Lemosho Route up Mt. Kilimanjaro
Lemosho – Forest Camp (9,000 ft)
Admire the scenic Masai Steppe as you drive to Lemosho Gate for the start of your climb. Today is only a few hours of gentle walking to Forest Camp; an opportunity to stretch your legs in anticipation of the long trek ahead.
Forest Camp – Shira Camp (11,000 ft)
After an early breakfast, you will start a 5 hours walk through the forest and up into the Hagenia zone. The vegetation begins to thin out as you approach the Shira Plateau, one of the three craters of the Kilimanjaro volcanic massif. From Shira Camp there are exquisite views of the Shira Needles and far-off Mount Meru.
Shira Camp – Shira Plateau (12,500 ft)
Today we slowly climb into the alpine heather zone, approaching the Kibo outcrop from the west. Lunch will be taken en route to Shira 2 campsite during this leisurely, 5 hours walk.
Shira Plateau – Lava Tower Camp (14.300 ft)
Follow the trail through the sparse vegetation of the Alpine Desert Zone, where few plants survive and temperatures can reach the freezing point. Today you will hike for approximately 4 hours to reach Lava Tower, an imposing relic from Kilimanjaro’s volcanic past and your shelter for tonight.
Lava Tower – Barranco (13,000 ft)
This morning you will awake to find the entire Shira Plateau at your feet, with superb views across to Meru and the Shira Needles. A steady walk brings you up to the pass at Lava Tower looming at 15,000 ft. The descent to Barranco Camp takes you along an immense canyon called Grand Barranco. Along the way you will see numerous waterfalls, which are fed by streams from the mountain which converge here to form the Umbwe River. Today’s trek lasts for about six hours and arrival at camp is around 5 p.m.
Barranco – Karanga Camp (13,000 ft)
Begin your hike to Karanga Camp (which is at the same altitude as Barranco Camp – so you should be well acclimatized by now to this elevation). After a scramble at Barranco Cliff, the rest of the trek is spent climbing up and down the slopes of the mountain for most of the way to camp. This section of the trail is not considered difficult and takes only about four hours. After lunch, you have an opportunity to hike in the Karanga Valley, where giant senecios and lobelia grow.
Karanga Camp – Barafu Camp (15,200 ft)
The climb to Barafu is mostly on Alpine Desert terrain; a mostly mineral environment with just a few lichens and mosses. Mawenzi Peak towers majestically to the right and Kibo Peak seems just a stone’s throw away. Climbers usually arrive at Barafu Camp sometime before 3 p.m. Those who wish to attempt the summit should retire early this might, as the next day is the longest of the whole climb.
Barafu Camp – Ascent to Summit – Mweka Camp (10,200 ft)
It is at this stage that the climb becomes much more difficult and hikers should carry as little as possible for this stage. Temperatures range from -4 degrees to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Making your way up a path that is flanked by the Ratzel and Rebman glaciers, you will climb for about six hours before reaching the edge of the crater between Stella and Hans Meyer points.
One more hour of climbing brings you to the summit – Uhuru Peak, the highest point on the African continent. The track around the edge of the crater is icy and rocky, so concentrate on your feet and follow your guide very closely for this section of the climb.
Enjoy your scramble down the scree and carry on to Kibo Hut for rest and refreshments before continuing on to Mweka Camp for the night. Arriving into camp at around 5 p.m. you will look back and realize that, today, you have trekked a total of thirteen hours!
Mweka Camp to the Gate
The descent to Mweka gate takes approximately five hours and climbers usually reach there around noon. Upon arrival at the gate, wrapped in the warmth of your great achievement, you will be given a certificate attesting your success before joining your driver and vehicle for the return to Arusha.