Please note this climb is based on pick up and drop off Kilimanjaro airport
The Shira route approaches Kilimanjaro through forest and moorland from the west, crossing the caldera of Shira volcano and explores the rock formations of the plateau, before traversing beneath the southern icefields of Kibo. We make our final ascent by the Barafu route. The seven-day itinerary gives maximum possible acclimatisation and also gives us plenty of time to enjoy the magnificent scenery. The views of Kibo in the sharp light of morning and early evening are often stunning and the Lent Hills, close to the western flank of the summit cone, are very rarely visited. Shira is a little-used approach route with time to enjoy this unspoilt wilderness, before the convergence with other routes in the later stages of the trip.
Day 1 – Moshi
You are met on arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport and transferred to the Springlands Hotel in Moshi. Those arriving by 1900 will meet for an equipment check and climb briefing. If arrival is late evening, the briefing is held the next morning. Overnight at Springlands Hotel on bed and breakfast basis.
Day 2 – Moshi to National Park Gate (approximately 2½ hours)
Climb to Shira One Camp.
A long day of walking that begins from Londorossi National Park gate (2,250 m.). We walk through farmland and plantations and continue climbing steadily on a broad track through shrub forest and stands of giant heather to reach the rim of Shira Plateau (3,350 m.) The views across the surrounding plains open out as we climb and the area is home to a variety of game including buffalo. Our first camp is in the centre of the plateau at “Shira One” (3,550 m.) (6-8 hours walking). Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis.
Day 3 – Climb to Shira Hut Camp
An easy day to help acclimatisation, with time to explore the grassy moorland and volcanic rock formations of the plateau. We walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral (3,750 m.), a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles. There is a tangible sense of wilderness here (especially when the afternoon mists come in!) and the views from our camp near Shira Hut (3,840 m.) of Mt. Meru floating on the clouds are simply unforgettable. (4-5 hours walking). Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis.
Day 4 – Climb to Moir Hut Camp
We explore beneath the Northern Icefields, an area almost totally unvisited by tourists. Here there are unusual views of Kibo. The excursion can be either a steady climb to reach the ridge above Moir Hut (4,200 m.) or a more strenuous walk to reach the summit of the Lent Hills (4,700 m.). The remainder of the day is free to rest and enjoy our peaceful campsite. (4-8 hours walking). Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis.
Day 5 – Climb to Barranco Camp
A morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau behind to walk on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach. After lunch near the Lava Tower junction, (4,550 m.) we descend to the bottom of the Great Barranco Valley (3,900 m.), sheltered by towering cliffs. Here there are extensive views of the plains far below. (5-7 hours walking). Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis.
Day 6 – Climb to Barafu Camp
A steep climb up the Barranco Wall leads us to an undulating trail on the southeastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern Icefields. Lunch is usually taken at Karanga, the last water point, in a steep valley. After lunch, the terrain changes to scree and we climb steeply to reach the Barafu campsite (4,600 m.) by mid afternoon. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night. (6-8 hours walking). Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis.
Day 7 – Summit Day! Then descend to Mweka Forest Camp
We will start our ascent by torchlight at about 1 a.m. so that we can be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded zig-zags. It’s slow but steady and takes us to Stella Point (5,735 m.) in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the two hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m.), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite (3,100 m.) at the edge of Mweka Forest. (11-15 hours walking). Overnight on the mountain on a full board basis.
Day 8 – Descend to National Park Gate – Moshi
A sustained descent through lovely forest with lush undergrowth takes us to the National Park gate at Mweka (1,650 m.) (4-6 hours walking) When we finish the climb, there will be a vehicle waiting to meet you and transfer you back to Moshi. Overnight at Springlands Hotel on bed and breakfast basis
Day 9 – Depart
After breakfast you are transferred to Kilimanjaro International Airport or connect to your onward arrangements.
You may choose to extend your stay in Tanzania with a safari or relax on the beach in Zanzibar. We can help with those arrangements.