6 Days Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro Climb


The Umbwe Route is the least used, least crowded route on the mountain. For good reason, it is also the most difficult route on the mountain. Umbwe is a steep, constant, straight climb to the top.

Umbwe is mostly avoided because the ascent profile does not give climbers much time to adjust to the altitude. The success rate is very low.

The route takes six days minimum to complete, although seven days is recommended. The descent is down Mweka, on the southeast side of the mountain. Umbwe is not as scenically varied as Machame, Lemosho and Shira, because the path up and down is nearby.

The Umbwe is ideal for those who want a challenging climb, and are very confident in their ability to trek over consistently steep slopes. Also, Umbwe is for those who are experienced at altitude and thus are confident that the punishing schedule of Umbwe will not impede their ability to adjust to altitude. Umbwe is also for those who want a secluded hike.

DAY 1:

Before the climb starts there is an hour’s drive to the start of the trek at 1650 m. This is an opportunity to be introduced to the assistant guide, the cook and porters, who will do their best to assist you to get to the summit. From here we walk thorough farms and montane forest to Umbwe cave camp (2850 m – 1200 m of ascent). Now a National Park, Kilimanjaro’s lush rainforest lower slopes are home to many beautiful birds and animals and by walking quietly, we have good chances of spotting black and white colobus monkeys as well. Climbing slowly and steadily, we eventually reach Umbwe cave, where the tents are pitched amongst the lichen covered trees.

DAY 2:

Continue the climb through the forest and then emerge into the giant heather zone. You then climb through a rocky area to the camp site near the Barranco hut (3950 m

DAY 3 :

The trail climbs up the formidable looking Barranco wall – but like many such trails it looks worse from a distance. Once on the wall care is needed in a few exposed places and here the guides will assist. Mostly however it is a good track, although steep, and you should reach the top of the wall in just over an hour. The trail then undulates towards the south east before dropping steeply to the Karanga valley camp site at 4100 m.

DAY 4 :

An undulating route goes from the Karanga valley to the junction of the Mweka route. From here there is a final pull up to the Barafu hut. (Barafu – ice is Swahili) total ascent 600 m. There is little vegetation here at 4600 m, and the tents are pitched between rocky outcrops. There are however magnificent views of the peak and of Mawenzi in the east. Bird life is restricted to thewhite necked ravens with their echoing croak as they wheel about scavenging for food.

DAY 5 :

This is the toughest day of the whole trek – 10 -15 hours walking at high altitude over steep ground total ascent 1300 m. We set off from Barafu hut at 1.00am with head torches to climb the steep scree slope to Stella Point on the crater rim – 5700 m. We should reach the rim just in time to enjoy the incredible spectacle of sunrise. From Stella Point it is another 1-1 and a half hours along the rim to Uhuru Peak – 5895 m. Snow may be encountered on the scree slope and walking poles are useful for ascent and descent. After the exhilaration of the summit you descend slowly to your overnight camp for a late breakfast and 2 hour rest in your tent. All too soon the guide will be urging you to start the long descent to Mweka hut, via the heather moorland. You reach Mweka hut camping area in late afternoon for a deserved rest.

DAY 6 :

Descent to gate and return to the hotel.

Items included:

  • Kilimanjaro trekking according to the itinerary
  • Professional, English-speaking guide
  • Mountain crew (cook & porters)
  • Emergency Evacuation Cover
  • Overnight stays in hotels and mountain huts
  • Meals according to the itinerary
  • Drinking water
  • All national park fees
  • All mentioned transfers
  • Value Added Tax by Tanzania Revenue Authority

Items excluded:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Flights
  • Alcoholic and soft drinks
  • Visa fees
  • Gratuities or tips for safari Mountain crew
  • Personal spending money for souvenirs etc.
  • Travel insurance