Lemosho Route Kilimanjaro: Complete Hiking Guide

Approaching the mountain from the west, the Lemosho route on Kilimanjaro is renowned for its scenic diversity and lower foot traffic.
Starting from Londorossi Gate, the route meanders through lush rainforests, alpine meadows, and barren landscapes before reaching the summit.
With Skyhook’s 7-day and 8-day guided packages, you can experience this captivating journey at a pace that suits you. But first, here’s all you need to know for a successful ascent when you climb Kilimanjaro!

About the Lemosho Route on Kilimanjaro

The Lemosho Route is a popular choice for climbers seeking a less crowded, scenic path to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Starting at the Londorossi Gate on the mountain's western side, this route offers a diverse trekking experience.
The initial stages take you through lush rainforests, where you might spot unique Kilimanjaro wildlife, including colobus monkeys, giraffes, and various birds.
As you ascend, the landscape transitions, taking you through low alpine meadows filled with unique flora. Eventually, you'll reach the high alpine zones, characterized by their barren, rocky terrains.
One of the highlights of this route is the Shira Plateau, a relatively flat area that provides stunning vistas. The route also includes challenging landmarks like the Lava Tower and the Barranco Wall.
Eventually, the Lemosho route merges with the Machame route, another popular path to the summit.
Due to its longer duration — usually 7 to 8 days — Lemosho has a higher success rate, making it a favourable choice if you have the extra time for acclimatisation.

What Makes the Lemosho Route Unique?

The Lemosho Route stands out for several reasons, one of which is its starting point on the western side of Mount Kilimanjaro.
This location allows for a more secluded and tranquil trekking experience, especially during the initial days.
Unlike other more popular routes, you're less likely to encounter large groups of trekkers, giving you a sense of solitude and closer communion with nature.

Overview of the Lemosho Route Map (Trekking Through Skyhook)

Panama garden
Briefing before the start of the trek.
Ready to hike Africa’s tallest mountain following the Lemosho route map? Skyhook offers two meticulously crafted packages for this route, each designed to meet different trekking needs and preferences.
Whether you're considering the 7-day or the 8-day journey, you'll find that both options provide a well-balanced blend of challenge, natural beauty, and opportunities for acclimatisation.
Here’s how the roue plays out after you arrive in Moshi town:

Lemosho Glades to Big Tree Camp (2,780m)

As you set out from the Lemosho Glades, the forest canopy overhead is alive with the sounds of nature.
The trek to Big Tree Camp is your first taste of the wilderness, with potential sightings of colobus monkeys and other local fauna.

Big Tree Camp to Shira 2 Camp (3,900m) or Shira 1 Camp (3,500m)

The next day, you'll traverse the Shira Plateau, a high-elevation plateau that offers your first panoramic views of Kilimanjaro's peaks.
If you’re trekking the 7-day itinerary, you'll cover a lot of ground on the second day, skipping Shira 1 Camp and heading directly to Shira 2 Camp.
The 8-day itinerary allows for a more gradual ascent, stopping at Shira 1 Camp before proceeding to Shira 2 Camp the next day.
First views
First views of the iconic mountain.

Shira 2 to Barranco Camp (3,960m)

The trek takes you beneath the Western Breach glaciers and to the Lava Tower's distinct pinnacle. You'll then descend to Barranco Camp, located at the base of the Great Barranco Valley.

Barranco to Karanga Camp (3,963m)

The Barranco Wall presents a morning challenge, often termed the 'Barranco Breakfast.' Successfully scaling it is a rite of passage. You'll start by descending into the Great Barranco ravine and then climb the Great Barranco Wall.
The day ends at Karanga Camp, with an optional mid-afternoon acclimatisation trek for those feeling strong.

