Some Mt. Equipments:

Here is a small checklist of the necessary items required for climbers. Anorak, raincoat, scarf, gloves, balaclava,goggles or sunglasses, a peaked sun hat, warm sweaters, warm trousers, waterproof trousers, pairs of socks, mountain boots, apair of light shoes, rucksack, sleeping bag, water bottle,headache pills, torch with extra batteries, sun protection cream. Note that, climbing gears for mountain climbers are not included in the tour price but they can be hired at the mountain Park gates.

Shira Route 8Days/7Nights

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The Shira Route is one of the lesser used trails on Mount Kilimanjaro, making it perfect for those wishing to avoid large numbers of climbers on the first few days. The route passes through some of the best parts of the forest before winding across the Shira Plateau, the highlight of many climbers expedition.

The Shira Route approaches from the west with the massive cone of Kibo looming straight ahead for a lot of the climb, great for some spectacular photography. This is a great route for anyone who wants to spend a little more time on the mountain (though it is recommended for climbers who are already acclimatized, due to the high altitude start), as there are plenty of walks and trails around the Shira Plateau that can be added to your standard climb.

Day 1- Arrival. Briefing. Overnight: Mountain Base Hotel

2- Shira Trail head to Forest Camp for Over Night Stay

Time (average): 4-5 hours
Altitude gained:
100 metres (3500 feet)
: 7 km

Departure then drive to the Shira Park Gate takes between 2 and 3 hours through some beautiful countryside. At the Park Gate, After the registration formalities, you will proceed to the gate to start your climb.

Today's walk consists of a long, gentle slope heading east, taking us to the forest's edge. The trail is wide and well-kept as it also doubles as an access route for rescue jeeps gaining access to the Shira Plateau. As the trees thin, you can see the Shira Plateau to the south and ahead is Morum Hill. Tonights camp is in the Forest. The porters will have climbed ahead of you and prepared your camp and dinner for the night.

Day 3 - Forest camp to Shira Camp

Time (average): 6-8 hours
Altitude gained:
1050 metres (3500 feet)
: 12 km

A 2-hour hike up a shallow but steady gradient brings you to the Morum Barrier (11,480ft/3500m). From here the route curves south-south-east. The gentle ascent continues for another 2 hours of slow climbing, bringing you to the Simba Cave Campsite (11,780ft/3590m) and the junction with the Lemosho Route. The cave is just to the northeast of the junction. Camp is to the southeast but instead we will head south-south-west for the Shira Cathedral, a flat walk of about 1 hour 30 minutes. After spending some time exploring the impressive lava features at the Cathedral we walk east for 1 hour 15 minutes to the Shira Huts (12,600ft/3840m) in time for dinner. It can dip below freezing on the Shira Plateau at night so wrap up warm. It's a good idea to start sleeping with tomorrow's socks in your sleeping bag from tonight on to keep them warm. Keep your hat, gloves and torch handy too in case you need to go to the toilet during the night.

Day 4 - Shira camp to Barranco camp

Time (average): 6-8 hours
Altitude gained:
100 metres (500 feet)
: 8.5 km

NOTE: Today the Shira Route merges with the Lemosho Route, Machame Route and the Umbwe Route as all 4 join the Southern Circut

Today you climb high and sleep low for acclimatization. Your destination is the impressive Barranco Valley. You have 2 options for getting there. Those who prefer a less strenuous day or those feeling the effects of altitude can climb a maximum height of 14,860ft / 4530m just after lunch before descending into the valley. Those who feel up for a little more adventure can continue climbing to the Lava Tower (15,230ft / 4642m) before their descent.

Leaving camp you climb east towards Kibo into an increasingly barren land with breathtaking views. Shortly after leaving camp there is a short steep section that involves a little scrambling. After a while you come to another 10 minutes of fairly steep scrambling then the trail levels out. An hour of walking brings you south up a ridge, merging with the Machame route on the Southern Circuit where you stop for lunch, about 4 hours after leaving camp.

After lunch those heading directly to the Barranco Valley descend south for 2 hours to camp. The route has great views of the Lava Tower and the Western Breach. Those heading for the Lava Tower continue to climb a moderate slope for about 45 minutes before arriving at the foot of the Western Breach. After an hour of resting, exploring and even rock climbing you descend to camp, ending day 4.

Day 5 - Barranco camp to Barafu Camp

Time (average): 7-8 hours
Altitude gained
: rises 380 metres (1250 feet) over the Barranco Wall, then falls and rises to Barafu (650 m/ 2130 ft net gain)
: after a steep, exposed climb up the Barranco Wall (some scrambling), gradients ease
: a taxing day, to be followed by an even tougher night, but with good views.

From the campsite, you head north for a short distance, and cross a river before meeting the day's main challenge: the Wall is close to vertical in places, your route takes a diagonal line and is not as hard as it appears at first. The scrambling itself is no more difficult than on Day One, but it is more exposed and lasts much longer - a stiff climb of over 300 metres. You will feel a great sense of achievement looking down from the top.

If you aren't used to scrambling, follow behind someone who is, putting your hands where he or she does: your feet will follow. If you are worried about the exposure, don't look down. Think of the wall as a long uneven staircase with handholds. It's amazing to watch the porters calmly walk up carrying heavy weights on their heads, without using their hands.

