Join us on a legendary Kilimanjaro Shira Plateau trek of Africa’s highest and most famous mountain. An amazing Trekking adventure in Tanzania
Join us on a legendary Kilimanjaro Shira Plateau trek of Africa’s highest and most famous mountain. An amazing Trekking adventure in Tanzania.
This special route combination is the by a wide margin the least-used route on Kilimanjaro, getting you far away from the madding crowd.
The trailhead is at high elevation, and thus we start slow and easy on this route. The trail begins on the Shira Plateau, and the hike across the plateau is said to be one of the most stunningly beautiful hikes in Africa. After crossing the plateau, we leave the tourist trails and head off across the north side of the mountain, facing Kenya and the famous Amboselli National Park.
The spectacular hike along the northern circuit affords opportunities to see some animals; possible elephant, buffalo, eland, and signs of many other animals. Along this way we won’t see other tourists, only following cairns which signal the route. For the first five days we traverse the plateau valleys and ridges of mountain between 12,000’ (3,650 mt.) to 14,000’ (4,265 mt.), and on day 6 the trail reaches the northeast side of the mountain, cresting the saddle between Mawenzi, the second highest peak of Kilimanjaro (16,893’ (5,149 mt.)) and Kibo. From here we trek to the Outward Bound camp before departing for the summit.
This trek is designed to get you closer to nature, and to benefit from plenty of acclimatisation time early on in the trip. It’s the most diverse and complete ‘grand traverse’ of Kilimanjaro from west to east, on what are by far the most remote trails. The accommodation is in mountain tents and dining is in our mess tents. Toilet tents with convenient and sanitary portable flush toilets are set up at all camps. The night before the trek starts is at a luxury lodge just outside Arusha.
Mountain Cuisine (three hearty meals a day)
Kilimanjaro Shira Plateau Africa Trek Itinerary
Arrive at Moshi (HB)
Arrive on own (or by private transfer, at a supplement) at the Rivertrees Country Inn. Relax poolside or take a stroll around the beautiful grounds, and enjoy the gourmet fare, with Mount Meru (14,979’) looming overhead. Dinner is served at lodge after a comprehensive climb briefing.
MORUM BARRIER GATE (11,200 ft./ 3,410 mt.)
~ SHIRA 1 CAMP (11,500 ft./ 3,505 mt.)
Departure from Arusha will be at around 7:30am for Londorossi gate, about 4 hours, where you will complete entry formalities. Then continue up by car to Morum Barrier Gate (another hour to reach the trailhead). Upon arrival at trail-head, eat lunch, then commence through heather and moorland which lead to the first camp, only about 1-2 hours of trekking. The view of Kibo from across the plateau is stunning.
DAY 3 SHIRA 1 CAMP ~ SHIRA 2 CAMP (12,600 ft./ 3,950 mt.)
Full day exploration of the Shira plateau; Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth, averaging 12,500 feet. Trek east toward Kibo’s glaciered peak, with the option to visit the ancient collapsed Shira cone and to scramble atop the ‘Shira Cathedral’ to overlook the oldest of Kilimanjaro’s three volcanoes. Arrive at Shira 2 camp at 12,600 ft. Trekking time without the optional excursions is about 3 hours.
DAY 4 SHIRA 2 CAMP ~ MOIR CAMP (13,800 ft./ 4,205 mt.)
Proceed steadily upward through the moorland and into the barren high altitude desert, toward Moir Camp. The surrounding landscape of bizarre plants, rock formations and caves mark this area. The trek is about 2-3 hours. Moir camp is an isolated and seldom used camp affording views over the Shira Plateau, and upward to the rugged volcanic plugs called “the Lent Group”.
DAY 5 MOIR CAMP ~ POFU CAMP (13,200 ft./ 4,025 mt.)
Begin the morning trekking by heading out of the moorland and into the stark alpine desert, on a steep ridge off the main trail, and begin our venture on the Northern Circuit Route. The total trekking time is about 5 – 7 hours. From the Pofu Campsite you will enjoy a magnificent view into Kenya\'s wild lands to the north.
DAY 6 POFU CAMP ~ RONGAI 3 CAVES CAMP (12,960 ft./ 3,950 m)
Proceed onward through valleys and over ridges through the alpine desert and moorland, continuing our circuit to the east, enjoying a vast mountain wilderness to ourselves. We arrive at the intersection with the Rongai Route after 4-6 hours trekking. Overnight at Rongai 3 Caves for the night.
DAY 7 RONGAI 3 CAVES CAMP ~ OUTWARD BOUND CAMP (15,585 ft./ 4,750 m)
This morning when exiting your tent, Mawenzi should be in plain view; a stunning sight. Once you leave camp, the moorland gives way slowly to the stark highland desert as we near the massive saddle, where the landscape spectacularly stark. The temperatures turn cold as you near the foot of Kibo, reaching Outward Bound Camp after 4-5 hours of trekking. Prepare all your gear for the day ahead, and turn in early to rest. A resupply of fresh food and supplies will reach camp on this afternoon.
DAY 8 OUTWARD BOUND CAMP ~ UHURU PEAK (19,340 ft./ 5,895 m) ~ MWEKA CAMP (10,200 ft./ 3,110 m)
A midnight wake-up call is the start of a long trek. You begin trekking at 1am up the winding path of endless switchbacks. From your camp to the rim of the crater (Gillman’s Point (18,750 ft./ 5,712 m)) to Uhuru Peak, the trekking time is about 7 - 8 hours. The slope is steep, with switchbacks, over loose rock and scree with some boulders as you near Gilman’s Point. You will stop at Hans Meyer cave on the way, the famous place where Kilimanjaro’s first western climber described in his journals. Once you arrive at Gilman’s Point at the edge of the crater, the trail to the summit is less demanding, and is reached after a further 1½-2 hours along the snowy crater rim (depending on the season). After a short time at the summit, re-trace your steps back to Gilman’s Point, then summon your strength again for further descent to Mweka Camp for the night.
DAY 9 (Saturday) MWEKA CAMP ~ MWEKA GATE (6,000 ft. /1,830 m) ~ ARUSHA
Descend straight to the gate (2 - 3 hours), where you’ll have lunch and will be awarded climbing certificates. Private transfer back to Arusha, and drop at the hotel of your choice (hotel priced separately), or drop at JRO airport.