The Lemosho Southern Circuit route with Crater Camp option is a great choice, and the original “Lemosho route”. It’s especially perfect for those who want Lemosho route but don’t want the steepness / scrambling of the Western Breach option. This route’s gentle, slow ascent allows the body enough time to acclimatize to the high altitude.
We will walk through the Shira plateau, a world heritage site. Here bird enthusiasts will be thrilled to see the Malachite Sunbird and the Alpine Chat. Amazing views can be experienced from the second day of the hike onwards. On clear days, climbers can see as far as the Ngorongoro highlands and catch glimpses of Mt. Meru.
The advantages of Lemosho Southern Circuit route are that the first few camps on Lemosho route are much less crowded than Machame route, and even more beautiful, and give better acclimatization due to slower ascent.
After Lava Tower, however, this route overlaps with Machame route so the camps get more crowded (to avoid this, consider Lemosho Western Breach or Lemosho Northern circuit route instead). But, this part of the trail – especially the Barranco Valley – is very beautiful, with unique Senecio trees and scenery.
Lemosho Southern Circuit 8 day / 7 night or longer route allows you to spend a night at Kilimanjaro’s Crater Camp. The Crater is quite beautiful and a unique environment. On your summit morning, a short 1 1/2 to 2 hour hike leads you from Crater Camp up to the summit. When Lemosho Southern Circuit Crater Camp route is done as 9 days / 8 nights (i.e. an extra night added for acclimatization on request), usually we would add a night at Karanga camp mid-way between Barranco and Barafu camps.
Day 6 – Crater Camp
Although the distance is relatively short, today’s hike is challenging due to high altitude. We climb for around 6-7 hours to Stella Point (views into the Crater and of surrounding Africa) then another hour into and across the Crater to camp in view of the glaciers.
Hiking: 6-8 hours
Overnight Altitude: 18,500’
Day 7 – Summit and Mweka Camp
Summit day. We will start our ascent to the summit (19,340ft – 5,896m) around 6:00 am (when it’s starting to get light – perhaps hiking a short time by headlamp) and reach the summit in 1 1/2 to 2 hours. After taking in the view from Uhuru Peak we’ll begin the long descent down to Barafu Hut for lunch and then to our camp at Mweka Camp. Hiking poles will help protect your knees on this steep descent. A long day, around 8-11 hours for average speed groups.
Hiking: 8-11 hours
Overnight Altitude ~10,448’
Day 8 – Mweka Park Gate
We make the final descent to the trailhead today, about 3-5 hours hiking. Here we will have lunch and say goodbye to our mountain crew before leaving Mount Kilimanjaro and heading back to town. Arrive at your lodge usually between 3-5 PM.
Hiking: 3-5 hours