Kilimanjaro Climbing Shira Route

The Shira route approaches Kilimanjaro through forest and moorland from the west, crossing the caldera of Shira volcano and exploring the rock formations of the plateau, before traversing beneath the Southern I cefieds of Kibo.We make our final ascent by the Barafu route. The six day itinerary ensures good acclimatization and there are often stunning views of Kibo in the sharp light of morning and early evening. Shira is a little – used approach route and there is time to enjoy the unspeilt wilderness of Shira Plateau before the convergence with other routes in the later stages of the trip..

Duration: 6 days trekking from Moshi or Arusha; 4 and a half days ascending, 1 and a half days descending
Type of Accommodation: Camping
Game Parks: Kilimanjaro Tanzania
Trekking Activities: Mountain Climbing

The Shira Cone rises 200 meters above the plateau, and west of the cone is Shira Ridge, a steep rough rise reaching almost 400 meters above the plateau. The southern ridge of the Shira Plateau has two dramatic peaks called Cathedral and the Needle. The road to Shira is only accessible by 4-wheel-drive vehicles and can become impassable during wet periods. The Shira Route traverses the plateau to join the Machame Route.

Shira Route Note:
We do not place groups together. This way you are ensured the full attention of our guide, but with the added knowledge of our guides’ experiences. It also means that we can start the climb on the day you prefer.

Shira climbing Itinerary:

Arusha or Moshi
Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met at the Airport and transferred to the hotel in Arusha/Moshi for your overnight and briefing by our mountain guide

Day 1: Moshi /Arusha to Shira Gate to Shira Camp 2

  • Elevation(m): 915 m to 1387m to 1,830 m to 1,830 m
  • Elevation(ft): 3,000 ft to 6,000 ft to 6,000 ft
  • Distance: 18 km,
  • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: Montane forest.

After breakfast and a briefing from your guide, leave Moshi/Arusha and drive for several hours to the Shira Gate on the western side of Kilimanjaro, register with the national park. Begin hiking, and enter the rainforest immediately. Your walk through the rainforest is on a winding muddy trail up a ridge. At these lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy, so gaiters and trekking poles will help. Stop halfway for lunch, and reach the Shira Camp in the afternoon. Unpack, rest, and have some tea or coffee. Dinner is served during the early evening at 7 PM.

Day 2: Shira Camp 2 to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp

  • Elevation (m): 3840m to 4,630 m to 3,950 m
  • Elevation (ft): 12,600 ft to 15,190 ft to 12,960 ft
  • Distance: 15 km,
  • Hiking Time: 7 hours
  • Habitat: Semi-Desert

After breakfast, you will hike east up a steepening path above the highest vegetation toward Kilimanjaro’s looming mass. After several hours, you walk through a rocky landscape to reach the prominent landmark called Lava Tower at 4,630 m/15,190 ft.

Day 3: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

  • Elevation (m): 3,900 m to 4,200 m
  • Elevation (ft): 12,800 ft to 13,780 ft
  • Distance: 7 km
  • Hiking Time: 4 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert

After breakfast, we continue up a steep ridge to the great Barranco Wall, then you climb this imposing obstacle, which turns out to be easier than it looks. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you can now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. With Kibo’s glaciers soaring overhead, you descend into the lush Karanga Valley to the Karanga Valley campsite.

Day 4: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

  • Elevation (m): 4,200 m to 4,550 m
  • Elevation (ft): 13,780 ft to 14,930 ft
  • Distance: 13 km,
  • Hiking Time: 8 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

In the morning, you hike east over intervening ridges and valleys to join the Mweka Route, which will be your descent route. Turn left toward the mountain and hike up the ridge through a sparse landscape for another hour to the Barafu Hut where you will receive a hot lunch. The last water on the route is in the Karanga Valley; there is no water at Barafu Camp, even though Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice.” The famous snows of Kilimanjaro are far above Barafu Camp near the summit of the mountain.

Day 5: Summit Day! Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

  • Elevation(m): 4,550 m to 5,895 m to 3,100 m
  • Elevation (ft): 14,930 ft to 19,340 ft to 10,170 ft
  • Distance: 7 km up, 23 km down
  • Hiking Time : 8 hours up, 7-8 hours down
  • Habitat: Scree and seasonal snow

You will rise around 11:30 PM, and after some steaming tea and biscuits, you shuffle off into the night. Your 6-hour climb northwest up through heavy scree between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers to Stella Point on the crater rim is the most challenging part of the route for most climbers. At Stella Point (5,685 m/18,650 ft) you stop for a short rest and a chance to see a supremely sanguine sunrise. At Stella Point you join the top part of the Marangu Route, but do not stop here too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Depending on the season and recent storms, you may encounter snow on your remaining hike along the rim to Uhuru Peak.

Day 6: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate to Moshi or Arusha

  • Elevation (m):3,100 m to 1,980 m to 890 m/1378m
  • Elevation (ft):10,170 ft to 6,500 ft to 2,920 ft/4921ft
  • Distance: 15 km
  • Hiking Time: 3 hours
  • Habitat: Forest

After a well-deserved breakfast, it is a short, scenic, 3 – hour hike back to the park gate. Don’t give your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely, but do remember to tip your staff at the gate. At Mweka Gate, you can sign your name and add details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates

Arusha or Moshi:
Depart for the airport or other destinations in Tanzania or Kenya. A trip to the beaches at Zanzibar is a good way to recuperate. We can arrange many reasonably priced trips and safaris to the Tanzania Nothern Parks such as trips to Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park and to Arusha National Park. Also we can arrange trips to Southern Circuit such as trips to Selous game reserve, Mikumi National Park and Ruaha National Park.

Extra Day for Acclimatization
you can add an extra day to your trek by staying at Barranco Camp for two nights. Then, you will hike to the Karanga Valley Camp on Day 5, the Barafu Camp on Day 6, summit on Day 7, and finish your descent on Day 8. Adding this day will ease your effort, and amplify your acclimatization.

* Discounts available for groups of 4 persons and above

Price above Includes:

  • Transport to and from mountain gates.
  • All parks entry fees.
  • All camping fees.
  • Rescue fees.
  • Guide and porters fees.
  • Guide and porters salaries.
  • All accommodations on the mountain based on three meals a day.
  • Cook and all kitchen utensils.

Price Above Excludes:

  • International and domestic flights (we can arrange on request)
  • Accommodation on the first night upon your arrival before climb and on the last day after climb (book with us)
  • Airport transfers (book with us)
  • Tips, drinks and all items of personal nature
  • Hard and soft drinks and tips
  • Sleeping bags but we can provide for hire on request.
  • All Mountain Gears (we can arrange hire of this)