Shira route Kilimanjaro was one of the earlier routes on Kilimanjaro that was then modified into Lemosho route and again recently to Northern Circuit or 360 route. The basic Shira 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


Day-1: Meet at Kilimanjaro International Airport

Day-2: Shira gate - 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

It is 5895m or 19,341 ft above sea level.
Shira is done over as little as 6 days. However it is best done over 7 days to add on one acclimatisation day and increase your chances of success, especially because you start at a higher altitude.
The distance for Shira route is approximately 70 km /42 miles from gate to gate
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.
Shira tends, like Lemosho to be a much quieter route. However it also involves a long transfer to the train head. After Shira Camp, the route merges with Lemosho and follows the southern circuit route. Also, as Shira Route starts at 3,600 meters it is not ideal for trekkers who have little or no experience of high altitude trekking.
As with most other routes, accommodation is in tents.
There are several streams on the trail and porters will collect water from them. The cook then boils this water for you to fill you water bottles for your days hike. You can also use purifier tablets in stream water or add it to your boiled water however it can also have an effect on the diamox and make you feel nauseous. The higher you climb the less water there is is. On the Shira trail, the last water point is at the Karanga Valley, the lunch-stop before Barafu. For this reason it is essential that you carry enough bottles for at least two litres.

Yes you do. We (Nomadic Adventures) do not allow anyone to climb with us unless they have adequate travel insurance. Adequate, means you must be covered for

1) trekking or hiking - this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion.

2) altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard option and often limit it to 3500m or less.

3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy - yes, many insurers exclude this, though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for.

4) personal accident - this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients - "if anything happens to me, just leave me there." Bodies need to be brought home or laid to rest overseas, and this can run into thousands of dollars, creating a huge burden on family members.

We will assist in helping you provide good cover. If you need cover or simply a quote, follow the details herewith:. Once you have done your initial quote, you will need to upgrade your cover to include altitudes up to 6000m. Towards the bottom of the page you will see a section called, Options: Upgrade your cover. Click the link called 'View Adventure Sports Benefits'. A blue pop up screen will open. Look for the level of cover required for 'trekking to 6,000 meters' or 'hiking to 6,000 meters'. Depending on your country it is usually a level 1 or 2. Note: we are not insurance experts and it's your responsibility
to ensure you have correct and adequate cover. If you live in South Africa, we have other cover options

A link to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park website

Kilimanjaro National Park - UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Acute mountain sickness: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Detailed Itinerary

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

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

Elevation: 3050 metres to 3500 metres
Distance: 4 kilometres
Trek time: 2 to 3 hours
Environment: Heathland Moorland
This morning we do a 5 hour drive to 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 Simba River where the hiking trail begins. After a packed punch, we trek abut 3 hours to 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
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: 3860 metres to 4550 metres
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: 4600 metres to 3100 metres
Highest point: 5895 metres (Uhuru Peak)
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 for your Shira Route climb on Kilimanjaro.

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 on trek except for last day of trek
All park entry fees
All porter, guide and cook fees
Kilimanjaro emergency rescue fees
Shira Route Kilimanjaro Park permit for 7 days
Camping fees for the Shira Route
Tents on Mt Kilimanjaro
Dining tent, chairs, utensils etc.
Sleeping mattresses for Mt Kilimanjaro
Two night's bed and breakfast at Moshi Springlands Hotel twinshare

Price Excludes

Mandatory travel and medical insurance
Tips, baggage and porterage
Bottled water
Meals other than those indicated
Visa's and vaccinations
International flights
Costs for giving up the expedition (no refunds applicable)
Costs incurred for returning from the mountain 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


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
Summit via Barafu Hut and Stella Point
Sleep in Tents
Descend via Mweka
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
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
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
Summit via Kibo Hut and Gilman's Point
Sleep in Tents
Descend via Mweka
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