Climbing Kilimanjaro on the Lemosho Route

The Lemosho route is a new variation on the traditional Shira Plateau route, which is seldom used  nowadays. The Lemosho route has proved to be the safest and most successful route to the summit of Kilimanjaro. All other route make big jumps to high altitude and have limited acclimatization to the low levels of Altitude.

Although these things change quite often, currently the Lemosho route is one of the quietest on the mountain. Only the Umbwe route is quieter. That is because it is the most difficult trail up the mountain. One of our other favorite routes is the Rongai route which has a unique trekking experience up Kilimanjaro.

The Lemosho’s amazing cloud forest on the western side of Kilimanjaro, across the Shira plateau and right under the western side of the mountain is a truly amazing way to experience this giant of a mountain. You will continue across the mountain to the stunning Barranco, Karanga and Barafu camps before return back down the mountain via the Mweka route.

It is the first two days on the trail, when you are walking through the forest on Kilimanjaro’s western slopes, that is the real reason why this trail has overtaken the old Shira Plateau route  as the main path attacking Kilimanjaro for the west. With the latter you are often driven all the way up to the plateau, missing the amazing forest and proper way to acclimatize to the low levels of oxygen.

Other advantages of taking the Lemosho route is the birdlife and chance to see a number of Colobus monkey’s. There is more diversity on this route than any other. The Lemosho route allows for more variations and diversions from the main route than any other trail. As well as side trips to minor peaks of Kilimanjaro’s third summit, the shira ridge. This can be added to our itinerary on day 3 moving up to Shira 2 camp.

DAY 1: DRIVE TO THE LONDOROSSI GATE, HIKE TO BIG TREE CAMP 

You will be based in Arusha and after breakfast we will start loading up at 8am and drive for 2 hours 30 minutes to the Londrossi gate. You will stop for water and toilet breaks as you will be drinking lots of water. After arriving at the Londrossi gate you can relax, keep hydrating, stay out of the sun. You will be served lunch and will be here for a couple of hours. You or your guide will sign you into the national park. Once all gear has been weighed and distributed to each staff member we will be underway. We will drive back down the trail before turning off back towards the mountain and starting point of the Lemosho route.

We will be driving off road and will try and make it all the way to the start. Road conditions may not allow this. Access to the start of the trail will depend on road conditions and we will get as close as possible. This is it, we start walking, on with your day pack 3 liters of water, rain gear and we start moving up straight away. You may see some Colobus monkeys hanging out in the trees straight away. We should be hiking by 2pm and slowly making our way through the wondrous forest. It should take 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours to reach the big tree camp site. Lots of porters, guides and teams will pass us by as we take our time enjoying the trail and route through the rain forest. It can be cool and misty in the rain forest but can also be quite hot in January, February, August and September. Walking through this dense section of forest is unique and you have just been thrown into a different world. Enjoy it as it doesn’t last long.

The walk is not cluttered with people, you have peace and quiet to watch blue and Colobus monkeys and wonder through this amazing place. Look out for the Lobelia Gibberoa and ask our guide to point out the Dracaena afromontana, locally known as the masale, which though seemingly unimpressive is head in high esteem by the Chagga tribes people. After arriving in big tree camp or forest camp you will have time to set up your tent, clean up before a nice dinner. The forest camp is situated at 2,800m/ 9,186ft which aids in the acclimatization process. The camp is nicely situated in the shade and nice setting for your first night on the mountain. We will have our own chemical toilet tents and mess tent for your comfort.The altitude gain today is 400m / 1,312 feet.

DAY 2: HIKE FROM BIG TREE CAMP TO SHIRA CAMP 1

My favorite part of the rain forest is this morning. Some amazing views before popping out of the rain forest and Kilimanjaro opens up and you see exactly where you are. You will have to hike 7.9km today and 700m/ 2,300 feet of ascent up over hills and following a ridge line up towards the Shira plateau. This hike has it all great rain forest views, great views west our across Kilimanjaro’s lower plains, views across the great Shira plateau towards the summit of this giant mountain.

These views come with a challenge and today’s hike is not easy. You will be moving above 3,000m/ 10,000 feet and you have to focus on each step, get your breathing correct as you move higher on steeper ground in this low oxygen zone.

As you come out of the rain forest and move north east along the ridge to the top of the shira plateau

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