Even though no technical experience is required for Climbing Kilimanjaro, there are some challenges you’ll face with this trek. Thankfully, there are two Kilimanjaro Routes that make things a heck of a lot easier for trekkers. Particularly when they are combined with a suitable level of physical preparation and training.
These are the Lemosho Route and Machame Route. Both of these routes will take you along a splendid expedition through snow-capped sceneries, rugged terrains, and vibrant rainforests. And, by the end, you’ll feel like you’ve conquered the world along with Kilimanjaro’s summit.
Both routes have pros and cons, so it’s worth assessing them so you can make a definitive choice according to your needs. Below is a comparison and assessment of the logistics of the Lemosho and Machame Routes.
Lemosho and Machame Routes are among the most popular Mount Kilimanjaro Routes. Both offer diverse surroundings, wonderful views, and challenging terrains. Granting, they differ in difficulty, length, popularity, and altitude.
So, before we get into the deeper logistics of both Kilimanjaro Routes, below is a basic overview of the routes.
|CLIMBING COMPONENTS||LEMOSHO ROUTE||MACHAME ROUTE|
|Distance||67 km. (41.6 miles)||62 km. (38.5 miles)|
|Average Duration||6-8 Days||6-7 Days|
|Highest Point||Uhuru Peak – At 5,895 metres (19,635 feet)||Uhuru Peak – At 5,895 metres (19,635 feet)|
The overall distance of the Lemosho Route is a bit longer than the Machame Route, at – 67 kilometres. This distance also includes the descent via the Mweka route. The average duration of the route is 6-8 Days.
On the contrary, the distance of the Machame route is a touch less compared to the Lemosho Route, at 62 kilometres. The average duration of the Machame Route is 6-7 Days.
The total length and distance difference are minimal enough that it won’t factor much into your route decision-making.
Both the routes have the same average difficulty, i.e. moderate. You should expect some steep inclines on both routes. Generally speaking, Lemosho Route has a bit of a steeper incline compared to Machame. But, the difference isn’t that much so it won’t factor much into your choice of route.
The following is a day-wise altitude gain of both Kilimanjaro Routes:
|DAY(s)||LEMOSHO ROUTE ALTITUDE GAIN (in feet)||MACHAME ROUTE ALTITUDE GAIN (in feet)|
|DAY 5||984 (Ascend), 460 (Descend)||2,200|
|DAY 7||3,592||4,685 (Descend)|
|DAY 8||4,593 (Descend)|
Both Lemosho and Machame Routes offer stunning scenery. They’re among the most beautiful of all Mount Kilimanjaro Routes. Though after crossing the Lava Tower, the sceneries are the same. It’s the first few days that offer the best scenic landscapes.
The Lemosho Route is probably the favorite among tourists when it comes to the scenery. That said, the Machame Route also offers fabulous scenery. On both routes, you’ll get to trek up through vibrant rainforests and then enter the captivating moorland zone.
All things considered, you can undoubtedly expect a wonderfully scenic climb on either route.
Regarding the number of climbers and popularity, the Lemosho Route overshadows the Machame Route by far. Lemosho Route offers unmatched and splendid views of the gorges that feature the western side of Kilimanjaro. It also has one of the highest success rates and best acclimatization of all the Mount Kilimanjaro Routes.
Both of these Mount Kilimanjaro Routes have advantages and drawbacks. It’s worth balancing them out so you can choose your most preferred option and make your experience as memorable as Kilimanjaro’s natural beauty.
|Scenically Beautiful – There are many Barrancos (deep canyons) on Kilimanjaro, the most notable being the Barranco Wall. When you take the Lemosho Route to Climb Kilimanjaro, you’ll pass this wall near the Lava Tower. The views here will be simply stunning.|
|Wildlife Sightings – Because Lemosho Route is remote, there are fewer crowds along the trail. So, the chances of seeing antelopes and elephants are significantly higher. Also, there are several primates in the lush rainforest zone which you’ll also get to see.|
|Remote Trekking Adventure – As many people undertake the climbing expedition up Mount Kilimanjaro each year, the routes tend to get very crowded.|
|Though this isn’t the case when it comes to the Lemosho Route. This is a perfect choice for those who want to take an off beaten track and enjoy a tranquil hiking experience.|
|Bit Expensive – Lemosho is one of the most expensive Kilimanjaro trekking routes. But if you want a more relaxing and quitter trekking adventure, then the extra costs will be worth it.|
|Takes a Long Time – The ideal itinerary of the Lemosho Route is for 8 days. Some may consider this a drawback but this is a great advantage. Due to the extended time, your body will be able to acclimatize to the altitude range and you’ll avoid any serious illnesses.|
|Cost-Effective – Machame Route is the more popular choice among trekkers. Thus, this results in considerably reduced costs. So, if you want a more cost-effective Kilimanjaro Climb, then Machame Route is the way to go.|
|Shorter Distance – The Machame Route is one day shorter compared to Lemosho, yet it has a great success rate. The seven-day itinerary involves a day of high-altitude ascend and low-altitude sleep. This aids in acclimatization and increases the odds of reaching Kilimanjaro’s summit.|
|Fewer Wildlife Sightings – Fewer wildlife sightings will be along the Machame Route. But, what it may lack in animals it more than makes up for it in the stunning vistas. The natural beauty of Kilimanjaro is in full flow along the Machame Route.|
|More Crowded – The Machame Route has risen in popularity in recent years, so the trail has grown rather crowded. But, if you find comfort in having a large group of people around to share your trekking experience, then Machame is for you.|
OUR VERDICT: Lemosho is our preferred Kilimanjaro Climbing Route mainly due to the tons of positive feedback we get from hiking enthusiasts. Though, that’s not to say Machame Route is not ideal. Not at all, both these Kilimanjaro Routes offer breathtaking surroundings, different climatic zones, and great altitudes acclimatization that increases success rates.
