Mt Kilimanjaro Trek - Umbwe Route

Overview

The Umbwe Route is regarded as the most difficult route as it is one of the shorter and steeper routes to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s known for its challenging terrain and rapid ascent through the jungle, in places using tree roots as makeshift rungs on a ladder. This route is only suitable for experienced trekkers who are well-acclimatized and seeking a more adventurous and demanding climb.

This route is offered at a minimum of 6 days, though due to the quick ascent, the 7-day program provides the necessary stages for acclimatization. While the traffic on this route is very low, the chances of summiting are also low.

Highlights

  • The Umbwe Route is considered one of the most difficult paths up Kilimanjaro due to its steep and strenuous sections. Trekkers need to be physically fit and mentally prepared for the challenges it presents.
  • Despite its difficulty, the route offers stunning views and unique perspectives of the mountain. It passes through dense rainforests, moorlands, and rocky sections, providing a diverse range of landscapes.
  • Compared to some of the more popular routes, the Umbwe Route tends to have fewer trekkers, contributing to a quieter and more remote experience.
  • The lower sections of the route pass through rainforests with a chance to spot various wildlife, including monkeys, birds, and sometimes larger mammals.
  • The route’s rugged nature and fewer trekkers contribute to a sense of adventure and solitude. Trekkers seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience may find the Umbwe Route appealing.
  • Successfully summiting Kilimanjaro via the Umbwe Route can provide a strong sense of personal achievement due to the route’s demanding nature.
Included
Excluded

Day 1: Arrive in Moshi/ Airport Transfer

Arrive in Moshi and you’ll be picked up at the airport by our representative at Moshi Airport (QSI) and taken to your hotel. Moshi is a small and clean town that offers many activities and sceneries to take part in. 

Arrive a few days before your climb and visit the ever-beautiful and tranquil Lak Chala, or take a dip in the Kikuletwa Hot Springs. Take a village trip to Materuni waterfalls and Materuni Village for a local coffee-making tour or take a tour to Olpopongi Village located at West Kilimanjaro. 

INCLUDE: 
— Airport Transfer

Overnight at Moshi Hotel

Day 2: Umbwe Gate to Umbwe Camp

After breakfast, the day begins with a 50-minute drive from Moshi to Machame Gate where registration formalities will be completed. We then transfer through villages, coffee, and banana plantations to the Umbwe Gate. The trail ascends sharply on a forestry track which winds up the dense rainforest. 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.

INCLUDED: 
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Elevation: 1,600m /5,249ft to 2,900m/9,514ft
Hiking time:
 
5-7 hours
Distance: 11 km/ 8 miles
Zone: Heathland

Overnight at Umbwe Camp

Day 3: Umbwe Camp to Barranco Camp

The second day of the trek follows rockier terrain with sparse undergrowth, straggly, and 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.

INCLUDED: 
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Elevation: 2,900m/9,514ft to 3,976m/13,044ft
Hiking time:
 
5-7 hours
Distance: 6 km/ 4 miles
Zone: Heathland

Overnight at Barranco Camp

Day 4: Barranco Camp

We will spend an extra day here for acclimatization. Adding this day will ease your effort and amplify your acclimatization as well as increase the success of summiting.

INCLUDED: 
— Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Overnight at Barranco Camp

Day 5: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

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 274m/900ft 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.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Elevation: 3,976m/13,044ft to 3,995m/13,106ft
Hiking time:
 
4-6 hours
Distance: 5 km/ 3 miles
Zone: Alpine Desert

Overnight at Karanga Camp

Day 6: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

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.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Elevation:3,995m/13,106ft to 4,673m/15,331ft
Hiking time:
 
4-6 hours
Distance: 4 km/ 2 miles
Zone: Alpine Desert

Overnight at Karanga Camp

Day 7: Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

We leave Karanga and reach the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, we 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.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Elevation: 3,995m/13,106ft to 4,673m/15,331ft
Hiking time:
4-6
 hours
Distance: 4 km/ 2 miles
Zone: Alpine Desert

Overnight at Barafu Camp

Day 8: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

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 5,761m/18,900ft, we 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.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak
Elevation:
4,673m/15,331ft to 5,895m/19,341ft
Hiking time:
7-9
 hours
Distance: 5 km/ 3 miles
Zone: Arctic

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, mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp
Elevation:
5,895m/19,341ft to 3,068m/10,065ft
Hiking time:
4-6
 hours
Distance: 12 km/ 7 miles
Zone: Rainforest

Overnight at Mweka Camp

Day 9: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate 

On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will be waiting for us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Elevation: 3,068m/10,065ft to 1,640m/5,380ft
Hiking time:
3-5
 hours
Distance: 10 km/ 6 miles
Zone: Rainforest

Overnight at Moshi Hotel

Day 10: Depart Moshi/ Airport Transfer

Today is departure day and there are no scheduled activities. At the appropriate time, a representative will pick you up and take you to the airport for your return home or to your next destination.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast 
— Airport Transfer

ITINERARY DISCLAIMER

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However, it is subject to change and does not form a contract between parties. While it is our intention to adhere to the route described, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary, and on occasion, it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. Occasionally, our itineraries change due to weather or other circumstances that are beyond our control. This includes regulations surrounding COVID-19. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and are subject to vary.

