Umbwe route

Umbwe Route

Umbwe route is regarded as one of the hardest routes of Mt Kilimanjaro, precarious, steep and short. This route is considered for great experienced and fit climbers who want a new challenge in their lives. The success of the Umbwe route is very low compared to other Kilimanjaro routes due to its short acclimatization time during climbing. The route has only one acclimatization point that is at Karanga which has around 32 kilometers sharp ascent accompanied by more 21 kilometers downwards.

Umbwe Route is the least used trail of all the Kilimanjaro trails, and the trail needs patients and physical endurance. The route is considered a life-threatening route without proper acclimatization. It has a bad record of altitude sickness with over 60% of the climbers who succumb to this hence failing to reach the summit. The common altitude sickness is Nausea and headache which start as low as 4000 meters. The Umbwe Route is the most direct route to the summit but most breathtakingly the spectacular climb.

One can reach the summit in two ways when using the Umbwe route, i.e. one through the Western breach which is the most dangerous due to rock fallings, as in the middle after reaching the South Circular Route, trekkers can choose to either continue to the Northwest approaching Kibo from the West or can use the Southern Circular approaching Barafu on the East. This route joins the other three Kilimanjaro routes at Barranco and Barafu. The Umbwe route starts an altitude of 2800 meters where the climbers will be driven by 4×4 car up to the gate through the edge of the rainforest. It takes more than 6 hours for the hiker to reach the first camp where they will have their dinner and overnight from. One can view the great scenic view of the Western Breach and Barranco wall while hiking higher.

Umbwe route takes a minimum of 5 days though its recommended days are 7 for higher chances of success. It has remained on record that the Umbwe Route is the least successful route yet up to now trekkers keep using it as some succeed while others do not.

Umbwe Route / Itinerary 6 Days Climb + 2Nights at a Hotel: Umbwe route is another of the amazing mount Kilimanjaro Hiking routes and you will enjoy your time as you hike through this route.

Day 1: Moshi (890 m/2,920 ft): When clients arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport or Dar es Salaam International Airport, you will be met at the airport by our representatives and transferred to the hotel or clients preferred residential home for Overnight. You can start your trek any day, any month of the year!

Day 2: Umbwe Gate (1,800 m/5,905 ft) to Umbwe camp (2,800 m/9,190 ft) 8 km, 5-7 hours Montane forest: 

On this day of the Umbwe Route, you will wake up early and prepare yourself for breakfast, and check out at the  Lodge /hotel. You will depart Moshi (890 m/2,920 ft) and drive to the Umbwe route entrance gate. After registering at the gate, then you start your ascent at the small Umbwe Gate just above the village and follow a gentle winding vehicle track for an hour to a signboard that announces the small steep Umbwe trail. The introduction is over, and you now climb up for several hrs through a dense forest of rubber trees and giant fig trees. In places, you must scamper up steep sections of roots and rock. The Umbwe Route Camp is in the forest, and there are some caves nearby. You will be greeted here with a graciously served hot meal. You will commence the climb through the rain forest with packed lunch on route. To the First encampment at 2 800m dinners and overnight at the First cave campsite.

Day 3: Umbwe Camp (2,800 m/9,190 ft) to Barranco camp (3,900 m/12,800 ft) 8 km, 4-5 hours semi-desert: 

Your day 3 of the Umbwe route starts early with a steaming cup of tea or coffee. After breakfast, you will climb steeply through leave the glades of the forest and follow an ascending path on the open moorland to the Barranco encampment located at 3 900 m. The clouds will part to reward you with a view of Uhuru peak looming overhead. After lunch, you enter a zone of giant ground sells (scenario Kilimanjaro) that seem to guard the heights, and this garden is one of Kilimanjaro’s special treasures you may find. After dinner you overnight at Barranco campsite.

