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Lemosho Route - Kilimanjaro

A less crowded alternative to Machame, the Lemosho route is known for putting Mount Kilimanjaro’s natural beauty on full display. Experience everything this famous mountain in Tanzania has to offer by climbing it yourself. Learn more by reading our guide. 

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Conditions and distance of the Lemosho route

The Lemosho route is 70 kilometres (42 miles) long and reaches the summit of Kilimanjaro at the Uhuru peak, reaching a height of 5,895 metres (19,341 feet). Access to the trail begins with a long drive from Moshi or Arusha to Londorossi Gate, and can take three to four hours. Londorossi Gate is located in the western base of the mountain.

The first part of the trail makes its way through the verdant rainforest to reach the Shira Plateau, and later travels through icefields and high alpine deserts. The Lemosho route is known as one of the most beautiful routes, offering sweeping vistas from the mountain. Travelling in a similar direction as the Shira route from the western base, climbers are likely to encounter lower-traffic until the route meets with the Machame Route, and it's one of the newer routes on the mountain, which makes Lemosho a great choice for your climb. 

What is the success rate of the Lemosho route?

Lemosho route has a very good success rate with high chances of reaching the summit when you take your time. With 8 days on the mountain, your chances of reaching the top are as high as 90%. It is still very probable you’ll reach the top with the 7-day hike, with a success rate of 85%. However, with the 6-day hike the success rate drops to approximately 65%. Lemosho route success rate is higher than the Machame route one.

Route tips

  • Slow and steady wins the race. During the majority of the trek, you should only be walking at a pace that you can carry on a conversation with others. 
  • Snacks will be essential to help break up the journey and to provide a small boost of energy when you’re feeling drained.
  • Make sure you stay hydrated, as this is essential to reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness. 
  • Where possible, aim to complete short treks before your Kilimanjaro adventure, as a fit hiker is more likely to enjoy the experience. 

Lemosho route 7-day and 8-day itinerary

The Lemosho route can be completed in as little as 6 days hiking time on the mountain but it is ideally tackled over 8 days as this offers a better altitude acclimatisation schedule. 

The first two days are spent trekking through the rainforest to Shira Ridge and leads into a relatively flat hike, moving from west to east. From this point, you’re unlikely to encounter many other hikers. Crowds will be few and far between until the route joins the Machame route near the Lava Tower. This route traverses underneath Kilimanjaro's icefields on a path known as the Southern Circuit, before summiting from Barafu. To complete the journey, the descent is made via the Mweka route. 

Previous trekking experience is highly recommended, as the days will feature 6-8 hours hiking with daily ascents of 900m to 1,000m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 1,100m to 1,200m.

Depending on the route, you may be trekking at an altitude of over 3,500m. You need complete confidence in your ability to trek for many days over difficult terrain. 

Extremes of altitude and weather may be encountered, as may the use of ice axes and crampons. A degree of physical and mental stamina will be essential to complete the hike as the days will be tiring.

These itineraries are comparable in length to the ones of the Machame Route.

Facts about Kilimanjaro

Warmest months
January, February, March
Driest months
August, September, October
Wet seasons
November to December, March to May

Day-by-day breakdown of the Lemosho route

Below you will find a detailed breakdown of what, where and with which hiking time you'll be trekking should you opt to select the challenging 8-day itinerary for the Lemosho route. 

DAYSTARTALTITUDE (M/FT)FINISHALTITUDE (M/FT)TIME (HRS)DISTANCE (KM/MI)
1Londorossi Gate2,360m/ 7,742ftMti Mkubwa2,895m/ 9,498ft3-46km/ 4mi
2Mti Mkubwa2,895m/ 9,498ftShira 1 Camp3,505m/ 11,500ft5-68km/ 5mi
3Shira 1 Camp3,505m/ 11,500ftMoir Hut4,200m/ 13,800ft5-711km/ 7mi
4Moir Hut4,200m/ 13,800ftLava Tower4,630m/ 15,190ft4-57km/ 4mi
Lava Tower4,630m/ 15,190ftBarranco Camp3,976m/ 13,044ft2-33km/ 2mi
5Barranco Camp3,976m/ 13,044ftKaranga Camp3,995m/ 13,106ft4-55km/ 3mi
6Karanga Camp3,995m/ 13,106ftBarafu Camp4,673m/ 15,331ft4-54km/ 2mi
7Barafu Camp4,673m/ 15,331ftUhuru Peak5,895m/ 19,341ft7-85km/ 3mi
Uhuru Peak5,895m/ 19,341ftMweka Camp3,068m/ 10,065ft4-612km/ 7mi
8Mweka Camp3,068m/ 10,065ftMweka Gate 1,640m/ 5,380ft3-410km/ 6mi

Frequently asked questions: how to climb the Lemosho route

  • How do I prepare for the Lemosho Route?

