Planning to hike the Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route? This is the only guide you’ll need!
The Mount Kilimanjaro hike via the Lemosho Route isn’t just your average hike – it’s an incredible adventure to Uhuru Peak, the Top of Africa, at 5,895 meters above sea level.
I personally embarked on the 7-day Lemosho Route Kilimanjaro Hike with Altezza Travel, and let me tell you, it was the experience of a lifetime.
In this guide, discover everything you need to know before you go, including where to book, the day-by-day itinerary, common FAQs, and much more!
KILIMANJARO LEMOSHO ROUTE – OVERVIEW
Let’s kick things off with an overview of the Mount Kilimanjaro hike via the Lemosho Route.
LEMOSHO ROUTE KILIMANJARO STATS
- Days: 7 – 9 days, depending on the itinerary you choose
- Length: 62 km (38 miles)
- Difficulty: Moderately difficult
- Elevation gain: 3,700 m (12,100 ft) up – 5,500 m (18,000 ft) down
- Highest point: Uhuru Peak, Mount Kilimanjaro Summit, 5,895 meters (19,341 ft)
WHERE IS THE LEMOSHO ROUTE?
The Lemosho Route starts at the Londorossi Gate on the western side of Mount Kilimanjaro, and it offers a less crowded and more serene experience compared to other routes.
The remote location of the starting point provides hikers with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of the natural landscape at the foothills of Kilimanjaro.
The journey along the Lemosho Route crosses the entire Shira Plateau from west to east, offering a relatively flat and non-technical hike.
IS THE LEMOSHO ROUTE WORTH IT?
Yes, the Lemosho Route is definitely worth hiking! The route is one of the newer paths on the Mount Kilimanjaro hike, and it’s rated as one of the most popular (and easiest) ones to date.
Other than being a less crowded trail compared to other routes, the Lemosho Route has a 95% success rate.
HOW HARD IS THE LEMOSHO ROUTE?
The Lemosho Route is a moderately difficult, high-altitude trek that demands physical fitness, but it’s not technical.
The route allows ample time for acclimatization, hence the high success rate.
WHERE TO BOOK A KILIMANJARO HIKE?
The best tour company to book your Mount Kilimanjaro hike via the Lemosho Route is Altezza Travel.
I personally booked with Altezza Travel and I couldn’t have been happier with the experience.
Altezza Travel takes great pride in having the most exceptional and professional Kilimanjaro guides and mountain crew among their team.
They are seasoned experts with a track record of successfully leading numerous expeditions and are the number one tour operator in Tanzania on TripAdvisor.
Other than including everything you need and more for the Mount Kilimanjaro hike, they are extremely helpful from the booking process until the very end of the trek.
BEST LEMOSHO ROUTE KILIMANJARO TOUR
HOW MUCH DOES THE KILIMANJARO LEMOSHO ROUTE COST?
The prices for the Lemosho Route vary depending on the length of the trek you choose, the number of people in your group, and whether you pick a classic or premium tour.
Prices start at $3,228 for a 6-day trek plus 2 nights in a hotel with the classic option, or $7,491 for the premium package.
For the 7-day trek with 2 nights at a hotel, you can expect to pay $3,737 for the classic option or $8,013 for the premium package.
If you want a longer experience, the 8-day trek with 2 nights in a hotel will cost $4,314 for the classic option or $8,724 for the premium package.
Although it may seem steep, the investment is well worth it for the once-in-a-lifetime experience and unbelievable sights from the top of Africa’s highest mountain!
CAN YOU CLIMB THE LEMOSHO ROUTE WITHOUT A GUIDE?
No, it’s illegal to climb Mount Kilimanjaro without a guide, and it’s also dangerous.
First, it’s a camping trail, so there is no food or accommodation on the way. Also, there is more security around the base now, and they are very strict with solo travelers (and rightfully so).
Other than that, all climbers must get a permit to hike Mt Kilimanjaro, and that wouldn’t be possible without a guide or a tour operator.
If you want to hike the Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route without other travelers, you can book a private tour with Altezza Travel.
PROS AND CONS OF THE LEMOSHO ROUTE
While the Lemosho Route is arguably the best route to hike Mount Kilimanjaro, there are pros and cons of this trail which I have listed below.
PROS OF THE LEMOSHO ROUTE
- High success rate (95%)
- Stunning views along the way
- Less crowded than other Kilimanjaro hiking routes
- You’ll hike through a rainforest at the end, which is a nice bonus!
