On all the official Mount Kilimanjaro routes, Umbwe is the least used and attracts fewer climbers. And it is also for good reason, the most difficult route on the mountain. The route is a steep, constant, straight climb to the top. Umbwe is probably the most scenic route on Mt. Kilimanjaro. It is also one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. This route is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are plentiful. The climb on the first two days is very steep and as a result it is best suited to experienced trekkers.
Our 6 days Umbwe Route is without doubt the most challenging and strenuous route up Mount Kilimanjaro, due to the steepness of ascent through rainforest and the rapid altitude gain over the first two days. As a result of both these factors Umbwe route leads in having the highest incidence of altitude mountain sickness and therefore the lowest summit success rate
Umbwe route joins up with the Machame route at Barranco Camp after day 2, continuing over the Great Barranco Wall and over into the Karanga Valley. It is possible to climb the Umbwe route over 5 days, however, an extra day for acclimatization is recommended as 5 days are far too short for acclimatisation and as such we only offer the Umbwe route over 6 days as a private climb.
Despite Umbwe route being is very steep and arduous, it is not a technical climb. The route does not offer the opportunity to acclimatise well as you cannot “walk high, sleep low” it is all uphill all the way to the summit. For those who have been to altitude before and know that they acclimatise well then they can benefit from the first two days being very quiet and also enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Elevation (m): 1600m to 2900m, Distance: 11km, Time: 6 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest.
You will be collected from your hotel in Arusha and transferred to Umbwe gate where you will register and meet rest of your Kilimanjaro trek team before starting your trek. As you start your hike, the small winding path leads you up through rainforest and along the Umbwe river. The first night’s Kilimanjaro camp is at Umbwe Cave Camp, at about 2,900m altitude.
You will have breakfast in your camp before you leave the camp and shortly afterwards the forests ends. As you hike, you will be able to see the spectacular sheer wall of the Western Breach appearing and disappearing as the afternoon mists roll up the Great Barranco. You camp for tonight is at Barranco.
Enjoy today’s hike as you start with a short, but fun, scramble, to the top of the Great Barranco Wall. Thereafter, you traverse over scree to the Karanga Valley (3930m) beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. We will stay overnight at Karanga campsite.
Enjoy breakfast at your camp before you leave Karanga campsite behind to meet the junction connecting with the Mweka descent Trail. From here you will continue up to the Barafu Hut. You have now completed the Southern Circuit, which offers spectacular views of the summit from many different angles. Once you reach your camp, you can rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be clearly seen from this position.
Today you have to rest well as you will be woken at 23:30, you Kilimanjaro crew will serve you with some quick tea biscuits and afterwards you stat you trek to the summit between the Rebman and Ratzel glaciers.
As you trek , you will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is undoubtedly the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. At Stella Point (5732m), You will have a stop for a short rest at Stella Point (5732m).Here, you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting).
After the short rest continue with your trek until you reach At Uhuru Peak (5895m), the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. It can be extremely cold at night at these elevations, but it will be quite warm by the end of the hiking day.Spend some time at the crater enjoying your success as well as taking photosd.
From the summit, you will have to descend down to the Mweka Hut camp site, via Barafu where you will have for lunch. Trekking poles will be needed for the loose gravel going down to Mweka Camp (3100m).Enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep later in the evening.
You leave your last camp on Mount Kilimanjaro after breakfast descending down to the Mweka Park Gate where you will be awarded summit certificates. At lower elevations of Mount Kilimajaro, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will be suitable (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).