Shira Route – Kilimanjaro Trek

Day by Day Itinerary

The Shira Route, akin to the Machame Route, approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the southwest, starting at the Shira Plateau. This route is favored for its scenic beauty and a more gradual ascent compared to other routes, making it a good choice for trekkers who have a bit more time and want to enjoy the scenery. The Shira Route merges with the Machame Route near Lava Tower and approaches the summit via Barafu and Stella Point. It’s known for offering trekkers stunning panoramic views and diverse landscapes, from moorland and alpine desert to the glacial zone near the summit.

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Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and Preparation

Arrive in Tanzania and settle into your accommodation in either Arusha or Moshi. Use this day for rest, orientation, and final preparations for the trek. Overnight at a hotel like the Arusha Coffee Lodge or Kilimanjaro Wonders Hotel.

Day 2: Shira Gate to Shira Camp 1

  • Altitude: 3,400m to 3,500m
  • Hiking Time: 1-2 hours

Start at the Shira Gate and trek through the moorland zone to Shira Camp 1. This short hike is designed for acclimatization and offers fantastic views of Mount Meru and the Great Rift Valley.

Day 3: Shira Camp 1 to Shira Camp 2

  • Altitude: 3,500m to 3,840m
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Trek across the Shira Plateau, known for its stunning natural beauty and panoramic views. The hike to Shira Camp 2 is relatively gentle and offers opportunities to see unique alpine flora and fauna.

Day 4: Shira Camp 2 to Barranco Camp via Lava Tower

  • Altitude: 3,840m to 4,630m (Lava Tower) down to 3,950m
  • Hiking Time: 6-7 hours

Ascend to the Lava Tower for acclimatization and then descend to the picturesque Barranco Camp. This day is crucial for acclimatization and offers striking views of the Western Breach and Breach Wall.

Day 5: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

  • Altitude: 3,950m to 3,995m
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Climb the Barranco Wall and trek through the alpine desert of the Karanga Valley to Karanga Camp. This day is shorter, allowing for rest and acclimatization.

Day 6: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

  • Altitude: 3,995m to 4,673m
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Trek to Barafu Camp, the base camp for the summit attempt. Rest and prepare for the midnight trek to the summit. The views of Mawenzi and Kibo peaks are spectacular.

Day 7: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak, down to Mweka Camp

  • Summit Altitude: 4,673m to 5,895m
  • Descent to Mweka: 5,895m to 3,100m
  • Total Time: 12-14 hours

Begin the summit attempt around midnight. The trek to Uhuru Peak is challenging but immensely rewarding. After reaching the summit, descend to Mweka Camp overnight.

Day 8 (optional): Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate, Departure

  • Descent: 3,100m to 1,640m
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours

Descend to Mweka Gate, where you will receive your summit certificates. Transfer back to your hotel in Arusha or Moshi to rest or prepare for departure.

Packing and Preparation Tips
  • Extend the trek to 7 days for better acclimatization.
  • Combine with a safari in Tanzania’s national parks or a beach holiday in Zanzibar.
  • Upgrade to luxury lodging or camping equipment.
  • Tailor the trek based on physical fitness and trekking experience.
Price and Customization

The cost of trekking the Shira Route on Mount Kilimanjaro typically ranges from approximately $2,000 to $3,000 per person.

This price can vary based on several factors, including:

  • Season (with peak and off-peak rates).
  • Group size (private treks tend to be more expensive than joining a group).
  • The level of service and amenities provided.
  • Park fees, camping/hut fees, and rescue fees.
  • Services of professional guides, porters, and a cook.
  • Meals and water during the trek.
  • Accommodation in tents or huts along the route.
  • Transfers to and from the start and end points of the trek
  • International and domestic flights to and from Tanzania.
  • Pre- and post-trek accommodation and meals.
  • Personal trekking gear and equipment.
  • Travel insurance that covers high-altitude trekking.
  • Tips for guides and porters.
  • Trek Duration: Choose between a 6-day or 7-day itinerary. The 7-day option includes an extra day for acclimatization, enhancing the chances of a successful summit.
  • Accommodation: Options range from basic to luxury for pre- and post-trek stays.
  • Group or Private Trek: Opt for a private trek for a more personalized experience or join a group for a more cost-effective option.
  • Additional Acclimatization: Add extra days on the mountain for acclimatization to increase summit success rates.
  • Add-on Experiences: Include a safari in Tanzania’s national parks, a cultural tour, or a beach holiday in Zanzibar.
  • Luxury Upgrades: Enhance your trek with upgraded services, such as higher quality food, larger tents, and additional support staff.
  • Fitness Preparation: Tailored training plans can be arranged.
  • Dietary Requirements: Specific dietary needs can be accommodated with prior notice.
  • Age and Experience: Customization based on the age and experience levels of the trekkers.
  • Advance Booking: It is advisable to book several months in advance, especially during peak seasons.
  • Expert Consultation: Many trekking companies offer pre-trip consultations to help tailor the trek to your needs and expectations.

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Kilimanjaro Packages

Trekking packages vary depending on the route, duration, and level of comfort. Most packages include park fees, accommodation (tents or huts), meals during the trek, guides, porters, and transport to and from the mountain. Customized packages can also include add-ons like safari trips or cultural tours.

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Maria Fernanda Gomez
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Preston G
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