This magnificent variation to the Shira Route is as yet unspoilt and little used. It takes paths through forests rich in game south of the Shira Route. On day 3 the Machame Route is rejoined.Depending on its condition and the weather, this track provides an access route for 4WD vehicles to within 1 hour of the Shira Hut. The Shira Plateau is very beautiful with good views of the Western Glaciers.
There are several fine minor summits to be climbed; the Shira Needle can be gained by a scramble and provides a nice viewpoint.
The Lemosho Route offers a more private Kilimanjaro experience than the other routes of Marangu and Machame. Although the trail joins with the more popular Machame route on day three, the first two days on the mountain are relatively private, with few other trekking groups around. On the first day, arrive at Londorosi Gate at about 11am. Once you arrive, you'll spend about an hour waiting at the gate while Kilimanjaro Trekking Guides registers your climb and the porters and guides make final preparations.
At around 12pm, you will begin hiking with your guides to Mti Mkubwa Camp. Hike through the rain forests of Kilimanjaro viewing trees and birds along the way. You will eat a packed lunch on the trail while enjoying the sounds of the forest. Arrive at the campsite at about 4pm to rest for the next day.
Leave the forest on day two for Kilimanjaro's moorland. When the trail flattens out, you will have your first views of Kibo peak. After lunch, you will climb the Shira Plateau, created when Kibo's lava flows filled up the Shira crater. Stop at Shira 1 Camp, where you will relax for the rest of the day.
Faster hikers may continue to Shira 2 Camp (3,830m/12,560ft).
This is an acclimatization day that allows you to take day hikes that explore the Shira Plateau. You will hike only a short while and gain just over 1000 feet in elevation.
Although this up-and-down day ends with an elevation gain of only 110 meters, by early afternoon you will have climbed 690 meters to a height of 4,530 meters before beginning your descent to Barranco Camp. Although the route is somewhat frustrating, this day is crucial for acclimatization.
After breakfast, continue east on the Shira Plateau for two hours before reaching the junction for Shira and Lemosho Routes. Continue on through the barren landscape for another half an hour before stopping for lunch. Shortly after lunch you will reach the highest point of the day before descending quickly to Barranco Camp. From the high point, you can see Lava Tower, a 300-foot lava formation jutting out of the mountainside. Faster hikers can take a detour via Lava Tower.
Barranco Camp is considered to be the most scenic campsite on the Machame Route. It is set in a valley among forests of Senecio kilimanjari. From the campsite you will see magnificent views of Mount Meru, Heim Glacier and Kibo's southern face.
Leave Barranco Camp after breakfast for Karanga Valley. The day begins with an hour and a half scramble up the Barranco Wall. This is the hardest part of the day and in some places you may have to use your hands to pull your body up. After reaching the top, make a short descent into the greener Karanga Valley. We generally camp on the ridge above the valley to allow for greater acclimatization.
After breakfast, begin the hike to Barafu Camp. On the way to Barafu, view several of Kibo's glaciers as well as the junction that connects the descent route, Mweka, with the Machame trail. During day four, hike by the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. Although the trail to Barafu passes through alpine desert with little vegetation, there are stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks along the way. Try to sleep as soon as you finish dinner as you will awake before midnight for your summit hike.
Due to the steep ascent at high altitude, this is the most challenging day of the ascent. Leave Barafu Camp early in the morning to begin your hike to the top of Kibo Crater.
It is important to remember to snack during the ascent to keep your energy up. You will likely lose your appetite during this day and begin to feel new effects of altitude sickness. After ascending Kibo's wall, hike to Crater Camp, the highest camp on Kilimanjaro. The camp is located inside Kilimanjaro's Kibo crater, and offers stunning views of the surrounding glaciers.
At dawn, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa. The hike to the summit is slow, taking up to two hours to gain 180 meters. Reach Uhuru around 8am and take photos at the roof of Africa. Descend to Barafu Camp where you'll eat brunch. At 1pm, continue to Mweka Camp your final camp on Kilimanjaro.
After breakfast, finish the trek with a descent to Mweka Gate. Your last hike on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through Kilimanjaro's cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent, as the trail can be slippery. Kilimanjaro Trekking Guides vehicles will be waiting at the lower station of Mweka Gate to take you back to Moshi. You will be able to buy t-shirts and sodas at the gate.
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