The Shira Route Hike on Mt. Kilimanjaro
The Shira route is traditionally one of the quieter and lesser-known routes on the mountain. It is also the oldest trail variation that formed Lemosho and probably the most diverse in terms of the ecological systems, wildlife and landscapes it passes through. Complete the necessary registration formalities at Londorossi Gate, and then drive through varied farmland with open views over the plains to reach the starting point of your hike.
The first two days of this route take you through the lush rainforest before you emerge into heath and moorland, then join the Machame Route on the fourth day. This narrow trail, which begins on the Western side of Kilimanjaro, has some very steep and undulating sections. To embrace the true beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro, hikers overnight in tents where they can enjoy an adventurous camping experience under a starry blanket of nightfall.
Being one of the less-trodden routes on Kilimanjaro, Shira has built-in acclimatization, which helps to enhance trekkers’ pre-summit preparation and maximize their chances of reaching the roof of Africa in the best condition (mentally as well as physically). You will love a sense of solitude and enjoy incredible scenic vistas en route to the summit. Based on our records, you will have a greater than 97% chance of making it to the roof of Africa via the Shira Route!
Anyone reasonably fit can climb Mount Kilimanjaro, as it is a multi-day trek with no technical climbing requirements. Therefore, with the proper preparation and pacing, the peak is within reach for most enthusiastic adventurers, whatever their level of skill or experience. As said by the first man ever to climb Mount Everest, Edmund Hillary, “it is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”
Join a small group of like-minded trekkers - just like YOU!
Mount Kilimanjaro - Machame, Shira, Barranco, Karanga, Barafu & Mweka
➤ Trek on the world’s highest free-standing mountain, and one of the famous “Seven Summits”
➤ Enjoy 6-7 days on Kilimanjaro, with built-in acclimatization with an optimal chance of summit success
➤ The treks are lead by our very own mountain teams, employed full time and with many years of guiding experience on Kilimanjaro
➤ All safety kits, devices and equipment are provided
➤ You will have a greater than 97% chance of making it to the summit
➤ Join one of our scheduled group departures, OR enjoy the solace of your own private trek
- Lead Guide(s) – English speaking & Wilderness First Responder trained
Assistant Guide(s), for 6+ people
- Porters, equipment
- Porters, personal client luggage (15 kg per client)
- Standard Sleeping tents (twin share)
- Sleeping mat, 2-inch foam
- Walk-in dining tent and table
- Backed chairs
- Wash basins with hot water each morning and evening
- Private portable toilet with toilet paper
FOOD & DRINK
- Three meals per day & afternoon snack during the trek
- Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free upon request
- Treated drinking water (minimum of 3L per day while trekking with additional water available at camp)
- Coffee and tea during the trek
HEALTH & SAFETY
- Pulse oximeter
- Altitude sickness checklists
- First aid kit
- Emergency oxygen
PREPARATION & FEES
- Kilimanjaro National Park fees – camping/hut, rescue, conservation and taxes
- All Government Taxes and Fees
- Pre-trek briefing with your private guide
ACCOMMODATION & TRANSFERS
- Roundtrip airport transfer between Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and Arusha
- Roundtrip transfer between Arusha and the park gate
- Hotel stays in Arusha pre-trek (2 nights total) on Bed & Breakfast basis at Arusha Planet Lodge (twin share)
* International and domestic flights
* Travel and personal accident insurance
* Visa, passport, vaccinations, and medicines
* Gratuities/Tips for guides, cook, porters, transfer drivers, hotel staff
* Additional accommodation or meals resulting from early descent
* Personal trekking gear such as sleeping bag and clothing
* Expenditure on personal bar bills at hotels (including all additional meals & drinks not specified), souvenirs, personal items
* Optional excursions/activities not detailed in itinerary
* Any additional services requested
* Lunch/Dinner meals at Arusha Planet Lodge
This option is made available for those who might need an extra flexible payment plan that will allow them to confirm this small group trek now with complete peace of mind. In this case, the total cost of the trip can be payable in three easy instalments as follows:
- $500 USD per person, a refundable Hold Deposit to reserve your seat
- 30% ($628.50 USD per person) non-refundable deposit
- 70% ($1,466.50 USD per person) final balance 75 days before the trek
Why Join a Small Group?
- Fixed itineraries.
- Guaranteed departures.
Our guaranteed trips are packed with wildlife encounters, sightseeing, and activities that all reﬂect your group’s focus and interests. Most importantly, you will make life-long friends and memories you will never forget!
Frequently Asked Questions
If there are 8 guests, how many porters and guides will be there?
