The Shira route is similar to the Lemosho except that its starting point is much higher. Approaching from the far western side of the mountain, to reach the starting point you are looking at a lengthy transfer of around four hours to get to the Londorossi Park Gate at 2,200 m, and then a 4×4 ride which takes you up to the Simba River where the trail starts. You make your first night’s stop at 3,500 m!
Starting at a higher altitude means that you can risk gaining altitude too quickly at the very start. If you do plan on doing the Shira Route, a pre-acclimatisation trek is recommended. This route features camping accommodation throughout the route, and is a quieter route than the others with a fantastic balance of scenery and less people.
The Shira route doesn’t have the best acclimatisation profile given it starts at such high altitude. Whilst there are no official statistics, the average success rate across all Kilimanjaro operators for the seven-day Shira route is around 85%.
The Shira route is nearly identical to the Lemosho route, it just differs in the first couple of days.
Where the Lemosho route starts at Londorossi Gate, the Shira route begins higher up at Shira Gate
So before the climbing can begin, you drive to Shira Ridge, bypassing the rainforest zone which you hike on the Lemosho route.
After passing Lava Tower, the Shira route then follows a path known as the Southern Circuit, which traverses Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field.
Today you’re driven to Londorossi Park Gate, where you’re entered in the registry of the Kilimanjaro National Park. You’re then driven to Shira Gate. Your climb begins here, and you trek through heath and moorland to arrive at Simba Camp, where you stay for the night.
Today your trek takes you past beautiful moorland rock formations and across volcanic rock plateaus. You also cross Shira Cathedral, which is one of the three peaks of Kilimanjaro. Tonight you stay at Shira Camp.
Today’s trek consists of two parts: the climb to Lava Tower, followed by the descent to Barranco Camp. This plan is in keeping with the ‘climb high, sleep low’ strategy that allows for good acclimatisation.Today you hike up to the impressive rock formation called Lava Tower at 4,630 m (15,419 ft) above sea level. It takes five hours to get there and is a true highlight of the entire Kilimanjaro trek.After lunch at Lava Tower, you head down to Barranco Camp, a hike that takes about two hours. The campsite is located in a valley below the Western Breach and great Barranco Wall.
This is a short hiking day of four to five hours that’s focused on helping you to acclimatise. After an early morning breakfast, it’s time for you to conquer Barranco Wall. Although it may look intimidating at first, trekkers usually report that it turned out to be much easier than they anticipated. At the top of the wall, you’re above the clouds and enjoy superb views of the Southern Ice Fields and the summit. The trail then winds up and down until you arrive at Karanga Camp.
You’re now very close to the summit and have some amazing views of the mountain during your short ascent of two to three hours to the last base, Barafu Camp, which sits at 4,600 m (15,091 ft). An early dinner is served so you can get some rest before attempting the summit that same night. Before you go to bed, your guide briefs you in detail on how best to prepare for summit night.
Today is summit day! It’s time for the big push – to dig deep for everything you have to make it to the summit.The route ascends northwest into the dark night, and you walk over stone scree. In about six hours, you reach Stella Point on the crater rim, which sits at 5,685 m (18,651 ft) above sea level. After enjoying the magnificent sunrise, you continue for an hour or so on a snow-covered trail before reaching Uhuru Peak, which is 5,895 m (19,341 ft) above sea level. Uhuru Peak is the highest point in Africa! Be prepared to be overwhelmed by your accomplishment and the magnificent views!After reaching the summit, you descend to Mweka Camp at 3,110 m (10,204 ft) above sea level. Here you spend your final night on the mountain after having hiked for about 12 to 15 hours today!
Today you do the last bit of hiking down to the foot of the mountain, where your driver meets you at Mweka Gate. Time for a beer and great celebration dinner!
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