Lemosho Southern Circuit with Crater Camp

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.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Lemosho Glades
From your lodge, we will make our way to the Londorosi gate on the Western side of Mt. Kilimanjaro (a few hours drive from Arusha).  We will begin our hike at the Lemosho trail head. Please note that in rainy/muddy conditions, sometimes the vehicles can’t make it to the true trailhead so there can be some extra hiking – but Serengeti Pride vehicles usually make it farther than any other company due to our great drivers and vehicles.   After a picnic lunch, we will hike for about 4 hours to the forest camp.  In the forest, exotic moss and flowers delight the eye while bird calls entertain the ear.  You may see Black and White Colobus monkeys as well as signs of the elephants that travel in this area.  We will overnight at Forest Camp.
Hiking: 4-5 hours
Overnight Altitude ~8,817’Day 2 – Shira Plateau
As we leave the Montane Forest and enter the Hagenia zone, our views open and we will catch our first views of the Kibo peak.  This is a good acclimatization hike, as we go up and down several ridges along the way to our highest point of the day at 11,500’ before descending to camp.  Overnight at Shira Camp.
Hiking: 6-9 hours
Overnight Altitude 11,300’Day 3 – Moir Camp
We will traverse the Heath zone of the Shira Plateau and begin climbing the western slope of the KIbo Massif. Along the way, we will enjoy a picnic lunch at Scott Fisher memorial camp (the well-known Mt. Everest guide).  We will continue on to the upper heath zone and Moir camp  Depending on the weather, acclimatization hikes can be arranged in the late afternoon
Hiking: 5-6 hours
Overnight Altitude: ~13,650′Day 4 – Barranco Camp
We leave the heath zone and enter the alpine zone as we hike 4-6 hours past Lava Camp (up to about 14,300’) with its volcanic landscape and then down a bit into the scenic Barranco Valley to camp.
Hiking: 4-6 hours
Overnight Altitude: ~13,500′Day 5 – Barafu Camp
Ascend the Great Barranco Wall with views of Kilimanjaro’s ice fields, then traverse around to Barafu Camp (hike about 6-8 hours).  After settling into camp, we’ll have a demonstration on use of safety equipment such as the Gamow (hyperbaric) bag and oxygen.
Hiking: 6-8 hours
Overnight Altitude: ~15,100’

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
Summit ~19,341’
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