Shira Route

The High Altitude route

Nearly identical to the Lemosho route, the Shira route is a less favorable trail due to its relatively high altitude starting point near Shira Ridge. Accessed quickly by vehicle, the route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi, bypassing the rain forest zone to the hiking trail at Shira Ridge. The route traverses underneath Kilimanjaro Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. The descent is made via the Mweka route.


The hiking trail starts at 3,600 meters and is therefore not ideal for trekkers who have little or no experience of high altitude trekking.


DAY 1: Londorossi Gate Simba Shira Camp

 After breakfast, you will be transferred to Londorossi Gate, situated at 2,250 m (7,312 ft). You will obtain a permit and continue with your vehicle through the rain forest to Morum Gate (3,400 m/11,800 ft). You will then hike through heather and moorland to Simba Campsite in the Shira Plateau for dinner and overnight stay.


Elevation: 3,810 m (12,500 ft)

Hiking Distance: 6 Km

Hiking Time: 2 – 3 Hrs

Camp: Simba Camp at Shira Plateau



DAY 2: Simba Camp to Barranco Campsite

 The day starts by following a rocky path that leads east towards the Lava Tower, also known as Shark’s Tooth; a 3,000 ft tall volcanic rock formation, for acclimatization at 4,630 m (15,190 ft). The hike will continue to Arrow Glacier Campsite (4,870 m), followed by a descent through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest to Barranco Campsite. Time spent at higher altitude is very beneficial for acclimatization; and shortly beyond this point, you will descend to Barranco campsite for dinner and overnight stay.


  • Although you end the day at a similar elevation as when you started; ascending and sleeping at a lower elevation is vital for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for the summit day.



Elevation: 3,950 m (13,044 ft)

Hiking Distance: 10 Km

Hiking Time:  5 – 6 Hrs

Camp: Barranco Campsite



DAY 3: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

Today is a shorter day meant for acclimatization. The day’s hike involves the climbing of the Barranco Wall that offers views of an amazing landscape. You will descend into a ravine at the base of the wall, followed by a scramble that may involve the use of all four limbs to the top at 4,200 m. From there you will transverse over screens and ridges to Karanga Valley campsite beneath the icefalls of the Southern Glaciers for dinner and overnight stay.


Hiking Distance: 5 Km

Hiking Time: 3 – 4 Hrs

Camp: Karanga Camp



DAY 4: Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp 

After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall, through Karanga Valley (lunch at 3,937m and the reach the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail nearly base camp. One more climb takes us up to the Barafu Camp 4,600 m, completing the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. We will camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day.


Elevation: 4,600 m

Distance: 11 Km
Hiking Time: 6 Hours
Camp: Barafu



DAY 5: Summit Hike and Descent to Mweka Camp

At midnight, we start our climb to the summit, passing between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers, taking a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy screen towards Stella Point  (5,739 m)  on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. We will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded (weather permitting) with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see. From Stella Point, we proceed to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m), the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and in Africa. It can be very cold at night at these elevations, but it will be quite warm by the end of the hiking day. 


Elevation: 5,895 m

Hiking Time: 5 – 6 Hours

Hiking Distance: 5 Km


After spending a brief moment at the peak and enjoying the magnificent views, we will start our descent to Mweka campsite (4,600 m), stopping at Barafu camp for a short rest of about 2 hours. We will have dinner and overnight at Mweka Camp.


Elevation: 4,600 m

Hiking Time: 3 – 4 Hours descent

Hiking Distance: 18 Km

Camp: Mweka


DAY 6:  Descent to Mweka Gate

On our last day, we continue with the descent to Mweka Gate; by far the easiest day of our Kilimanjaro hike as it is downhill and the oxygen supply increase as we go down. We will reach Mweka Gate 1,640 m (5,380 ft) at about  11:00 am, complete signing out and meet your vehicle for the drive to your hotel.

Hiking Distance: 10 Km
Hiking Time: 3 – 4 Hrs.