Kilimanjaro Hiking – Lemosho

Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the rooftop of Africa, via two different routes – the Lemosho Crater or Machame. At 19,341 feet, Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the classic “Seven Summits” climbs!


The Lemosho Crater and Machame routes are two of the most beautiful climbs on the mountain. Call us about which tour fits your desire to experience Mt. Kilimanjaro!

Lemosho Crater: The Lemosho Crater route is a 11 day/10 night tour with nine days on the mountain. This popular route has many highlights, including an overnight at 18,800 feet sleeping inside the Mount Kilimanjaro crater! The route takes you to the mountaintop from the west across the Shira Plateau, with an ascent to the base of the Lava Tower, climbing the Lava Tower to enjoy magnificent 360 degree vistas. You and your fellow travelers and guides will discuss and decide together whether to ascend via the Western Breach (the classic route to the crater with a challenging rock scramble) or the longer but less steep approach from Barafu.

Machame: The Machame route is a 9 day/8 night tour with seven days on the mountain. This trek starts from the south, just above the picturesque mountain village of Machame. Traveling via the Shira Plateau, you will hike and climb counter-clockwise below the southern face of Kibo, climb Lava Tower for magnificent 360 degree vistas, and ascend the Great Barranco Wall – a challenging and exhilarating rock scramble. Finally, you’ll approach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro from Barafu and the ridge that abuts the Southeast Valley.

NOTE: All these treks are physically and mentally challenging adventures. You will be hiking up to seven hours per day on varying terrain – both ascending and descending every day. Expect days of up to 3,500 feet of vertical gain or, on the descent, vertical loss in excess of 5,000 feet. Kilimangaro is great fun and you should be aware of the challenge and be prepared for it so you maximize your fun. Please contact us discuss your level of physical fitness and if appropriate training is necessary to make the adventure more fun for you.


11 Days / 10 Nights, 9 Days on the Mountain


This is our most popular itinerary – for its beauty, its nine days on the mountain (with maximum acclimatization), and the excitement of spending an overnight at 18,800 feet inside the crater on Kilimanjaro. Our route takes you from the west across the Shira Plateau, with an ascent to the base of the Lava Tower – climb to its peak and thrill to the magnificent 360-degree vistas. From Lava Tower, there are two approaches to the crater and summit – groups will have discussed and decided upon their choice during their climb preparations in Mbahe. One approach is from the southwest through the Western Breach – this is the classic route to the crater with a challenging rock scramble done in the early morning. The other is a longer though less steep approach from more easterly Barafu –this offers the opportunity of summiting twice.After overnight camping in the soft sand of the crater, you begin our departure with a sunrise climb to Uhuru Peak Kilimanjaro’s summit – before descending toward the southeast and incredible views of Mawenzi, Kilimanjaro’s remnant volcanic cone.

Day 1: Arrival Day

You are greeted at Kilimanjaro International Airport and transferred to the Rivertrees Country Inn. Transfer times vary depending on traffic or other local delays, but are usually around 30 minutes. The Inn is comfortable and well maintained, lying in the foothills of Mount Meru. On sight amenities include delicious meals and a warm and inviting pub. This afternoon there is a comprehensive briefing and equipment check with our Climbs Manager and your guide. (D)*

Day 2: Londorossi Gate (6,890’) to Forest Camp (8,700’), 3.8 miles

After breakfast you drive to Londorossi Gate, where you meet additional guides and mountain crew as you enter the Kilimanjaro National Park. From the trailhead, you begin the much-anticipated trek up the mountain! You’ll walk for a few hours uphill through the thick and undisturbed afromontane forest to the first camp for the night. The mountain guides and crew will setup your camp and prepare dinner tonight (and every night), as well as carry your heaviest gear leaving you to enjoy the hike with just a daypack.

If you have never trekked to high altitude, you may be quite surprised by the deliberate pace your leaders set to begin the journey. The slow pace now will reap benefits later.

You’ll see many beautiful flowers en route and with luck you will observe colobus monkeys, other animals, and possibly signs and sights of mountain elephants, a smaller sub-species of the better known plains elephant. In the evening you may hear the unforgettable shrieking call of the tree hyrax – this woodchuck-sized animal is actually closely related to the elephant! (B, L, D).

Day 3: Big Tree Camp (8,700’) to Shira 1 Camp (11,420’), 4.7 miles

Today you reach the west side of the Shira Plateau by way of significant altitude gain over six full hours. Today is one of the biggest vertical gains, including some scrambling, to reach camp. The pace may be slower than what you are accustomed to, but trust your guides.  Taking your time as you walk through the forest also allows you to observe the animal and bird life. The trek takes you from the montane forest, through a transition zone, and into the heath zone, where old lava flows are visible. Throughout the day, your guides will point out flora and fauna and the unique environmental differences that characterize each zone. After a picnic lunch you reach the edge of the Plateau, and a short time later arrive in camp. Your home for the night offers dramatic views of Kilimanjaro and its permanent glaciers. (B, L, D).

Day 4: Shira 1 Camp (11,420’) to Shira 2 Camp (12,750’), 5.3 miles

Today is an easy paced day of four to five hours hiking with relatively little altitude gain. Tonight’s camp is set higher on the Shira Plateau with even more expansive views of Kilimanjaro. After lunch, there is an optional conditioning hike to examine the clusters of giant lobelias and senecios that grow at this elevation. These fantastic plants grow in only a few places in Africa, and only at high altitude. You truly may wonder if Dr. Suess used these as models for his illustrations.  (B, L, D).

Day 5: Shira 2 Camp (12,750’) to Barranco Camp (12,960’), 9.8 miles

Today is another important day for acclimatization as you hike uphill for 7 hours to an elevation of almost 16,000’ at the base of the Arrow Glacier, and then back down to Barranco Camp. This is the “Walk high, sleep low” day preparing you for the days ahead. You will pass through a very non-tropical alpine moorland zone where plants are extremely hardy and consist of lichens, grasses, and heather and have lunch in Kilimanjaro’s alpine desert zone. (B, L, D).

Day 6: Barranco Camp (12,960’) to Karanga Camp (13,100’), 2.8 miles

Today is a short day with minimal altitude gains or losses over 4 hours. The Barranco Wall is the largest challenge of the day and your guides will help negotiate this short scramble. This is alpine tundra and the views over the African savanna far below are breath taking. Or is that the altitude? The selection of Karanga Camp is strategic – significant time at altitude is essential for safe acclimatization and in the late afternoon you arrive in camp. Sunsets here are particularly spectacular with views of the southern glacial valleys and ice fields towering 3000 feet above you. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Karanga Camp (13,100) to Barafu Camp (15,300), 2.6 miles

After breakfast, you leave Karanga and connect with the Mweka Trail and continue up to the Barafu Hut. Today is another half day. At this point, you have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here you make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo can be seen from this position. Lunch is taken in camp allowing plenty of time to relax before ascent into the crater. Desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp and yet in the evening splendid views of Mawenzi peak are the norm. A relatively early dinner is taken before climbing into your tent. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Barafu Camp (15,300) to Crater Camp (18,000), 4.0 miles

Unlike other routes with a night time ascent, your hike selection affords you a day time ascent to Kibo crater. The going is slow, taking 4 to 5 hours, but with constant encouragement from your climb team the rim of Kibo is reached before descending a little way into the caldera to Crater camp. This is the highest organized camp on Kilimanjaro at 18,000’. The afternoon is spent relaxing and enjoying short walks taken with one of your guides. The camp is set in soft sands near the retreating vertical ice walls of the Furtwangler glacier. Rest and enjoy snacks and hot drinks in the mess tent, then opt to explore the strange lunar landscape of the inner crater, possibly including a visit to Reusch Crater, ash pit, or the glaciers. Only few that trek Kilimanjaro ever experience the summit zone in this way. Typically, the anticipation and excitement of the summit bid the following day will keep your mind racing, so don’t expect a really good night’s sleep. (B, L, D)

Day 9: Crater Camp (18,000’) to Kilimanjaro Summit (19,345’) to Mweka Camp (10,000’), 8.0 miles

The day begins early, sometime before sunrise, with the excitement of gearing up for the final push. Be sure to dress appropriately, as the summit is chilly. You will hike with your guides, listening to them repeat “po-le’, po-le’ (slowly, slowly) for about 1.5 hours to the summit. Pictures are certainly in order as the sun rises over the African plains far below. As beautiful and breathtaking as the summit is, you will welcome the descent down to where the breathing is easier. From the summit you make the descent to the Mweka Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch, taking as long as 8 hours. You may want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, you will enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep. (B,L, D)

Day 10: Mweka Camp (10,000) to Rivertrees Country Inn (5,400’), 6.0 miles plus drive

Waking up in the rain forest the day after summiting the highest freestanding mountain in the world is a rather strange feeling. You will notice the humidity, but mostly you will notice the heaviness of the air. Moss falling off the trees and the dark, rich soil soften your steps as you descend for the last 4 or 5 hours off Kilimanjaro. Around mid day, after saying farewell to your crew, you are picked up and transferred back to your hotel for a well deserved shower and celebratory dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 11: Departure Day

Today a dayroom is held for your convenience to freshen up, have lunch and re pack before being transferred to Kilimanjaro International Airport for International departures, or for your connections with onward programs. (B, L)

*(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

While the above information describes a typical itinerary, the tour’s actual itinerary may vary due to changes in transportation, weather, lodging availability, local events or safety conditions. We reserve the right to alter the tour due to these circumstances should the need arise.