For a group of eight guests, we would send a crew of 56-57 staff as follows:
- 48 porters
- 4 mountain guides (chief & assistant guides)
- 1-2 special summit porters
- 1 cook
- 2 waiters/assistants
What happens if a guest is not well one day and wants to wait for a few hours to start hiking, can someone stay with them until they feel better?
Yes, one of the guides will be allocated to stay with the guests who are not feeling their best until they start to feel better.
The guide will establish a slow and steady pace with the guest which allows them to optimize their breathing and improve their energy levels. Better breathing creates a better pace which reduces water loss from the body. By doing so, the guest will gain much-needed oxygen in their vital organs and help their body acclimatize better.
Depending on the situation, we will also allocate a porter that will be able to tag along with the guest who is unwell and help carry their luggage and assist the guide with any emergency.
Can the sick guests be evacuated and taken to the next camp in case they feel better later?
We actually have a policy of never returning a tired but fit guest from the mountain unless they’re very sick and completely unable to continue with the climb. So, depending on the condition of the unwell guest, we could wait for them to feel better whilst slowly trying to catch up with the rest of the group and have a goal to arrive at the next camp last but on the same day before dark.
The team will pay close attention to how the guest’s body reacts to the change in altitude which is a major concern when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The onset of altitude sickness can come in various forms and may affect trekkers in many different ways. Some experience it slowly while in others, it comes quickly. So, we always advise the guests to closely monitor themselves and report their changing conditions to the guides.
Luckily for all our trekkers, we will provide the guides with all the safety devices and equipment that can help detect the early stages of acute mountain sickness (AMS) and we will immediately react accordingly.
The mountain expert guides will ensure that they monitor the guest’s oxygen levels and perform pulse and temperature checks daily. Together, the team will continue to check up on the guest’s progress and assess their health to see if they are fit to safely continue with the trek.
What is the process if the guest is unwell but not ready to give up yet?
If the guest is unwell but not ready to give up, we will implement a“fit assessment test” which is simply based on making it to the next camp on the same day. If the guest is behind by a full day, we will know for sure that it will be difficult for this unwell guest to catch up with the rest of the group since the next camp will be located at an even higher altitude than the previous one. At this point, most unwell trekkers will agree to be taken to a lower altitude when their bodies can’t physically allow them to proceed.
In this case, the best option will be to either send the guest slowly down to the lower camps to wait for the rest of the group members to return from summiting (this will not attract extra costs) or send them all the way back to their own arranged accommodation in Arusha or Moshi (this will attract extra costs for additional accommodation and transportation).
Should the guest express severe signs of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), and be unable to stay in such high altitudes, the only way for them to start feeling better is sometimes to trek down. Therefore, the allocated guide and crew will make that call accordingly, depending on the condition of the guest who is unwell.
Furthermore, we will have an experienced rescue team to assist the guests immediately and ask for a rescue should any emergency arise. While a temporary emergency evacuation cover is offered to all our guests, we highly recommend that you also find comprehensive international travel insurance that covers a mountain trek for up to 6,000 meters altitude.
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Departure/Return LocationKilimanjaro International Airport [JRO]
Dress CodePreparation is key if you want to successfully summit Mount Kilimanjaro. Lucky for you, when you allow our experts to help plan your trek, you should never have to worry about what to prepare, or how to pack (what to wear) for your Kilimanjaro hike! All the essential information will be provided to you in a booklet (along with a detailed itinerary) to help you feel thoroughly prepared for your Kili climb with us.
DAY TO DAY ITINERARY
DAY 1: ARUSHA, TANZANIA (1/2 NIGHTS)
Welcome to Tanzania! Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), you will be warmly welcomed by Wito Africa private vehicle and driver, who will transfer you to your accommodation in Arusha for pre-trek briefing and overnight.
A delicious dinner will be served upon arrival. Your butler will then show you to your room where you will spend two nights.
DAY 2: ARUSHA, TANZANIA (2/2 NIGHTS)
After a delicious breakfast, you can spend it resting by the pool or strolling around the beautiful city of Arusha for a private guided city tour. Lunch will be provided at the property at your own cost.At 2:00 pm, you will be met at your hotel by your private mountain guide for a trek briefing and gear checking. Ask as many questions as you can to make sure you are fully aware of the exciting adventure that is ahead of you!
In the evening, enjoy your dinner at the hotel followed by an overnight.
DAY 3: MACHAME CAMP (ONE NIGHT)
After a delicious breakfast, your private transfer driver, guides and vehicle will greet you at your accommodation and transfer you to Machame Gate for registration. At one-hour drive away from Moshi lays the gate to the Machame route, where you will complete park formalities, meet your crew of porters and start to climb!
