Lucy Lofton group hero pose Kilimanjaro

The Lemosho route on Kilimanjaro

May 18, 2022
Reading time: 12 minutes

The Lemosho route is one of the best Kilimanjaro routes – perhaps even the best. We explain why we favour this route and recommend it to clients of all abilities and experience.

The Lemosho route is one of the newest Kilimanjaro routes. It was introduced as an alternative to the Shira route, which starts at a higher and therefore more challenging altitude.

The Lemosho offers gorgeous scenery. We love the rather untouched, wild start to the trail. We also love how the scenery changes from day to day.

The Lemosho can be completed in seven or eight days. The eight-day Lemosho route has one of the best summit success rates of all the trails on Kilimanjaro, and is yet another reason why we recommend this route highly!

Lemosho 8-day route map Kilimanjaro

Map of the 8-day Lemosho route

Quick facts about the Lemosho

Difficulty: Medium

Total distance: 70 km / 43 miles

Duration: 7 or 8 days

Success rate: High (especially on the 8-day route)

Ladies in moorland zone of Kilimanjaro

Two of our climbers in the moorland zone on the Lemosho route

 

Follow Alice's opinion of the route

At Follow Alice we love the Lemosho route. It's our personal favourite because you get to experience a bit of everything. We really enjoy the first couple of days in the forest, and also the opportunities to take beautiful photographs of the amazing views and scenery along the way. In fact, the Lemosho route stops over at locations that offer some of the best sunrises and sunsets on Kilimanjaro.

All of this beauty goes hand in hand with the fact that the chances of summiting Kilimanjaro are high among trekkers using the Lemosho route – always a plus!

The Lemosho route therefore ticks all of the boxes when it comes to choosing a Kilimanjaro climb. If you're especially concerned about acclimatising, you can also opt for an eight-day Lemosho route over the seven-day option, as this gives you even more time to acclimatise.

Lemosho Route - Campsite on Kilimanjaro

Camping above the clouds on the Lemosho route

Route highlights

✓ Good acclimatisation

✓ High success rate

✓ Beautiful scenery

✓ Varied terrain

Considerations

- Forest section is muddy in wet season

- Camping is the only option

- It can be busy in peak season

 

The Lemosho route is for climbers who want the best scenery and a high chance of successfully summiting the mountain.

Group shot - all climbers Lemosho Kilimanjaro

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a team effort!

What is the scenery like?

The Lemosho route is known for being one of the most beautiful Kilimanjaro routes. You walk through lush rainforest on the first couple of days. Spotting large wildlife, like antelopes, is not very common but possible! The route also gives you the experience of hiking across the Shira Plateau, which is one of the largest high-altitude plateaus in the world. The plateau affords you fantastic views of the dramatic rock buttress known as Shira Cathedral.

Climbers-in-Kilimanjaro-forest-1-1024x683.jpg

Rainforest at the start of the Lemosho route

How hard is the Lemosho route?

No Kilimanjaro climb is easy, but the Lemosho route is generally considered one of the 'easier' climbs because of it's great acclimatisation profile. It has great 'climb high, sleep low' opportunities. Put simply, with the right Kilimanjaro preparation anyone can climb this route. You should be physically fit, and with the right support in the form of your mountain crew, you can achieve the summit whether you have previous hiking experience or are a first-time trekker.

Shaded path on Kilimanjaro Lemosho route

Trekkers on the Lemosho route climbing up through rainforest

What is the route's success rate?

The Lemosho route has one of the best summit success rates of all the routes up Kilimanjaro. This is because the path more than once takes you high before dropping you back down to sleep low. Proper acclimatisation is the name of the game on this route! Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all Kilimanjaro operators is 90% for the eight-day Lemosho trek and 85% for the seven-day Lemosho trek. Follow Alice has a success rate of over 95% for both the seven- and eight-day Lemosho routes!

FA group photo Kilimanjaro summit Uhuru Lucy Lofton group

Reaching the summit is an incredible achievement

How many days is the Lemosho?

The Lemosho route can be completed in seven or eight days. The extra day gives you more time to acclimatise.

How busy is the route?

The Lemosho route is generally quite busy, as many folks do, naturally, want to climb the most scenic route up the mountain! The first couple of days through the beautiful rainforest section is relatively quiet. It's when you join the Machame route near the Lava Tower that the crowds can get a little bigger in peak season.

Two trekkers in front of the Lemosho sign and in wet gear as it's raining

Sometimes it rains in the forest section, but the adventure still goes on!

What is accommodation like?

