The Shira Plateau is one of the most fascinating and scenic areas on Kilimanjaro. It is well worth a visit just to explore the ridges and moorland. However, the road to Shira is only accessible by 4-wheel-drive vehicles and can become impassable during wet periods.
The drive to and from Shira offers magnificent views of the Great Rift Valley, studded with mountains. Among them Mt. Meru and Longido are especially prominent. The Shira zone of parasitic cones extends along to the north of the road, from plain to plateau. The vegetation changes along the track are striking. The plateau is grassland, heath and moor, with especially large senecios (up to 10 meters high) in valleys near the Cone. Elands can often be seen on the plateau, and you may see signs of buffaloes, leopards and other animals.
The Shira Cone rises about 200 meters above the plateau. Beyond it, to the west, is the Shira Ridge, a steep rise reaching almost 400 meters above plateau level at its trig point. The southern ridge of the Shira Plateau has two dramatic peaks called Cathedral and the Needle.
Shira Route then Uhuru Point by the Arrow Glacier This is a really steep, hard but short route to the summit from Arrow Glacier Camp which is itself reached in about 4 hours from the Barranco Hut. From December to February crampons and ice axes may be needed.
Variation: Shira Route then Uhuru Point by the Arrow Glacier This is a really steep, hard but short route to the summit from Arrow Glacier Camp which is itself reached in about 4 hours from the Barranco Hut.