The first section of the route climbs steadily and involves real jungle-bashing through magnificent forest. This path is less well-trodden and is often wet and muddy underfoot. Upon reaching the Machame Hut camp, you will settle in for your first night on the mountain and enjoy some hot tea and snacks before dinner.Transfer Time: 1 Hour Trekking Time: 4-6 hours | Distance: 10.75 km / 6.7 mi | Altitude Change: +1210 m / +3,969 ft
DAY 4: SHIRA CAMP (ONE NIGHT)
The route continues on up through the forest until reaching the steep ascent on the Shira Plateau, where there are rewarding views of the mountain. Looking back, you will be able to see Mt. Meru rising high above Arusha town.
Trekking Time: 4-6 hours | Distance: 5 km / 3.1 mi | Altitude Change: +818 m / +2,684 ft
DAY 5: BARRANCO CAMP (ONE NIGHT)
Walking now on high moorland, the landscape changes the entire character of the trek. You will traverse the southwest side of Kilimanjaro, passing underneath the Lava Tower and the final section of the Western Breach, finally reaching Barranco Camp. The day has been spent at altitude, but you will have followed the mountaineering code of ‘walk high, sleep low’ to avoid altitude sickness by aiding your bodies in acclimatization.Trekking Time: 6-7 hours | Distance: 10.2 km / 6.3 mi | Altitude Change: +788 m / +2,585 ft; -641 m / -2,103 ft
DAY 6: KARANGA VALLEY CAMP (ONE NIGHT)
Start the day by descending into the start of the Great Barranco, a huge ravine. Then exit steeply, up what has been termed the Breakfast Wall, which divides you from the southeastern slopes of Kibo. It is a climb over rocks, although not technical. Passing underneath the Heim and Kersten glaciers, head towards the Karanga Valley for overnight.Trekking Time: 4-5 hours | Distance: 5 km / 3.1 mi | Altitude Change: +48 m / +158 ft
DAY 7: BARAFU CAMP (ONE NIGHT)
The day is characterized by a short hike on terrain formed by scree. Walk through arid, lunar land towards Barafu Camp where you have the entire afternoon to rest before your assault on the summit begins at midnight.Trekking Time: 2-4 hours | Distance: 3.5 km / 2.2 mi | Altitude Change: +628 m / +2,060 ft
DAY 8: MWEKA CAMP
We avoid walking too long in the heat of the sun today by starting around midnight, walking steeply upwards to the summit glaciers. You will be climbing scree for 5 to 6 hours but you gain incredible height over a short distance. The views are spectacular.
You should be on the crater rim at Stella Point (5745 m) as the first rays of the sun emerge. Spectacular ice cliffs within the crater surround you and the views to Mawenzi peak and beyond are breathtaking. Another hour’s walk takes you to your goal, the summit of Uhuru(Uhuru means freedom in Swahili), the highest point in Africa. Congrats, you made it!
Trekking Time: 6-8 hours | Distance: 5 km / 3.1 mi | Altitude Change: +1233 m / +4,046 ft
After a quick celebration and photos at the top, you will begin the descent by returning to Stella Point and then descending on scree slope back to Barafu Camp for breakfast and a short rest before finally heading down to Mweka Hut for a well-earned rest. On the descent, you will have fabulous views of the plains and Mawenzi peak.
Trekking Time: 6-8 hours | Distance: 11.5 km / 7.1 mi | Altitude Change: -2789 m / -9,151 ft
DEPARTURE - ARUSHA/KILIMANJARO & BEYOND (DAY ROOM CAN BE ARRANGED)
A gentle trek takes you down through the rainforest to the Mweka Gate, where park formalities will be completed and you will be met by our vehicles to return you to the Wito Africa's office or the lodge. Thereafter, you will receive your certificate of ascent courtesy of the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority, have the tipping ceremony for your mountain crew and collect any luggage you stored. Transfer back to Arusha where you will treat yourself to a well-earned shower and a cold beer or two.
Trekking Time: 2-4 hours | Distance: 9 km / 5.6 mi | Altitude Change: -1473 m / -4,832 ft
Transfer Time: 2 hours and 20 Minutes
From there, you will begin the next leg of your wildlife safari adventure in Tanzania with us.
Thank you for choosing Wito Africa Safaris for your Mt. Kilimanjaro Trekking Experience! We hope you will come back again someday! Karibu Sana!
See a map of Kilimanjaro climb on Shira Route