Kilimanjaro Hiking Tours – The complete Mt Kilimanjaro guide to climbing Kilimanjaro

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Lemosho Route

The Lemosho route is one of the most scenic Kilimanjaro routes and if completed over 8 days, one of the most successful Kilimanjaro routes. The Lemosho route used to be a quiet Kilimanjaro route, however in recent times it has become one of the popular Kilimanjaro routes. The number of hikers on the Lemosho route increase when the Lemosho route and Machame route merge, just before reaching Lava Tower. 

The Lemosho route share the same acclimatization benefit with the Machame route, the topography allow hikers the opportunity to climb high and sleep low. The actual trail on the Lemosho route is considered to be strenuous and challenging, especially if hiked over 6 days. Please click on the Lemosho map to see an enlarged Lemosho route map.

The Lemosho route start on the western slopes of Kilimanjaro, ascending the Shira plateau and then follow the Kilimanjaro southern circuit to Barafu camp. The summit trail on the Lemosho route is less challenging and strenuous, compared to the summit trail used by the Marangu route and Rongai route. The summit trail is slightly shorter and has less loose scree (rocks) making it slightly easier to reach the crater rim.

The Lemosho route utilize the Mweka route as a descend route.

Recommended duration of climb

The minimum duration for the Lemosho route is 6 days, however we strongly recommend you choose the 7 or 8 day Lemosho route option. The biggest cause of altitude sickness is going too high, too fast and nobody can predict who will get altitude sickness and who not. 

Altitude sickness affect every person differently, irrespective of their age, fitness levels etc, by choosing the 7 or 8 day Lemosho route, do you allow your body more time to acclimatize and reduce the possibility to get altitude sickness. The 6 day Lemosho route is considered to be a challenging Kilimanjaro route.


Lemosho route advantagesLemosho route disadvantages
Scenic Kilimanjaro route, with low number of hikers for first few days of the hike. Long transfer time to the starting point, making it more expensive.
Possible to see (not guaranteed) wildlife through the forest section on day 1 of the hike. Actual trail from the Lemosho gate to Barafu campsite is challenging.
Opportunity to climb high / sleep low, reducing the possibility to get altitude sickness. Baranco wall a potential problem for hikers with a fear of heights.
The actual summit trail shorter, less challenging than the Marangu route summit trail. Because it merge with other routes, high number of hikers can be expected.
Ascend and descend using different routes. Day 2 of 6 day and 7 day itinerary involve long hiking distances.
Short distance to High campsite or Mweka campsite, after reaching the summit. Basic long drop style toilets at campsites.
Daily hiking distances relatively short (8 day option) Some parts like the Baranco wall, subject to “bottled neck” effect due to high number of hikers.

6 Day Lemosho route itinerary  click here

7 Day Lemosho route itinerary – click here

8 Day Lemosho route itinerary 

Day 1 – Lemosho Gate / Londorossi Gate (2 100m / 6 890ft) – Mti Mkubwa campsite (2 650m / 8 695ft)

Hiking time: 4 to 5 hours
Distance: Approximately 7 km / 4.4 miles
Habitat: Montane forest

Your day starts early with a 3 to 4 hour drive from Moshi town to the Londorossi gate (Lemosho gate). As you ascend through the beautiful Kilimanjaro rain forest, you are advised to stop regularly today and to move quietly in the hope of sighting wildlife near the trail. Occasional sightings of small antelope are virtually unique to the Lemosho and Rongai routes. Overnight at the Mti Mkubwa campsite, translated from Swahili to English: Big Tree campsite

Day 2 – Mti Mkubwa campsite (2 650m / 8 695ft) – Shira 1 campsite (3 610m / 11 843ft)

Hiking time: 5 to 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 7 km / 4.4 miles
Habitat: Moorland

You rise early at Mti Mkubwa campsite or Big Tree campsite and after breakfast you hike for an hour to the end of the Kilimanjaro rain forest. The trail will then steepen gradually and enter a giant heather moorland zone. You will cross several streams on the way to Shira 1 Campsite, located on the western edge of the Shira plateau.

