The Shira route is another path that approaches Kilimanjaro from the west, and it is nearly identical to the Lemosho route. In fact, Shira was the original route and Lemosho is the improved variation. While Lemosho starts at Londorossi Gate and treks through the rain forest to Shira 1 Camp, the Shira route bypasses this walk by using a vehicle to transport climbers to Shira Gate, located near the Shira Ridge.
On the first day on the mountain, climbers begin their hike from 11,800 feet (3,600 m) and spend their first night at the same elevation at Simba Camp. Then, the route merges with Lemosho and follows the southern circuit route.
Although Shira is a varied and beautiful route, Lemosho is recommended over Shira due to the relaively high altitude of Shira's starting point, which is accessed quickly by vehicle. It is possible that climbers will experience some altitude related symptoms on the first day while camping at 11,800 feet.
Drive to Londorossi Gate in Moshi from Arusha for registration formalities and equipment preparation. After completing the entrance formalities, start climbing through shrubs and giant heather to Simba Camp to complete the first day. Dinner and sleep at the camp.
Start by exploring the grassy moorland and volcanic rock formations on the plateau. The path crosses over Shira Cathedral, a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles. The trail leads to Shira 2 Camp.
Zone: Alpine desert
Trek from the Shira Plateau through the ‘Garden of the Senecios’ while approaching Lava Tower meant for acclimatization. Have lunch at Lava tower and some rest before descending to Barranco Camp. Hot meal and sleep at the camp.
Zone: Alpine Desert
Start by descending to the base of the Great Barranco wall of 900 ft cliff. Walk across a series of hills and valleys to descend into the Karanga Valley. The trail leads to Karanga Camp. Rest while waiting for hot dinner at the camp.
Zone: Alpine Desert
Leave shortly after breakfast from Karanga to the junction intersecting Mweka Trail. Take a walk through the rocky section to reach Barafu Hut. Have hot meal, drink much water and enough rest as preparing for the summit. Retire to bed very early by 19:00.
Zone: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Wake up at 23:00 for adding more warm clothes and a cup of hot coffee. Start trekking around midnight for the physical challenging final part. The trail leads to Stella Point (5685m), located on the crater rim arriving at sunrise. Continue for a 2 hour hike to reach Uhuru peak (The roof of Africa). Take some pictures and refreshments at the summit feeling accomplished.
Start descending down to Mweka hut for hot dinner and a good sleep.
On this last day, descend to Mweka gate for awards. Hikers who reached Stella point receive green certificates while those who reached Uhuru peak receive golden certificates. It’s the time to tip your guides, cookers and porters according to your satisfaction. Drive back to Arusha for a good bath and much sleep.
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