MOUNT KILIMANJARO SHIRA ROUTE
There are six established routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, and Umbwe. The Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe route all approach from the south of the mountain. The Lemosho and Shira routes approach from the west. The Rongai route approaches from the north. All routes except Marangu and Rongai descend via the Mweka route
Shira Route on Mount Kilimanjaro
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro via The Shira Route
Very similar to the Lemosho route, however it starts at 3,600 meters and is therefore not ideal for trekkers who have little or no experience of high altitude trekking.
On the first day, you begin at Shira Gate to Simba Camp before joining the Lemosho Route on day two at Shira Camp 2. The high starting point is however a major negative for this route as many experience altitude sickness from day one without enough time to acclimatize.
The route over the Shira Plateau has several possible variations. After Shira Camp 2 the route joins the Machame Route via Lava Tower and then descends to the Barranco Camp via the Southern Circuit. The ascent to Uhuru Peak is made via Barafu Camp and up the southern slopes of Kibo.
The route is seldom used by other trekkers and so your initial two days on the mountain are less crowded than on most other routes.
Duration: 6 – 8 days
DAY 1: DRIVE TO KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK SHIRA GATE, HIKE TO SHIRA 2 CAMP
Elevation: 1830m/6000ft to 3850m/12,600ft
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
The drive from Moshi to the trailhead takes about 3 hours. We hike through the rainforest on a winding trail up a ridge. At lower elevations, the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the Shira Camp. Overnight at Shira 2 Camp.
DAY 2: HIKE SHIRA 2 CAMP TO LAVA TOWER TO BARRANCO CAMP
Elevation: 3850m/12,600ft to 4000m/13,000ft
Walking Time: 5-6 hours
From the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth” (elevation 4650m/15,250ft). Shortly after the tower, we come to the second junction which goes to the Arrow Glacier. We now continue down to the Barranco Camp. Although you end the day around the same elevation as when you began, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day. Overnight at Barranco Camp.
DAY 3: HIKE BARRANCO CAMP TO KARANGA CAMP
Elevation: 4000m/13,000ft to 4050m/13,250ft
Hiking Time: 34 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall to the Karanga Valley and the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. Overnight at Karanga Camp.
DAY 4: HIKE KARANGA CAMP TO BARAFU CAMP
Elevation: 4050m/13,250ft to 4700m/15,350ft
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
We continue up to the Barafu Camp. You have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. Overnight at Barafu Camp.
DAY 5: HIKE BARAFU CAMP TO SUMMIT, DOWN TO MWEKA CAMP
Elevation: 4700m/15,350ft to 5895m/19,340ft
Down to 3090m/10,150ft
Distance: 5km/3mi up / 13km/8mi down
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours up / 5-6 hours down
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2 am), we continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. At Stella Point, you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see. Faster hikers may view the sunrise from the summit.
From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. Once at Uhuru Peak you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa!
From the summit we begin our descent by continuing straight down to the Mweka Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You may want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. We arrive at Mweka Camp and enjoy our last evening on the mountain. Overnight at Mweka Camp.
DAY 6: HIKE MWEKA CAMP TO MWEKA GATE, DRIVE TO MOSHI
Elevation: 3090m/10,150ft to 1680m/5500ft
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
From the gate, continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 30 minutes). You now drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower, dinner, and celebrations!! Overnight in Bristol Cottage.
The trekking package includes the following:
- Professional Kilimanjaro Guides & Internationally recognized Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification
- Government taxes
- An adequate and appropriate number of guides, porters, and cooks for your group
- Transfers to and from Kilimanjaro International Airport (2 transfers)
- All park fees, camping fees, rescue fees, and team fees are 18% VAT
- Transfers to and from the route gate(s) (2 transfers)
- Sleeping mattress pad(s), dining tent(s), sleeping tent(s), and crew’s equipment
- 2 nights in Moshi on a Bed & Breakfast basis (1 before trekking & 1 after trekking)
- Hotel in Moshi
- All guides, porters, and cooks’ wages
- Food and drinking water
- Portable toilet for the trek
- Complimentary oxygen cylinder
The trekking package does not include the following:
- Gamow bag
- Tips for guides, porters, and cooks (recommended 20%)
- Travel or Medical Insurance is required and you should ask for a Recommendation.
- Tanzanian VISA
- Energy food & beverages, alcoholic and soft drinks.
- Personal gear including personal rain gear, trekking poles, sleeping bags, etc.
- National/International flights
- Additional nights if decent early from the mountain.