Lemosho Crater Route – Luxury Tour Dates:

(Custom dates available  upon request)

Pricing(per person, double occupancy):

(Call for current pricing)

Price Includes: All accommodations; all meals as indicated (B, L, D); services of trip leader, climbing guides, and mountain crew (does not include gratuities); Kilimanjaro National Park entrance and camping fees and rescue insurance; all dining and camping equipment (excluding sleeping bag and pad); Gamow bag (portable hyperbaric chamber) and supplemental oxygen on all climbs; transfers to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport and to/from park entrance/exit gates, including optional trip to Moshi Town

Price Excludes: International airfare; airport departure taxes; tips and gratuities to leaders, guides, crew, or other staff; additional accommodations and meals made necessary by airline schedule changes, inability to complete the climb, or other factors; pre-trip expenses such as immunizations, travel insurance, passports, and visas; and any expenses of a personal nature such as souvenirs and laundry.

Single Supplement Policy:  All tour pricing is based on double occupancy lodging. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender.  If you reserve your tour at least 90 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement of half the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early.

Activities:  High elevation hiking and camping

Rating:  Moderately Challenging to Challenging

Group Size:  2-14 guests

Length:  11 days/10 nights

Meeting Time & Place:  Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code JRO) on Day 1. After clearing customs, you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel. Airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 11 are included in the trip price.

Departure Time & Place:  Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code JRO) on Day 11 of the tour. Do not book departing flights earlier than noon.

Best Time To Travel:  September, October and February (dry weather, less people), April to early June and early November (rainy seasons), July and August (expensive flights, crowds on the mountain). Please call for more information.

Weather and Climate:  Due to the alpine environment, weather is variable throughout the day and by elevation. Dressing in layers will be essential to your comfort throughout the day. Rain is possible at any time and weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains, so have good rain gear. The sun is strong at higher elevations- take adequate precautions should be taken to prevent sunburn, even on cool, sunny days. On average, the temperature in June through August range from highs in the 70’s and 80’s Fahrenheit and lows in the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit.  More detailed weather information is available by visiting

Physical Preparation:  This tour is designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure, and possess a positive attitude. The bulk of most days are spent hiking – plan on three to four hours in the morning and again in the afternoon, with a lunch stop in between. It is very important you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. All participants must be in strong enough physical condition to complete the trek. The more physically prepared you are for this tour, the more you will enjoy this unique, adventure experience. We encourage you to call us and talk more specifically about any questions you have on the activities, your fitness, and any other aspects of the trip – please don’t be shy!

Days 1 and 11: Rivertrees Country Inn

Rivertrees Country Inn is nestled between Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, in natural gardens along the Usa River. Combining old world ambiance, African country elegance, excellent farm cuisine, personal service and a genuine warmth from your hosts – Rivertrees is simply a magical place to stay. It is the perfect choice of accommodation for the visitor looking for peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of a city hotel.

Days 3-11 (9 nights): Kilimanjaro Mountain Camps

Camp is set up every step of the way and ready for when you arrive into camp in the afternoon. A mess tent contains a table, chairs, and all cutlery. Guest tents fit two people comfortably with three-inch mattresses, -30F sleeping bag, and thermal liner all set up for a comfortable sleep. A separate toilet tent is also set up on the perimeter for private and cleaner bathroom facilities.

“Your next trip needs to be this one! The highest place in Africa is absolutely spectacular!! Excellent service and attention to detail. Incredible guide and support. Great food. Quality gear. I would highly recommend Return On Adventure. There was excellent service and attention to detail throughout.” Andrea D. San Francisco, CA. (Summited September 2011)


I would like to express appreciation to Return On Adventure for an absolutely perfect ten-day trip to Guatemala a couple of years ago. The hotels, were very nice and the guides were always on time, provided excellent information, answered questions, and escorted me to wonderful sites in the country. I highly recommend this company, as my experience was wonderful! — Lee W. Fort Collins, CO

In 2010, Dean created a three week Alaskan tour for my two sons and me. For all the trips I`ve ever taken in my life, and I`ve traveled quite a bit, this was by far the most customized trip I`ve ever taken. He did a great job of challenging us and catering it to our desires. The whole thing was exquisitely coordinated. — David K. New York, NY

Your next trip needs to be this one! The highest place in Africa is absolutely spectacular!! Excellent service and attention to detail. Incredible guide and support. Great food. Quality gear. I would highly recommend Return On Adventure. There was excellent service and attention to detail throughout. — Andrea D. San Francisco, CA

I have traveled with Dean on more than one occasion and I cannot speak highly enough about his professionalism, friendliness and dedication to his guests. Dean is an excellent guide and he makes every trip an adventure. His excellent attitude ensures that every guest will have a great time. I am looking forward to traveling with Return On Adventure because I know any trip that Dean facilitates will exceed my expectations. — Janet H., San Diego, CA

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