Ultimate Kilimanjaro Shira Route - 8 night, 9 days

"This itinerary allows extra acclimatization and ensures that you will be ready to make it to the summit"

This very successful itinerary allows the most time for acclimatization and therefore has the greatest summit success rate. It is the same as the 7 night/8 day route but it has a longer, slower ascent with an extra night at Lava Tower. This gives the body even more time to acclimatize to the altitude gradually– greatly increasing summit success rate and comfort. The route has the added benefit of traveling across the Shira Plateau: a World Heritage Site and one of the Kilimanjaro wilderness areas.

Day 1: LUXURY TENTED CAMP (see luxury camp info) Arrive in Arusha or Kilimanjaro Airport and transfer to a special private luxury camp. Our camp is in the old traditional canvas style, comfortable and well staffed (see "luxury camping"). Our campsite provides you with the opportunity to spend your first two nights in the still unchanged bush of Eastern Africa. We have a camp inside Arusha National Park at the base of Mt. Meru. This camp is at 6,000 ft, helping you acclimatize in preparation for climbing Kili. The walking from the camp is in Montane Forest on the slopes of Mt. Meru. A half day acclimatization hike can take you to over 8,000ft, excellent for acclimatization.

Day 2: LUXURY TENTED CAMP This day is designed to give you plenty of time to relax, pack and recoup from the long journey. Your trip leader will give you a climb briefing and answer any questions you have about the climb. He will also do an equipment check with each person to be sure that you are fully prepared. We have designed this day to allow for walking, game viewing or cultural exchange with indigenous people. Activities will depend on which campsite you have chosen. Accommodation is full board.

Day 3: MONTANE FOREST (9,000') (day 1 on the mountain) (see mountain camp info)Drive approximately one hour to the Kilimanjaro National Park forest edge. From there we walk about 3 hours through the undisturbed forest to our camp for the night. With luck you will be able to see Colobus monkeys and signs of elephant and other forest wildlife on your walk to camp.

Day 4: SHIRA PLATEAU WEST SIDE (11,300') (day 2 on the mountain) Taking our time walking through the forest will help us spot some of the plentiful game and bird life. The day's hike will take us up through the Montane Forest and the Hagenia forest zone. You will see the unique environmental differences that characterize these equatorial zones.

Day 5: SHIRA PLATEAU EAST SIDE - MOIR CAMP (13,900') (day 3 on mountain) Our hike today will be about 4 hours across the Shira Plateau, a World Heritage Site, and one hour up the western slope of the Kibo Massif. Camp will be in the upper heath zone.

Day 6: LAVA TOWER (14,300') (day 4 on the mountain) Today we will hike approximately 6 hours to camp just under Lava Tower, a 300 foot high volcanic lava plug that juts out of the side of the mountain. This will be our first introduction to the alpine zone, with the only plant life being the hardiest of grasses and lichens. We will have a spectacular view of our final ascent route up the Western Breach.

Day 7: LAVA TOWER (14,300') (day 5 on the mountain) This second day at Lava Tower is an acclimatization day. Have a relaxed morning, eat lots of food and take an acclimatization walk in the afternoon. This hike, which will go up the ascent route part way is very helpful in ensuring that you will be ready to head to the summit plateau the next day.

Day 8: ARROW GLACIER (16,000') (day 6 on the mountain) With the Western Breach ascent route in full view we will spend 2 hours climbing to the base of the route where we will camp near Arrow Glacier. An afternoon hike further up the route before relaxing in camp will help our acclimatization and improve our performance the following day.

Day 9: SUMMIT CRATER CAMP (18,500') (day 7 on mountain) We will wind our way up the Western Breach non-technical climbing route for about six hours to the crater rim of the main Kilimanjaro massife. Those who still have the energy can explore the inner crater and the ash pit before moving to our highest camp on the crater floor. This spectacular high camp is next to the Furtwrangler Glacier with stunning views westward toward Mt. Meru and the setting African sun.

Day 10: SUMMIT DAY and MWEKA CAMP (10,500') (day 8 on mountain) We will start our ascent to the summit (19,340') early enough in the morning to be on the summit by 10:00am. This final ascent is only 800 feet and can be undertaken after sunrise and a leisurely breakfast. This is quite a contrast to the 3,000 foot slog required to summit via all the other ascent routes on Kilimanjaro. After taking in the view from Uhuru Peak we will begin the long descent to Barafu Hut and down to our final camp near Mweka Hut.

Day 11: ARUSHA (day 9 on mountain and hike out) It takes about 3 to 5 hours to make the 4,500 foot descent to the gate and pick-up. We will have our lunch at the gate and say goodbye to our mountain staff before heading to the hotel near Arusha. Farewell dinner, overnight and transfer to the Kilimanjaro Airport are all provided. If you are going on safari, you will continue on from the hotel on day 12.

Other climbing itineraries

Forest walk at Itikoni
Walking in forest on Kili's lower slopes
Equipment check
Hikers resting
Into the clouds on Kili's upper slopes
Snow and rocks
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