7 Day Shira Route Itinerary
Day 1: Arusha / Moshi – Londorossi Gate – Simba 1 (11,800 ft – 11,800 ft, 4 km, 1 – 2 hrs)
The starting point for the Shira Route is the Londorossi Gate, where equipment and supplies will be prepared and the park registration paperwork is completed. The path begins up a 4WD track through the rain forest; keep an eye out for the Colobus monkey and possibly an elephant or buffalo. The trail follows the Ngarenairobi River as we leave the forest and enter the next habitat zone: health. Here the trail winds through a landscape of giant heather and shrubs until we reach camp.
Day 2: Simba 1 – Shira 2 (11,800 ft – 12,500 ft, 6 km, 2 hrs)
After breakfast we begin the trek to Shira 2 Camp. The hike is a steady climb towards the Morum Hill and Morum Barrier, where the where the Shira Plateau begins. The terrain is mostly flat across the plateau. From camp the views of the Western Breach and its glaciers are stunning.
Day 3: Shira 2 – Lava Tower – Barranco Camp (12,500 ft – 15,190 – 13,044 ft, 10 km, 7 – 8 hrs)
From Shira 2, we continue east and gain more than 2,500 ft in elevation as we make our way towards Lava Tower, called the “Shark’s Tooth.” Shortly after, we come to the second junction which brings us near Arrow Glacier at an altitude of 16,000 ft. We descend to Barranco Hut at an altitude of 13,044 ft. The trek through Barranco Valley’s Senecio forest is one of the most scenic paths on all of Kilimanjaro.
Day 4: Barranco Camp – Karanga Camp (13,044 ft – 13,106 ft, 5km, 4 – 5 hrs)
Our first challenge is a climb and scramble over the volcanic rock of the 1,200 ft Barranco Wall. On reaching the top, we have a well earned lunch break and enjoy fantastic views of Barafu and Mount Meru. We continue across the ridges and valleys to the Karanga Valley campsite. This is a short day meant for acclimatization.
Day 5: Karanga Camp – Barafu Camp (13,106 ft – 15,331 ft, 4 km, 4 – 5 hrs)
After breakfast, we leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to Barafu Hut. At this point, we have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy an early dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are visible from this site.
Day 6: Barafu Camp – Uhuru Peak – Mweka Hut (15,331 ft – 19,341 ft – 10,065 ft, 17 km, 11 – 14 hrs)
Very early in the morning (midnight), we put on many layers of clothing and begin our climb to the summit. We head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. At Stella Point (18,600 ft), we stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see. From Stella Point, we have just one more hour before reaching the summit. At Uhuru Peak, you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Faster hikers will see the sunrise from the summit. From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well – earned sleep.
Day 7: Mweka Camp – Arusha / Moshi (10,065 ft – 5,380 ft, 10 km, 3 – 4 hrs)
After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi.