SHIRA ROUTE CLIMBING KILIMANJARO

Shira route was one of the earlier routes on Kilimanjaro that was then modified to the Lemosho route and again recently to the Northern Circuit or 360 route. The basic route is done over 6 days but given that you start at a higher altitude than most other routes, at 3050m, if you are not properly acclimatised before the trek it can lead to problems with altitude sickness. If you plan on doing Shira Route, a pre-acclimatisation trek like Mt Kenya or Mt Meru is a good idea.

Shira is best done over 7-8 days to allow your body to acclimatise to increases in altitude. It is a quieter route with a fantastic  balance of scenery, less people. The trek can be extended  with an extra night at Moir Huts for acclimatisation as well as at Karanga Camp.

After Shira Camp, the route merges with Lemosho and follows the southern circuit route. The route then crosses the entire Shira Plateau from west to east on a relatively easy day, finally joining in with the Machame route near Lava Tower. Then the route traverses from Lava Tower down to Barranco Camp descending in altitude under Kilimanjaro's Southern Ice Fields. Then continuing along the southern circuit it climbs up Barranco Camp through the Karanga Valley and to Barafu Hut.

With the Machame and Lemosho Route, Shira heads up the Barranco Wall and then summits from Barafu Camp. Descent is made via the Mweka route

Overview

Day-1: Meet at Kilimanjaro International Airport

Day-2: Simba Camp (3500m) to Shira Camp (3840m)

Day-3: Shira Camp 1(3500m) to Shira Camp 2 (3840m)

Day-4: Shira (3840m)- Lava Tower (4630m)-Barranco (3950m)

Day-5: Barranco (3860m) to Barafu (4550m)

Day-6: Barafu (4550m)- Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m)

Day-7: Mweka camp (3100m)- Mweka Gate (1980m)

Day-8: Depart

Fast Facts

Altitude: 5895m

All year

Best weather: June to October. Kilimanjaro is equatorial which means minimal variation between the seasons.  However, there are two rainy seasons in Tanzania, the first is from March to May (short rains) and November to December (longer rains) which can make the forest track very muddy and of course, snow and/or rain higher up.

Tour: From 6 days

Hotels, Tents

Trek Grade: 2c (FP)

A combination of very long days with steep paths, boulders and mountain scrambling. Glaciers and snow may be encountered at high altitude. There is no need for technical climbing experience. Higher risk of altitude sickness due to the high start altitude. Altitudes under 6000m. Good cardio vascular fitness is needed with weight and circuit training and running. Lots of hill walking. Backpacks will weigh about 4-5kg and contain water, camera and essentials. Trek weight loss in the region of 4kg. Fully Portered

Detailed Itinerary

Day-1: Meet at Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer to hotel.

Day-2: Moshi to Simba Camp (3500m)

Elevation: From 3050 metres to 3500 metres
Trekking distance: 4 kilometres
Trek time: 2 to 3 hours
Environment: Heathland Moorland
This morning we do a 5 hour drive to the Londorossi Park Gate at 2200m, taking in sights of the east rift valley and animals en route. After completing park formalities, we drive for a further 26km to the Simba  River where the hiking trail begins. After a packed punch, we trek abut 3 hours to the Simba Campsite. The trek begins. We climb for 3 to 4 hours, with a packed lunch en-route, to Simba campsite at 3500m.

Day-3: Simba Camp (3500m) to Shira Camp 2 (3840m)

Elevation: 3500 metres to 3840m metres
Trekking distance: 6 kilometres
Trek time: 4 to 5 hours
Environment: Moorland
This morning the route is relatively easy trek across the plateau that leads to Shira Camp 2. Shira Plateau is actually a the remains of a caldera, or collapsed volcanic crater. There are several streams along the route and a very slow and steady gain in altitude. A variety of walks are available around the plateau making this day better after the rapid ascent the day before. Shira is one of the three volcanoes in the Kilimanjaro massif.

Day-4: Shira (3840m)- Lava Tower (4630m)-Barranco (3950m)

Elevation: 3840 metres to 4630 metres to 3950 metres
Distance: 10 km
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
After breakfast, you hike thought the moorland scrub and enter a semi-alpine desert like moonscape, littered with massive volcanic rock, while you hike constantly upwards toward Lava Tower. As you approach an altitude of 4200m, you may start to feel a shortness of breath as the effects of altitude take hold. After Lava Tower, you trek into a beautiful valley to Barranco camp where you spent the night at a lower altitude than Lava Tower. Today follows the golden principle of climb high and sleep low.

Day-5: Barranco (3860m) to Barafu (4550m)

Elevation: From 3860 metres to 4550 metres
Trekking distance: 13 kilometres
Trek time: About 7 hours
Early morning at around 07h00, the Barranco Wall lies ahead which you climb, to bring you out to a great spot with incredible views over Moshi and the clouds below. The route then descends down through the Karanga Valley and eventually come out at Karanga Valley Camp. Barafu Hut is another 2 hours trek higher to Kibo.

Day-6: Barafu (4550m)- Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m)

Elevation: From 4600 metres to 3100 metres
Highest point: 5895 metres (Uhuru Peak)
Trekking distance: 30 kilometres (7 kilometres ascent, 13 kilometres descent)
Trek time: 13 to 16 hours (6 to 8 hours ascent, 7 to 8 hours descent)
Environment: Stone scree / ice-capped summit
Rising before midnight, you start your climb into the night in a North westerly direction. The route will take you towards Stella Point (5685) on Kibo crater rim. It can take anything from 5 - 6 hours and is physically challenging. After a short rest at Stella Point the trek to Kilimanjaro summit is another altitude gain of 200m, taking anywhere from 1-2 hours. After summitting Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak, you hike down to Barafu and then down towards Mweka hut (3100m).

Day-7: Mweka camp (3100m)- Mweka Gate (1980m)

This morning is a short 3-hour scenic hike to Mweka. Those climbers who achieved Stella Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates.

Day-9: Depart

Today you are transferred to Kilimanjaro airport for your flight home.

End of services

What's Included

Price includes

Return Kilimanjaro airport transfers
Three meals a day while on trek except for last day of trek
All park entry fees
All porter, guide and cook fees
Kilimanjaro emergency rescue fees
Kilimanjaro Park permit for 7 days
Camping fees
Tents on Mt Kilimanjaro
Dining tent, chairs, utensils etc.
Sleeping mattresses for Mt Kilimanjaro
Two night's bed and breakfast at Moshi Springlands Hotel on a room share basis

Price Excludes

Mandatory travel and medical insurance
Tips, baggage and porterage
Laundry
Bottled water
Meals other than those indicated
Visa's and vaccinations where applicable
International flights
Costs for giving up the expedition (no refunds applicable)
Costs incurred for returning to the hotel earlier than expected (From $70 per night)
Extra transfer across to Londorrosi Gate

Pros and Cons

 As you start at a higher elevation the altitude sickness risk is high, unless you have pre-acclimatised
on a another trek

 Longer drive around to the start guide which means a higher cost with the transfer

 Very quiet seldom used route for the first few days

 Stunning views across Shira Plateau and the Shira Needle

Suggestions

 Add on a day at Moir Hut if you are not pre-acclimatised

 Tag on another day at Karanga Camp if you want a longer slower ascent

Route Profile Map

Kilimanjaro Shira Route Profile Map 8 days
 Shira Route query

Book your Shira Climb
Overview of other routes
 6 - 7 days trekking
 40 minutes drive to Machame Gate
 Scenic but steep
 Good for acclimatisation
 Starts in forest and joins Lemosho and Shira routes
 Summit via Barafu Hut and Stella Point
 Sleep in Tents
 Descend via Mweka Route
Machame Route Itinerary
 7 - 8 days trekking
 3 hour drive to Park Gate
 Scenic, quiet, longer approach
 Good for acclimatisation
 Starts in forest and joins Machame and Shira routes
 Summit via Barafu Hut and Stella Point
 Sleep in Tents
 Descend via Mweka Route
Lemosho Itinerary
 6 - 7 days trekking
  4 hours of driving to Park Gate
  Very quiet
  Need an extra day for acclimatisation
  Starts near Kenyan Border
  Route joins Marangu Route
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
  Sleep in Tents
  Descend via Marangu Route
Rongai Route Itinerary
 5 - 6 days trekking
  30 minutes road to Marangu Gate
  Busy route
  Less scenic - same ascent and descent
  Need an extra day to acclimitise
  Route joins Northern Circuit and Rongai Route
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
  Sleep in Huts
  Descend via Marangu Route
Marangu Itinerary
8-9 days trekking
  4 Hour drive to Shira Gate
  Very Quiet
  Less scenic but longer approach
  Start higher but route is good for acclimatisation
  Route joins Rongai and Marangu Routes
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
  Sleep in Tents
  Descend via Marangu Route
Northern Circuit Route
 5-7 days trekking
  40 Minute drive to Umbwe Gate
  Very Quiet
  Very steep and fast approach
  Poor chances for acclimatisation
  Route joins Shira, Lemosho and Machame Routes
  Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
  Sleep in Tents
  Descend via Mweka Route
Umbwe Route Itinerary
 Kilimanjaro Short Treks
These treks are designed for people with less time available or who do not want to go for summit. They range from 1 to 4 days on Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro Short Treks
 Mt Meru
Mt Meru is a great pre-acclimatisation trek before Kilimanjaro or a stand alone trek. These treks are 3-4 days
Mt Meru Itinerary

There are several options to add on a safari tour in either Tanzania or Kenya after your Kilimanjaro trek. The shortest safari is 3 days up to around 9 or longer if you prefer.
Safari Tours


Frequently Asked Questions