Day 4: Barranco Camp (3,950 m/12,960 ft) to Barafu Camp (4,550 m/14,930 ft) 3 km, 8 hours Alpine Desert:

After spending a night under the imposing Great Barranco Wall, you climb this awesome obstacle, which turns out to be easier than it looks. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you can now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley and goes over intervening ridges and valleys to join the Mweka Route, which will be your descent route. You have now completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. For now, all eyes are still on the summit, so turn left and hike up the ridge for another hour to the Barafu Hut. The last water on the route is in the Karanga Valley; there is no water at Barafu Camp, even though Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice.” The famous snows of mount Kilimanjaro are far above Barafu Camp near the summit of the mountain. Your tent will be pitched on a narrow, stony, wind-swept ridge, so make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. Prepare your equipment and warm clothing for your summit climb. This should include replacing your headlamp and camera batteries, and to prevent freezing, consider carrying your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed by 07:00 PM and try to get a few hours of precious sleep. You will rise around 10:30 PM, and after some steaming tea and biscuits, you shuffle off into the night. You will start the summit hike walk at around 11:00 pm from Barafu Camp to Summit.

Day 6: – Summit Day! Barafu Camp (4,550 m/14,930 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft) to Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft) 7 km up, 23 km down 8 hours up, 7-8 hours down Scree and seasonal snow

Your 6-hour climb northwest up through heavy scree between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers to Stella Point on the crater rim is the most challenging part of the route for most climbers. You will reach Stella Point (5,685 m/18,650 ft) at around 05:30 am and you will stop for a short rest and a chance to see a supremely sanguine sunrise. At Stella Point, you join the top part of the Marangu Route but do not stop here too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Depending on the season and recent storms, you may encounter snow on your remaining hike along the rim to Uhuru Peak. On the summit, you can enjoy your accomplishments and know that you are creating a day that you will remember for the rest of your life. After your 3-hours descent from the summit back to Barafu Camp, you will have a well-earned but short rest, collect your gears, and hike down a rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest to Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft). This camp is in the upper forest, so you can expect mist or rain in the late afternoon or evening. Dinner, and washing water will be prepared, and the camp office sells drinking water, soft drinks, and chocolates! After Dinner you will overnight at Mweka Camp. 

Day 7: Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft) to Mweka Gate (1,980 m/6,500 ft) to Moshi (890 m/2,920 ft) 15 km, 3 hours Forest:

After a well-deserved breakfast, it is a short, scenic, 3-hours hike back to the park gate. Don’t give your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely but do remember to tip your staff at the gate. At Mweka Gate, you can sign your name and add details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Some climbers like to get their Certificates at the Hotel or where they will be staying and have a celebration dinner and drinks with their Porters and Guides and get Certificates with photos of a Give presenting the Certificates to each member of the Group for Good Memory after accomplishing the DREAM. Climbers who reached Stella Point are issued green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak receive Gold with Green colors certificate. From the Mweka Gate, you will continue down to the Mweka Village, possibly a muddy, 3 km, 1-hour hike if the road is too muddy for vehicles. In the Mweka Village, you will be served a delicious hot lunch after which you are driven back to Moshi for an overdue hot shower and comfortable night in a Hotel or similar lodging.

Day 8: Moshi, Depart for the airport or other destinations in Tanzania or Kenya. A trip to the beaches at Zanzibar is a good way to recuperate. We can arrange as many for reasonably priced trips and safaris around Moshi or Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.

Prices Include:

  • Pickup and Transfers from Airport to Hotel and Return 
  • Accommodation at the Hotel Half Board for two nights
  • Government taxes
  • Kilimanjaro climbing, entry fees, and All Camping equipment and utensils 
  • Porters to carry luggage, 
  • Guides and assistants Guides, 
  • Transport from base hotel to a starting point of starting the climbing and return pick up. Transfer, are all-inclusive in the climbing tour costs.
  • Salaries for Porters, Guides, Office operations costs
  • All meals on the mountain Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Prices do not Includes:

  • Staff Tips-Driver/guides, Personal Gears for climbing the mountain like warm jackets, walking sticks and warm gloves
  • Hotel stuff, international flights from abroad to Tanzania and return.
  • Any personal of nature expenses, outings, sodas, laundry and ironing, pedicure, manicure, massage service.


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