This long, little-used route parallels the lower part of the Shira Route. The Lemosho Route is an unspoiled, remote, little-used, and beautiful way up to the Shira Plateau. Above the plateau, you approach Kilimanjaro’s great western Breach, then follow the south circuit to reach the easier Barafu Route. This is one of the few routes where an armed ranger accompanies our groups, since there are still animals in the forest around the Lemosho Glades.
Pick up at Kilimanjaro International Airport met on arrival and transfer to Moshi/ Arusha for dinner and overnight at Hotel in Moshi/Arusha town.
Day 01: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa
We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours, where you will complete entry formalities. Then drive to the Lemosho trailhead. Upon arrival at trailhead, we begin hiking through undisturbed forest which winds to the first camp site. Elevation: 7,742 ft to 9,498 ft, Distance: 6 km/4 miles, Hiking Time: 3-4 hours, Habitat: Rain Forest.
Day 02: Mti Mkubwa to Shira 1 Camp
We continue on the trail leading out of the rain forest 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. Elevation: 9,498 ft to 11,500 ft, Distance: 8 km/ 5miles, Hiking Time 5-6 hours, Habitat: Health.
Day 03: Shira 1 Camp to Moir Hut
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. Elevation: 11,500 ft to 13,800 ft, Distance: 11 km/ 7 miles. Hiking Time: 5-7 hours. Habitat: Heath.
Day 04: Moir Hut to Lava Tower
We begin the day climbing up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower – a 300 ft 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.
Day 05: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
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. This is a shorter day meant for acclimatization. Elevation: 13,044 ft to 13,106 ft, Distance: 5 km/3 miles, Hiking Time: 4-5 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert.
Day 06: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
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. Elevation: 13,106 ft to 15,331 ft, Distance: 4 km/2 miles, Hiking Time: 4-5 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert.
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. Near Stella Point (18,900 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. From the summit, we now make our descent continuing 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 is situated in the upper forest and 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. Elevation: 19,341 ft to 10,065 ft.
On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi. Elevation: 10,065 ft to 5,380 ft, Distance: 10 km/6 miles, Hiking Time: 3-4 hours, Habitat: Rain Forest.