Kilimanjaro: Shira Route

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Kilimanjaro Itineraries

Day 01: Londorossi Gate/Shira trail head to River Camp (4.4mi/7km)

During this route, you follow the Ngarenairobi River along the forest and into the moorland area. There are plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of the Colobus monkeys. The path takes you to the Shira plateau before settling down by the stream for the night. (Total ascent: 3100ft/950m, during 4 hours hiking.)

Day 02: River Camp to Shira Huts (12630ft/3850m) via Shira Cathedral (7.5mi/12km)

Today will be a steady climb towards the Shira huts. There are alternate opportunities to climb Shira Cathedral and Shira Needle while you are here. We will eat dinner and rest at the Shira huts for the night. (Total ascent: 2630ft/800m, during 6-8 hours hiking.)

Day 03: Shira Camp via Lava Tower to Barranco Huts (6.2mi/10km)

Although not as steep as yesterday’s climb, the rocky terrain and high altitude will make today’s climb very challenging. After breakfast, we will spend most of the day heading up towards the Lava Tower. We will spend some time here admiring the 300 ft/100m volcanic masterpiece and then will descend into the stunning Barranco Valley to settle down for lunch. Created over 100,000 years ago, the valley is much greener than the Lava Tower. (Total ascent: 15220ft/4640m, during 5-7 hours)

Day 04: Barranco Hut Camp to Karanga Camp (3.1mi/5.0km)

After breakfast, we'll leave Barranco Hut Camp and continue on a steep ridge passing the steep Barranco Wall, ending at the Karanga Valley campsite. This is a short day meant for acclimatization. (Total ascent: 100ft/30m during 4-5 hours hiking.)

Day 05: Karanga Camp to Barafu Hut Camp (2.5mi/4.0km)

We'll leave Karanga Camp and hit the next junction, which connects with the Mweka Trail. We then continue up to the Barafu Hut Camp, which completes the South Circuit trail. Here we'll make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit morning/day. (The twin peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo can be seen from this position.) (Total ascent: 2,200ft/671m during 4-5 hours hiking.)

Day 06: Barafu Hut Camp to Kibo Summit to Mweka Camp (10.6mi/17.0km)

A bracing 1:00 am start to climb the steep, frozen screen up to the summit. This is unavoidable on any route, but we want to aim to reach Stella Point (on the crater rim) for sunrise — another 40 minutes later and magically you’re at the highest point on the continent, bathing in the sun's warmth (which is much appreciated at that elevation). After reaching the Kibo summit and snapping the prerequisite photos, we then return via the Mweka descent route. Total walking time will be around 7 hours (4,265ft/1,300m ascent) to the summit, then a 6-8 hour (9,186ft/2,800m) descent to Mweka camp, set in a clearing amongst the giant heather. This is a long and hard day — you’ll feel extremely tired, but also absolutely ecstatic that you’ve actually done it. Enjoy your sleep — you've earned it! (Total ascent: 4,045ft/1,233m during 7-8 hours hiking, followed by 9,345ft/2,848m of descent over a period of 5-6 hours.)

Day 07: Mweka Camp to Mweka Park Gate to Moshi (6.2mi/10.0km)

We finish up with a 4 hour descent through the forest to Mweka Gate to collect our completion certificates and meet with our vehicle. Return to Moshi, arriving early afternoon, then check into our hotel for some R&R, or head back to Kilimanjaro airport for your flight home. (Total descent: 4,600ft/1,402m during 4 hours hiking.)

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