Mt. Kilimanjaro was formed by fusion of three extinct volcanoes (Kibo — 19340″; Mawenzi –16896″; and Shira -- 13000'). There are several routes to Mt. Kilimanjaro's summit most of which are very steep, but get you to the summit in a few days. For all but the most experienced climbers these are not the best options because of problems with altitude sickness and lack of acclimatization. The best route for most is via the Shira Plateau & Western Breach, a route pioneered by (among others) mountaineering legend, Scott Fischer (who died in the 1990s near the summit of Mt. Everest).
(buffalo skull, Shira Plateau)
The Shira plateau route provides a more gradual ascent to the summit on the southwestern slopes of the mountain allowing time for proper acclimatization to the rarefied air. And with the extra time you can explore the beautiful plateau itself. It has mixed vegetation known as "moorland". Trees don't grow at this altitude anymore but an unusual assortment of shrubs, grasses and plants thrive on this extinct volcanic crater, many of which are unique to the mountain and some even to the Shira plateau.
(Shira Plateau viewed from the Fischer Camp. You can appreciate the imploded volcanic shape of this part of Mt. Kilimanjaro from this photo)