Tanzania 2024

Kilimanjaro – Lemosho Route

Contact us for custom dates in the spring/summer 2024 for your group of 3 or more

Science in the Wild Research/Education Experience

Join us for an educational science expedition to the top of Kilimanjaro (5,895 m/19,341 ft.)! You’ll get to experience the changing terrain as we journey through forest, moorland, and alpine desert landscapes. We’ll also enjoy exploring the glaciers at the summit.

Includes: airport/hotel transfers; transport from Arusha to starting point on mountain and return to Arusha; National Park gate fees; hut/camping fees; certified local guide; porters’ salaries; rescue fees (required by the national park); all meals on the mountain; 2 nights’ accommodation in Arusha hotel (double occupancy (single supplements apply)); tents, foam sleeping pads, cooking equipment, eating utensils, and portable toilet.

Excludes: international airfare; excess baggage fees (international); tips for Science in the Wild guides, local guides, and porters; mountain equipment (e.g. sleeping bags); meals off the mountain; extra hotel nights

·         $1000 deposit will be fully refunded if applicant is not accepted.

If accepted, the following applies: $200 non-refundable registration fee.
·         Full refunds, less registration fee will be provided if requested 90 days prior to expedition departure.
·         50% refund will be provided if requested 60 to 89 days prior to expedition departure.
·         No refunds will be provided 59 days or less prior to expedition.

As a citizen-scientist participant you’ll be actively involved in the following:

WEATHER/CLOUDS: Ever wonder how mountains create their own weather? Or how clouds form? You’ll learn about atmospheric science on this expedition, take photographs and make sky observations for GLOBE Observer, a data collection program that supports Earth system science research and aids in interpretation of NASA satellite data. 

GEOLOGY/HYDROLOGY: We’ll explore the volcanic landscape in the biomes/mountain zones (forest, moorland, alpine desert, summit glaciers) to document variations between the zones and altitudes. You’ll join in on a geo treasure hunt in the high alpine desert, searching for rocks with light-colored weathered “coatings” as these serve as an analog to rocks on the surface of Mars!

GLACIOLOGY: We’ll have a laser rangefinder for you to use for measuring glacier heights and variations in glacial layer thicknesses.  You’ll learn about how deforestation and other land use changes have affected these masses of ice and discuss ideas on how to best preserve glaciers into the future.

ASTRONOMY: Given no light pollution, the night skies of Kilimanjaro are absolutely stunning. Explore and learn about the night sky with us and try your hand at some astrophotography, too.

We look forward to taking you on this unique journey to the top of one of the world’s 7 Summits!


Trip Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrival
Plan to arrive today at the Kilimanjaro International airport in the late morning/early afternoon, where you’ll be greeted by the SITW team and transferred to our hotel in Moshi for the night. We’ll do a gear check in the evening and sort out any rental equipment that will be needed.
Day 2 - Mti Mkubwa Camp
We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate today to check-in for our climb. Then we’ll drive to the Lemosho trailhead and upon arrival at trailhead, hike through forest to the first camp, Mti Mkubwa at 9,498 ft. Along the way, we’ll look for wildlife and learn about the foliage on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro.
Day 3 - Shira 1 Camp
Today we will leave behind the rainforest and cross into savannah consisting of tall grasses, heather and lichen-covered volcanic rock. We’ll study the properties of the soils here and compare with rainforest soil samples that we will collect in the morning. After we reach the Shira Ridge, we will drop down to Shira 1 Camp (11,500 ft.). Here we will be able to see Kibo, the most recently active volcanic cone of Kilimanjaro, across the plateau.
Day 4 - Moir Hut
Today we will explore the Shira Plateau, one of the highest plateaus on Earth, before heading to our site for the night, Moir Hut (13,800 ft.). It is a gentle walk across moorland meadows, where we will study the soil properties to compare with the rainforest and heath vegetation zones lower down on the mountain, as well as chat geology.
Day 5 - Barranco Camp
We begin the day by climbing up a ridge and then heading towards the Lava Tower, a 300 ft. tall volcanic rock formation. We’ll spend some time here, looking at the rocks in detail. Then, after lunch, we’ll descend down to Barranco Camp (13,044 ft.) through the dendrosenecio forest. We’ll stop to sample the soils here. Although we begin and end the day at roughly the same elevation, the “climb high, sleep low” approach will work well for getting used to the higher altitudes.
Day 6 - Karanga Camp
After an early morning breakfast, we will go up the Great Barranco Wall, a class 2 hike (steep, but non-technical). At the top of the wall, we will have views of the Heim glacier and have an opportunity to take photos. The trail then winds up and down the Karanga Valley before arriving at Karanga camp at 13,106 ft. for the night.
Day 7 - Barafu Camp
Following breakfast, we leave Karanga camp and intersect the Mweka Route, which is the trail we will use for our descent. After an hour of hiking, we reach the Barafu Hut for a break and some geology. The word “barafu” in Swahili means “ice” and Barafu camp is located on a rocky, exposed ridge at 15,331 ft. Tents will be exposed to wind and rocks so familiarization with the campsite before dark will be crucial. An early dinner will be served so we can rest before attempting the summit the next morning. If you can’t sleep, we’ll have the telescope out!
Day 8 - Summit Attempt
Today we wake in the early morning (e.g., 2 or 3 AM, depending on weather conditions) to begin our summit attempt. The route heads northwest and requires hiking over scree. After 6 hours, we reach Stella Point (18,652 ft.), located on the crater rim. From there, it is about another 2 hours on a trail to Uhuru Peak (19,341 ft.). We’ll have time to explore one of the summit glaciers, as well as collect snow and ice samples for further analysis at our lower camp. The hike down to Barafu camp takes about 3 hours. At camp, we will enjoy a hot meal. Depending on how the group is feeling, we can continue down to Mweka Hut (10,065 ft.).
Day 9 - Mweka gate and Moshi

Following a good breakfast, we will have a big celebration full of dancing and singing. It is here on the mountain that tips typically are presented to the guides, assistant guides, chef(s), and porters. After celebrating, we descend another 3 hours to Mweka Gate. After checking out of the park, we arrive at Mweka village after an hour. We will have lunch and then drive back to Moshi for more food, showers, celebrations, and sleep!

Day 10 - Departure
Today, transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for the flight back home*.

*We recommend budgeting 1 – 2 extra days in town in case of delays on the mountain – e.g., bad weather.

Please contact us for more information if interested in adding a short excursion to the beaches of Zanzibar or a wildlife safari, post-climb!

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