Day Hike via Londoros Gate
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.
The day starts early with a pick up in House of West Kili Lodge then a 1 hour and 15 mins drive through the rich agricultural area at the base of the mountain. Observe the variety of local agriculture, from hand-tilled smallholdings to large commercial farms before giving way first to plantation forest and finally to indigenous forest.
Once through the park gate, the road climbs more steeply up a rough track moving quickly through the different layers of vegetation from thick mountain forest with towering trees, gradually giving way to the giant heath.
From the parking area 11400 feet above sea level at the edge of the plateau you can strike through Kilimanjaro and from there you will start noticed this is highest free standing mountain in the world , following the myriad of small animal tracks to meander your way across the plateau. The guide will carry trail food and a picnic lunch and each hiker needs a small rucksack to carry water, warm clothes and full waterproofs – the weather can change incredibly quickly. A pair of stout walking boots is needed, as in some areas the ground can be soft. Sometimes you can hike to shira one camp where the climbers use to camp for their second night to summit, hiking can take two to three hours+/- round trip.
Mid-afternoon, return to the vehicle and bump back down the track and across the plains to House of West Kili, which can be between 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm