8 Days Lemosho Route
This 8-day route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west, a superb ascent of Kilimanjaro on the little-trekked Lemosho Route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west, crossing the caldera of Shira Volcano before traversing beneath the southern icefields of Kibo, Kilimanjaro’s highest volcano. We have eight days of trekking on Africa’s highest mountain, allowing maximum time for acclimatisation. This improves your chances of reaching the summit while allowing time to enjoy the variety of scenery in the different climatic zones. This is one of the least trekked routes and we can really savor the immense wilderness of the Shira Plateau, with stunning views of the glaciers on the crater rim. Total trip duration is 10 days.
Londorossi Gate / Mti Mkubwa Camp
Elevation (m): 2360m / 2650m, Distance covered: 6 km, Trekking time: 3 – 4 hours, Habitat: Montane forest.
Drive from the hotel/lodge to Londorossi Park Gate for orientation and registration. Meanwhile, our team of porters will prepare and pack the supplies and luggage before we drive to the starting point at Lemosho River glade for beginning our ascent along the forest trail to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) camp at 2650m. We will stay here overnight.
Mti Mkubwa Camp – Shira 1 Camp
Altitudes (ASL): 2650m – 3500m, Distance covered: 8 km, Trekking time: 5-6 hours, Habitat: Montane forest.
We soon leave the forest behind and enter the moorland zone of giant heather. The trail climbs steadily with wide views to reach the rim of the Shira Plateau. By now we will be able to see, in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. There is a tangible sense of wilderness, especially if afternoon mists come in! We camp in the centre of the plateau for overnight. The night here is colder than the previous night and the temperature could possibly go below freezing.
Shira 1 Camp – Shira Hut Camp
Elevation (m): 3500m to 4200m, Distance: 14 km, Time: 5-7 hours, Habitat: Moorland.
We leave the forest behind now, the trail gets steeper as it enters the moorland zone. A gentle grade walk takes you across the high altitude Shira Caldera to Shira Cave with fabulous views of Arrow glacier. We will camp here for the night at 4200m.
Moir Hut via Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
Elevation (m): 4200m to 4600m to 3950m, Distance: 12 km, Time: 6-7 hours, Habitat: Semi desert.
Our route continues on a rocky and rugged eastward path as we ascend to the base of the Lava Tower at 4600m for lunch and acclimatisation. This will be our toughest day so far and you may, for the first time, feel the altitude. After lunch we will descend again by almost 650m to the Barranco camp. The high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower and then descending to sleep will aid acclimatisation. Our descent to Barranco camp from Lava Tower takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and the Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for your dinner.
Barranco Camp – Karanga Camp
Altitudes (ASL): 3950m – 4000m, Distance covered: 7km, Trekking time: 4 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert.
Today starts with a short, but fun, scramble, up to the top of the Great Barranco Wall (4270m). We then traverse over an undulating trail on the south-eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern ice-fields (Glaciers) of the Heim, Kersten and Decken. The terrain changes to scree, with pockets of lush vegetation in sheltered hollows, and there is only a short distance to our camp at Karanga (4000m.), the last water point on the approach to Barafu, in a narrow valley. There is plenty of time to rest, or for a short optional acclimatisation walk in the afternoon above the camp, before dinner and overnight.
Karanga Camp – Barafu Camp
Altitudes (ASL): 3930m – 4600m, Distance covered: 6km, Trekking time: 3 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert.
After breakfast, we continue with our ascent in the alpine desert up to the Barafu Hut Camp (4600m) where we will spend the night. We have now completed the Southern Circuit. The views of the Kibo and Mawenzi peaks can be clearly seen from this position if weather condition permits. Acclimatisation walk to higher zone past Barafu camp is highly recommended after lunch and short break at Barafu camp. This gives you optimum acclimatisation, and makes the trek to the summit later this night a good deal shorter. (Refer the sense of ‘Walk high, sleep low’). Or can rest, enjoy dinner served earlier on this day, and prepare for the summit assault that starts in mid-night.
Barafu Hut Camp – Summit – Millennium Hut Camp
Altitudes (ASL): 4600m – 5895m (and down to 3797m), Distance covered: 7km ascent / 18km descent, Trekking time: 6 – 8 hours ascent / 5 – 6 hours descent, Habitat: Stone scree / ice-capped summit /Alpine desert, Altitudes Gained (Barafu Hut – Summit): 1295m, Change in Altitude; Summit – Millenium Hut Camp: (-2098m)
Waking up at 11:30 pm with some quick tea and biscuits, we will start our ascent by torchlight at about 00:01 a.m with a slow but steady pace through heavy scree towards Stella Point (5732m) on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. We will stop here for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (if weather permitting). Those who are still feeling strong, can make the 1 ½ – 2 hour round trip from here along the crater rim passing close to the spectacular Rebmann glacier and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m), the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and African continent. From here, after the summit exploration and the photo celebration, the descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descend to reach Millennium Hut Camp (3797m), our final camp. Later in the evening, we will enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Millennium Hut Camp – Hotel/lodge
Altitudes (ASL): 3797m – 1800m, Distance covered: 12 km, Trekking time: 5- 6 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest, Change in Altitude: (-1997m).
Early morning after breakfast, you will proceed with descent down across the Alpine moorland to passing Mweka Hut on the way to Mweka Gate; a descent of about 6 hours. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will be suitable (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy). Once at the Mweka Gate, you will sign out and followed by summit certificates representation. Here, you will be handed a Silver Certificate for having reached Stella Point (5732m), or a Gold Certificate for Uhuru Peak (5895m). After a short session of jubilation and farewell with your crew (guide/s, cook/s, and porters); and tipping of course, and having lunch you will take a waiting car and be transferred back to Arusha town where you will check in at your hotel/lodge for a welcome shower, dinner and overnight. [2 hour drive]