Karanga to Barafu (4,640m) to Summit (5,895m)

The trek from Karanga to Barafu Camp is a tough, steep walk made more challenging by the altitude. This is the launchpad for your summit bid, which starts around midnight and takes you to Uhuru Peak.
Recommended reading: What to Expect on Kilimanjaro Summit Night
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Summit to Millennium Camp (3,790m)

After reaching the summit, you’ll get to spend a bit of time there and celebrate your amazing accomplishment.
Take in the views and snap some photos before descending to Barafu Camp for breakfast and a quick rest.
From there, it’s a long trek down to Millennium Camp, where you’ll spend the night.

Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate (1,630m)

This is your final day on the mountain. A gentle trek down through the rainforest takes you to the end point of your trek at Mweka Gate.
Your journey concludes in Moshi Town, where you spend a night and relax before departure.

How Hard is the Lemosho Route?

Happy hikers
Happy hikers eager to traverse the mountain.
Climbing the Lemosho Route on Kilimanjaro is a challenging but rewarding experience. On the 8-day itinerary, you'll have an extra day for acclimatisation at Shira 1 Camp before moving to Shira 2 Camp.
The route includes steep sections like the ascent to the Lava Tower, the climb up the Barranco Wall, and descents into valleys.
Acclimatisation is a key focus, with opportunities for short walks to help your body adjust to the altitude. The summit day is particularly strenuous, requiring you to hike for approximately six hours upslope.
Overall, you need to be in good physical condition and well-prepared for various terrains and elevations.

How Long is the Route?

The Lemosho Route’s total distance from start to finish is approximately 71 kilometres.
It is one of the longer paths to the Kilimanjaro summit, where the extended length allows for a more gradual ascent. This eases acclimatisation and offers a higher Kilimanjaro success rate for reaching the summit.

What are the Accommodation Options on the Lemosho Route?

You'll start your journey with a night at Panama Garden Resort in Moshi Town.
Once you start hiking, accommodation is in tents at designated campsites.
During the trek, you'll camp at various locations, including Big Tree Camp, Shira 1 Camp, Shira 2 Camp, Barranco Camp, Karanga Camp, and Barafu Camp.
Each campsite offers a unique setting, ranging from forested areas to alpine deserts. The camps are well-organized and provide basic amenities.
Skyhook’s local tour operators provide -29°C Extreme Limit sleeping bags and mats to ensure a comfortable night's sleep. We recommend buying your own sleeping bag liner for comfort and hygiene purposes.

What is the Scenery Like?

scenery on the mountain
Beautiful view of the summit.
The scenery along Kili’s Lemosho route is nothing short of breathtaking. Your journey begins in the lush rainforest of the Lemosho Glades, where towering trees and the sounds of chirping birds surround you.
As you ascend, the forest gradually gives way to the spectacular Shira Plateau, a high-elevation plateau that offers panoramic views of Kilimanjaro's peaks. The plateau is a geological marvel featuring ancient lava flows and volcanic rocks.
Throughout the trek, you'll encounter a variety of landscapes, from alpine meadows to rocky terrains, each offering its unique beauty.
The route also takes you close to the glaciers of the Western Breach and offers stunning views of the Great Barranco Valley.

What are the Key Landmarks Along the Mt Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route?

beautiful glaciers
Stunning glacier at the top.
This route offers a variety of key landmarks that make the trek both challenging and visually stunning. Here are some of the landmarks you'll encounter:
  1. Lava Tower: Situated at an altitude of 4,640m, the Lava Tower is a distinct pinnacle and a crucial point for acclimatisation. It's a fantastic place to enjoy lunch and offers a unique geological experience.

  2. Barranco Wall: This steep climb over rock is not technical - but is long and tiring. The wall separates you from the southeastern slopes of Kibo and offers an exhilarating challenge.

  3. Shira Plateau: This high-elevation plateau is one of the first major landmarks you'll encounter. It offers panoramic views of Kilimanjaro's peaks and features ancient lava flows and volcanic rocks. You'll spend time at Shira 1 and Shira 2 Camps, allowing ample time to take in the scenery.

  4. Great Barranco Valley: After descending from the Lava Tower, you'll camp at the base of this valley. The location is sheltered by towering cliffs and offers extensive views of the plains below.

Alternative Routes to the Summit