The Lemosho route will take 9 days in total. The route is the most scenic on the lower part as it goes directly through a rainforest area with wild life. Later on this route merges with the popular Machame route.
You can bring around 15 kgs of luggage for the trip. The porters will carry most of the 15 kgs, and you will yourself carry a small day-pack. As soon as you book with us, we will brief you further on which luggage and trekking clothes to bring.
At Zara Tours we are looking very much forward to take you on a climb of a lifetime for Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the Springlands Hotel in Moshi for your overnight.
Day 2 - We start the trekking
Moshi (915 m/3,000 ft) to Londorossi Gate (2,250 m/7,380 ft) to Lemosho Glades (2,000 m/6,560 ft) to Mkubwa Camp (2,750 m/9,020 ft) 18 km, 4-5 hours Montane Forest
Drive from Moshi or Arusha to the Londorossi Park Gate. From here we follow a forest track in a 4WD vehicle for 11 km/7 mi (45 minutes) to Lemosho Glades and a possible campsite. From the Glades, walk for 3 hours along beautiful forest trails to the Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite.
Day 3 - Continue climbing :)
Mkubwa Camp (2,750 m/9,020 ft) to Shira Camp 1 (3,500 m/11,485 ft) 12 km, 5 hours
The trail gradually steepens, enters the giant heather moorland zone, then crosses the Shira Ridge at 3,600 m/11,810 ft and drops gently to Shira Camp 1 located by a stream on the Shira Plateau.
Day 4 - Shira Camp 1 to Shira Camp 2 (3,840 m/12,600 ft) 6 km, 2 hours Alpine Desert
A gentle walk across the plateau leads to Shira Camp 2 on moorland meadows by a stream. A variety of walks are available on the plateau making this an excellent day of acclimatization.
Day 5 - Shira Camp 2 to Barranco Camp, 7 hours of walking
After breakfast, you will hike east up a steep path above the highest vegetation toward Kilimanjaro’s looming mass. After several hours, you walk through a rocky landscape to reach the prominent landmark called Lava Tower at 4,630 m/15,190ft. This chunky remnant of Kilimanjaro’s earlier volcanic activity is several hundred feet high, and the trail passes right below it. For extra credit, the sure-footed can scramble to the top of the tower.
After a lunch stop near Lava Tower, we descend for 2 hours below the lower cliffs of the Western Breach and BreachWall to Barranco Camp at 3,950 m/12,960 ft.
Day 6 - Barranco Camp (3,900 m/12,800 ft) to Karanga Camp (4,200 m/13,780 ft), 4 hours walking
After breakfast, we continue up a steep ridge to the great Barranco Wall, then you climb this imposing obstacle, which turns out to be easier than it looks. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you can now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. With Kibo’s glaciers soaring overhead, you descend into the lush Karanga Valley to the Karanga Valley campsite. From the camp, you can look east and see the jagged peaks of Mawenzi jutting into the African sky. After a hot lunch in camp, your afternoon is at leisure for resting or exploring. After two long days, this short day is very important for your acclimatization, since your summit push is about to start.
Day 7 - Karanga Camp (4,200 m/13,780 ft) to Barafu Camp (4,550 m/14,930 ft), 13 km, 8 hours walking
In the morning, we hike east over intervening ridges and valleys to join the Mweka Route, which will be your descent route. Turn left toward the mountain and hike up the ridge through a sparse landscape for another hour to the Barafu Hut where you will receive a hot lunch. The last water on the route is in the Karanga Valley; there is no water at Barafu Camp, even though Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice.” The famous snows of Kilimanjaro are far above Barafu Camp near the summit of the mountain. Your tent will be pitched on a narrow, stony, wind-swept ridge, so make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. Prepare your equipment and warm clothing for your summit climb, and drink a lot of fluids. After an early dinner, go to bed for a few hours of precious sleep.
Day 8 - Summit Day!