    Any physical activity you can participate in beforehand will help make your ascent more enjoyable. As for how hard you train for any hiking time, this will depend on whether you're aiming for the Uhuru Peak or embarking on a shorter journey and this will be different for everyone.
    Learn more.
  • When should I climb the Lemosho Route?

    You can climb the Lemosho route year-round, but it may be wet and cold which means you should be equipped with the right waterproof gear. Consider climbing between January–March and June–October. Note that April, May and November are the wettest months. 
    Learn more.
  • What should I pack and what equipment do I need?

    While trekking tour operators may supply some of the gear you’ll need, there are a few non-negotiables you will need that includes waterproof gear, a headlamp, sunglasses, appropriate hiking boots, personal medication, a non-disposable water bottle and a cap or a beanie for example. Learn more.
  • How to get to the Lemosho Route?

    Before you start your hiking escapade to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, you will need to establish how to get there, and the best mode of transport to suit your itinerary or tour. Travellers flying from the UK, the US, Australia or Canada and other parts of the world have a few options to explore. Learn more.
  • What are the climbing requirements for the Lemosho Route?

    Mount Kilimanjaro welcomes hikers of all levels of fitness and ability, but if you’re planning to reach the summit, careful planning and vigorous training is vital. Consider adding extra time to your itinerary to avoid altitude sickness and to enjoy your time climbing Kilimanjaro. Learn more.
  • What permits do I need?

    Each visitor will be required to pay a fee per person, per day for the conservation fee to help manage the national park, however, most tours will cover the permits and entry fees are included in the price. 
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Mount Kilimanjaro routes & maps

  • Marangu route

    If you’re searching for the most ‘iconic’ trek, the Marangu route is the oldest marked trail. The gradual slope appeals to many travellers as it's considered the easiest route, and is the only Kilimanjaro route that offers hut accommodation. It’s recommended to allow for one extra night to acclimatise. 
     
    Distance: 72 km
    Average duration: 5-6 days 
    Average difficulty: Marangu route has one of the lowest summit success rates of all the routes up the mountain. Although it is known as the easiest trekking route, the summit success rate is sometimes as low as 50% when travellers undertake a shorter hike.

     

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  • Rongai Route

    Starting from the northern side of Kilimanjaro, Rongai is the only route that travels from this direction and is often less crowded than Marangu. Rongai is considered a moderately difficult route recommended for less experienced hikers. 
     
    Distance: 73 km
    Average duration: 6-7 days 
    Average difficulty: This route is considered difficult as it does not offer the same climb height. The longer you take to complete this trail, the higher the success rate will be. A 7-day hike often sees an 80% success rate, and a 6-day hike is much lower at 65%.

     

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  • Machame Route

    Known as the most popular climbing route on Kilimanjaro, Machame is classified as a difficult route due to its steep ascent, and each day tends to cover more distance compared to the Marangu route. Because of it’s challenging nature, Machame tends to attract adventurous and experienced hikers.  
     
    Distance: 62 km
    Average duration: 6-7 days
    Average difficulty: A 7-day hike often shows a higher success rate of approximately 85%. A 6-day hike generally shows a lower success rate of 70%. Less experienced hikers are advised not to rush and aim at 7-day hike for higher chances of reaching the summit.

     

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  • Shira Plateau Route

    Boasting similar qualities to the Lemosho route, the Shira route also approaches Kilimanjaro from the west. Hikers should take note of the steep elevation on this route, as day one catapults you to some serious altitude. 
     
    Distance: 56 km
    Average duration: 7-8 days 
    Average difficulty: Shira has an excellent success rate. However, it should only be tackled by more experienced climbers or those who are comfortable with their ability to acclimatise as the first day is incredibly steep.

     

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  • Northern Circuit Route

    The Northern Circuit route follows the Lemosho trail at the start before travelling along the northern slopes where trekkers can enjoy more space on the trails. 
     
    Distance: 98 km
    Average duration: 8-9 days 
    Average difficulty: Because of its length, the Northern Circuit is one of the most successful routes for reaching the summit and sees a success rate of almost 95%. 

     

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  • Umbwe Route

    One of the most difficult, and most demanding routes on Kilimanjaro, Umbwe also happens to be the most spectacular. This short and steep route is only recommended for experienced climbers who are confident in their ability to adapt to the altitude. 
     
    Distance: 53 km
    Average duration: 5-6 days 
    Average difficulty/success rate: As the most difficult and demanding trek on Mount Kilimanjaro, Umbwe has a much lower success rate than the other trails. This route should only be attempted if you are an experienced or confident hiker. 

     

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Lemosho route tours & reviews

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