CONS OF THE LEMOSHO ROUTE
- Variable weather conditions
- It’s slightly more expensive than other routes
- Long and sometimes challenging days (but that’s what we come for, right?!)
7-DAY LEMOSHO ROUTE KILIMANJARO ITINERARY
Now that you have a better idea of what the Lemosho Route entails, let’s dive into the day-by-day itinerary.
ARRIVAL IN TANZANIA
On your first day, you’ll land at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and you’ll be met by an Altezza Travel representative who will take care of your transfer to the hotel.
Needless to say, the first night at the hotel is very comfortable and some great features include a swimming pool, gym, restaurant and bar, and free WiFi.
If you don’t bring all your own hiking gear, you’ll get to visit the rental store to pick out any equipment that you may need for the Kilimanjaro trek such as boots, fleeces, jackets, pants, walking sticks, sleeping bags, backpacks, etc.
The rental store literally has every piece of equipment that a hiker can possibly need on Kilimanjaro. Please note that there are additional costs for the rental gear which you will be informed about when you arrive.
Once you’ve got all your gear, the tour leader will brief you about what to expect on the Kilimanjaro hike and also assess your general condition.
They will also suggest that you start taking Diamox pills (provided by Altezza) which help with altitude sickness symptoms and reduce discomfort as a whole. You’ll want to check any allergies you may have with your doctor before flying to Tanzania.
You can relax at the hotel for the rest of the day and take it easy to save as much energy as possible for the upcoming hike.
It’s recommended to not drink alcohol or coffee – instead, drink a lot of water.
DAY 1: TREKKING TO SHIRA 1 CAMP
- Distance: 5 km / 3.1 miles
- Hiking Time: 2 – 3 hours
- Elevation: 3,610 m / 11,843 ft
- Difficulty: Moderate
Day 2 is the actual starting day of the hike, and the Altezza guides will pick you up early at the hotel with the mountain crew. From here, you’ll travel 3 to 4 hours by minivan to the starting point of the Kilimanjaro trek.
The first stop will be the western entrance of the park, Londorossi Gate at 2,250 meters above sea level. Here you’ll have to sign in with the registrar, get the climbing permits with your guides, and also have a hearty lunch.
Continuing on in the minivan for a further 30 minutes, you’ll arrive at Shira Plateau, the starting point of the Lemosho Route Kilimanjaro at 3,407 meters altitude.
You’ll hike from the Shira Plateau to Shira Camp 1, a nice and easy start to the Lemosho Route which allows you to acclimatize before further elevation gains.
Once we got to Shira Camp 1, I was positively surprised that the Altezza mountain crew had already set up the sleeping tents and the dinner tent.
The real MVPs are the team of guides and porters at Altezza Travel. They go above and beyond each day to make sure everyone is comfortable, safe, well-fed, and in good physical and mental condition.
In addition, your guides will conduct two medical checks each day in the morning and in the evening to test your oxygen levels, heart rate, and overall general condition on a scale of 1-10.
You’ll also be provided with 1 Diamox pill each day, half to be taken in the morning and the other half at nighttime.
After a hearty mountain meal and a briefing from our guides about the itinerary for the following day, we went to sleep early to get well-rested for a longer hike on day 3.
Note that you might experience discomfort during the night (slower breathing pattern because of less oxygen) due to the high altitude. If so, make sure to tell your guide as soon as possible.
DAY 2: SHIRA CAMP 1 TO SHIRA CAMP 2
- Distance: 7 km / 4.3 miles
- Hiking Time: 3 – 4 hours
- Elevation: 3,610 m to 3,810 m / 11,843 ft to 12,500 ft
- Difficulty: Easy
Waking up on day 3 was lovely with incredible views of Kilimanjaro. After hot tea served in the tent and a delicious breakfast at the camp, we got ready to hike to Shira Camp 2.
Every morning you’ll be able to fill up your water bottle and 2-3L water bladder with filtered drinking water to keep you hydrated on the route.
The trek on day 3 is not a challenging one, which is great for getting to chat with the others in your group, taking photos, and just enjoying the fresh mountain air.
On the way from Shira Camp 1 to Shira Camp 2, you’ll get to visit Shira Peak (Cathedral Point), one of the three peaks inside Kilimanjaro National Park.
There will be a tea and snack break here to rest for 30 minutes – 1 hour before continuing to Shira Camp 2.
