Shira route – 7 days mountain climb

The Shira Route is quite a well known route and favoured by some people and not by others. It is similar to the Lemosho Route in that it spends time on the Shira Plateau, but misses the walk through the Lemosho Glades and the initial ascent to high altitude is much faster.

This route starts at Londorrossi Gate and takes you very quickly onto the Shira Plateau. This plateau is particularly scenic but this quick ascent is quite punishing as Londorrossi Gate is at 2240 metres (7349 feet) and by the end of the first day you are already at 3720 metres (12205 feet) at Murram barrier which doesn’t give you a good acclimatisation. The route crosses the Shira Plateau which does then give you a chance to acclimatise to this altitude before going even higher. You are then joining the Machme Route above Shira Camp on day 4. From here on you are following the Machame route, summiting via Stella Point and coming down the Mweka Route.
An alternative to joining up with the Machame Route on day 4 is to head north right around the mountain on what is known as the Northern Circuit. This takes you to the East to summit via Gillman’s. This, however is an EXTREME program and should only be considered if you are very fit and looking for a serious challenge. See our route section on the Northern Circuit.

Shira 7 day Route Map and Itinerary via Stella Point

  • Day 1
    On arrival in Kilimanjaro airport you’ll be driven to the base hotel. This evening you’ll have a briefing where you’ll be given details about the forthcoming climb and have a chance to ask any questions.
  • Day 2
    After breakfast you’ll be driven to to Londorrosi gate where you’ll meet your guides and porters who’ll play such an important role over the next few days. Having completed formalities (your guide will do the paperwork for you) and had a bit of lunch, you’ll start hiking to Murram Barrier. Overnight Murram Barrier Camp 2,248m
  • Day 3
    This morning we hike over the Shira plateau and ascend into Shira 1 camp for lunch. There is plenty of time to relax this afternoon. Overnight Shira 1 Camp 3,505m
  • Day 4
    From Shira we traverse across the slopes of Kibo. Here relatively little flora or fauna can survive the extreme temperature ranges and conditions that typify this zone. Lunch is normally taken close to Lava Tower before descending down to Barranco camp in the afternoon. Dinner & overnight Barranco camp. 3,910m
  • Day 5
    An early start is recommended to hike the Barranco wall. After about 2 hours you reach the top and then hike over glacaial valleys to Karanga camp. Sunsets here are particulary spectacular with views of the southern glacial valleys and ice fields towering 1000 meters (over 3000 feet) above you. Overnight Karanga Camp 3,910m
  • Day 6
    Today is another half day ascending to Barafu camp. Once again lunch is taken in camp allowing plenty of time to relax before the summit bid. You are in desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp. But on the plus side you get great views of Mawenzi peak. An early dinner before heading to rest for a few hours. Overnight at Barafu Camp. It’s just 4-5 hours walking today but you’ll be gald of the rest before a big day tomorrow. 4,600m
  • Day 7
    This is it – summit day! You’ll be woken at about midnight with a hot drink before you set out, torch in hand, for the initial climb to Stella Point. Patience and persistence is the name of game to reach Stella Point on the crater rim at around dawn. It’s then a relatively short final push to the summit, Uhuru Peak – The Roof of Africa!. You’ll see the glaciers and if the weather is clear may get wonderful views of the plains far below. Having achieved your goal, it’s time to head back down to Millenium Camp. You’ll arrive, exhausted but elated, by mid-afternoon. This is a seriously long day with 12 – 16 hours hiking time. 4,600m – 5,895m -3,760m
  • Day 8
    After breakfast you descend once again through montane forest and around mid day after saying farewell to your crew, you are picked up and transfer back to the base hotel. Have a shower and a celebratory drink or two!
  • Day 9
    Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport or your onward travels.

Shira 7 day Route Map and Itinerary via the Northern Circuit

  • Day 1
    On arrival in Kilimanjaro airport you’ll be driven to the base hotel. This evening you’ll have a briefing where you’ll be given details about the forthcoming climb and have a chance to ask any questions.
  • Day 2
    After breakfast you’ll be driven to the Marangu Gate at the south-east of the mountain. You’ll have about 4-5 hours walking through lush rainforest before arriving at Mandara Hut, 2,700m.
  • Day 3
    You’ll walk about 15kms today through changing vegetation. It’ll take 5-6 hours to reach Horombo Hut, 3,720m 3,720m
  • Day 4
    This is your acclimatisation day. You can to take an optional hike to Mawenzi Hut and then descend back to Horombo Hut, about 2-3hrs walking. This allows your body to get used to the effects of altitude and should increase your chance of success.
  • Day 5
    From Horombo you’ll continue the climb, crossing The Saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. Your destination is Kibo Hut, 4,703m. This will be a long and tiring day as altitude will start to tell. Expect to spend between 6 and 8 hours walking.
  • Day 6
    Summit day! You’ll be woken at around midnight for the 5 hour walk up steep scree to Gillman’s Point at 5,690m. There will be plenty of rest stops on the way. It’s another 1-2 hours around the crater rim to Uhuru Peak at 5,895m. Give yourself a few moments to enjoy your achievement before beginning the descent back to Horombo Hut, a descent of some 4-5 hours.
  • Day 7
    After breakfast at Horombo you’ll continue down to the park gates a Marangu, 1,843m, 5-7 hours walking. Here you’ll be picked up and driven back to the base hotel. Check into your room and enjoy the luxury of a hot shower before a drink or two in the bar and a celebratory dinner.
  • Day 8
    Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for your onward travels.
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Amanda Marks

Managing Director
Self confessed Africa-lover, but keen on all new travel experiences, Amanda is passionate about getting to know different cultures.

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Tracy Edwards

Travel Consultant
Tracy was been born and spent her youth in South Africa, the draw of the animals, the people and wilds of Africa have always run through her veins.

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Sinead Bailey

Travel Consultant
Sinead caught the travel bug following a year out after university. She has worked in the travel industry ever since, and visited many countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia.

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Christine MacDougall

Travel Consultant
The African dust is firmly planted in Chris’s heart. Born in Tanzania she spent much of her childhood in and around Ruaha. Travel and safari was part of life and through into adulthood fun and travel has never left her.