Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on the Lemosho Route

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To climb Mt. Kilimanjaro on the Lemosho Route is a comparatively newer option, one that quickly became popular once established.

Strictly speaking not all of Lemosho is new. It is a variation of the Shira route. Many trekking agencies even call the Lemosho Shira, to stress that you walk across the Shira Plateu.

Read the detailed route description you have been given to find out which route exactly you will be on.

Only the first two to three days of the two routes are different. But what a difference!

The Lemosho Route is the most scenic Kilimanjaro route, from the first day to the last.

The trail begins north of Shira, also on the western side of the mountain. But unlike the Shira Route, where for the first day you walk on a wide 4 WD road, Lemosho is a narrow wilderness trail right from the beginning, passing through pristine and remote rainforest with good chances of seeing wildlife.

It then crosses the Shira Plateau before joining the Machame Route near the Lava Tower.

Luckily, despite its growing popularity (especially with second time Kilimanjaro climbers), Lemosho sees a very low number of people. It’s all relative. There is still a massive gap between Marangu Route and the theMachame Route, the two really crowded routes, and all the others.

There is an obvious reason why the numbers on Lemosho will always remain much lower than on Marangu or Machame: it’s not the cheapest option.

  • Starting your climb on the western side means paying for extra transport.
  • Using a longer trail means paying for an extra day or several on the mountain.
  • And climbing a less trafficked route means higher prices due to less competition from budget tour operators.

Lemosho is also a fairly demanding route, due to both the nature of the terrain and the duration of the trail.

On the plus side Lemosho offers the best chances of any route to acclimatize to the altitude and with that much better summit chances. The fact that you are likely to climb this route with a quality Kilimanjaro tour operator also means your success chances are much better than average.

And if your operator has developed your itinerary in a way that avoids the big traffic surges on the Machame trail (some operators do) you will have a great climb all the way, on the most scenic route, without the crowds that plague the popular trails.

Below are some more detailed notes about what to expect during aKilimanjaro climb on the Lemosho Route.

Lemosho Route Itinerary

There are several possible variations to the Kilimanjaro Lemosho route, so don’t be surprised if you see an intinerary that mentions different camps and different heights.

The itinerary below describes a seven night/eight day Kilimanjaro climb on the Lemosho Route.

Like Machame this trek can be shortened if you skip the night in the Karanga Valley and instead walk straight from the Barranco Huts to the Barafu Huts in one day.

Some operators also skip the second night at Shira One, making it a VERY strenuous six day trek.

The trek can be extended by adding an extra night at Moir Huts for acclimatisation.

For experienced mountaineers there is also a challenging and dangerous specialist version via the Western Breach.

(Note: altitudes and distances are approximations. Different sources will give you different numbers.)

Starting Point: Londorossi Gate (2100 m/6900 ft)

Duration: 7-8 day


Day 1:Londorosi Gate/Lemosho trail head – Big Tree Camp (Mti Mkubwa) (2650 m/8695 ft)

Walking distance: 6 km/3.7 miles
Walking time: 2-3 hours
Altitude gain: 550 m/1795 ft t


Day 2 : Big Tree Camp – Shira I (3480 m/11420 ft)

Walking distance: 8 km/5 miles
Walking time: 4-5 hours
Altitude gain: 830 m/2725 ft


Day 3: Shira I – Shira Huts (3850 m/12630 ft) via Shira Cathedral

Walking distance: 6 km/3.7 miles
Walking time: 3-4 hours
Altitude gain: 730 m/2400 ft
Afternoon acclimatization walk to about 4500 m/14760 ft


Day 4: Shira Huts – via Lava Tower (4640 m/15220 ft) – Barranco Huts (3985 m/13070 ft)

Walking distance: 9 km/5.6 miles
Walking time: 6-8 hours
Altitude gain: 135 m/440 ft (790 m/2590 ft to Lava Tower)


Day 5: Barranco Huts – Karanga Camp (4040 m/13255 ft)

Walking distance: 5.5 km/3.5 miles
Walking time: 4-5 hours
Altitude gain: 55 m/185 ft


Day 6: – Karanga Camp – Barafu Huts (4680 m/15360 ft)

Walking distance: 3.5 km/ 2.2 miles
Walking time: 4-5 hours
Altitude gain: 640 m/2105 ft


Day 7: Summit attempt via Stella Point (5752 m/18871 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5895 m/19340 ft) and descent to Millenium Camp (3820 m/12530 ft) (or to Mweka Hut)

Walking distance: 5 km/3 miles ascent + 10 km/6.2 miles descent
Walking time: 5-6 hrs + 1-2 hours up, 5-6 hours down (the overall walking time may vary from 10 – 16 hours)
Altitude gain: 1072 m/ 3511 ft (Stella Point) or 1215 m/3980 ft (Uhuru Peak)
Descent: 2075 m/6810 ft


Day 8: Millenium Camp – Lemosho Gate

Walking distance: 20 km/12.5 miles
Walking time: 5 hours
Descent: 1990 m/6530 ft



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