Kilimanjaro Hike: Day 2 – The Moorlands and Shira Camp

While the excitement of getting going made Day 1 a great day, Day 2 was no less exciting.  For many of us in the Trekking for Kids group, that was mainly due to the change in the landscape (and maybe having one day under our belt?).  Day 1 on the Machame Route had us hike through the forest zone at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro; nice but not terribly interesting (at least to me).  We had heard Day 1 could be tough if it were raining or had just rained with the mud, etc.  But we had good luck on the weather front.

In any case, on Day 2, we moved into what is called “the moorlands“.  And it was a landscape I really liked, offering interesting plants and great views as well.  But before we got going on Day 2, I took a look around when I got out of my tent at the Machame Camp (at 10,200 ft / 3,100 m) and this is what was waiting for me!

The summit of Kilimanjaro from Machame Camp

The top of Kili!

A moorland?  What is that?

I had no idea what moorlands were prior to the hike.  So I looked the term up and it said it was a climate zone at some elevation with low-growing vegetation and fog.  In the end, the descriptions I had found didn’t really help me conjure a good mental picture though the Wikipedia article actually had a picture of Kili’s moorlands.  No worries, I was about to spend a whole day hiking the moorlands of Kili so I stopped trying to get that mental picture.  And these are some of the sights of the moorlands!  (Hope they give you a better sense of the moorlands than Wikipedia gave me.)

Plant in the moorlands terrain of Kilimanjaro with fog behind it

One of the most interesting plants we saw on the climb

Plant in the moorlands terrain of Kilimanjaro

Another interesting plant of the moorlands zone

Moorland terrain in Mt. Kilimanjaro

Great example of the terrain and sky that day! Here a guide walks in front of me

Moorland terrain in Mt. Kilimanjaro

The trekkers making their way in the low vegetation and fog typical of the moorlands zone

Great vistas were part of our reward on Day 2!

We left camp early in the morning around 7:45 AM under a great and beautiful blue sky.  We could see neighboring Mt. Meru in the distance which made for some good photos of the view.

View of Mt. Meru from Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mt. Meru in the distance

View of Mt. Meru from Mt. Kilimanjaro

I told you it was a photo opp spot!

The trail that day was pretty rocky but not in an intense way as other days.  Interesting larger rocks along the way also made for photo opps that the group did not let go to waste.  This group let NO photo opp go to waste!!

Rock in Mt. Kilimanjaro's moorlands

Hikers on Mt. Kilimanjaro

Everyone trying to get their photo taken on this scenic spot

A beautiful place to spend the night:  Shira Camp

We had had a great day but it was to get better after the 5.5 mile (9 km) hike:  Shira Camp at 12,600 ft (3,840 m) (a gain of 2,400 ft in the day), where we were going to stay that night, was one of the most beautiful spots I saw on the entire climb.  It overlooked a ridge (the Shira Ridge) and, turning 180 degrees, would leave you facing the summit of Kili.  It was breathtaking, especially at sunset.  We were fortunate that we got to camp about 6 hours after we started (around 2 PM) which allowed us ample time to soak in the views – and get good rest before the challenge of Day 3!

Approaching Shira Camp on Mt. Kilimanjaro

When we first spotted the camp – notice the fog

Shira Camp in Mt. Kilimanjaro

We enter camp and look for the green tents of Zara Tours

Shira Camp in Mt. Kilimanjaro - Zara Tours tents

We finally found our tents and everyone proceeded to settle in. We had THE BEST location in camp!

One of our trekkers, Annie, had brought, of all things, a couple of small kites, and it was neat to watch her and others fly them.  Myself? I joined fellow trekkers Olivia and Austin in doing some stretches after the long day of hiking – but enjoying the great views while at it!

Flying kites in Mt. Kilimanjaro!

