9 Days Climbing Lemosho Shira Route Via Crater Camp
Day 1: Londorosi Gate (2,100m/6,890ft) to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,750m/9,023ft)
Elevation Gain: 650 meters, 2,133 feet. Lemosho Route offers more private experience in Kilimanjaro than 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 MA 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.
Day 2: Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,750m/9,023ft) to Shira 1 Camp (3,720m/12,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 970 meters, 3,177 feet
Leave the forest on day two for Kilimanjaro’s moorland. When the trail flattens out, you will have your first views of Kibo peak. Climb the Shira Plateau after lunch, the 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).
Day 3: Shira I Camp (3,720m/12,200ft) to Shira II Camp (3,840 meters/12,532ft)
Elevation Gain: 120m, 332ft
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.
Day 4: Shira II Camp (3,840m/12,532) to Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft)
Elevation Gain: 110m, 428ft
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. 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 thirty minutes before stopping for lunch. Shortly after lunch, reach the highest point of the day before descending quickly to Barranco Camp. From the high point, spot Lava Tower, a 300-foot lava formation jutting out of the mountainside. Option of tour via Lava Tower. Barranco Camp is considered to be the most scenic campsite on the Machame Route. From the campsite, enjoy magnificent views of Mount Meru, Heim Glacier and Kibo’s southern face.
Day 5: Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft) to Karanga Valley (4,200m/13,780ft)
Elevation Gain: 250 meters, 820 feet
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.
Day 6: Karanga Valley (4,200m/13,780ft) to Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft)
Elevation Gain: 400 meters, 1,320 feet.
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 possible as you will awake before midnight for your summit hike.
Day 7: Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft) to Crater Camp (5,715m/18,750ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,115 meters, 3,650 feet
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.
Day 8: Summit Day! Crater Camp (5,715m/18,750ft) to Summit (5,895m/19,340ft) to Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft)
Elevation Gain: 180 meters, 590 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,795 meters, 9,170 feet
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. Continue to Mweka Camp your final camp on Kilimanjaro.
Day 9: Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft) to Mweka Gate (1,500m/4,920ft)
Elevation Loss: 1,600 meters, 5,250 feet.
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. MA vehicles will be waiting at the lower station of Mweka Gate to take you back to Arusha/Moshi.