We arrived at Shira Camp 2 at lunchtime and enjoyed a nice hot meal followed by a beautiful song and dance performance by the guides and the entire mountain crew.
You’ll have the entire afternoon to rest, enjoy the sunset, have dinner, and get ready for day 4!
DAY 3: SHIRA CAMP 2 TO LAVA TOWER AND DESCENT TO BARRANCO CAMP
- Distance: 12 km / 7.4 miles
- Hiking Time: 6 – 8 hours
- Elevation: 3,810 m to 4,600 m to 3,900 m / 12,500 ft to 15,091 ft to 12,795 ft
- Difficulty: Moderate
Today, the Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route itinerary takes you from Shira Camp 2 to Lava Tower before descending to Barranco Camp.
The journey is a moderately challenging one, with multiple ascents and descents reaching an altitude of 4,600 meters.
The first stop of the day is at the Lava Tower which is an essential stop to acclimatize to the altitude, so you’ll stay here for a couple of hours and have lunch.
After lunch, you’ll start the descent through a valley filled with giant groundsel plants to Barranco Camp to spend the night.
The most stunning view from the camp is the Barranco Wall which you’ll hike on day 5.
Day 5 is slightly more challenging than day 4, and I recommend getting to bed early to be well-rested.
It’s worth noting that if any participant doesn’t feel well, you won’t be stopping at the Lava Tower. Instead, you’ll follow the road for porters which is still nice but not as high up as Lava Tower with an altitude of 4,400 meters.
DAY 4: BARRANCO CAMP TO KARANGA CAMP
- Distance: 5 km / 3.1 miles
- Hiking Time: 4 – 5 hours
- Elevation: 3,900 m to 3,995 m / 13,044 ft to 13,106 ft
- Difficulty: Slightly technical
On the fifth day of the Lemosho Route Kilimanjaro, you’ll wake up early and fuel up with breakfast before beginning your ascent up the famous Barranco Wall.
Our guides recommended we leave the camp early to avoid the crowds, and I was so happy we did as we were one of the first groups that morning to reach the top of the Barranco Wall.
Climbing the Barranco Wall took about an hour and when we got to the top, we stopped for tea and snacks and enjoyed stunning views of the Kilimanjaro summit.
From the top of the Barranco Wall, we proceeded to hike to Karanga Camp which was slightly more challenging with a few descents and accents to get to the camp.
You’ll get to Karanga Camp just in time for lunch and take the rest of the day off.
That being said, in the afternoon, you’ll have the option to take another easy acclimatization hike with only a 200-meter elevation gain if you’re up for it.
DAY 5: KARANGA CAMP TO BARAFU CAMP
- Distance: 6 km / 3.7 miles
- Hiking Time: 4 – 5 hours
- Elevation: 3,995 m to 4,673 m / 13,106 ft to 15,331 ft
- Difficulty: Moderate
Day 6 is the final day before the final push to Uhuru Peak via the Lemosho Route Kilimanjaro, and you’ll hike from Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp, also known as Base Camp.
After breakfast, we started the relatively easy hike to Base Camp which was a blend of desert and rocky terrain. The flora and fauna here were pretty much non-existent but the views were incredible nonetheless.
After trekking about 1-1.5 km, we stopped for a tea break before the final stretch to Barafu Camp at 4,673 meters in elevation.
Lunch will be ready for you when you reach Barafu Camp, and you’ll be briefed by the guides on everything you need to know about the upcoming summit hike.
You’ll have an early dinner in the afternoon and it’s recommended to get as much rest and sleep as possible between 3 pm and 10 pm which is the wake-up call to get ready for the Mount Kilimanjaro summit hike.
DAY 6: BARAFU CAMP TO UHURU PEAK AND DESCENT TO MILLENNIUM CAMP
- Distance: 15 km / 9.3 miles
- Hiking Time: 8 – 12 hours
- Elevation: 4,673 m to 5,895 m / 15,331 ft to 19,341 ft
- Difficulty: Very Strenuous
Day 7 of the Lemosho Route Kilimanjaro hike is the final push to reach Uhuru Peak, the Top of Africa!
The schedule begins with a 10 pm wake-up call to get changed into all your warm hiking gear, have a quick breakfast, and set off by 11 pm in order to reach the summit for sunrise.
This was easily the most challenging day of the Kilimanjaro trek, with cold temperatures and more than 1,000 meters of elevation gain in the dark. What I appreciated, however, was the easy-to-follow trail and slow pace.
