Kilimanjaro - Shira Route
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A remote and scenic route to the summit of Africa's highest mountain
Approaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro by the remote Shira Route is an exhilarating option for walkers keen to explore less trodden trails and who are comfortable in variable mountain conditions. From the forest and moorland to the caldera of Shira volcano, we explore the fascinating rock formations on the Shira plateau before traversing beneath the southern ice fields of Kibo. We enjoy stunning early morning views of Kibo and our day spent in the rarely visited Lent Hills will be a highlight before we join the main route to the summit of Uhuru Peak (5895m) on the crater rim. The eight day itinerary gives maximum possible acclimatisation and flexibility to enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery that extends from the volcanic summit to the vast African plains.
- Arusha located at the base of Mt Meru
- Walking through giant heather to reach the rim of Shira Plateau
- Walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral
- The option to walk to the summit of the Lent Hills (4700m)
- Sunrise over Mawenzi before pushing to the summit Uhuru Peak (5896m)
Day 1 Arusha
Today is an arrival day. If you choose to fly into Kilimanjaro Airport we recommend a private transfer to Arusha where the rest of the day is at leisure. We stay at the Ilboru Safari Lodge which has spacious rooms, a pool, and restaurant. This evening you will meet the rest of the group and your guide for a trip briefing.
Day 2 Commence climb to "Shira One" (3550m, 4-5 hours)
After completing the necessary registration formalities at Londorossi National Park gate, we drive a short distance on a steep track through farmland and plantations (2800m), and continue climbing steadily on foot through shrub forest and giant heather to reach the rim of Shira Plateau (3350m). The views across the surrounding plains open out as we climb to our first camp in the centre of the plateau at "Shira One" (3550m)
Day 3 To Shira Hut Camp (3840m, 4-5 hours)
We have an easy day to help acclimatisation and to explore the grassy moorland and the volcanic rock formations of the plateau. We walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral (3750m), a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles. There is a tangible sense of wilderness especially when the afternoon mists come in! The views from our camp near Shira Hut (3840m) of Mt Meru floating on the clouds are simply unforgettable.
Day 4 Camp near Moir Hut (4200m, 3-6 hours)
We explore beneath the Northern Ice fields, an area almost totally unvisited by tourists and with unusual views of Kibo. The morning walk is a steady climb away from the moorland of Shira Plateau to reach the broad upland desert beneath the Lent Hills. After lunch in our camp close to Moir Hut (4200m), there is the option of a more strenuous afternoon walk to reach the summit of the Lent Hills (4700m) or enjoy our peaceful campsite. We are privileged as few visitors get to this remote corner of Kilimanjaro.
Day 5 To Lava Tower Camp (4550m, 3-6 hrs)
This morning we enjoy a gentle ascent and panoramic views, walking on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach. After lunch at our Lava Tower campsite (4,550 m), there is a steep and spectacular afternoon walk on the rocky lower slopes of the Western Breach to reach the ruins of the old hut at Arrow Glacier (4,800 m). This afternoon excursion is highly recommended both for acclimatisation purposes and for the superb views of hanging glaciers on both sides of the Breach.
Day 6 To Karanga (4000m, 5-7 hours)
A steep descent into the bottom of the Great Barranco valley (3900m), sheltered by towering cliffs and with extensive views of the plains far below. A short climb up the famed Barranco Wall leads us to an undulating trail on the south-eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern Ice fields. The terrain is volcanic scree, with pockets of lush vegetation in sheltered hollows, with a powerful sense of mountain wilderness. Our next camp is at Karanga (4000m), the last water point on the approach to Barafu. There is plenty of time to rest, or for an acclimatisation walk in the afternoon up the valley above the camp towards the glaciers of the Southern Ice fields.
Day 7 To Barafu Campsite (4600m, 3-5 hours)
A short but steep climb out of Karanga valley, following an easy path on compacted scree that gains altitude unrelentingly to reach the Barafu campsite (4600m) for lunch. During the afternoon, other walkers will begin to fill the campsite for the first time in our trip. There is a short acclimatisation walk to the plateau at the bottom of the South-East valley (4,800 m.). The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night.
Day 8 Summit (5895m) then descend to Millenium Camp 13-15hrs
We will start our ascent by torchlight at midnight so that we can be up on the Crater rim for sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded zig-zags and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella Point (5,735 m), in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the two hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descent to reach our final campsite (3,800 m) Millenium.
Day 9 Descend to Mweka 3-5 hrs, then to Arusha
We have a sustained descent on a well constructed path through lovely tropical forests alive with birdsong and boasting lush undergrowth with considerable botanical interest. Our route winds down to the National Park gate at Mweka (1650m) and on through coffee and banana farms to Mweka village. We are met by our vehicle and transferred to Ilboru Lodge. A well earned shower is tantalizingly close!
Day 10 Trip Concludes
After breakfast at your hotel the trip arrangements end.
- 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners
- English speaking local guide
- Park entrance fees approx. US$860
- private vehicle transport
- Pre-departure Information Guide, with all you need to know for your trek.
- accommodation in 3 to 4 star hotel in Arusha
- all group camping and catering equipment on the Kilimanjaro climb (sleeping bags and mats are not provided)
- 10 day trip
- 8 day trek
- 2 nights hotels
- 7 nights camping
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).
What You Carry
In your daypack you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the altitude, location and weather), a rainjacket, water bottle, film and camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip-eze etc.