We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, roughly a 4-hour drive, where you will complete the entry formalities. We will then drive to the Lemosho trailhead and upon arrival, we will begin the hike through undisturbed forest which winds its way to the first campsite. Keep your eyes peeled for the blue monkeys swinging through the trees!
We continue on the trail leading out of the rainforest and into a savannah of tall grasses, heather, and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. As we ascend through the lush rolling hills and cross several streams, we reach the Shira Ridge before dropping gently down to Shira 1 Camp. Here we catch our first glimpse of Kibo across the plateau.
Today, we will spend the full day exploring the Shira Plateau, one of the highest plateaus on earth. It is a gentle walk east on moorland meadows towards Shira 2 Camp. We then divert from the main trail to Moir Hut, a lesser-used camping site at the base of the Lent Hills. A variety of walks are available on Lent Hills making this an excellent acclimatization opportunity.
We begin the day climbing up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower �" a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. We descend down to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest to an altitude of 13,000 ft. Although you begin and end the day at the same elevation, the time spent at higher altitude is extremely beneficial for acclimatization.
We begin the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. We will then climb the non-technical but steep, nearly 900ft, cliff. The Barranco Wall, also known as the Kissing Wall, is approximately 3 ft. wide. This narrow section is famous because climbers often place a kiss on the rock as they pass by. Climbers also “hug” the outcrop and breathe a sigh of relief on the other side as they realize it wasn’t nearly as intimidating as it looked.
From the top of the Barranco Wall, we cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads us to Karanga Camp. This shorter day will prepare us for higher elevation at the summit.
We leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are visible from this position.
Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. At this elevation and time of day, the wind and cold can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent but short breaks. Near Stella Point (18,900ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak.
Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak�" the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Here, you can take a moment to reflect on your tremendous accomplishment. You’ll obviously have the opportunity to take a few pictures from the ‘Rooftop of Africa’ to memorialize this special moment.
From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut campsite, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we will enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate where we will be met by our driver who will transport us back to the hotel in Moshi. Here, we can relax with some refreshments, perhaps a local Kilimanjaro beer, while we wait to receive our summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.