Now that we’ve got the pros and cons out of the way, you need to know all the logistics for both Lemosho and Machame Route. The following aspects will help you decide what the Best Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes are.
The starting point of the Lemosho Route is at the Lemosho Gate that’s to the northwest of Kilimanjaro’s summit. The Machame Route, on the other hand, has the starting approach from a southwestern point at Machame Gate.
This means that hikers on both routes first walk different trails, stay at different campgrounds, and enjoy different scenic landscapes.
When it comes to what equipment and supplies you need for Kilimanjaro, they are the same for both routes. So, make sure to include the following items in your Kilimanjaro Packing List.
|BASIC EQUIPMENT||FOR YOUR HEAD||FOR YOUR HANDS AND FEET||FOR YOUR UPPER BODY||FOR YOUR LEGS||OTHER MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS|
|Daypack||Sun Hat||Lightweight Gloves||Insulated Jacket||Trekking Trousers||Plug Adapters|
|Waterproof Duffle Bag||Beanie style hat||Trekking Boots||Hard shell outer jacket||Hard Shell Trousers||Sun and Lip Screen|
|Trekking Poles||Sunglasses||Training Sneakers||Soft-shell/Fleece Jacket||Merino wool leggings||Camera and extra batteries and lenses|
|Sleeping Bag||Headlamp||Gaiters||Long Sleeved Shirt||Insulated Synthetic Pants||Travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste|
|Scarf||Wool/Ski Hat||Few pairs of socks||Thermal Base Layer||Heavy Baselayer Bottoms||Ear Plugs|
One of the major differences in terms of surroundings and experience between both routes relates to the campgrounds of the early days. Before reaching Barranco Camp, hikers of the Lemosho and Machame Route stay over at different campgrounds.
Those hikers who Climb Kilimanjaro through the Machame Route stay at Machame Camp and Shira Cave Camp on their way to Barranco Camp.
Of all the campgrounds used by trekkers of both routes, Shira 2 Camp is known for its amazing location. Sunsets here are a thing of wonder. Moreover, situated high up on Kilimanjaro, Karanga Camp is a terrific site for both sunrises and sunsets. On the seventh day on the Machame route, you’ll get to stay at this camp. And, all trekkers on the Lemosho Route spend an overnight stay at the camp.
Acclimatization is when your body adjusts to the reduced oxygen that normally comes with a higher altitude. To give your body enough time to adjust to the higher altitude, you should increase your elevation gradually.
Both Lemosho and Machame Route offer great acclimatization. This is even truer when you choose the longer itinerary over the shorter one.
The Lemosho and Machame routes should be chosen based on the duration and length of the climb. The Lemosho Route takes 7 to 8 days to complete whereas the Machame Route takes 6-7 days.
You should choose the Machame Route if you want a shorter climb. But, we advise that you climb for at least 7 days to better acclimate to the higher altitude conditions. This will also maximize your chances of reaching the summit.
We have some other blogs that are just as informative as this one. Follow the links below to read them:
We have a favorite preferred option regarding Kilimanjaro Routes and that is the Lemosho Route. But, you may have a different choice, based on your personal preference and needs.
If you want the best scenic surroundings coupled with high success rates and great acclimatization, then Lemosho Route is a perfect choice. But, if you’re backed on time and want a more cost-effective Kilimanjaro Climbing Adventure, then the Machame Route offers just that. At African Scenic Safaris, we have itineraries for both of these Kilimanjaro Routes, so you can choose a route and go on a thrilling ascent up Kilimanjaro.