A fantastic opportunity to get a taste of Africa’s tallest peak and to explore a World Heritage Site as a day trip.
The Shira Plateau area of Kilimanjaro offers a fantastic opportunity to get a taste of Africa’s tallest peak and to explore a World Heritage Site as a day trip. Take either a more strenuous day hike along the ancient rim of the plateau or stick to something more relaxed on the undulating floor – perhaps going as far as the photogenic ‘cone place’ or Shira Needles at the southern end of the plateau. To the west, the Kibo massif sweeps up to the glaciers near the summit, the rise scarred by deep valleys and eroded lava flows that stand like twisted modern sculptures in the harsh mountain weather. A number of streams tumble down this flank of the mountain, eventually joining together in a gully that crosses the plateau before plunging down to the plains far below.
We will pick you up from Hotel in Moshi or Arusha, depart with your guide after an early breakfast for the drive to Kilimanjaro National Park. Depending on the location of your hotel, the journey will take 1½–2½ hours.
You will be driven to the western side of the mountain and up through the forests to the Londorossi Gate, at an altitude of 2,100m, where the hike begins. The ascent is over 1,000m, moving steadily up through tropical montane forests, home to a variety of animals and birdlife. With the help of your guide, you may spot colobus monkeys and more. Your hike takes you up to the vast Shira Plateau, at 3,400m, a 500,000-year-old volcanic caldera that is now a World Heritage Site. You can stop for lunch here, or continue on to Shira 1 Camp, Lion Gorge and the foothills of the Shira Pinnacles. Kilimanjaro’s iconic snow-covered table top, you will witness breathtaking views of Kibo peak as you hike towards the helipad.
For those with limited fitness or mobility, it is possible to drive all the way up to the Shira Plateau and then gently explore the surrounding areas on foot. Reasonable levels of fitness would be ideal for the longer hike.
Then, at the end of the day, most walkers are driven the full way back to their accommodation, allowing you to make the most of your time on the mountain.
What to wear: The walk can be over uneven ground in places, so closed shoes are recommended. Due to the altitude, warm clothing and/or waterproofs are also advisable.
Start time: Approximately 8.00am
Duration of excursion: Full day