The Lemosho Route is widely considered to be the best route on Mount Kilimanjaro. Not too long ago, there were only two main routes used to climb Kilimanjaro – the Marangu (Coca Cola) route and the Machame (Whiskey) route.
But as Tanzania’s tourism industry flourished, the Kilimanjaro park authority created more trails to African’s highest peak to distribute climbers to more areas of the park. This reduced bottlenecks at certain points and also made for a more pleasant experience by limiting crowds. Additionally, these latter trails were more thoughtfully designed to improve acclimatization for the climber by incorporating longer distances, longer times on the mountain, and shorter elevation gains. Lemosho, a relatively new route, falls into this category.
Lemosho is preferred by reputable operators due to its beauty, remoteness, and success rate. In short, it maximizes the chances that a climber will reach the summit, and enjoy the experience overall. The Lemosho route can be done in as little as six days (five nights) on the mountain. However, it is ideally tackled over eight days (seven nights) for a better altitude acclimatization schedule. With eight days (seven nights) on the mountain, your chances of reaching the top are very high, around 90%.
Access to the trail begins with a long drive from Moshi or Arusha to Londorossi Gate. This can take three to four hours. Londorossi Gate is located at the western base of the mountain. Lemosho starts in the lush, fertile rainforest. It is the first ecological zone you encounter on Kilimanjaro (we will trek through four). The route heads up and across the Shira Plateau, which used to be Kilimanjaro’s third peak before it collapsed. Then we make our way north to Moir Hut, which serves as a great acclimatization day due to short hikes that can be done in the nearby Lent Hills.
Next, we climb high up and over Lava Tower before dropping into Barranco Valley, one of the prettiest areas on the entire trail. We climb the intimidating Barranco Wall and then circle along the southern circuit to Karanga and high camp Barafu Hut.
The summit attempt is made from Barafu in the early morning hours, often during the full moon. This is the coldest, windiest section of your adventure. But once the sun comes up, so can most of your extra layers. After the summit, the descent follows the Mweka trail.
The Lemosho route is approximately 70 km/ 42 miles from gate to gate. It is designed for physically fit people with some hiking experience. However, we have many clients who tackle the route as their first real backpacking experience. They do very well. The table below depicts a variation of the 8-day Lemosho climb with starting and finishing points, altitude, distance, and hiking time. This is considered to be the ideal Lemosho route variation.