The Kilimanjaro Shira Route is a little-used trail, which starts at Shira Ridge. It is almost identical to the Lemosho Route. Did you know that the Shira Route is the original route and Lemosho is the improved variant? Although Shira is a varied and beautiful route, it starts off less favourably than its successor, due to the relatively high altitude of its starting point. The Shira Route goes past the Londorossi Gate (starting point of the Lemosho Route) and the beautiful rainforest and starts further north and higher at the Shira Gate. The disadvantage is that you might suffer from altitude sickness from the first day onwards, because your body does not have enough time to acclimatise.
During these 6 or 7 days we’ll be camping at the established campsites and reach the top of Kilimanjaro on day 5 or 6 at sunrise.
Your Team: Per group you climb with a professional team, generally consisting of 1 or 2 English speaking guides, 1 cook and 3 porters per person. The exact number sometimes varies and depends on specific requirements of our guests.
Our guides will lead you to the summit and provide you with all the necessary information, tips & tricks & lift your spirits when in dire need, to maximise your chances of a successful climb. All of the guides know the mountain like the back of their hands, are specially trained and have years of climbing experience.
The porters will carry all your belongings, tents & food, so you can climb at ease with only your daypack. The cook will prepare 3 solid meals a day, so you can take on the mountain like a champion. Drinking water will be provided as well, which will be refilled with a water filter at various points on the mountain.
This trek includes
*International flights can be arranged via us if preferred.
Safety: Safety on the mountain is our first priority. Even though it doesn’t take a professional climber to summit Kilimanjaro, it’s still a tall mountain and the high altitude comes with risks.
Prior to each climb, our guests receive a comprehensive briefing that covers the route, safety procedures on the mountain and discuss potential health issues of each individual guest, to ensure that everyone can ascend the mountain fully prepared and in a safe manner.
Our guides receive annual training on the effects of altitude, providing medical assistance and administering oxygen. The team is equipped with a professional medical kit in case of Emergency. They are responsible for your safety and have the authority of discontinuing the trek if they think the conditions are unsafe. At high altitudes, your blood pressure is measured daily to monitor your health.
Acclimatisation: Climbing is done according to the ‘climb high, sleep low’ principle. This principle states that one should climb to a relatively higher elevation than the altitude of where one sleeps. This gives your body the chance to get used to the high altitudes when climbing high, and grants the opportunity to recover and rest at the lower elevations. Doing so, decreases your chance of altitude sickness and increases your chance of reaching the summit.
Fair treatment of our personnel: We are committed to the fair and ethical treatment of all porters and guides. We strictly adhere all rules set by KINAPA (Kilimanjaro National Park); ensuring that each porter has the proper gear to ascent the mountain, and that all carrying bags supplied by us are weighed, to ensure that they do not exceed the maximum of 20 kg.
Furthermore, we promote fair wages, accommodation, insurance & food for cooks, guides & porters as set by the KPO (Kilimanjaro porters association). This way, you can climb the mountain feeling confident about yourself ánd your team.
Leave only footprints: On all our climbs, we strive to reduce our environmental impact to a bare minimum. We make sure that any waste that has gone up the mountain, comes back down as well. By doing this, everybody can enjoy this magnificent mountain for many years to come.
*We also recommend that you bring your own water bottle to reduce plastic waste.
On the first day of the Kilimanjaro Shira Route, you will be picked up from Moshi. From there we drive to the Londrossi Gate of Kilimanjaro National Park. Arriving at the gate, you start with final preparations.
We then continue driving on a steep path to the Shira Gate, from where the route starts. The hike starts through lush hilly landscapes until you arrive at Shira 1 camp. After the beautiful hike, you will spend the night in this camp, at an altitude of 3500 metres. Get a good rest, as this is necessary for your body to acclimatise.
Today is a fairly easy day to help with acclimatization. You start with an easy walk to the glacier top of Kibo. Here you will cross the Shira Plateau and pass the Shira Cathedral. At the end of this hike you will reach the Shira 2 Camp at 3840 metres.
If you are lucky, you will see a beautiful view of Mount Meru (the fifth highest peak of Africa).
From the Shira Plateau you continue over a desert rocky landscape towards the Lava Tower or ‘Shark Tooth’. For most people, this is the hardest day of the climb. The risk of getting breathlessness and headaches is highest at this point due to the high altitude. So make sure you take one step, and one breath at a time. Pole Pole, or ‘slowly slowly’ as the guides will say.
After reaching the Lava Tower, you head back down, towards the Barranco Camp. The way down has a beautiful view of the Western Breach and the Breach Wall. A perfect moment to take a picture. After approximately two hours you will reach the Barranco camp, which is situated in a valley, below the Breach and the Great Barranco Wall.