Day 3 – Shira 1 campsite (3 610m / 11 843ft) – Shira 2 campsite (3 850m / 12 631ft)

Lemosho Moorland

Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 10 km / 6.2 miles
Habitat: Moorland

After breakfast, trek from Shira 1 campsite, directly across the gentle slope of the Shira plateau. We take a scenic path to Shira Cathedral (3 872m / 12 703ft), a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles.

Day 4 – Climb high, sleep low

Ascend: Shira 2 campsite (3 850m / 12 631ft) – Lava Tower (4 600m / 15 090ft)

Hiking time: 4 to 5 hours
Distance: Approximately 7 km / 4.3 miles                                                                                                                                                                                               
Habitat: Semi-desert

Descend: Lava Tower (4 600m / 15 090ft) – Baranco campsite (3 900m) / 12 795ft)

Hiking time: 2 to 3 hours
Distance: Approximately 3.3 km / 2 miles                                                                                                                                                                                             
Habitat: Semi-desert

The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4 600m / 15 090ft and stop for lunch. This is where the true acclimatisation benefit of the Lemosho route becomes clear, of climbing high and sleeping low. The descent to Baranco campsite takes about 2 hours.

Day 5 – Baranco campsite (3 900m) / 12 795ft) – Karanga campsite (3 995m / 13 105ft)

Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: 6 km / 3.7 miles
Habitat: Semi desert

After breakfast, make your way up the Baranco wall, which in the end, normally turns out to be easier than anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you will now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. One should keep in mind that there are three rises and falls before reaching Karanga campsite where you will have lunch, dinner and overnight.

Day 6 – Karanga campsite (3 995m / 13 105ft) – Barafu campsite (4 673m / 15 330ft)

Hiking time: 3 hours
Distance: 4 km / 2.5 miles
Habitat: Alpine desert

Enjoy breakfast and ascend 640m to Barafu campsite. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and the Barafu campsite is totally exposed to the ever-present gales. The summit is now a further 1 222m / 4 009ft higher and you will commence with your final ascent attempt, the same night. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep.

Day 7 – Summit attempt

Ascend: Barafu campsite (4 673m / 15 330ft) – Uhuru Peak (5 895m / 19 341ft)

Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak
Distance: Approximately 5 km / 3.1 miles
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

Descend: Uhuru Peak (5 895m / 19 341ft) – Mweka (3 100m / 10 170ft)

Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 6 to 8 hours to descend to Mweka Campsite
Distance: 12.5 km / 7.8 miles to Mweka campsite or 9 km / 5.6 miles to High campsite
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

Uhuru Peak via Lemosho Route

You will get up around 23h20, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend up a steep path towards Stella Point, located on the crater rim. For many climbers the 6-hour walk to Stella point is mentally and physically the most challenging part of the entire hike. 

At Stella Point (5 756m / 18 884ft) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point it is possible to encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life!

The walk back to Barafu campsite from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well-earned, but short rest and collect the rest of your gear. If the group managed to summit just after sunrise and everything was on                                                                                         schedule will we descend down to Mweka campsite (3 100m / 10 170ft). However if the summit attempt took longer                                                                                 than planned, will we overnight at High Campsite (3 950m / 12 960ft), which is located closer to Barafu campsite.

Day 8 – Final descend

Shorter: Mweka campsite (3 100m / 10 170ft) – Mweka Gate (1 640m / 5 380ft)

Hiking time: 3 to 4 hours
Distance: Approximately 10 km / 6.2 miles
Habitat: Forest


Longer: High campsite (3 950m / 12 960ft) – Mweka Gate (1 640m / 5 380ft)

Hiking time: 5 to 7 hours
Distance: From High Campsite approximately 13.5 km Mweka campsite approximately 13.5 km / 8.4 miles                                                                               
Habitat: Forest

After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3 to 4 hour scenic hike from Mweka campsite to the Mweka gate. If the group spend the last night at High Campsite it will be a slightly longer 5 to 7 hour hike down to the Mweka gate.

At Mweka gate, you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers will receive their summit certificates.