‘Quest from the West’ tackles the Lemosho route over 8 days, leading you through spectacular and unspoilt scenery and giving you an excellent chance of reaching the summit. The trail rises from the forest, opening out onto the Shira Plateau. From here you’ll be rewarded with your first up-close view of Kibo, the daunting but surmountable summit cone. Track around the south of the mountain, climbing over ridges, passing the impressive Lava Tower and scrambling the imposing Barranco Wall. These trekking days give you ample opportunity to acclimatise, as you climb higher during the day but lose height to camp. Arriving in the smaller high camp Kosovo, in time for lunch and a rest before the summit, will stand you in excellent stead for the climb ahead and give you a head start on those staying at the larger camp below. One of our favourite routes!
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport you will be transferred to your accommodation where your guide will meet you for a full briefing and equipment check.
Overnight Simba Farm Lodge (Classic) or Ndarakwai Ranch (Premium)
Lemosho Trailhead (2,400m/7,880ft) to Big Tree Camp (2,800m/9,190ft)
Elevation Gain: 400m/1,310ft
This morning you will drive to the Londorossi gate where you will complete entry formalities. From here your drive continues for around 1 hour to the Lemosho trailhead. Enjoy lunch before commencing your trek through lush undisturbed forest where you may be lucky enough to see Colobus monkeys. The path undulates, steeply in places, to arrive at the first camp after 2-3 hours of trekking.
Overnight Big Tree Camp (Mti Mkubwa)
Big Tree Camp (2,800m/9,190ft) to Shira 1 Camp (3,550m/11,650ft)
Elevation Gain: 750m/2,460ft
Your trek will begin in the forest; however, you will soon leave it behind, taking a steep track into a zone of giant heather and volcanic rock. This is a full day ascending the lush rolling hills below the Shira Plateau. Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro’s volcanic cones. The trail begins to ease as you reach the edge of the plateau, reaching camp after 5-6 hours. The view of Kibo across the plateau is incredible.
Overnight Shira 1 Camp
Shira 1 Camp (3,550m/11,650ft) to Shira 2 Camp (3,850m/12,650ft)
Elevation Gain: 300m/1,000ft
Trek across the Shira Plateau with an optional climb to Shira Cathedral (3,880m). Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth. The day finishes with a gradual climb to Shira 2 Camp. Trekking time without the optional excursion is approximately 3 hours. Including acclimatization to the peak of Shira Cathedral will add approximately 1 hour.
Overnight Shira 2 Camp
Shira 2 Camp (3,850m/12,650ft) to Barranco Camp (3,900m/12,800ft)
Elevation Gain: 750m/2,400ft
Elevation Loss: 700m/2,300ft
Your climb today will take you steadily up and over the expansive ridgelines of high desert to Lava Tower at 4,600m. The trek to the base of the tower, a 300-foot-high volcanic plug, takes around 4-5 hours. From here begin a steep descent into the Barranco Valley, passing exotic large flowering plants, Senecio Kilimanjaro. This descent will take 1-2 hours. Although you end your day at almost the same elevation as you started, today is important for acclimatization. Camp is in a beautiful, sheltered valley below the imposing Barranco Wall.
Overnight Barranco Camp
Barranco Camp (3,900m/12,800ft) to Karanga Camp (3,950m/12,960ft)
Elevation Gain: 300m/1,000ft
Elevation Loss: 250m/820ft
Begin the day climbing the Barranco Wall, an impressive scramble that will reward you with fantastic views back towards camp. From the top, at 4,200m, follow an undulating path around the mountainside. On a clear day, there are spectacular views of Kibo to your left and Mount Meru to your right. After descending into the Karanga Valley your climb takes you up a short steep path to camp. Walking time approximately 3-4 hours.
Overnight Karanga Camp
Karanga Camp (3,950m/12,960ft) to Kosovo Camp (4,800m/15,750ft)
Elevation Gain: 850m/2,790ft
Spend the morning climbing steadily up to Barafu Camp, which is Swahili for ice, and then continuing up a rocky slab to Kosovo. This small camp is located on the ridge below the summit cone. You have now completed the South Circuit, which offers views from many different angles. The walk will take around 4-5 hours, meaning you will arrive at Kosovo in time for lunch and a full summit briefing, before spending the afternoon resting. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo can be seen from this position.
Overnight Kosovo Camp
Kosovo Camp (4,800m/15,750ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft) then descending to Mweka Camp (3,110m/10,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,095m/3,590ft
Elevation Loss: 2,785m/9,140ft
In the early hours of the morning begin your final ascent to the summit of Kilimanjaro, taking approximately 5-7 hours. It can be very cold at night at these elevations, but it will be warm by the end of the hiking day and you need clothing for both extremes. Just when you think you’ve reached your limit, the sun will rise and you’ll be rewarded with a rich red sky framing Mawenzi. At Stella Point (5,750m) join the crater rim. From here, climb less steeply to Uhuru Peak, the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and in Africa. From the summit descend to Mweka Hut, with lunch served on the way, taking around 6 hours. Enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Overnight Mweka Hut Camp
Mweka Camp (3,110m/10,200ft) to Mweka Gate (1,830m/6,000ft)
Elevation Loss: 1,280m/4,200ft
Descend to the gate through the lush forest (2-3 hours), looking for monkeys along the way. You will be collected from Mweka Village and taken to your hotel in Moshi.
Overnight Ameg Lodge (Classic) or Pink Flamingo Boutique Hotel (Premium)
Today you will be transferred to Kilimanjaro Airport in time for your flight, or if you’ve decided to extend your Tanzanian adventure, begin the next part of your journey!
To start planning your tour with us, you can create an itinerary from scratch, or modify one of our suggested itineraries. Whether your trip is a few days’ or a few weeks’ long, local travel experts will craft a unique itinerary, fully tailored to your wishes. Want to visit the beautiful destination, or start an adventure to reach to the top? They will will make it happen.