After the Wall, the path crosses a plateau area divided by several valleys with superb views up towards the southern ice fields - in the order that you see them, they are Heim, Kersten and Decken glaciers. You descend fairly steeply into the Karanga Valley (4000 m), the last water point, so before leaving stock up with water for Barafu and beyond. Most groups stop for lunch here, important fuel for the night-time attempt on the summit, but some add an additional day to the standard itinerary and camp here overnight for acclimatization.

About 3 km after the Karanga Valley, the circuit path meets the Mweka trail, which is the normal Machame descent route. You turn left at this junction, heading up toward Barafu Camp. Alternatively, your group may take a more diagonal route from Karanga Valley, in effect cutting the corner to reach Barafu. Once you are settled in, watch out for lovely evening light on Mawenzi.

Day 6a - Barafu Camp to the Summit

Time (average): 6-10 hours
Altitude lost
: 1195/1295 metres (3920/4250 feet) to Stella Point/ Uhuru peak
a steep, rough ascent on lose scree and rocks to the crater rim; more gradual thereafter
: the most strenuous stage of a strenuous route, normally attempted between midnight and dawn

As on the Marangu route, you will be woken around midnight to walk through the night, and you need the early start to try to reach the summit and still have time to descend in daylight. To reach your next night's accommodation via Uhuru, you need not only to gain 1295 m of vertical height, but also to lose 2795m.

The climb to Stella Point is the most daunting section of the Shira route, mainly because of the altitude and darkness, but there are no technical difficulties. It is a long steep slog, very steep in places, but if your're determined and escape altitude sickness, you will get there in the end. If your feet slip back on the scree, try pushing harder on those poles and edge with your boots; watch the guides. As you near or reach Stella Point, the sunrise will raise your morale and body temperature.

From Stella Point it takes another 45 minutes or so to Uhuru Peak, although the gradients are much gentler and the terrain easier. There's no point in making a superhuman effort to reach the summit unless you are also still capable of getting yourself down. However, you may find that the achievement of reaching the summit gives you a rush of energy that sees you through this, perhaps the longest day of your life.

You will now start your descent of the mountain and reach Mweka for the night.

Day 6b - Summit to Mweka camp

Time (average): 7-8 hours
Altitude lost
: 2795 metres (9170 feet)
gradual descent around crater rim, then steep, lose scree followed by rough path
many people find the descent hard on the knees and feet: don't underestimate this stage

The descent from Uhuru begins immediately after the all-night climb. From the summit, you will lose 2795 m to reach Mweka. These are massive descents, much further than you would attempt anywhere else. You have to perform this immediately after a night of enormous effort at high altitude, without a proper rest, let alone sleep.

Then there's terrain: descending the steep scree is tricky, although using two poles helps. The guides have a nifty technique of half-running, half-sliding down the scree on their heels. Some people find it easy to follow suit, others fall a lot. If you fall, try to relax on the way down and watch out for rocks.

Don't be pressurised into descending faster than you feel safe. The dust may create a serious problem for your eyes, nose and throat, so protect your face. Hold back: it's much worse when you follow another hiker closely.

Your knees and toes take the brunt of the descent. Start by lacing your boots tightly over the instep, to prevent your toes from hitting the end of the boot. This can cause lasting numbness, especially in the big toe, and may lead to loss of toenails. If your boots were too short in the first place, you will find this out to your cost.

Once you reach your overnight camp. Get a well-earned nights rest.

Day 7 - Mweka camp to Moshi

Time (average): 3-4 hours
Altitude lost:
2550 metres (8370 feet)
: mainly through the forest
: Short descent to Mweka gate

Before leaving camp, take a few minutes to look north at the snow-covered cone of Kilimanjaro. It's a beautiful sight and one you will never forget.

A steady descent of about 1 hour 30 minutes brings you 3.5km downhill to Mweka Camp. There are some nice places to grab a few last pictures of the summit on this trail. 5 minutes from Mweka Camp you reach a very clear divide with the forest. From the boundary of the forest to the park gate is 10km of downhill. For a lot of today’s hike, you're walking on a ridge between 2 huge gorges, giving some impressive views through gaps in the trees. After about 2 hours of hiking you come to the start of the 4-wheel drive track and from here to the gate is only a 40-minute walk. This last section of the forest has an abundance of elusive monkeys but if you're lucky you may come across a few foraging in the trees. You will also pass young children allowed in by the park rangers in order to collect dead wood for the fire. They are fascinated by digital photography and showing a photograph you just took of them always gets a good reception. Any sweets or chocolate you still have is a welcome treat for these kids.

At the park office you are presented with your certificate if you reached Stella Point (green) or better yet, the summit (gold). Then it is back to the hotel for a hot shower and big feed. All that’s left to do now is get a good night's rest before your transfer onwards or to the airport tomorrow.

Extra day for Acclimatisation

Day 5 Karanga Camp (4200m) - Acclimatisation day

After breakfast, you leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, to the Karanga Valley Campsite. This additional day will further assist the process of Acclimatisation.

Click to read more on acclimatisation...

Mountain  base hotel

Your pre/post trek accommodation

We choose comfortable base hotel and  an ideal place to stay with its conveniently located in Moshi:

  • 5km away from Moshi town on route to Marangu
  • Forty minutes away from the main gate of Kilimanjaro National Park
  • Thirty minutes away from Mweka gate
  • 40km away from Kilimanjaro International Airport
  • 40km away from Machame gate

Itineraries we planned  include accommodation at Mountain base hotel (unless specified otherwise) providing a range of services which are perfect for an overnight stay before and after your tour.

Kili Routs & Packages