Barafu Camp (4,550 m), to Uhuru Peak, the summit (5,895 m), to Mweka Camp (3,100 m), 15 hours walking
You will rise around 11:30 PM, and after some steaming tea and biscuits, you shuffle off into the night. Your 6-hour climb northwest up through heavy scree between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers to Stella Point on the crater rim is the most challenging part of the route for most climbers. At Stella Point (5,685 m/18,650 ft) you stop for a short rest and a chance to see a supremely sanguine sunrise. At Stella Point you join the top part of the Marangu Route, but do not stop here too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Depending on the season and recent storms, you may encounter snow on your remaining hike along the rim to Uhuru Peak. On the summit, you can enjoy your accomplishment and know that you are creating a day that you will remember for the rest of your life.
After your 3-hour descent from the summit back to Barafu Camp, you will have a well-earned but short rest, collect your gear, and hike down a rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest to Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft). This camp is in the upper forest, so you can expect mist or rain in the late afternoon. Dinner, and washing water will be prepared, and the camp office sells drinking water, soft drinks, chocolates, and beer!
After a well-deserved breakfast, it is a short scenic 3-hour hike back to the park gate. Please don’t give your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely, but do remember to tip your staff at the gate. At Mweka Gate, you can sign your name and add details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Climbers who reached Stella Point are issued green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak receive gold certificates.
From the Mweka Gate, you will continue down to the Mweka Village, possibly a muddy, 3 km, 1 hour hike. In the Mweka Village you will be served a delicious hot lunch after which you are driven back to Moshi for an overdue hot showerand comfortable night in our Springlands Hotel or similar hotel.
Day 10 - departure day
- Certified, experienced, English-speaking guide
- National Park gate Fees.
- Transport from Moshi to starting point on mountain and return to Moshi.
- Hut/camping fees and tents
- Porters’ Salaries
- Rescue fees ( required by the national Park)
- All Meals on the mountain.
- Two nights’ accommodation in Moshi bed and breakfast, double or triple occupancy
- Tents foam sleeping pads, cooking equipment’s and eating utensils.
- Oximeters are available upon request.
- Tips for Guides and porters
- Mountain equipment (eg sleeping bags)
- Some equipment is available for rent. (ask for price list)
- Lunches and dinners at the Springlands Hotel.
Choosing a Guide Company:
I chose Zara Tours, the local outfitter for Kilimanjaro because I had booked with them in the past, and was very satisfied with the level of service I received for the cost. With the exception of a “western guide” they can provide all the bells and whistles you may want to pay for -- including Gamow bags, oxygen, and pulse oximeters.
I chose a special 8-day Shira itinerary because, although you drive up to Shira 1 at 11,485 ft, you avoid day 2 of the Lemosho route which is a pretty grueling day. On day 2 we did a 3-4 hour acclimatization hike and spent another night there at Shira 1. On day 3 we did another acclimatization hike up to Cathedral Peak on the way to Shira 2 at 12,600 ft, and this put us back on track with the usual 8 day Lemosho route. Zara is very good about designing a trek around your wants and needs. If it’s possible, they will do it for you.
I paid for a private climb because at 52, I’m a little older than the average climber, and I didn’t want to have my climb affected by other climbers based on speed, experience, illness, or any other factor. When you undertake an expedition of this sort, personalities and experience or lack thereof can come into play. More than once I saw a climber arguing with a guide about the rest of the party being too fast or too slow, and I knew I had made the right choice. The guide basically oversees the team, and spends the day leading you to the objective camp for that day. On arrival at camp, the guide is essentially off duty other than briefing you on the next day’s objective, but my guide, Simon Parmena, was always nearby and available for anything I might need. Though I hadn’t asked for it, he carried oxygen and an oximeter just because he wanted to be able to assist any trekker in need. Talk about a work ethic! But I think what I liked the most about Simon was that he was able to read me as a trekker so well. By that, I mean he knew when I needed a break; he regularly reminded me to eat and drink; he was an excellent manager of trail time which is so important for someone like me who would stop and look at every view and rock and flower along the way and end up at camp three hours overdue. He also explained his rationale for different choices and educated me along the way. I highly recommend Simon as a guide.