The temperature can vary between -0°C and -30°C, though this also depends on the time of year that you visit. The temperature we experienced on the summit was -5°C.
But not to worry, the team at Altezza Travel will equip you with all the layers you need as well as having oxygen tanks for any emergencies.
REACHING STELLA POINT AND UHURU PEAK
After 7 hours of trekking, we finally reached the first milestone of the morning, Stella Point, located on Kilimanjaro’s crater rim.
We caught the most amazing sunrise above the clouds at Stella Point, and from here it was only about a 100-meter elevation gain to get to the summit.
Despite the altitude and cold temperature, the hike from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak isn’t very steep or difficult and only takes around 20 – 30 minutes.
At the summit of Kilimanjaro, you’ll get to see the last permanent glaciers in Africa which unfortunately are predicted to melt in the next decade, so best to book your trip ASAP.
Our entire group made it to Uhuru Peak around 6:30 am, and everyone was filled with excitement and full of emotion.
Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro was an exhilarating and bucket list achievement. The physical and mental challenges I faced during the ascent made it all worth it to be standing atop Africa’s highest peak.
After around 30 minutes on the summit taking photos, enjoying the view, and basking in the accomplishment, we began our descent back to Barafu Camp.
DESCENT TO BARAFU AND MILLENIUM CAMP
The descent from Uhuru Peak back to Barafu Camp was one of the more challenging parts of the trek, consisting of dusty terrain and small, loose stones.
The guides at Altezza Travel warned us that this is the part where most accidents occur, and you can potentially damage your toes, put a strain on your knees, and sometimes even break limbs.
That being said, everything went well for our entire group and the Altezza guides and crew couldn’t have been any more supportive to take us down slowly and safely.
We made it back to Barafu Camp around 10 am and the entire mountain crew performed a dance and sang a celebration song before lunch. This was an incredible memory that I’ll never forget.
After lunch, we resumed the descent to Millenium Camp where we would spend the night.
Needless to say, after a challenging climb up and descent, continuing on was the last thing we wanted to do, but it was necessary to get to Millenium Camp at a lower altitude as soon as possible for safety reasons.
The descent to Millenium Camp wasn’t difficult and rather steady, and everything was fine for everyone in our group.
It took us about 2 hours to get to Millenium Camp (elevation 3,950 m), and we all chilled in the mess tent for a few hours before dinner, followed by the best night’s sleep of the trip!
DAY 7: TREKKING FROM MILLENNIUM CAMP TO MWEKA GATE
- Distance: 12 km / 7.4 miles
- Hiking Time: 4 – 5 hours
- Elevation: 3,950 m to 1,640 m / 12,960 ft to 5,380 ft
- Difficulty: Moderate
The final day of our Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route itinerary was the best for different reasons.
Firstly, we were all so happy that we safely summited, and secondly, we were ready to end the hike, have a hot shower, and spend the night in a real bed at the hotel!
After having our last breakfast on the mountain, we began our descent to Mweka Gate, the National Park’s exit, and the end of the hike.
The hike was moderate, passing through the rainforest, listening to the birds, and even spotting some monkeys.
The last part of the trail, however, can be a bit muddy and slippery, just something to be mindful of and there is no need to rush.
It took about 5 hours to reach Mweka Gate and we were welcomed with a delicious lunch, champagne to celebrate, and a round-up ceremony with our guides to receive a commemorative certificate for successfully reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
After a few drinks, endless laughter, and a well-deserved meal, you’ll jump in the minivan back to the hotel for the last night of this Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route itinerary.
We personally stayed at Aishi Machame Hotel, a short one-hour drive from Kilimanjaro National Park.
On the final day of the itinerary, you’ll have breakfast at the hotel and relax until check-out time at 10 am.
The closest airport is Kilimanjaro International Airport and airport transfers are included. You can either head back home or stay a little longer in Tanzania to discover more of the country.
MY EXPERIENCE TREKKING THE LEMOSHO ROUTE
Trekking the Lemosho Route to Uhuru Peak on Mt. Kilimanjaro was an adventure I’ll never forget. From the moment I first set foot on the trail to the last step of the hike, I enjoyed every moment of the journey.
The trail itself was not that challenging, and each step and each day brought a new discovery, from sunny days to clear starlit skies, the landscapes in Kilimanjaro National Park are awe-inspiring, to say the least.