Even though this day is ‘optional’, it is still strongly recommended. We climb according to the ‘climb high, sleep low’ principle, which gives your body the chance to get used to the high altitudes. This increases your chance of reaching the summit and is highly recommended for inexperienced climbers.
After breakfast you will leave from Barranco Camp to a steep ridge along the Barranco Wall. Next, you will go through the Karanga Valley. Here you will have the chance to see the glaciers from real close. Afterwards, you will have lunch at the Karanga Valley Campsite. Here, you can go for a short hike in the area. This is a shorter day to acclimatise.
In the early morning, we will leave Karanga Valley campsite, onwards to the junction that will take us on the Mweka Trail. From here we’ll continue to the Barafu Hut at 4600m high, which offers views of the summit.
At this point, we have completed the Southern Circuit. This is a great moment to grab your camera, as the two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are visible from this site. Here we will set up camp, so we can overnight with our eyes on the prize.
Make sure to eat well and drink lots, as tonight is SUMMIT NIGHT!
In the early, early morning. Still shivering from our short and cold night, we will enjoy warm coffee or tea together to lift our spirits. Now we will hike in the dark, with flashlights towards the summit of Uhuru peak at 5895meters high. Our last ascent of the Shira Route. Once at the top, we will enjoy one of the world’s most incredible sunrises. Such moments make the climb well worthwhile. You’ve made it! Uhuru Peak is the highest point of Kilimanjaro ánd the whole of Africa. A place never to forget.
Make sure to bring two sets of clothing. The night will be bitterly cold, but after the sun rises over the peak of Kilimanjaro, the temperature will quickly rise. After the summit, we will make our descent straight down to the Mweka Hut Campsite, stopping at Barafu Camp for lunch. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and some well-earned sleep.
Hopefully well rested and not too sore from the long hike the other day, we will have breakfast. We continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your Kilimanjaro-Shira Route summit certificate. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy.
The car will be waiting for you at the Mweka Gate to take you back to the hotel in Moshi for a hot shower.
Well, if you’re reading this, you’re probably curious about the best time of the year to climb Kilimanjaro. Then perhaps, I can make you happy, because you can climb Kilimanjaro all year round! There are just a few periods that we recommend or discourage more. Let’s start with the period we do not recommend, as it falls in the rainy season. Here you have the chance of the climb being blown off, on the other hand, nature is breathtaking green. This is the time period between March and May.
The other months are actually all recommendable. For instance, the most popular period is from December to February because these are Tanzania’s summer months. The temperature at the summit is most pleasant! In the month of November, you face small alternating rain showers, on the contrary, the temperature is very nice and you hike through beautiful green surroundings. The mountain is also great to climb in the months of June to October. This period, although it’s quite cold, it is outside the rainy season. So now you see, everything has its pros and cons.
Are you excited about climbing Kilimanjaro? A 6-year-old boy climbed the mountain once and came back in one piece too, so I think you can do it also! Of course, you shouldn’t compare yourself to that, but the fact is that the mountain is accessible to everyone. Every year, thousands of people successfully reach the summit.
You definitely need to have a healthy fitness level and bear in mind that the conditions on the mountain have a big impact on your body. The high altitude, rugged terrain and temperature changes, quickly exhaust you. These conditions also require you to cover a good number of kilometers over several days. If you can walk 20 km with a heavy backpack without getting sore muscles, you are probably in the right shape.
Are you a little unsure about your physical fitness? Then we have some tips you can use before conquering Kilimanjaro.
Temperatures on the mountain can be very different and vary by altitude zone (5 in total). Also, it depends on what time of year you are climbing Kilimanjaro. At the bottom of the mountain, it is usually between 15°C (59°F) and 30°C (86°F), but on the way to the summit, no matter what, it is going to be very cold! The temperature there can vary between -30°C (-22°F) and -5°C (23°F). So, it is very important to bring enough clothes for all weather conditions.
When packing, it is important to avoid cotton (this becomes wet from sweat and dries badly). You are better off packing fleece, polypro, merino wool or silk fabrics. Below is a short packing list to be well prepared to climb Kilimanjaro:
Of course, there is a fair chance you won’t have all the materials on your packing list. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! Most clothing and equipment can be rented from us on location for a decent price.
Let us know in advance what equipment you need, and we’ll make sure the gear is ready when you arrive.
Did you know that it is absolutely impossible to climb the mountain on your own? You climb Kilimanjaro with your own team. This team includes guides, chefs and porters. Of course, you get to decide how much tipping you give to people.
However, guidelines have been given for what is customary to give to them. Arusha Trips recommends a total budget of $200 – $350 per person for the entire trek. Remember, this is per climber, which means the amount does not get smaller when the group is bigger.