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The Lemosho Route is a very scenic hiking route, starting on the western slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro before merging with the Machame Route halfway through at the famous Lava Tower landmark.

The Lemosho Route circumvents the peak and therefore offers unique views and panoramas of the Kilimanjaro landscape.

It leads you through a lush rainforest, past the eerie  forest and up the vertiginous Barranco Wall.

 

The Lemosho Route can be completed in 7 or 8 days, or up to 9 days if you'd like to include an overnight stay at Crater Camp. We mostly recommend the 8-day Lemosho Route Itinerary over the 7-day Lemosho Route Itinerary to allow more time to acclimatize to the high altitude.

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More info about the Lemosho Route

Hiking Routes
Overview
What is the Barranco Wall?

The Barranco Wall is a steep wall near Barranco Camp, on the Southern Circuit of Mount Kilimanjaro (LemoshoMachame or Umbwe Route). Getting to the top of the wall is a scramble more than a climb as you will be using your arms to conquer some of those knee-high rocks and keep your balance. Breathtaking views of the Heim Glacier and Kibo cone reward climbers after one to two hours for their hard work.

If you suffer from serious vertigo, you might prefer to avoid the Barranco Wall and opt for another hiking route such as the Grand TraverseNorthern Circuit or Rongai Route.

Lemosho Route
What is the Lemosho Route on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

The Lemosho Route is a very scenic hiking route, starting on the western slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro before merging with the Machame Route halfway through at the famous Lava Tower landmark.

The Lemosho Route circumvents the peak and therefore offers unique views and panoramas of the Kilimanjaro landscape.

It leads you through a lush rainforest, past the eerie  forest and up the vertiginous Barranco Wall.

 

How long does the Lemosho Route take?

The Lemosho Route can be completed in 7 or 8 days, or up to 9 days if you'd like to include an overnight stay at Crater Camp. We mostly recommend the 8-day Lemosho Route Itinerary over the 7-day Lemosho Route Itinerary to allow more time to acclimatize to the high altitude.

Map of Lemosho Route

How difficult is it to climb Mount Kilimanjaro on the Lemosho Route?

You ascend slowly on the Lemosho Route, which requires you to cover long distances each day. You need to be physically capable of walking entire days without becoming too exhausted.

Therefore, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on the Lemosho Route is considered challenging.

What are the advantages of the Lemosho Route on Mount Kilimanjaro?

The Lemosho Route has a good altitude profile, this decreases your chances of getting acute mountain sickness. If you take one of the longer Lemosho routes, your summit success chance increases significantly.

Furthermore, the Lemosho route offers some of the most unique sceneries and panoramic views of the Kilimanjaro landscape, including all the famous landmarks.

What are the disadvantages of the Lemosho Route on Mount Kilimanjaro?

One of the disadvantages of the Lemosho Route is that it is not so much off-the-beaten-track as sometimes perceived. Due to it's increasing popularity and because it merges with the Machame route halfway to the summit, you will have to share your climb with many others.

Furthermore, the hike ascends slowly which causes you to cover long distances on a daily basis. You need to be in a physical condition where you can confidently walk almost an entire day without wearing yourself out.

What is the altitude profile of the Lemosho route?

The altitude profile of the Lemosho Route is ideal for acclimatization, allowing climbers to hike to higher altitudes during the day than they’ll be sleeping overnight.

Especially during the first two days, you ascend over a long distance which is ideal to acclimatize as the altitude increases slowly.

The more days you climb, the more time you have to acclimatize. So the 8-day or 9-day Lemosho route has an even higher summit chance than the shorter 7-day climb. They also reduce your chances of getting AMS (acute mountain sickness).

Would you recommend the Lemosho Route on Mount Kilimanjaro?

We recommend the Lemosho Route if the scenery is important for you and you don't mind sharing your trek with many other climbers.

The Lemosho route also offers plenty of time for altitude acclimatization, especially the 8-day and 9-day Lemosho Route which has a higher summit success chance.

Is the Mount Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route dangerous?

A good altitude profile is an important criterion to estimate how dangerous a route is. As the Mount Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route offers plenty of opportunities to acclimatize, the risk of altitude sickness decreases.

Furthermore, the Lemosho Route doesn't include the dangerous Western Breach, which we recommend avoiding at all times.

However, the steep Barranco Wall is included in this route. If you suffer from serious vertigo, you might prefer to avoid this challenging climb.

Crater Camp
Which is the best route to combine with Crater Camp?

Longer routes are ideal to combine with a stay at Crater Camp. These are, for example, the Lemosho Route, the Northern Circuit and the Grand Traverse.

The tours that we recommend most are the 9-day Lemosho Route with Crater Camp and the 10-day Northern Circuit with Crater Camp.

The Lemosho Route has an ideal altitude profile that lets you walk high and sleep low. It's ideal preparation for a stay at Crater Camp and it also increases your summit success rate. A potential downside of this otherwise very scenic route is that you'll share this route with many other travellers.

The Northern Circuit is the longest route on Kilimanjaro and one of the only routes that circumvents the peak on the Northern slopes. This route provides you with the most authentic wilderness experience away from the crowds. It has an excellent altitude profile and even though it's one of the longest routes, it is one of the easiest.