Personally, the only challenging parts of the Mt Kilimanjaro hike were the 7-hour summit push in the dark and the descent to the bottom which was strenuous on my legs and knees.
Overall the Kilimanjaro summit hike is very doable for most people and you’ll be grateful to know that the guides and mountain crew are there to make your expedition a success.
KILIMANJARO LEMOSHO ROUTE – FAQ
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect on the Kilimanjaro trek and what each day entails, let’s answer some frequently asked questions from first-timers.
WHAT TO PACK FOR THE 7 DAYS LEMOSHO ROUTE?
One thing you’ll want to keep in mind when planning your 7 days Lemosho Route Kilimanjaro Hike is the packing list.
Below, I’ll go through the essentials to pack for your Mount Kilimanjaro trek.
Note that, in case you don’t own any hiking equipment or winter gear, you can rent everything you need with Altezza Travel.
HIKING CLOTHES & GEAR
- Small backpack, 20 – 30L
- Hiking boots
- 2-3 pairs of hiking pants
- 3-4 long-sleeve t-shirts
- Insulated winter jacket and pants
- Neck warmer, hat, and beanie
- Winter socks and gloves
- Trekking poles
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Water bottle and 2-3 litre water bladder.
- Waterproof duffel bag
- Extreme cold sleeping bag
- Inflatable pillow
- Toiletries and toilet paper
- A power bank
- Headlamp with batteries
- Wet wipes
HOW TO STAY CONNECTED ON MOUNT KILIMANJARO?
There is very limited phone signal on the Kilimanjaro hike, and it’s a good opportunity to take a digital detox for 7 days.
However, I understand some of us like to stay connected as much as possible, so I recommend getting a local SIM card which you can get upon arrival at the airport.
Generally speaking, the internet speed on the mountain isn’t great, so you’ll mostly only be able to send text messages, check emails, and do other essential things.
IS FOOD PROVIDED ON THE HIKE?
Absolutely, food is a crucial part of your Kilimanjaro trek and all meals are included when you book your expedition with Altezza Travel.
Breakfast was generally porridge, vegetables, eggs, sausages, and pancakes with coffee or tea.
Lunches and dinners are a mix of soups, chicken, beef, and fish dishes with vegetables, rice, potato, or spaghetti.
You’re sure to be served fresh and nutritious food by the chefs. They also cater to vegans and vegetarians and any other dietary requirements you may have.
IS THE LEMOSHO ROUTE THE BEST KILIMANJARO HIKING ROUTE?
The Lemosho Route is often lauded as the best route to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for being easier than other trails and for having a higher success rate.
The Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route traverses the entire Shira Plateau from west to east, offering a relatively flat hike that is less taxing on your body.
One of the major advantages of this route is the additional time it provides for acclimatization. This significantly increases your chances of reaching the summit successfully.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO CLIMB THE LEMOSHO ROUTE?
January and February are considered prime months for climbing Kilimanjaro via the Lemosho Route. These months fall within the dry season in Tanzania, offering clear skies and minimal precipitation.
This not only makes your trek less challenging but also allows for stunning, unobstructed views of the landscape.
Climbing in January and February also means you’re likely to encounter fewer people on the trail than during the summer months. This gives you a more tranquil, personal experience on the mountain.
Alternatively, going for the Mt Kilimanjaro hike from mid-June to the end of October is a great option, but be ready to see more travelers on the way to the summit!
DO I NEED TO PHYSICALLY PREPARE FOR THE KILIMANJARO HIKE?
Preparing to hike Mount Kilimanjaro is both a mental and physical challenge, and you need to get properly prepared before coming.
Physically, you’ll need to condition your body to handle long days of walking. A mix of cardio workouts, strength training, and hikes can help build endurance and acclimatize your body to high altitudes.
I suggest you prepare at least a month ahead of time which you’ll be grateful for once on the hike.
WHERE TO STAY IN ARUSHA?
If you are planning to extend your stay in Tanzania, Arusha has dozens of accommodation options to choose from when planning your trip.
I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
LUXURY: GRAND MELIA ARUSHA
MID-RANGE: HARADALI’S HOME
BUDGET: KARIBU HERITAGE HOUSE
FINAL THOUGHTS – LEMOSHO ROUTE KILIMANJARO
I hope you enjoyed reading this article about the Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route and if you have any questions about the Kilimanjaro trek, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
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THANKS FOR READING
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