7 Days Shira route hike to Kilmanjaro
7 Days Shira route hike to Kilmanjaro: Shira route is a little used route on mountain Kilimanjaro, this trail is nearly identical to Lemosho route though it is the original route and Lemosho is the improved route and it starts from near Shira ridge. Shira route is a beautiful route though less used because of its relatively high altitude of the starting point and because of the high altitude some climbers experience altitude symptoms on the first day of the trekking as they camp at 11,800 ft.
Shira route approaches Mountain Kilimanjaro from the western direction and trekking on this route begins with a long drive from Moshi city to Shira ridge passing through the rain forest, this route crosses the entire Shira plateau from West to East with a relatively flat hike. The route traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field on Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu and descending this route is made using Mweka route.
Itinerary for climbing mountain Kilimanjaro using Shira route
Climbing mountain Kilimanjaro using Shira route takes 7 days to trek up to the summit and descend back to Mweka gate, the trek starts from Shira gate and ends at Mweka gate .
Day 1: trek from Shira gate to Simba camp
The first day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro using Shira is a trek from Shira gate to Shira, this trek is done on a trail of 4 kilometers taking approximately 1-2 hours of hiking. This trail lies in the elevation range of 11,800 ft – 11,800 ft and it passes through heath type of vegetation, the trek begins with departing from Moshi heading for Londorossi gate which is a journey of 4 hours and at the gate you will complete all the formalities and fill all the necessary documents. The guides and porters to assist you on the trek will prepare the equipments then begin the hiking through shrubs and giant heather leading to Simba camp where you will spend the night after having dinner.
Day 2 of 7 Days Shira route hike to Kilmanjaro: trek from Simba camp to Shira 2 camp
The second day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro using Shira route is a trek from Simba camp to Shira 2 camp, this trek is done on a trail of 6 kilometers and it takes approximately 2 hours of hiking. This trail lies on the elevation range of 11,800ft – 12,500 ft and it passes through heath type of vegetation, today’s trek is fairly easy in order to help with acclimatization. The trekking begins with exploring the grassy moorland and volcanic rock lieing in the plateau as you head for Shira cathedral which is a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacle, you will continue hiking until you reach Shira 2 camp where you will have dinner and spend the night.
Day 3 of 7 Days Shira route hike to Kilmanjaro: trek from Shira 2 camp to Lava Tower and from Lava Tower to Barranco camp
The third day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro using Shira route is a hike connecting to two points that is from Shira 2 camp to Lava Tower and from Lava Tower to Barranco camp, the first trek is on a trail from Shira 2 camp is of 7 kilometers in distance and it takes 4-5 hours of hiking. This trail lies in an elevation range of 12,500 ft – 15,190 ft and it passes through Alpine dessert Vegetation, another trek is from Lava Tower to Burranco camp which is a distance of 3 kilometers which is approximately 2-3 hours of hiking.
This trek begins with continuing the trek heading up east of the ridge then southeast towards the Lava Tower which is a volcanic rock formation standing at 300 ft tall, from the Lava Tower you descend down to Burranco camp trekking through the beautiful green forest at the altitude of 13,000 ft. the funny fact of today’s trekking is that you begin an end at the same elevation and the time spent at the higher altitude is for acclimatization, you are to have dinner and spend the night at Barranco camp.
Day 4 of 7 Days Shira route hike to Kilmanjaro: trek from Barranco camp to Karanga camp
The fourth day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro using Shira route is a trek from Burranco camp to Karanga camp, the trail connecting to these two points is of5 kilometers taking approximately 4-5 hours of hiking. this trail passes through Alpine dessert and lies in the elevation range of 13,044ft- 13,106 ft. today’s trek begins with descending into a ravine heading to the base of the Great Barranco wall then climb the non-technical but steep cliff of about 900 ft. from the Barranco wall the trek involves crossing a series of hills and valleys until you descend into Karanga valley, the climb from Karanga Valley to Karanga camp is a steep climb and today’s trek is short as it is meant for acclimatization. you are to have dinner and spend the night at Karanga camp.
Day 5: trek from Karanga camp to Barafu camp
The fifth day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro using Shira route is a trek from Karanga camp to Barafu camp on a trail running a distance of 4 kilometers taking approximately 4-5 hours of hiking, this trail lies in the elevation range of 13,106 to 15,331 ft and runs through Alpine vegetation. Today’s trekking begins with leaving Karanga camp heading to the junction connecting with the Mweka trail and continue trekking up to the rocky section, from this point you will head to Barafu hut which marks the completion of the south circuit. At Barafu camp you get magnificent views of the summit from various angles and also the two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are visible, at the camp you will have dinner and stay overnight.
Day 6: trek from Barafu camp to Uhuru peak and from Uhuru peak to Mweka camp
The sixth day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro using Shira route is a trek between two points that is from Barafu camp to Uhuru camp and from Uhuru peak to Mweka camp, the first trek is from Barafu camp to Uhuru camp on a trail of 5 kilometers taking 7-8 hours of hiking. This trails lies in the elevation of 15,331 ft – 19,341 ft and runs through Arctic vegetation cover, the second trek is from Uhuru peak to Mweka camp on a trail of 12 kilometers taking approximately 4-6 hours. This trail lies in the elevation range of 19,341 ft to 10,065 ft running through rainforest vegetation.
today’s trek begins as early as a round midnight, in the dark hours your trek heading up to the summit and this is the most mentally and physically challenging stretch. At this stretch wind and coldness can be extreme and as you trek for several hours in the darks you take short and frequent breaks until you reach the Stella point at the elevation of 18,900 ft. Near Stella point you are rewarded with most beautiful sunrise as the sun comes over Mawenzi peak, the trek continues until you finally arrive at Uhuru Peak which is the highest point of mountain Kilimanjaro and the whole of African continent.
From the summit the descending continues straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site with a stopover at Barafu camp for lunch, the trail to Barafu camp is very rock and can be hard on the knees that is why trekking poles are helpful. You are to spend the night at Mweka Hut camp site which situated in the upper forest and at this point mist and rain fall is expected in the late afternoon hours, in the evening you will have dinner and stay overnight.
Day 7: descend from Mweka camp to Mweka gate
The seventh and last day of climbing mountain Kilimanjaro using Shira route is a descending trek Mweka camp to Mweka, this trail is of 10 kilometers taking approximately 3-4 hours and it lies in the altitude range of 10,065 ft.-5,380 ft passing trough rainforest.
Today’s trek begins with descending from Mweka camp to Mweka gate, the lower elevations are wet and muddy. At the gate you will collect your summit certificates and then continue to Mweka village where you will meet your driver and drive to your hotel in Moshi city.