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Shira Route Kilimanjaro

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Shira Route Kilimanjaro

 

The Kilimanjaro Shira Route is one of the most scenic and least traveled paths to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. This route starts on the western side of the mountain and approaches the summit from the Shira Plateau, a high altitude plateau that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of the Shira Route and why it is a great choice for those looking to conquer Africa's highest peak.

Why Choose the Shira Route?

The Shira Route is slightly longer than the more popular Marangu and Machame routes, but it also offers a more gradual ascent and more time for acclimatization. This makes it a good choice for trekkers who are looking for a more comfortable and safer trek. The Shira Route is also less crowded than other routes, allowing for a more peaceful experience on the mountain.

Route Description

The Shira Route begins at the Londorossi Gate, located on the western side of Mount Kilimanjaro. The trek starts in the rainforest zone and gradually climbs up to the Shira Plateau at 3,840 meters. From there, the route joins the Machame Route and continues to the summit via the Barafu Camp. The descent is done via the Mweka Route.

Day-by-Day Itinerary

The Shira Route can be completed in 6 or 7 days, depending on your itinerary. Here is a general breakdown of the trek:

Day 1: Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,650 meters)

Day 2: Mti Mkubwa to Shira Camp 1 (3,500 meters)

Day 3: Shira Camp 1 to Shira Camp 2 (3,840 meters)

Day 4: Shira 2 to Lava Tower (4,630 meters) and descent to Barranco Camp (3,950 meters)

Day 5: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp (4,035 meters)

Day 6: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp (4,673 meters)

Day 7: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) and descent to Mweka Camp (3,100 meters)

Tips for a Successful Shira Trek

1. Acclimatization is key for a successful trek on the Shira Route. Make sure to take your time and properly adjust to the altitude.

2. Carry enough water and drink plenty of it. Proper hydration is crucial for acclimatization, as well as preventing altitude sickness.

3. Train and prepare in advance. The Shira Route involves long days of hiking and high altitude trekking. Make sure you are physically and mentally prepared for the challenge.

4. Appropriate packing is essential. Pack warm and waterproof clothing as the weather on the mountain can be unpredictable. Hiking boots with good ankle support are a must.

Training and Preparation for the Shira Route

The Shira Route is classified as a moderate to difficult trek, so proper training and preparation are essential. It is recommended to do regular cardiovascular exercises such as running, cycling or hiking, as well as some strength and endurance training. Additionally, doing high altitude hikes or treks in the months leading up to your Kilimanjaro climb will help your body acclimatize and prepare for the altitude.

Packing Essentials for the Shira Route

Some essential items to pack for the Shira Route include:

- Warm and waterproof clothing
- Sleeping bag (rated for sub-zero temperatures)
- Hiking boots with good ankle support
- Trekking poles
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Personal medication
- Water purification tablets or filters
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Snacks and energy bars
- Camera and spare batteries

Challenges and Highlights of the Shira Route

The Shira Route offers both challenges and highlights for trekkers. Some of the challenges include steep and rocky terrain, as well as the high altitude. However, the stunning views of the Shira Plateau, the towering glaciers, and the surrounding landscape make it all worth it. The final ascent to the summit via the Barafu Camp is also a highlight, with breathtaking views of the sunrise over the African savannah.

Cost and Accommodation Options on the Shira Route

The cost for the Shira Route trek varies depending on the number of days and the company you choose. However, budget around $2500-$4000 USD per person for a 6-7 day trek, including park fees and equipment rental.

As for accommodation, most trekkers camp in tents along the route. However, some companies offer the option to stay in huts at designated campsites for an additional cost. The Shira Plateau is known for its high winds, so make sure to pack a sturdy tent.

Final Thoughts on the Shira Route

The Shira Route is a beautiful and less crowded alternative for those wishing to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro. It offers a more gradual ascent and stunning views of the Shira Plateau and surrounding landscape. With proper training and preparation, anyone can successfully summit this iconic mountain via the Shira Route. So, lace up your hiking boots and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park