6 Days 5 Nights . Tanzania . Multi-Environment Adventure
Zara Tours leads treks up the Shira route. The Shira Route traverses the large Shira Plateau to join the Machame Route. The Shira Plateau west of Kibo is the remains of Kilimanjaro’s first volcano. Mawenzi erupted second, and finally, supported by its neighbors, Kibo rose to its great height between Shira and Mawenzi. Older and more eroded than Mawenzi, the Shira Plateau’s ridges and moorland comprise one of Kilimanjaro’s most scenic areas. The drive to Shira offers magnificent views of the Great Rift Valley, Mount Meru, and Longido, and the plateau’s parasitic cones extend north of the road, rising from from plain to plateau. The vegetation changes along the route are striking. The plateau is grassland, heath, and moor, with senecios up to 10 meters high in valleys near the cone. You can see Elands on the plateau, and you may see signs of buffaloes, leopards, and other animals. The Shira Cone rises 200 meters above the plateau, and west of the cone is Shira Ridge, a steep rough rise reaching almost 400 meters above the plateau. The southern ridge of the Shira Plateau has two dramatic peaks called Cathedral and the Needle. The road to Shira is only accessible by 4-wheel-drive vehicles and can become impassable during wet periods. The Shira Route traverses the plateau to join the Machame Route. Itinerary Day 1
Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the Hotel in Moshi for your overnight dinner and Breakfast.
breakfast and a briefing from your guide, leave Moshi and drive for
several hours to the Shira Gate on the western side of Kilimanjaro,
register with the national park. Begin hiking, and enter the rain forest
immediately. Your walk through the rainforest is
on a winding muddy trail up a ridge. At these lower elevations, it can
be wet and muddy, so gaiters and trekking poles will help. Stop halfway
for lunch, and reach the Shira Camp in the afternoon. Unpack, rest, and
have some tea or coffee. Dinner is served during the early evening at 7
breakfast, you will hike east up a steepening path above the highest
vegetation toward Kilimanjaro’s looming mass. After several hours, you
walk through a rocky landscape to reach the prominent landmark called
Lava Tower at 4,630 m/15,190 ft. This chunky remnant of Kilimanjaro’s
earlier volcanic activity is several hundred feet high, and the trail
passes right below it. For extra credit, the sure-footed can scramble to
the top of the tower. After a lunch stop near Lava Tower, descend for 2
hours below the lower cliffs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall to
Barranco Camp at 3,950 m/12,960 ft. There are numerous photo
opportunities on this hike, especially if the walls are festooned with
ice. Barranco Camp is in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco
Walls, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait
for your dinner. On this day, be careful to notice any signs of altitude
breakfast, we continue up a steep ridge to the great Barranco Wall,
then you climb this imposing obstacle, which turns out to be easier than
it looks. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you can now
appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. With Kibo’s
glaciers soaring overhead, you descend into the lush Karanga valley to
the Karanga Valley campsite. From the camp, you can look east and see
the jagged peaks of Mawenzi jutting into the African sky. After a hot
lunch in camp, your afternoon is at leisure for resting or exploring.
After two long days, this short day is very important for your
acclimatization, since your summit push is about to start.
In the morning, you hike east over intervening ridges and valleys to join the Mweka Route, which will be your descent route. Turn left toward the mountain and hike up the ridge through a sparse landscape for another hour to the Barafu Hut where you will receive a hot lunch. The last water on the route is in the Karanga Valley; there is no water at Barafu Camp, even though Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice.” The famous snows of Kilimanjaro are far above Barafu Camp near the summit of the mountain. Your tent will be pitched on a narrow, stony, wind-swept ridge, so make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. Prepare your equipment and warm clothing for your summit climb, and drink a lot of fluids. After an early dinner, go to bed for a few hours of precious sleep.
You will rise around 11:30 PM, and after some steaming tea and biscuits, you shuffle off into the night. Your 6-hour climb northwest up through heavy scree between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers to Stella Point on the crater rim is the most challenging part of the route for most climbers. At Stella Point (5,685 m/18,650 ft) you stop for a short rest and a chance to see a supremely sanguine sunrise. At Stella Point, you join the top part of the Marangu Route but do not stop here too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Depending on the season and recent storms, you may encounter snow on your remaining hike along the rim to Uhuru Peak. On the summit, you can enjoy your accomplishment and know that you are creating a day that you will remember for the rest of your life. After your 3-hour descent from the summit back to Barafu Camp, you will have a well-earned but short rest, collect your gear, and hike down a rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest to Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft). This camp is in the upper forest, so you can expect mist or rain in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared, and the camp office sells drinking water, soft drinks, chocolates, and beer!
After a well-deserved breakfast, it is a short, scenic, 3-hour hike back to the park gate. Don’t give your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely, but do remember to tip your staff at the gate. At Mweka Gate, you can sign your name and add details to a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Climbers who reached Stella Point are issued green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate, you will continue down to the Mweka Village, possibly a muddy, 3 km, 1-hour hike if the road is too muddy for vehicles. In the Mweka Village, you will be served a delicious hot lunch after which you are driven back to Moshi for an overdue hot shower and comfortable night in Hotel.
INCLUDED IN TREKKING PACKAGE:
- Kilimanjaro trekking according to the itinerary
- Professional, English-speaking Wilderness First Responder & CPR certified Guide
- Proper Ration of Mountain crew (Cook & Porters)
- Pre and Post accommodations (2 nights Bed and Breakfast)
- Airport Transfers
- Meals according to the itinerary
- Drinking water and Full Board Meals
- All National Park & Hut Fees, Crew Permits and VAT
- Fair and Sustainable Salary Crew Wages
- Gate Transfers
- Complimentary Oxygen Cylinder
- Portable Private Toilet and Porter
- Quality Imported Equipments
EXCLUDED FROM TREKKING PACKAGE:
- Visa fees
- Travel or Medical Insurance is required and you should ask for Recommendation
- Gamow Bag
- Tips for porters and mountain crew (20% Industry Standard Recommended)
- Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
- Energy food & beverages, alcoholic and soft drinks
- Personal hire gear such as trekking poles, sleeping bags, etc.
- Additional lodge nights if early descent from the mountain $100 per room