The Lemosho route only offers camping accommodation. As part of the Follow Alice climbing package, all of your camping equipment is included: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and pillow. And during the trek all tents are pitched and then taken down by our mountain crew.

You might like to learn more in Sleeping on Kilimanjaro.

Lots of tents in campsite in moorland section of Kilimanjaro

With Follow Alice, trekkers sleep in four-season domed tents, as seen here

What does the route cost?

Follow Alice offers the Lemosho route as an eight-day group or private climb. This costs $2,995 per person (based on double occupancy). The fee includes eight days on the mountain and one day either side at a beautiful lodge in Moshi. If you'd like to know more about how we arrived at this price and what's included, please read How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?

We climbed Kilimanjaro via the Lemosho route with Follow Alice and had a great time! We were a small group that got along really well and felt greatly taken care of by the crew! The guides made us feel safe at all times.

– Christoph

Campsite on Lemosho route

Accommodation on the Lemosho route comes with epic views!

Lemosho route overview

The Lemosho route can be done in seven or eight days. The extra day on the eight-day route allows for an extra day of acclimatisation, which is always a good thing. Have a look at the two itineraries below before deciding which option suits you.

7-day Lemosho route overview

The trek starts at Lemosho Gate on the western slope of Kilimanjaro. You climb to the summit, then descend the mountain via the Mweka route, which has you exit the park at Mweka Gate on the southern slope.

Map of 7-day Lemosho route

Map showing the seven-day Lemosho route

8-day Lemosho route overview

The eight-day Lemosho climb starts at Lemosho Gate on the western slope of the mountain. You climb to the summit, then descend via the Mweka route and exit the park at Mweka Gate. As you can see, you spend more time around the 4,000 m mark, allowing your body even better acclimatisation before climbing higher.

Here's the eight-day map route again ...

Lemosho 8-day route map Kilimanjaro

Map of the 8-day Lemosho route on Kilimanjaro

We've also got a graph below showing all the facts and figures for each day ...

8-day Lemosho route itinerary table

Graph of the 8-day Lemosho climb

8-day Lemosho routed detailed itinerary

The Lemosho route approaches the mountain from the west. Before the climbing can begin, you must drive to the Londorossi Gate of Kilimanjaro National Park. If you've been staying in Moshi, as we do, the drive takes four hours. You spend the first couple of days trekking through the rainforest to Shira Ridge. You then join the Machame route near the Lava Tower. The route then follows a path known as the Southern Circuit, which traverses underneath Kilimanjaro's Southern Ice Field. You then summit from Barafu Camp, and descend via the descent-only Mweka route.

Lemosho is one of the most beautiful Kilimanjaro routes because of its varied scenery and terrain.

In the itinerary below we describe the eight-day Lemosho trek route.

Day 1: Lemosho Gate to Mti Mkubwa

Elevation: 2,100 m to 2,895 m

Distance: 6 km / 4 miles

Hiking time: 3-4 hours

Habitat: Forest

At Londorossi Park Gate you are entered into the Kilimanjaro National Park's records. You then drive for another hour to Lemosho Gate and the trailhead. From there it's a hike of three to four hours up to Mti Mkubwa, also known as the Big Tree Camp. This is your first night sleeping under the stars in tents!

Follow Alice trekkers at Londorossi Gate, one of the entry points to Kilimanjaro National Park

You enter the park at Londorossi Gate, but Lemosho Gate is where you actually start hiking

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp

Elevation: 2,895 m to 3,505 m

Distance: 18 km / 11 miles

Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Habitat: Moorland

After an early morning breakfast, you begin your ascent out of the rainforest and into the heather and moorland zone. You cross many streams and walk over a plateau that leads to Shira 2 Camp. At this campsite you have a spectacular view of the Western Breach, which is a gap formed by lava flow. You can also see glaciers. You hike for about five to six hours in total today.

Shira 1 Camp Lemosho Kilimanjaro porters

Approaching Shira 1 Camp

Day 3: Shira 1 Camp to Moir Hut

Elevation: 3,505 m to 4,206 m

Distance: 18 km / 11 miles

Hiking time: 6-7 hours

Habitat: Moorland

Today you walk along the Shira Plateau, which offers a fantastic view of the Western Breach. This is where lava broke through the outer rim of Kibo Peak. The vegetation is fascinating, and includes giant lobelias and giant groundsels, which are endemic to Kilimanjaro.

Hiking-to-Baranco-camp-in-Kilimanjaro-1024x683.jpg

The moorland of Kilimanjaro is many's people favourite zone, as it's so unusual

Day 4: Moir Hut to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp

Today's trek is along the lines of 'climb high, sleep low', meaning you hike to a higher altitude before dropping back down to a lower altitude for the night. This strategy works wonders for acclimatisation. Today's hike can therefore be broken into two parts: the climb to Lava Tower, then the descent to Barranco Camp.

