview of an 8-Day Lemosho Route Expedition:

Day 1: After breakfast today, you will check out of the hotel (leaving any unnecessary baggage at the hotel), and your driver will transfer you to the Lemosho Glades 6890ft (2100 m), where you will register, meet your mountain crew and begin your hike to Rain Forest (Big Tree) Camp through a beautiful old growth forest. Your trek today will be along a little used track known as Chamber’s Route. You will see in places that the vegetation is so undisturbed by humans that it grows right across the narrow track. Flora and fauna are richer here than on other more popular routes through the rain forest. Trekking Time 3 – 4 Hours.

Day 2: After a hot cooked breakfast in the mess tent, you will begin your full day’s trek to Shira One Camp. This is a beautiful valley just outside the Shira Crater at around 3050mts /10,000 ft. After lunch, you cross into the Shira Caldera which is a high altitude desert plateau rarely visited by the man. Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones. It is filled with lava flow from Kibo, and its rim eroded and blasted away by weather and volcanic action. Today you camp at Shira I at 3500mts (11500ft) in Caldera. This day expect the first close views of Kibo – the dramatic summit cone of Kilimanjaro. Trekking time 6 – 8 hours.

Day 3: Today’s trek will take you across the Shira Plateau to the higher grounds of Moir Camp.  At 13,500ft (4114m), this spectacular camp is located just beneath the northern ice fields of Kilimanjaro, on a little used site at the base of Lent Hills.  Today is an important day for acclimatization, and there are plenty of walks available around the camp for those who want to explore. Trekking time 3 – 4 hours.

Day 4: After breakfast in camp, you will ascend to Lava Tower, an impressive formation at 4600m/15,090ft elevation. During your hike, you will see plants indigenous to the alpine zone such as giant lobelias, giant senecio, tussock grasses, and helichrysums. From Lava Tower, you will make your way across the Southern Ice fields, before descending down to Barranco Base Camp beneath the spectacular breach wall of Barranco.  Another important day for acclimatization, you will ‘hike high and sleep low’ to help your body prepare for the coming days. Trekking time 3 – 4 hours.

Day 5: After breakfast today, your climb with start with a scramble up and over the Barranco Wall to Karanga Valley Camp at 13,900ft (4235m). You can view the entire Shira Plateau from here, which gives you a good look at how far you have trekked! Trekking time 4 – 5 hours.

Day 6: After breakfast this morning, we will leave Karanga Valley Camp behind and continue our journey past the crowded Barafu Camp to the secluded Upper Barafu special use camp at 15,970ft (4867m).  We will see many different angles of the summit along the way, and the two peaks of Mwenzi and Kibo are clearly visible from this prime position. At camp, we will rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for our midnight summit. Trekking time 3 – 4 hours.

Day 7: Today is the day you have been waiting for, and you will enjoy tea and biscuits at midnight before beginning your final journey to the summit – Uhuru Peak at 5895m / 19,340ft.  Your journey to the Roof of Africa will take approximately 6-7 hours, and you will arrive just in time to watch the sun rise over Africa. Whilst here, you will have spectacular views of the Mawenzi Peak to the east and Mt. Meru to the west and glaciers including Furtwangler Glacier, Northern ice field and Reusch crater. After taking your summit photos, you will descend along Mweka route via Stella point. You will stop en-route for lunch at Barafu Hut, before descending further down to Mweka camp at 3100m / 10,170ft for the last night on the mountain. Trekking time 8 – 10 hours.

Day 8: After breakfast in camp, you will walk down through the rain forest to Mweka Gate where you will receive your certificate and spend some quality time with your mountain crew. After a picnic lunch, you will enjoy a private transfer back to your lodge in Arusha for a welcome hot shower and overnight.

Climb the Lemosho Route under the Total Lunar Eclipse in September 2015! 

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