Shira Route (5 or 6 days Hiking)
The Shira Route is an approach from the western side of Kilimanjaro. This route runs parallel and to the north of the Lemosho Route and the trailhead is accessed by vehicle taking 6 -7 hours driving time from Moshi. It is a long bumpy muddy drive going past Lemosho Gate gaining 1500 m (5,000 ft) to an altitude of about 3,600 m (11,800 ft) where you are a short 1 hourís hike to Shira Two Camp.
If you wish to consider this route, you must already be acclimatized as you will be starting you hike at almost 12,000 ft! If your body has not had time to adjust to the altitude you may well experience Acute Mountain Sickness.
This route basically ďjump startsĒ the Machame Route which it follows after you join the route at Shira Two Camp.
The Western Breech Approach is also an option with this route.
DAY 1: Arrival
Our staff will meet you at Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer you to your lodging where you will spend the night. Before dinner, your guide will sit with you, go through your equipment, help you pack, and brief you on the climb ahead. Enjoy a dinner and get some sleep to prepare for your adventure in the morning.
DAY 2 (HIKING DAY 1): Lodge - Shira Two Camp
After breakfast you will start a long drive past Lemosho Gate where you will complete your required check-in and registration. You will then get back in the vehicles and travel up the Shira Plateau to the trailhead.
You will have a rather short hike through the rain forest to Shira Two Camp where your tent will be pitched and dinner being prepared.
Altitude range: 1,500 meters (4,900 ft) - 3,850 meters (12,600 ft)
Hiking time: 1 hour
Distance: 3 km
Habitat: Rain Forest
DAY 3 (HIKING DAY 2): Shira Camp - Lava Tower - Barranco camp
From Shira Camp the route turns east towards Kibo and you will find yourself hiking through semi-desert and then the fairly rocky conditions that surround Lava Tower at 4,600 meters (15,100 ft) where you will have lunch. After lunch you descend again by approximately 650 meters to Barranco Camp. Along the way you should make the most of the excellent vantage points which overlook the Western Breach and Breach Wall. This is a good time to get your cameras out to get some stunning pictures. The camp is located in a valley just below the Breach and gives an impressive look of Great Barranco Wall.
Enjoy a magnificent sunset while you wait for your cook to finish preparing a well deserved dinner and the porters get your tents ready for a night of rest in sub zero temperatures.
Altitude range: 3,850 meters (12,600 ft) - 4,600 meters (15,100 ft) - 3,950 meters (12,950 ft)
Hiking time: 7 hours approx
Distance: 14 - 15 km's (9 miles)
Habitat: Semi desert and rocky terrain
Optional Extra Acclimatization DAY 4 (HIKING DAY 3)
If you like, and we highly recommend this as it improves your chances of success by 75%, hiking day 4 can be spent as an acclimatization day. On this day you will walk from Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp. It will take around 4 hours to cover 7 km (4.3 miles) through Alpine Desert. Your guide will use this walk to assess your strength and stamina for the summit ahead. This also assists your guide in determining the pace you should summit at and what time to wake up to begin hiking for the summit.
This evening you will be sleeping at an altitude of around 4,200 meters (13,700 ft) above sea level. If you opt for this extra day you will only ascend by 360 meters, hence giving you sufficient time to acclimatize along with a bit of a rest.
DAY 4/5 (HIKING DAY 3/4): Barranco camp - Barafu camp
After breakfast you will leave Barranco Camp (or Karanga Camp if you opted for the acclimatization day) and make your way up the Great Barranco Wall. This part of the climb may look far worse than it really is! From the Great Barranco Wall you will then descend through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, to the junction that connects with the Mweka Route.
We will help you make sure you fill up with water in the Karanga Valley as there will be no water at Barafu Camp where you will be spending part of the night.
At Barafu Camp, at an altitude of 4,560 meters (15,000 ft), your tents will be pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge and is exposed to all the elements. Bank on winds and a freezing night.
At camp, your guide will advise you to familiarize yourself with your surroundings before dark, as you will be leaving in the dark before midnight to make the final ascent to the summit.
You will also need to spend some time preparing your equipment for your summit attempt. Ensure that your headlamp and camera along with batteries are in order and make sure you have spare sets of batteries available as well. Also have your water in a thermal flask.
Make sure you are in bed by 19:00 (7 PM) as you will only have about 4Ĺ hours before your wake up call. It may be difficult, but it is important to get as much sleep as possible.
Altitude range: 3,950 meters (12,950 ft) - 4,560 meters (15,000 ft)
Hiking time: 7 hours from Barafu or 3 hours from Karanga
Distance: About 13 km's (8 miles) from Barafu or 6 kmís (3.7 miles) from Karanga
Habitat: Alpine desert
DAY 5/6 (HIKING DAY 4/5)): Barafu camp - Stella Point - Uhuru Peak (SUMMIT) - Mweka Campsite
Today will by far be your TOUGHEST day of the climb, you will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you head off into the night towards Stella Point on the Kibo Crater rim. The walk to Stella point is for many climbers probably the most mentally and physically challenging part of the entire route. You will be hiking about 6 hours through rocky terrain and scree to get to Stella Point where you will stop for a rest and if the weather cooperates, one of the most stunning sites you may see in your lifetime - a truly magnificent sunrise over all of Africa! Departing from Stella Point, you will follow a path along the crater rim that is not steep but more than likely you will be walking through snow for the next 2 hour until you finally reach the summit of Uhuru Peak at 5,895 meter (19,340 ft). CONGRADULATIONS you made it!
Donít get too relaxed and spend too much time on the summit, even if the weather is good. Cold and fatigue will set in quickly and you may find it very difficult to get started again. So spend a little time to enjoy the fact that you have conquered Kilimanjaro, get the camera out and take some pictures, then it will be best that you get moving again as itís a long way down! The first part of your descent back through the scree to Barafu will take almost 3 hours. Here you will stop for a short rest before heading down to Mweka Hut. It will take about 5 hours to work your way down the rock and scree path to the moorland and eventually back into the rain forest. Oh what a feeling as oxygen once again returns to your body! Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. As usual your tents, dinner, and washing water will be prepared. Iíll bet you will sleep well tonight!
Altitude range: 4,560 meters (15,000 ft) - 5,895 meters (19,340 ft) - 3,100 meters (10,200 ft)
Hiking time: 15 - 16 hours
Distance: 30 kilometres (19 miles)
Habitat: Snow, Ice and Stony scree.
DAY 6/7 (HIKING DAY 5/6): Mweka camp - Mweka Gate - Lodging
After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike back to the Mweka Park Gate. Here you will sign your name and enter your details in a register. To make your achievement official, you will receive a summit certificate. If you reached Stella Point you will be presented with a green certificate, and if you made it all the way to Uhuru Peak you will have earned yourself a gold certificate. Then a drive back to your lodging and a hot shower!
Perhaps you will want to arrange an optional trip to Arusha for some souvenir shopping.
Take some time out for a bit of celebrating before getting a decent night's rest in a comfortable bed.
Altitude range: 3,100 meters (10,200 ft) - 1,970 meters (6,500 ft)
Hiking time: 3 hours
Distance: About 15 km's (9 miles)
DAY 7/8: Back home
Our staff will transfer you back to (JRO) OR Kilimanjaro International airport for your onward flights, Zanzibar, Dar Es Salaam or your National Parks safari.