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Kilimanjaro For All – A day Hike on the Shira Plateau


Botswanadreams
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Botswanadreams

The Shira Plateau area of Kilimanjaro offers a fantastic opportunity to get high on a big mountain and to hike around this impressive World Heritage Site as a day trip – it’s a fantastic area and there are some great day hikes – either a more strenuous day hiking up along the ancient rim of the plateau or something more relaxed sticking to 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 of Kilimanjaro 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.

There is a fair amount of wildlife on the plateau however most of it is elusive and nocturnal but with care the events of the night can be reconstructed from the footprints around the watering points on the streams. There are herds of buffalo but also smaller gazelles and bushbuck, there is the carcase of eland and elephant higher on the mountain proving that these larger animals are occasional visitors.

 

 

At the time we planed our trip to the North part of Tanzania 2015 I found the above information by accident. We are not fit enough to think about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. This was an opportunity to see a bit more from this magic mountain for us.

 

As starting point for this little adventure we booked two nights at "House of West Kili". The lodge is situated about 15 km from Hoi in Lawate, Sanya Juu - West Kilimanjaro. We were warmly greeted by Abraham. He is the owner and has this well-maintained lodge bild in recent years, piece by piece.

 

House of West Klili

 

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Botswanadreams

The next day started with an early breakfast. Saku the manager of House of West Kili came with us. There was just enough light and except gray fog at the point where you usually can see to Kili from the lodge was nothing. It's an one and a half hour drive from the lodge to Londorosi Gate of Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park. The gate is at 2,250 meters. Our Guide completed the formalities. We all had to sign in a separate book for day visitors.

 

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Until Morum Barrier and the Parking Area on Shira Plateau is about 12 km from the gate. This is the point to which you can drive by car as a tourist. Everything else is only allowed by emergency vehicles. The road goes stedily uphill - a bit more than 1,000 height meter. The higher you go, the more the vegetation changes. Unfortunately along the access road to the Shira Plateau the rainforest is not fully received. Shortly before we finished we had left all the clouds behind us and the Kibo showed us the first time in all its glory.

 

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Blue clear sky and sunshine - welcome to Shira Plateau - it was how the Kibo presenting us when we arrived at about 3,4000 meters above sea level at 9am.

 

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Botswanadreams

The Shira Plateau is a fascinating nature area - a heath and moorland, which reaches up to 4,000 meters. On the plateau at the lower level Erica plants dominate. These are evergreen and some very brunched shrubs. In this zone you can find over 600 different species. We followed the small tracks through the lava rocks to Simba River. In the distance we saw briefly a herd Eland. On the way were tracks of buffalo and the droppings of a leopard. To see animals is not easy. They usally live in secret, but they are there.

 

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We sat down on the stones. We just left the soul dangle and the heart delighted in the fantastic panoramic. Saku picked us fresh, ice-cold water from the small river.

 

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Botswanadreams

Of course we couldn't miss the obligatoriy photo as proof that we were the Kibo very close.

 

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It was now 11.30am and the Kibo pointed first small clouds in full glory. We made our way back.

 

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We took our time to take some photos of the small flowers among the heather bushes little more closely.

 

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Before leaving the Shira Plateau, we enjoyed our lunch in this dreamlike setting. 2.30pm we started the drive back to the gate and the Kibo was still with no significant clouds. We had such a big lick with the wether.

 

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Edited by Botswanadreams
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Botswanadreams

Back at the lodge, Abraham greeted us with the question, "How was your day". He did not believe that we had such a great view on the Shira Plateau. I had to show him some images on the display because the Kili couldn't bee seen throughout the day from the Lodge.

 

The "House of West Kili" is a recommendable Lodge with his warm hospitality and ideally located for a Day Hike on Shira Plateau. This combination we can recommend for all travellers who do not want to engage in the climbing of Mt. Kilimanjaro itself.

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@@Botswanadreams

Thank you for a very interesting report on a day hike at the Killimanaro base. Not something I was aware of. Your pictures of Killi and the shrinking snow/ice cap are beautiful. Rarely is Killi seen in such good weather conditions.

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smartravelafrica

@@Botswanadreams

 

Thank you for nice pictures and detailed report tourism review which will help more people across the world to know more about Mount Kilimanjaro short tour option. Some tourist think that Mount Kilimanjaro tour is need 6 or more days, but you have shown a real travel experience of day trip Shira hike adventure.

 

I did know about House of West Kili, am one of many people who didn't know. Now, am aware of this nice place to base your Kilimanjaro trek and comfort accommodation at House of West Kili

 

Can you share Price of room rates at House of West Kili?.......

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Botswanadreams

Hi Smartravelafrica, "House of West Kili" charged full board in 2015 110$ per person. It was the information I got from our Tanzanian Tour Operator. They were busy to add an campsite but not finished in June 2015. They also like to build up a Guide accommodation on the place so that the Guides can have there meals with there Guests. A very good idea in my opinion.

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@@Botswanadreams

 

Thank you for nice pictures and detailed report tourism review which will help more people across the world to know more about Mount Kilimanjaro short tour option. Some tourist think that Mount Kilimanjaro tour is need 6 or more days, but you have shown a real travel experience of day trip Shira hike adventure.

 

I did know about House of West Kili, am one of many people who didn't know. Now, am aware of this nice place to base your Kilimanjaro trek and comfort accommodation at House of West Kili

 

Can you share Price of room rates at House of West Kili?.......

 

You can also do day trips to Mandara Hut from the Marangu hotel.

 

@@Botswanadreams

 

Thanks for this interesting report, having climbed Kili before I can certainly agree that this is a nice little alternative to a full climb and looks like a really lovely day out.

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This is something new for me and also quite beautiful! Great photos, from the mountain to the flowers.

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I didn't know about this option, very interesting. Thank you.

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Atravelynn

Thanks for sharing with us how to enjoy Mount Kilimanjaro up close and personal without climbing to the summit. Did you walk 2 to 2.5 hours like the sign stated? I saw there was even an overnight option.

 

The mountain came out and the flowers bloomed for your visit!

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Botswanadreams

Thanks to all for your interest.

 

@@Atravelynn

We walked up to Simba River. This is the first river line you see on the map. You are allowed to go more far. You also can spend more time on the plateau. You pay National Park fee for one day. That means you have to be back on the Gate at 6pm. Maybe a bit late because you have to drive to your accommodation too as long as it isn't dark.

 

I think for a two day walk you have to stay at Simba 1 camp with all the climbers. I can't imagine that you would be allowed to camp outside this destined camps Simba 1 or Simba 2. The problem I see is you need porters to carry your stuff for this two days. Go in contact for more information on this with Abraham or Saku from "House of West Kili" Lodge. They will be happy to assist you.

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  • 3 weeks later...
tripplanner001

Thanks for sharing, Botswanadreams. This is exactly what we hope to do when we visit East Africa, weather permitting. Are guides required for this hike?

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Botswanadreams
Are guides required for this hike?

 

 

I'm not sure at all. Normally I think you have to go with a ranger. We went on Shira Plateau with the manager of "House of West Kili". He is well known at the gate. If you are travelling with a guide never did it before maybe you have to go with a ranger too.

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tripplanner001

Thank you for your response.

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I had never heard of that option before - very informative with lovely photos.

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