Mount Kilimanjaro-Shira Route
- High success rate. Good for acclimatization
- Remote and spectacular, dramatic gorges and views of west Kilimanjaro
- Converges with Machame on day 4 at Baranco
- Shira offers higher start point compared to Lemosho and poorer acclimatisation
- Fully catered camping only
The Lemosho route is one of the newer and longest routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. The route begins in the west beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate. From there, the first two days are spent trekking through the rainforest to Shira Ridge and simply intersecting Shira Plateau (like Machame), Lemosho crosses it from Shira Ridge to Shira Camp.
Climbers encounter low traffic until the route joins the Machame route. Afterwards, Lemosho follows the same route through Lava Tower, Barranco and Barafu, known as the southern circuit.
Recommended Trip Length Accomodation
8 Days / 7 Nights Camping
Day 1 Londorossi Gate (2100m) – Mti Mkubwa camp (2750m)
Hiking time: 3h
Habitat: Montane forest
After an early breakfast, your guide will meet you for a briefing before proceeding to a roughly 2-hour drive from Moshi/Arusha (910m) to Londorossi Park Gate (2100m). From here a forest track requiring a 4WD vehicle leads to Lemosho Glades (2100m, 11km, 45 minutes). You will have a lunch stop about half way and will reach the Machame camping area in the late afternoon. Walk along forest trails to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite, (2750m, 3 hours). Night temperatures can already drop to freezing point at this campsite.
Day 2 Mti Mkubwa camp (2750m) – Shira 2 camp (3840m)
Hiking time: 6.5h
You rise early at Mti Mkubwa camp and, after breakfast, you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then the trail gradually steepens and enters the giant heather moorland zone. Several streams are crossed. A gentle walk across the plateau leads to Shira 2-camp on moorland meadows next to a stream (3840m). By now you will be able to see, in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing. Enjoy dinner and overnight.
Day 3 Shira (3840m) – Lava Tower (4630m) – Barranco camp (3950m)
Hiking time: 7h
Distance: Approximately 15 kms
Habitat: Semi desert
The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4630m after about a 5 hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m). This is definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches.
Day 4 Barranco camp (3950m) – Barafu camp (4550m)
Hiking time: 7h
Distance: Approximately 13kms
Habitat: Alpine desert
After spending a night at the Great Barranco Wall, you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, and then joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it.
Day 5 – summit day
Barafu camp (4550m)-Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m)
Hiking time: 8h to reach Uhuru Peak, 7 – 8h to descend to Mweka
Distance: Approximately 7 kms ascent and 23 kms descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will rise around 23h30, and after breakfast you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. For many climbers the 6-hour walk to Stella point is mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (depending with the days weather). From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak.
Day 6 Mweka camp (3100m) – Mweka Gate (1980m)
Hiking time: 3h
Distance: Approximately 15 kms.
After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! You now drive back to Moshi/Arusha for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!