The Shira Route, which starts near the Shira ridge, is one of the least-used trails on Mount Kilimanjaro and is nearly identical to the Lemosho route. The route approaches Kilimanjaro from the west, starting with an exciting long ride from Moshi to Shira Ridge. Shira starts at an altitude of 3600 meters and is not recommended for hikers who have no previous experience hiking at high altitudes. The Shira route was the original route used before the Lemosho route was created to get a better starting point. The Lemosho route starts from the Londorossi Gate, whereas the hike from Shira starts from further north at the Shira Gate, to the Simba Camp, which is located at almost the same altitude, before joining the Lemosho route at Shira Camp 2 on day 2. Shira 2 Camp connects with the Machame route and completes the Southern Circuit before hiking below to Barafu Camp for the night, and preparation of the summit hike.
The Shira route comes with lots of beautiful scenery, but the only downside to using the Shira route is that it starts at a high altitude, and camping on the first day is at about 11800 feet. Descent is done using the Mweka route.
How hard is the Shira route?
Mount Kilimanjaro is undoubtedly a hard climb, and Shira is one of the hardest routes to use for hiking. Unlike other routes, it starts at a higher altitude as compared to other routes, and you will find that most hikers who use this route suffer from altitude sickness right at the start of the hike. It is, however, a good and beautiful climb, especially if you prepare well for the hike, but if you are looking for proper and better acclimatization, we recommend the Lemosho route.
How many days do I need to hike the Shira route?
The route can be hiked in either seven or eight days, with the extra day used for proper acclimatization. Although some hikers who have properly prepared can manage the seven-day option without the extra day,
The scenery on the Shira route
The Shira Route is known to be one of the most beautiful routes on Kilimanjaro, offering the best sunrise and sunset glimpses. The Shira route approaches Kilimanjaro from the western part, offering great and beautiful views like the Shira Plateau, the buttress of rock, and the Shira Cathedral, among others.
Is the Shira route busy?
The Shira route is one of the least used routes on Mount Kilimanjaro and the best to use for hikers who wish to avoid large crowds. You can only get to see and join other hikers during the peak season, especially around Shira Camp 2 for those using the Lemosho route and around Lava Tower for hikers using the Machame route.
The success rate for the Shira route
Although the Shira route does not offer proper acclimatization for the hikers and there are no official statistics, it is believed that the Shira route has a success rate of about 85% on a seven-day hike, but you will need to be properly prepared for it to avoid altitude sickness.