Sitting in front of Kilimanjaro

The Roof of Africa

Kilimanjaro Lemsoho Glades Route is one of the lesser used ones up the mountain mainly due to it remoteness and the difficult roads leading to the start of the trail. This is a ten day trip in from the UK run by Jagged Globe. It you want to stand at the highest point in Africa this is the way to do it.

Itinerary

• Day 1, Fly from London to Tanzania. This is a very early start as you are one of the first flights out of Heathrow. It is a good idea to stay in a hotel next to the airport if you are not close by, as the M25/M4 is one of the more congested roads in the UK and you don’t want to miss this flight. The first flight is a short hop over to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. The flight to Kilimanjaro leaves Schiphol not long after you land in Netherlands. You should just go to your gate when you arrive as it is a very big airport and is quite a long walk from local gates where you arrive to the international gate where you depart from. It is a quite a long flight to Kilimanjaro airport running to nearly 8.5 hours. KLM seats are not too bad even economy ones, plenty of legroom and a good IFE system. You can certainly feel the heat in the country as you walk of the plane even though it is nighttime on arrival. You can get a visa on arrival, but it is much better if you can arrange this ahead of time through your local embassy. Once the entire group is through immigration and the luggage is collected you hop on a private bus and travel to the hotel where you spend the night.
• Day 2, Hotel to Mt Mkubwa (2,800m). After breakfast you will have a small group meeting where the leader will go over what you can expect during the trip. You will also meet the local guides and cooks who will be with you the entire trip. There is sometimes a kit check, especially if you are overweight or it is your first expedition type trip. It is than a three-hour drive to the Londrossi Park gate. You will have to sign in. The rest of the local team will meet you here, you will be amazed at how many of then there are. You will then hop back into the vehicles and depending on how good they are dictates how far that can get up the trail. For us we had some quite brave drivers who seemed fine with the vehicle leaning over forty degrees to one side or the other. After you are taken as far as possible it is time to get out, collect your day pack and start the walk to Mt Mkubwa (Big Tree) camp. This is quite a nice walk with lots of shade and wildlife to spot while you make your way up. Normally the porters are a lot faster then you so they will have gone ahead and setup camp for the group. You will camp here for the night.

Pitstop on way to Londrossi gate

Pitstop on way to Londrossi gate

Mt Mkubwa Camp site

Mt Mkubwa Camp site

• Day 3, to Shira Camp One (3,500m). For me this was one of the more difficult days of the trek. Quite soon after leaving camp the trees thin and is replaced with a type of heather. The trek today is mainly up and down valley sides. This coupled with the heat of the sun makes for quite a draining day. It gets considerably easier after the lunch stop where you make it up onto the Shira Plateau and there is less of the constant up and downs of the morning. Today is a day where you get your first good look at Kilimanjaro and the trek ahead of you.

Leaving rainforest onto Shira Plateau

Leaving rainforest onto Shira Plateau

• Day 4, to Shira Camp Two (3,800m). Quite a relaxing day. You head east over the Shira Plateau heading to a point on the southern tip where the Shira Cathedral is located (3,880m) You will leave your day packs at the base of the cathedral and climb the short distance to the top. There are some stunning views to be had from the top. After make you way down it is another hour or so of walking to Shira Camp Two where you will spend the night.

Heading to Shira two

Heading to Shira two

• Day 5, to Baranco Camp (3,900m). Today is quite a long day. You will leave the relatively flat Shira Plateau and move closer to the base of the mountain. The first stop of the day is the Lava Tower at 4,640m where you will stop for lunch. It is here that you can see the route that some take up the Western Breach. It is then mostly downhill to the Baranco camp after lunch. The Baranco camp is situated at the base of the impressive looking Baranco Wall. This place is stunning at night, you can see the starts above and the lights of civilization far down below.

