Kilimanjaro Mountain Climbing via Umbwe Route
Daring experienced climbers seeking adventure and challenge will find just what they want on Umbwe. A short steep climb traversing all the climate zones – from tropical rainforest to eternal ice – will put your strength and endurance to the test. Like no other route on Kilimanjaro Umbwe gives a sense of achievement to those who reach the summit.
Your first day on the mountain will start from Umbwe Gate and continue with a lengthy trek to the first camp on your way – Umbwe camp. In spite of the challenge that Umbwe poses to hikers, well thought-out location of camps will contribute to proper acclimatization.
The trek through Umbwe is available only as a 6-day program. Recommended only to experienced hikers in good physical shape.
Day to Day Itinerary
Elevation: 5,249 ft to 9,514 ft
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Distance: 11 km | 7 miles
The day begins with a 50 minute drive to Machame Gate where registration formalities will be completed. We then transfer through villages and coffee and banana plantations to Umbwe Gate. The trail ascends sharply on a forestry track which winds up the dense rain forest. The path narrows and steepens as we climb the ridge between two rivers surrounded by huge trees. Umbwe Camp is perched between trees and thick undergrowth.
Elevation: 9,514 ft to 13,044 ft
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Distance: 6 km | 4 miles
The second day of the trek follows rockier terrain with sparse undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees. As we gain elevation, glimpses of Kilimanjaro can be seen. The path flattens as we approach Barranco Valley. From Umbwe ridge, the route descends to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest.
We begin the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then we climb the non-technical but steep, nearly 900 ft cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall we cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads us to Karanga Camp. This is a shorter day meant for acclimatization.
We leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this position.
Barafu Camp to Uhuru PeakElevation: 15,331 ft to 19,341 ft Hiking Time: 7-8 hours
Uhuru Peak to Mweka CampElevation: 19,341 ft to 10,065 ft Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
.Distance: 5 km | 3 miles Habitat: Arctic
.Distance: 12 km | 7 miles Habitat: Rain Forest
Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. Near Stella Point (18,900 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.
Please note all trip prices are based on our own Company costs, fees, and supplier prices in effect at the time of booking. We reserves the right to alter trip prices should inflation, cost of fuel, labor, materials, or exchange rates change. If the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) raises park fees, or any hotel, lodge, camp or any other service provider raises their rates, We reserves the right to require additional payment from the client.