An alternative option is to pre-acclimitize by climbing nearby Mount Meru. This will allow you to climb Kilimanjaro on a shorter itinerary. However, this means that you will hike a lot more and is therefore only recommendable for very strong and experienced hikers.

Comparison
What is the difference between the Machame and Lemosho Routes?

The biggest difference between the Machame and Lemosho Routes is their length: Lemosho is about 8km (5miles) longer. Therefore, the Lemosho Route takes one more day to complete: While Machame can be completed in 6 or 7 days, Lemosho takes 7 or 8 days.

Another difference is the starting location: Machame starts in the south, not far from Moshi, while Lemosho starts in the west. This makes the Lemosho Route a longer drive on your first day if you arrive from Moshi, therefore also slightly more expensive.

As both routes join mid-way, they are otherwise identical and offer the same scenic highlights further up the mountain.

What is the difference between the Lemosho Route and Northern Circuit?

The biggest difference between the Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes on Mount Kilimanjaro is the way they circumvent the peak. Both start in the west of the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, at Lemosho Gate, and are identical for the first two to four days (depending on the variation).

On the Shira plateau, or latest at Lava Tower, they split: The Lemosho Route continues along the popular and most scenic southern slopes to join with the Machame Route, while the Northern Circuit branches off to avoid the busy southern circuit and circumvents the peak on the rarely visited northern slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, near Kenya.

Both routes join again at Stella Point on the summit for the final path to Uhuru Peak, and follow the same descent route down to Mweka Gate.

In terms of difficulty, we consider both routes roughly equal. At 72km (44mi) of total length, Lemosho is a little shorter than the Northern Circuit, which is the longest route on Kilimanjaro.

Depending on its variation (8 or 9 days, including or excluding an acclimatization detour to Lava Tower), the Northern Circuit has a total length of 80km (49mi) to 94km (58mi).

Therefore, the Northern Circuit takes one more day to complete: While Lemosho can be completed in 7 or 8 days, the Northern Circuit takes 8 or 9 days.

The average distance covered per day, however, is 9-10km for both routes. Therefore, even though the Northern Circuit is longer overall, we do not consider it to be more difficult.

In terms of acclimatization and summit success chance, we don't see a major difference as both routes have a very high summit success chance (read the golden rules of altitude acclimatization).

To maximize your summit success chance when climbing Kilimanjaro, taking 8 or 9 days is recommendable over 7 days or less, such as for the 7-day Lemosho Route.

However, the 8-day Lemosho Route, 8-day Northern Circuit and 9-day Northern Circuit all have a summit success chance of close to 100%. So which one should you take? Read more here.

Is the Lemosho Route more authentic than the Machame Route?

Both the Lemosho and Machame Route have spectacular scenery that gives you an authentic view of the Kilimanjaro landscape. In fact, both routes join halfway through and are identical thereafter. They both include many of Kilimanjaro's most distinctive landmarks including hiking up to Lava Tower, clambering over the Barranco Wall, and passing through the eerie Dendrosenecio forest.

While both routes are popular, there are still more climbers following the Machame Route. Therefore, one could argue that the Lemosho Route offers a slightly more authentic experience away from the crowds during the initial days of your climb.

Choosing Your Itinerary
Recommendation
Should I take the Machame or Lemosho Route?

Choosing between the Machame and Lemosho Route depends on your preferred climb length and duration. While the Machame Route can be completed in 6 or 7 days, the Lemosho Route takes 7 or 8 days.

If you prefer a 6-day climb, go for the Machame Route. In general, however, we recommend you to climb for at least 7 days to better acclimatize to the high altitude and therefore increase your summit success chance.

If you climb for 7 days: Go for the Machame Route if you prefer shorter walking days, and for the Lemosho Route if you prefer lots of walking.

If your time permits: Go for the 8-day Lemosho Route to further improve your acclimatization to the high altitude.

If your budget permits, and you're looking for the easiest hiking route with the least amount of walking per day and the highest summit success chance, then we'd recommend a tailor-made 8-day Machame Route climb.

Should I take the Lemosho Route or Northern Circuit?

Choosing between the Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes to climb Kilimanjaro is a  tradeoff between best scenery versus serene wilderness. Which is more important to you?

If you don't want to miss out on the fairytale-like Forest or the infamous Barranco Wall on Mount Kilimanjaro, you have no choice but to take the Lemosho Route, or another route that follows the southern circuit.

On the flip side, the southern circuit is very busy which means that you'll share your path and campsites with an entire village of hikers, guides and porters. If you're looking for a more quiet and meditative experience, it would be recommendable to escape to the far less visited northern slopes. If you suffer from vertigo, you might also prefer to take the Northern Circuit in order to avoid the scramble atop the steep Barranco Wall.

Another consideration is the time you're planning to spend for your Kilimanjaro climb. If you're in a rush, then you might prefer the Lemosho Route which can be completed in 7 days, while the Northern Circuit takes a minimum of 8 days.

Finally, if you're looking to join an open group climb, you'll be spoilt for choice for both the busier 7-day Lemosho and 8-day Lemosho routes, while there's fewer options for the 8-day Northern Circuit and hardly any open group climbs for the 9-day Northern Circuit. Read more about the differences between the Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes here.

 

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