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Kilimanjaro climb – Lemosho-Mweka route.

Overview

Lemosho Route is widely considered to be the best route on Mount Kilimanjaro. Not too long ago, there were only two main routes to climb Kilimanjaro – the Marangu (Coca-Cola) route and the Machame (Whiskey) route. Tanzania’s tourism industry flourished, the Kilimanjaro park authority created more trails to African’s highest peak to distribute climbers to more areas of the park. This reduced bottlenecks at certain points and also made for a more pleasant experience by limiting crowds. Additionally, these latter trails were more thoughtfully designed to improve acclimatization for the climber by incorporating longer distances, longer times on the mountain and shorter elevation gains. Lemosho, a relatively new route, falls into this category.

Lemosho route is preferred due to its beauty, remoteness and success rate. In short, it maximizes the chances that a climber will reach the summit, and enjoy the experience overall. Access to the trail begins with a long drive from Moshi or Arusha to Londorossi Gate. This can take three to four hours. Londorossi Gate is located in the western base of the mountain. Lemosho starts in lush, fertile rainforest. It is the first ecological zone you encounter on Kilimanjaro (we will trek through four). The route heads up and across the Shira Plateau, which used to be Kilimanjaro’s third peak before it collapsed. We make our way north to Moir Hut, which serves a great acclimatization. The short hikes can be done in the nearby Lent Hills. Next, we climb high up and over Lava Tower before dropping into Barranco Valley, one of the prettiest areas on the entire trail. We climb the intimidating Barranco Wall and then circle along the southern circuit to Karanga and high camp Barafu Hut. The summit attempt is made from Barafu in the early morning hours. This is the coldest, windiest section of your adventure. But once the sun comes up, so can most of your extra layers. After the summit, the descent follows the Mweka trail.

The Lemosho route is approximately 70 km/ 42 miles from gate to gate. It is designed for physically fit people with some hiking experience. However, we have many clients who tackle the route as their first real backpacking experience. They do very well. This is considered to be the ideal Lemosho route variation. 

Day 1: Nairobi – Moshi.

We pick you from your hotel to join a shuttle to Moshi via Namanga and Arusha. Lunch will be sourced en route, reaching Moshi town at 16:00hrs. Check in at our hotel for overnight. We will gather in the evening at 18:00hrs for a pre-climb briefing and an equipment check. We will also confirm you have the appropriate mandatory medical coverage and travel insurance.

Meal plan: Dinner, Breakfast.

Day 2: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa

Elevation: 2,360m – 2895m, Distance: 6km, Hiking Time: 3-4hrs.

We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours, where you will complete entry formalities. Then drive another 12km to the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival at the trailhead, we begin hiking through the undisturbed forest which winds to the first campsite.

{Meals plan = Lunch, Dinner}

DAY 3:  Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp

Elevation: 2,895m – 3,500m, Distance: 8km, Hiking Time 5-6hrs.

We continue on the trail leading out of the rainforest and into a savannah of tall grasses, heather and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. As we ascend through the lush rolling hills and cross several streams, we reach the Shira Ridge before dropping gently down to Shira 1 Camp. Here we catch our first glimpse of Kibo across the plateau.                                                 

{Meals plan = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner}

DAY 4: Shira 1 Camp to Moir Hut

Elevation: 3,500m – 4,200m, Distance: 11km,  Hiking Time: 5-7hrs.

We explore the Shira Plateau for a full day. It is a gentle walk east on moorland meadows towards Shira 2 Camp. Then we divert from the main trail to Moir Hut, a little-used site on the base of Lent Hills. A variety of walks are available on Lent Hills making this an excellent acclimatization opportunity. Shira Plateau is one of the highest plateaus on earth. 

 {Meals plan = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner}

DAY 5: Moir Hut to Lava Tower

Elevation: 4,200m – 4,630m, Distance: 7km, Hiking Time: 4-5hrs

Lava Tower to Barranco Camp

Elevation: 4,630m – 3,980m, Distance: 3 km, Hiking Time: 2-3hrs

We begin the day by climbing up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower – over 90 m tall volcanic rock formation. We descend down to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest to an altitude of 13,000 ft. Although you begin and end the day at the same elevation, the time spent at higher altitude is very beneficial for acclimatization. 

{Meals plan = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner}

DAY 6: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

Elevation: 3,980m – 4,000m, Distance: 5km, Hiking Time: 4-5hrs

We begin the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then we climb the non-technical but steep, nearly 900 ft cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall, we cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads us to Karanga Camp. Today’s hike is short and meant for acclimatization.

 {Meals plan = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner}

DAY 7: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

Elevation: 4,000m – 4,670m, Distance: 4km, Hiking Time: 4-5hrs

We leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this position. 

 {Meals plan = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner}

DAY 8: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak

Ascent – Uhuru Peak 

Elevation: 4,670m – 5,895m, Distance: 5km, Hiking Time: 7-8hrs

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. Magnificent sunrise awaits you at Stella Point (5,760 m) over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

Descent – Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

Elevation: 5,895m – 3,070m, Distance: 12 km, Hiking Time: 4-6hrs

A short photo session before we embark on the descent. Proceed straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka camp, situated in the upper forest where mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep. 

{Meals plan = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner}

DAY 9: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

Elevation: 3,070m – 1,640m, Distance: 10km, Hiking Time: 3-4hrs

On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka gate whereby you collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, the trail can be wet and muddy. An hour’s walk from the gate will take us to Mweka Village. Our vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us to Arusha for dinner and overnight.

{Meals plan = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner}

Day 10: Arusha –  Nairobi

After early breakfast, you will be picked and transferred to the shuttle terminus for  Nairobi bound that departs at 8:00 am. Expected to arrive in Nairobi at 4:00 pm.

Meal plan: Breakfast,

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