  • Our local travel partner for the Mount Kilimanjaro Trek is a Moshi-based, family-owned company whose mission is to not only give you a meaningful and exciting adventure but to also positively contribute to the well-being of local communities by increasing job opportunities to boost the local economy. They also encourage environmental conservation and regeneration practices and participate in mountain clean-up efforts and tree-planting activities in collaboration with the local government and various NGOs. Furthermore, they proudly support the Nguzo Women’s Foundation, a grassroots non-profit in the Hai District of the Kilimanjaro region, whose initiatives include providing menstrual kits and health education to young girls in six government primary schools. In addition, they have taken proactive steps to create opportunities for female guides and porters on their team.
  • All of our guides have at least 10 years of experience on the mountain, and all have extensive training in first-aid, mountain rescue, flora, fauna, and geology, and all have been certified in Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness Emergency Medicine, and Heartsaver CPR. 
  • Our itinerary allows you to spend two nights at Horombo Huts, which helps you to acclimatize and reach the summit without altitude problems. 
  • Although no mountaineering experience is required, a good level of physical fitness is necessary to tackle Mt Kilimanjaro. You’ll need to be comfortable walking 6-8 hours uphill a day. The distances may not be long, but the altitude makes it harder than your average uphill hike. 
  • Sections of this trek take you above 9200 ft (2800 m), where it is common to experience altitude sickness.
  • You will need to limit the weight of your duffel bag and its contents to be carried by the porters on the climb to 15 kg (32 lbs) or less. Extra luggage, including clean clothes to wear after your climb can be left at the hotel in Moshi.
  • Temperatures at night can get very low when you’re above 3500 m, so clothing and a sleeping bag made for this kind of climate are essential. You can rent this at the beginning of your trip if you don’t have your own. 
  • You must be prepared to share the huts along this route with between 3 and 11 other people who may be of a different gender. Guests are supplied with mattresses and pillows, but you must supply your own sleeping bag (available to rent). The huts have communal dining halls and basic washrooms and we also provide a private, portable toilet for our guests. 
  • Daily meals during the hike include breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. Breakfast is generally between 7:30 and 8:00 am, and departure from the huts/camp is at 9 am after a medical checkup. Lunch is mid-day, a hot drink, and a snack are around 4 pm, and dinner is at 7 pm. Summit morning is different: full breakfast at 11:30 pm, start hiking at midnight or sometimes 1 am. 
  • The food on the mountain consists of such staples as pasta, potatoes, meats, and stews. Vegetarian and vegan diets can be accommodated. For more specific requirements, please contact us to discuss. All dietary requirements need to be specified prior to arrival. 
  • Most daily hikes take from 4-7 hours and the pace is slow with a rest at least once every hour and plenty of time to take photos and enjoy the view. When you arrive at the campsite, you will find your tents already set up and your bags ready to collect. 
  • Hiking for several days without a shower can be tough – be prepared for some dust and dirt. A mask, wet wipes, and a face cloth may become your best friends!
  • Hiking insurance is mandatory for this trip. This should cover high-altitude trekking of at least 19,340 ft and should be on a ‘non-reimbursement’ basis so the insurer will pay for the hospital bills immediately, as opposed to claiming when you get home. We strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance which provides coverage for trip interruption, flight cancellation, and loss of baggage. 
  • We are aware of the negative impacts of travel and we choose our travel partners based on their commitment to social development and environment preservation. Our guides are responsible for ensuring that the guests understand the nature of the environment that they are in and minimize the impact they may have. 

Level 5: Challenging

Our Challenging Trips are intended for physically fit individuals who are seeking a challenging experience. Previous trekking experience is not required for Mount Kilimanjaro, but you should be able to hike 6-8 hours a day at a moderate pace over hilly terrain with a light day pack. To ensure that you are physically and mentally fit and capable of attempting your Kilimanjaro challenge, we would highly advise you to start training at least 3-4 months before your tour date.

Once we receive your inquiry, we will reach out with a calendar invite in order to schedule a time to talk about your trip. A 25% deposit is required once the itinerary is approved. Payment is due in full 90-days prior to the start date of your trip. 

From $3012

For group size of 3-4 people

Inquire About This Trek

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