Trekking the Lemosho route


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The starting point for the Lemosho route trek up Kilimanjaro is in the west, so you can already imagine what the sunsets will be like. This is one of the longer routes, and it boasts some fantastic scenic variation. You walk through Lemosho rainforest for two days on this route, camping in the luscious forest a true treat on the first night. Then onto the more open, heather covered slopes that lead up to Shira Plateau – which involves a wonderful hike across the entire plain from west to east, on a relatively flat hike. Other routes intersect this Plateau, but this one embraces every bit of it and you pitch camp bang in the middle of it. Watching the mists fall over the plateau all around you is something else.

The next stop is Shira Cathedral, a highlight of the Lemosho route which is as dramatic as it sounds, with rocky spires and pinnacles that beckon hikers from across the plain. Lava starts to become a more prominent feature of the ascent, with features such as the dramatic Lava Tower rock mass. In glorious white contrast, the glaciers of the Western Breach come into view, as well as the Southern Icefields once you hit the SE flank of the Kibo cone on day five. From here on in, it is a steep, scree under toe trek to Barafu Ridge, with great views opening up to the east now, completing the wonderful west to east sweep of this route, and culminating in the final ascent to Uhuru Peak. The descent uses Mweka route heading due south.

Pros and cons of

It is a longer route and so it tends to be a little more expensive, but the rainforest experience is a wonderful addition to your trek. As it is more expensive, it also has fewer trekkers on it, although it merges with the Machame Route at one point, so there are more people on this part of the trail. So don’t expect a totally solitary trek all the way. It is, however, a slow, gentle trek, making it a wonderful way to acclimatise and, therefore, the success rate is high on this route. The remote road to Lemosho’s Londorossi Gate can be pretty rough after the rainy season, so be prepared for an adventurous ride if this is the case.
Photo credits: [Lemosho: Antonin Rémond]
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