Day One: Londorosi Gate (2,100m/6,890ft) to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,750m/9,023ft)
Elevation Gain: 650 meters, 2,133 feet
Lemosho is ideal for climbers seeking a more private hiking experience. Although the trail joins with the more popular Machame route on day three, the first two days on the mountain are relatively quiet with few other trekking groups on the trail. On the first day, arrive at Londorossi Gate at between 10 and 11am. Spend about an hour at the gate while MA registers your climb and the porters and guides make final preparations. The arrival time at the gate may vary depending on road conditions.
After registering at the gate, drive to the trailhead. Leave the gate at around 12pm for Mti Mkubwa Camp. Pass through the rain forests of Kilimanjaro viewing trees and birds along the way. Eat a picnic on the trail before continuing to Mti Mkubwa Camp. Arrive at the campsite in the late afternoon and relax for the rest of the day.
Day Two: 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 Three: Shira I Camp (3,720m/12,200ft) to Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft)
Total Elevation Gain: 810 meters, 2,660 feet
This is a long day of hiking and you must leave the camp by 7am. Hikers may also choose to camp at Shira II and skip Karanga Valley on day four. This will shorten day three significantly.
Although this up-and-down day ends with an elevation gain of only 120 meters, by early afternoon you will have climbed 810 meters to a height of 4,530 meters before beginning your descent to Barranco Camp. Although the hike is tiring, it is crucial for acclimatization.
After breakfast continue east on the Shira Plateau, reaching the junction for the Machame, Lemosho and Shira trails. Join the more crowded Machame route before stopping for lunch. Shortly after lunch you will reach the highest point of the day before descending quickly to Barranco Camp. Faster hikers can take a detour via Lava Tower, a 300-foot lava formation jutting out of the mountainside.
Day Four: 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 Five: 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 Six: 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 Seven: 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 will eat brunch. Continue to Mweka Camp your final camp on Kilimanjaro.
Day Eight: 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 Mweka Gate to take you back to Arusha/Moshi.