Kites on Kili

One of the spots with the best view of the ridge and, therefore, a great spot for a photo opp also seemed to be the best spot for a cellphone signal as a few guides would sit on those rock and text away for a while.  This spot also happened to be like within 10 ft (3m) from the toilet-tent nearest to my tent – a place I would visit a couple of times during the night as Diamox (the med you take to help prevent altitude sickness) is a very effective diuretic…  One of the best pieces of advice we got pre-trip was to bring a so-called “pee bottle” so one could relieve oneself within “the comfort” of one’s own tent… Easier for guys than gals, I am sure.  Of course, if the bottle runneth over or a case of bad aiming hit, neither would not be a good situation (not alluding to ANYONE in the group…) so care must be taken in the use of said bottle…  Sometimes though, the bottle did not have enough capacity for production so one still had to go outside.  That was a slight pain as one had to put on the shoes, maybe a jacket and long pants, find the headlamp, etc.  But I never failed to fall asleep easily upon returning from these small nighttime outings, mercifully…

I am not sure how this post took such a turn, dear reader, so I will bring myself back to the more pleasant topic of the hike…  OK, since I have already brought the topic up, here is a gratuitous photo of the portable toilet in the toilet-tent. (I know some of my friends and family are DYING to see a pic of one of these.)  Are you glad I went “there”?

Toilet in a tent in Mt. Kilimanjaro

At least I made the picture smaller than the rest…

So, quickly switching gears (warning:  awkward turn of topic coming…), this day we had one of our many favorite lunches:  grilled tomato, cheese and cucumber sandwiches!  A real treat and we all gobbled up these babies up happily!

Grilled sandwiches during our Kilimanjaro trek

Grilled sandwich goodness!

When it is all said and done…

So all these make for great memories of Day 2 but these are the images that really capture the “awesomeness” of the day for me.

Sunset at Shira Camp with clouds going by hikers

Shira Camp with Mt. Kilimanjaro as its backdrop

A happy if tired hiker by his tent and the roof of Africa!

Back to Day 1

On to Day 3


Other posts about the Kilimanjaro trek:

–  Preparing for the hike is more than training and gear

–  The Machame Route:  our way up

–  7 things you will not see me without as I climb Kili

–  Day 4 of the hike

–  Interview with fellow Kili climber and Ultimate Global Explorer



  1. What an amazing experience and stunning photos, your photos make me dream of being there myself.
    Freya recently posted..The North Island, Taupo to WellingtonMy Profile

  2. I would never go on this trip, but I really admire your courage. Bring on day 3!
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..Introducing The Luxury Travel Blog NetworkMy Profile

  3. Ah, it’s been so fun to read your Kili posts. It brings back great memories from our climb. I also brought a pee bottle (or two) up with me, but I think I only had to use one once. The worst part of having to go to the bathroom was putting on all of those layers! Can’t wait to see day 3!
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted..A London apartment fit for a king.My Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Tawny! As I prepared for this hike, I remember your story of the hike from your post. Yes, I hated the fact that going to the bathroom at night was a production if the pee bottle was full or if I had forgotten to unpack it for the evening!

  4. Olivia Campos says:

    My favorite day!! Great photos!

  5. I’m so jealous. Even though I’m not that into hiking, this is one experience I’m willing to put on my bucket list. Looks incredible!
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..My Career Break Ends TodayMy Profile

  6. looks like you beautiful weather and and enjoyable first two days on the hike. AND, the grilled cheeses look delish. can’t wait to read about day 3!
    thelazytravelers recently posted..rtw rookies: the north shore kick-offMy Profile

  7. INCREDIBLE pictures!!!!! And you look so happy. :)Great stuff, Rauli.
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo of the Week: Rooftop view of San DiegoMy Profile

  8. I love how when you climb mountains you go through so many different ecosystems. It reminds me a little of climbing the Grand Canyon as you go through different strata as you go up or down. Great pictures bring us along, so we don’t have to rely on Wikipedia because we have Raul!
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Sucking wind and a dripping booger at the American BirkebeinerMy Profile

  9. Looks like a great climb Raul. Love the photos. The last two are my favorite ones.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Winter Yosemite photos Part II: El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and sunsetMy Profile

  10. I am loving reading about each and every day. This is making me want to climb Kili right now! (I’m working on convincing Jeff that next year would be ideal!) 🙂
    The World Wanderer recently posted..Change Your Outlook, Change Your Life.My Profile

    • @TheWorldWandered: Glad it is inspiring you! You will not regret it one bit! With all the hiking you are doing (as I can see from your own blog), you will better prepared than I was,

  11. Gorgeous pictures!

  12. Wow, I am just (finnaly) starting to read you adventures from your Kili trek… tired on day 2? (just kidding).

    I never heard of the term Moorland, but I know fog always makes magical images… great stuff. Reading more.

    stay adventurous, Craig
    Craig Zabransky recently posted..the Five Photos of Glasgow, ScotlandMy Profile

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