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Overview

Shira route is approaching Kilimanjaro from the western side and a little longer trail. The route is very remote and receives quite fewer trekkers. Shira Route starts from the west and meets Lemosho Route. Shira is practically the original route of Lemosho. Lemosho starts at Londorossi Gates whereas Shira proceeds towards north and higher up to Shira Gate. The starting point is a major negative point for the hikers as the body doesn’t get enough time to adjust with the high altitude. The first section of the trail is not hiked, rather driven. Therefore, hikers miss out on hiking up one of Kilimanjaro’s ecological zones, the rain forest. The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Shira Ridge. The vehicle bypasses the rain forest zone and the hiking trail begins on Shira Ridge.

The Shira route crosses the entire Shira Plateau from west to east in a pleasant, relatively flat hike. Then the route traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. Descent is made via the Mweka route.

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Welcome to Tanzania! Upon your arrival into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), and after clearing customs and immigration, you will be met by your Tanzania Tribe Safari representative who will transfer you to your Hotel in Arusha. In the evening your guide who will brief you on your upcoming trek and do an equipment check to make sure you have all the necessary mountain gear. The missing gear can be rented on this day.

Elevation (ft): 11,800 ft to 11,800 ft

Distance: 4 km/2 miles

Hiking Time: 1-2 hours

Habitat: Heath

We depart Moshi for Londorossi Gate, which takes about 4 hours; here we will complete entry formalities while guides and porters prepare equipment. We then continue to drive up a steep path to the Shira Gate where we will begin the hike. The trek starts through shrubs and giant heather until we reach Simba Camp.

Elevation (ft): 11,800 ft to 12,500 ft

Distance: 6 km/4 miles

Hiking Time: 2 hours

Habitat: Heath

Today is a fairly easy day to help with acclimatization. We begin by exploring the grassy moorland and volcanic rock formations on the plateau. Then we take a scenic path to the Shira Cathedral, a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles, before settling at Shira 2 Camp.

Elevation (ft): 15,190 ft to 13,044 ft

Distance: 7 km/4 miles

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

Lava Tower to Barranco Camp

Elevation (ft): 12,500 ft to 15,190 ft

Distance: 3 km/2 miles

Hiking Time: 2-3 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

We continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower – a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. We descend down to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest to an altitude of 13,000 ft. Although you begin and end the day at the same elevation, the time spent at higher altitude is very beneficial for acclimatization.

Elevation (ft): 13,044 ft to 13,106 ft

Distance: 5 km/3 miles

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

We begin the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then we climb the non-technical but steep, nearly 900 ft cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall we cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One steeper climb up leads us to Karanga Camp. This is a shorter day meant for acclimatization.

Elevation (ft): 13,106 ft to 15,331 ft

Distance: 4 km/2 miles

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert

We leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this position.

Elevation (ft): 15,331 ft to 19,341 ft

Distance: 5 km/3 miles

Hiking Time: 7-8 hours

Habitat: Arctic

Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

Elevation (ft): 19,341 ft to 10,065 ft

Distance: 12 km/7 miles

Hiking Time: 4-6 hours

Habitat: Rain Forest

Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. Near Stella Point (18,900 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

After breakfast and rest, we will Transfer you to Kilimanjaro International Airport for those returning home.

 

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