Barranco Wall in the morning light

Barranco Wall in the morning light

• Day 6, to Karanga Camp (4,050m). The first job of today is to climb the impressive Baranco wall. From camp it looks almost vertical cliff with you just being able to pick out people on its face. Our group usually lets all the others in camp go off and we wait and have a nice relaxing slow breakfast. Once you start climbing the wall you realize it is not as bad as it first looked like from below. There is a clear path to follow. It is a little steep in places but manageable. Once you climb the near 190m to the top the rest of the day is much easier as you make you way east underneath the Decken and Reban Glaciers to reach Karanga Camp
• Day 7, to Barafu Camp (4,650m). Day seven is a really short day it only takes around three hours to reach Barafu Camp at 4,650m. You will have a summit attempt briefing then it is off to bed early ready for the very early start tomorrow.

Night shot of Kilimanjaro and the stars

Night shot of Kilimanjaro and the stars

• Day 8, summit attempt and Millennium Camp (5,896m). This day is by far the longest day of the trek. You will wake very early in the morning after what seems like only a few hours of sleep. The camp staff will try to fill you up with food even if you are not all that hungry at that time of the day. You will start out in darkness with the sight of the Milky Way above you and head torches to guide your footsteps. If you look up the mountain you will be able to pick out the little points of lights from others further up. Climbing in the dark is an odd experience you feel like you in your own little world with just the small amount visible that the head torch lights up. You will stop every hour or so for a snack and a drink then off again before you get too cold. If the team is good you will reach Stella Point just as the sun is coming over the horizon. You will take a longer break here and watch the amazing sight. You will have the option to leave your daypacks here and continuing on with out them. The walk round the crater rim and up to Uhuru the highest point in Africa takes another hour. It is so amazing when you reach the summit, the views are breathtaking and well worth all the previous days effort. You will even be able to see the curvature of the Earth form here. In an all too short a time after pictures, handshakes and hugs it is time to start the descent. This will be a ‘lot’ faster then the climb up. You will get to experience ‘scree skiing’ make sure your group spreads out in this else you will be covered head to toe in dust. You stop at Millennium camp for the night. This will be a 12 to 15 hour day.

Group photo at the summit of Kilimanjaro

Group photo at the summit of Kilimanjaro

Celebration drink on reach summit of Kilimanjaro

Celebration drink on reach summit of Kilimanjaro

• Day 9, descent rest of way and fly back to UK. This will be the last day in Africa. You will make you way the rest of the way down all the way to the Mweka Gate and the waiting transport ready to take you back to the hotel. The route you take down is one that a lot of people take up. I much prefer taking it down rather than up as it is made up of thousands of steps. After the never ending steps and short bus ride you will be back in the hotel for a congratulations dinner and presentation. The flight back to Amsterdam leaves quite late in the evening arriving back into the morning. It is another shortstop in Amsterdam then back on another plane to London.

Descending from the summit of Kilimanjaro

Descending from the summit of Kilimanjaro

Celebration Meal in Keys Hotel

Celebration Meal in Keys Hotel

• Day 10, arrive UK

Most inspirational moment of my trip
For me it has to be standing on the summit. It just doesn’t get any better knowing you are at the highest point in Africa. Being able to see the curve of the Earth is a humbling thing to see too.

Advice for potential travellers
• Take wet wipes. It can get very dusty and dry on the mountain. Wet wipes are better at cleaning dust off compared to the DryWash.
• Pack expensive or hard to replace items in your carry on when flying to Kilimanjaro
• For the summit night, pack some good snacks that you can look forward to when you stop. Just be sure that they are not prone to freezing as eating frozen snacks is quite an effort.

Closing thoughts
The Jagged Globe Lemosho glades trek is one of the better ones you can pick. The trek is long enough that you can take a nice slow pace that allows most people to adapt enough to be successful reaching the summit. When we exited the Kilimanjaro national park we could read the book off all the people that had been evacuated and the route they were taking, there were hardly any on Lemsoho route and quite a lot on others.

This summit is within in most people reach and is well worth doing. That feeling when you reach the top is one of the best.

Link for Jagged globe trip https://www.jagged-globe.co.uk/trek/i/kilimanjaro+lemosho.html

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