Part 1 | Moir Hut to Lava Tower

Elevation: 4,206 m to 4,630 m

Distance: 8 km / 4 miles

Hiking time: 4-6 hours

Habitat: Moorland

Today you hike up to an impressive rock formation called Lava Tower at 4,630 m (15,419 ft). It takes four to six hours to get there and is a true highlight of the Lemosho trail.

Lava Tower in snow

Lava Tower covered in snow

Part 2 | Lava Tower to Barranco Camp

Elevation: 4,630 m to 3,976 m

Distance: 3 km / 2 miles

Hiking time: 2-3 hours

Habitat: Moorland

After lunch at Lava Tower, you head down to Barranco Camp. The walk takes about two to three hours. The camp is located in a valley below the Western Breach and Barranco Wall.

 

Barranco Camp and Barranco Wall

Barranco Camp and Barranco Wall

Day 5: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

Elevation: 3,976 m to 3,995 m

Distance: 5 km / 3 miles

Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

Today's hike is four to five hours and is important for your acclimatisation. After an early morning breakfast, it’s time for you to conquer the great Barranco Wall, which is a steep wall of rock. Although it may look intimidating at first, trekkers usually say it turns out to be easier than they anticipated. At the top of the wall you are above the clouds and enjoy superb views of the southern ice fields and the summit. The trail then winds up and down until you arrive at Karanga Camp.

Barranco Wall Kilimanjaro

Climbers tackling the famous Barranco Wall

 

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Day 6: Karanga to Barafu Camp

Elevation: 3,995 m to 4,673 m

Distance: 4 km / 2 miles

Hiking time: 3 hours

Habitat: Alpine desert

It’s getting real! You’re now very close to the summit and have some amazing views of the mountain during your climb of three hours to reach Barafu Camp. This campsite sits at 4,600 m (15,091 ft) above sea level. You go to bed early tonight as tomorrow's summit hike starts in the dark. This is partly to enjoy the sunrise from up high, and partly because of the long hours of trekking required.

Barafu Camp Kilimanjaro

The scenery is dry and barren near the summit

Day 7: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

Today is summit day! One final push to victory. The days's trek consists of two parts: the climb from Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak, the tallest spot on Kilimanjaro, followed by the descent to Mweka Camp.

Part 1 | Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak 

Elevation: 4,673 m to 5,895 m

Distance: 5 km / 3 miles

Hiking time: 6-8 hours

Habitat: Arctic

You are woken up around midnight to get ready for your summit attempt. This is the moment to dig deep mentally and physically to try reach the tippy-top of Africa. The route heads northwest into the dark night. After about six to seven hours of trekking you reach Stella Point on the crater rim. You then continue for another hour or so on a sometimes snow-covered trail to reach Uhuru Peak at 5,895 m (19,341 ft) above sea level. You did it!

Two trekkers smiling by Uhuru Peak on a very snow-covered Kilimanjaro summit

Reaching Uhuru Peak is an amazing, boast-worthy achievement!

Part 2 | Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

Elevation: 5,895 m to 3,068 m

Distance: 12 km / 7 miles

Hiking time: 6-8 hours

Having reached the summit, you descend to Mweka Camp for the night. Having hiked for about 12 to 16 hours, you fall asleep immediately, trust us!

View from Mweka Camp, Kilimanjaro

A beautiful view from Mweka route

Day 8: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

Elevation: 3,068 m to 1,640 m

Distance: 10 km / 6 miles

Hiking time: 3 hours

Habitat: Forest

Today you do the last bit of hiking down to the foot of the mountain, where your driver is waiting for you. Achievement of a lifetime: check!

Hikers walking down Kilimanjaro through the rainforest band

You descend through a different part of the rainforest to what you hiked on the ascent

Keen to explore more of Tanzania?

If you want to add a little adventure onto the end of your Kilimanjaro climb, we recommend going on a Tanzania safari – you won't find a better African safari! Or hop over the border into Uganda to trek with mountain gorillas.

Alternatively, if you've limited time and budget, why not do one or two extra activities in the Kilimanjaro region like visit a Maasai village, go coffee tasting at a local coffee farm, or relax in Kikuletwa Hot Springs??

Kikuletwa Hot Spring Tanzania

There are many fun, local activities you can tag onto the end of your Kili climb, like visiting Kikuletwa Hot Spring!

 

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Follow Alice Tours (T) LTD

PO Box 1923, Moshi

Tanzania

 

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