- Isolated and wild with unique landscapes
- A chance to view game en route
- Exclusivity: Lemosho approach to Western Breach summit is an infrequently-used route
- Maximum acclimatization; plenty of time at last camp to explore higher, sleep lower
- Less strenuous summit walk with no midnight start and taking only three hours
- Available emergency evacuation service (Flying Doctor – Air Ambulance 24Hrs)
Discover the Masai Steppe as you drive to Lemosho Gate from where you commence your climb. Today is only a few hours of gentle walking to Forest Camp; an opportunity to stretch your legs in anticipation of the long trek ahead.
Awake at dawn, surrounded by the calls of forest birds and animals. After breakfast you will start a slow, 5 hours, walk through the forest and up into the Hagenia zone; here the vegetation begins to thin out as you approach the Shira Plateau. Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo are the three craters of the Kilimanjaro volcanic massif. From Shira Camp there are great views of the Shira Needles and the distant Mount Meru.
Experience the magic of a mountain morning as you slowly climb into the alpine heather zone, approaching the Kibo outcrop from the west. Lunch will be taken en route to Shira 2 campsite during this leisurely, 5 hours walk.
Navigate through thinning vegetation to the Alpine Desert Zone, where few plants survive and temperatures can reach the freezing point. Today you will trek for approximately 4 hours from Shira 2 camp to the shelter of Lava Tower, an imposing relic from Kilimanjaro volcanic past and your refuge for tonight.
Awake to find the entire Shira Plateau at your feet, with sweeping views across to Meru and the Shira Needles. A steady walk takes you up to the pass at Lava Tower (15,000 ft), where you will stop to have lunch. Crossing the Bastains stream, you begin to descend towards Barranco Camp. This descent takes you along an immense canyon called Grand Barranco.
Admire along the way numerous waterfalls, which are fed by streams coming from the mountain and converging here to form the Umbwe River. Your camp is set at almost the same altitude as on the previous night. Today’s trek lasts for about six hours and arrival at camp is between 4.30 and 5.30 p.m.
Join the early birds as you begin your hike to Karanga Camp, which is on the same altitude as Barranco Camp – so you should be well acclimatized now to this elevation. You will encounter a bit of a climb at Barranco Cliff and the rest of the trek is spent climbing up and down the slopes of the mountain for most of the way to camp.
Take the opportunity to admire the Decken Glacier to your left on this section, which is not considered difficult. You should arrive in time for lunch around 1 p.m. having trekked for approximately four hours. In the afternoon you have an opportunity to hike in the Karanga Valley, where giant senecios and lobelia grow. Rest as much as you possibly can to prepare yourself for the climb ahead.
Take pleasure in the scenic climb to Barafu, which is mostly on alpine desert terrain; a mainly mineral environment with few lichens and mosses. Mawenzi Peak towers majestically to the right and, overhead; Kibo Peak seems just a stones throw away. Lunch will be taken along the way and climbers usually arrive at Barafu Camp sometime before 3 p.m. Climbers who wish to attempt the summit should retire early this might, as the next day is the longest of the whole climb.
Track the mountain at midnight. It is at this stage that the climb becomes much more difficult and hikers should carry as little as possible. Temperatures range from -4 degrees to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Making your way up a path that is flanked by the Ratzel and Rebman glaciers, you will climb for about six hours before reaching the edge of the crater between Stella and Hans Meyer points.
Summon up that last ounce of energy for the final hour of climbing which will bring you to the summit. Uhuru stands at 19,340 ft and is the highest point on the continent of Africa. The track around the edge of the crater is rocky and icy. Concentrate on your feet, and follow your guide very closely for this section of the journey.
Retrace your steps to down from the summit and continue to Kibo Hut (which you should reach after about three hours, arriving approximately 11.30 a.m.) Here climbers will be given the opportunity to rest and partake of refreshment before continuing on to Mweka Camp for the night. Arriving into camp at around 5 p.m. you will look back and realize that, today, you have trekked a total of thirteen hours!
Take time to appreciate once more the tropical rainforest on your descent of Kilimanjaro. The hike from Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate can take anything from two to five hours, depending on trail conditions (rain can occur at any time of year at this elevation and a muddy trail calls for a very slow pace). Once we have descended the 4,500 ft to the road-head, it is time for a packed lunch and goodbye to your guides, porters and new-found mountain friends – until the next time?