Robert, was responsible for preparing all meals including trail lunches for long days. He made the most delicious meals, multi-course affairs that included soup and lots of vegetables and fresh fruits at every meal. Breakfasts begin with porridge which is great the first few days, but after that, if you aren’t used to it, it gets kind of old, so this time around I brought instant oatmeal from home, and Robert gladly provided my oatmeal and toast. On day 3, even that got old, so I asked Simon if Robert might know how to make French Toast, and he said absolutely, so I had that for the rest of the trek…delicious. There’s something about having made to order French Toast while you’re climbing a mountain and sleeping in a tent.
Amiry carried all food and cooking supplies to the next camp, and then served me all evening. He was very caring and hardworking. The whole team was great, but Amiry spent the day as a porter up to the next camp, and then became the waiter at camp. I told him he was more of a butler/personal footman than just a waiter. His English was nearly as good as the guide, which is not always the case, and he went above and beyond in so many ways. Every night when it would get so cold, he made a hot-water bottle for me to sleep with; when I was particularly tired on the morning after a long day, he packed my duffels for me; he was always looking out for how much I was eating and drinking. He consistently went above and beyond his normal duties. He even came with Simon and me on summit night when usually only the guide goes and the other team members wait back at high camp. I just can’t praise Amiry enough. I’m not sure I would have made it without him.
The porters Emanuel and Paolo were extremely hardworking and served as incredible inspiration when the going got tough. I remember looking up at the Barranco Wall thinking how in the world was I going to do that? Then you see the porters climbing with huge loads on their heads, and you find the courage and inspiration to move forward.
This property is your base of operations before and after the climb. It is a few km from town, but the compound is very secure behind high walls and a steel gate with 24 hr security. Once inside, it truly is an oasis with lovely gardens and a gorgeous pool area. I read negative commentary, and while I found some of the comments to be technically accurate, I felt expectations were a bit high. All too often, people travel to a developing country like Tanzania, pay $70 USD a night, and expect The Plaza. There are going to be differences here and there, but you need to have an open mind and remember where you are. Power outages are common, for example, but rarely last longer than a few minutes. Wifi is not available in rooms, but it is in the garden and dining areas, and it’s free, which is not always the case even in some top hotels. Yes, there are flies outside in the covered dining area. Care is taken to keep food covered, but you’re outside, and garden settings are going to have flies; that’s just part of being outside. Rooms vary in size and features, but are certainly comfortable. All beds have mosquito nets, and if you have any problems, the staff is ready to assist. There is also a small gift shop that carries water, snacks, souvenirs, and all the toiletries you may have left behind. Souvenir prices were fair, and saved me a trip into town. There are also spa services such as massage, facial, manicure, and pedicure at very reasonable prices. All in all the Springlands Hotel felt comfortable and secure and had everything I needed.
The Tipping Ceremony:
From what I saw, this event varies widely from quiet and small celebrations to loud drinking parties with singing and antics, and certificates and cash changing hands. As a private client and the only woman, I opted for the former small celebration with my team. The hotel cashier graciously got six envelopes from the bank for me, and I determined how much to give each person. The envelopes were open, and all looked inside without extensive discussion and seemed to be quite pleased. A note here, it really is important to give newer currency as cash will be worthless to them otherwise. No banks or other merchants will accept them, and the porters will be stuck waiting for another guest who is willing to trade new bills for the old. I gave new USD to the guide, waiter, and cook, and a combination of new USD and TZ Shillings to the porters. Bottom line on tipping – these people rely on tips as a significant part of their income. They work hard, and while tipping is certainly not required to the levels suggested, particularly if you are unhappy with the service, Tanzania is not like the US with the typical safeguards American workers have.
Summing Up Overall the trip was fabulous. I was proud of myself for all that I accomplished and for finally getting to Uhuru Peak, and I couldn’t have done that without my team. I feel very comfortable recommending Zara Tours.”