DESPITE A REPUTATION AS THE HARDEST CLIMB, UMBWE IS STILL JUST A TREK!
The Umbwe Route reputation is that it is the most difficult climb on the mountain. However, we do want to remind everyone it is just another trek with no actually "climbing" involved. That being said, it is steep and in some places you might just need to hold onto tree routes as you haul yourself up the slope.
The reward in terms of scenery and solitude are more than worth it though. The following itinerary assumes you are heading via Barafu Huts and Stella Point to the summit, although it is one of the routes where you can climb to the crater rim via the Western Breach and Arrow Glacier. We always recommend building in an extra day to combat altitude sickness and lethargy from the steepness of this trek.
DAY 1: UMBWE GATE TO UMBWE CAVE CAMPSITE
Getting to the Umbwe trail is uncomplicated as it is the closest to Moshi. It is also one of the quietest routes on the mountain too!
Whilst incredibly tranquil, most people find this day quite exhausting as you march up Kilimanjaro's lower slopes under humid forest canopies. Keep an eye out for monkeys and the beautiful red flower impatiens Kilimanjaro, considered the most striking on the mountain.
Joining a ridge, after almost 10km you eventually arrive at the Umbwe Cave Campsite at 2944 metres above sea level and buried deep in the forest. As with every night on your trek you will arrive to find your tents set up for you and dinner to be served in the early evening.
DAY 2: UMBWE CAVE CAMPSITE TO BARRANCO HUTS
There are a couple of surprises on this second day. The first being the deliberately slow pace that has been set in order to help you acclamatise. The second being, that although your campsite was in a deep forest last night it will not be long before you enter the heath and moorland zone, the forest will thin out and you can take in the fantastic views down the valleys on both sides.
Continuing up the slopes, you will spot for the first time the snow-capped Kibo Summit and find that the path actually drops for a few minutes as it winds down to Barranco Campsite, many peoples favourite on the mountain.
DAY 3: ACCLIMATISATION DAY
Although do-able, a five day trek is never recommended as it does not give your body sufficient time to acclimatise. This means that you are less likely to reach the summit - and are endangering your health too. For this reason, we do not arrange five day treks.
Most people complete this trek in 6-7 days and your acclimatisation days can occur on any of the seven. Full itinerary will be provided upon booking.
DAY 4: BARRANCO HUTS TO KARANGA VALLEY
Today is short, built in to make sure you are fully rested and acclimatised. Whilst only three hours, you may be shocked to find you are almost immediately confronted by the Barranco Wall.
Taking over an hour to climb, you may need to use your hands occasionally to haul yourself over rocks but please don't be too concerned. The wall is not dangerous and we have never heard of anyone failing to complete it!
At the summit of the wall the path drifts gently to the Karanga Valley. On our seven day treks we find our campsite which lies at the top of the other side of the valley, a stiff but short climb up from the Karanga Stream. Both lunch and dinner will be served at this campsite.
DAY 5: KARANGA VALLEY TO BARAFU HUTS
Today is another short one, again of only three or so hours as we traverse the southern side of Kibo. Walking through a spectacular lunar landscape, on our way to Barafu Huts. Located 4662 metres above sea level, here we will rest, take in lunch and dinner and prepare for the night ahead.
DAY 6: BARAFU CAMP TO SUMMIT AND DESCENT TO MWEKA CAMP
Rising at around midnight, we begin our slow march up to Stella Point at 5745 metres above sea level, on the edge of the Kibo Crater. It's a steep, slow and chilly climb and will truly test your endurance which will earn you your Kilimanjaro Certificate.
You will be grateful for you extra acclimatisation days, as assuming you have avoided altitude sickness there is no reason why you should not make it up to Stella's. From here, it is only a further 45 minutes before we reach our ultimate destination, Uhuru Peak.
With glaciers and snowfields on one side and views of Kibo Crater on the other you have now reached the highest point in Africa, Uhuru Peak! If we're on time, we will catch both the early morning sunrise and our breaths before beginning the descent back down to Barafu Huts.
A much quicker walk than on the way up, you will find breakfast waiting for you before we continue marching down the mountain, this time on the Mweka Trail. Today's walk will take us down through alpine desert, heath and moorland zones util we once more enter the forest zone. Assuming all goes to plan, we should reach the Mweka Campsite amongst the trees by about 4pm and after a 16km day, you will be exhausted but if you made it to the top it will definitely have been worth it!
DAY 7: MWEKA CAMP TO MWEKA GATE
Now on the last day of our trek, it is only a couple of hours down to Mweka Gate. Here, those who at least made it to Stella's Point will collect their certificates before being driven back to your hotel. The adventure of a lifetime is at an end and your safari can begin!
Enjoy the beautiful Barranco Campsite
Conquer the Barranco Wall.
Take in the spectacular lunar landscapes
Enjoy optional acclimatisation hikes for further stunning views.
Reach Uhuru Peak
Copy of a best-selling climb Mt Kilimanjaro
guidebook to help you prepare before you arrive in
Transfers to and from Kilimanjaro International
Two nights stay in a B&B style hotel (one before &
one after the trek)
Transfers to and from the mountain
All park fees, camping fees, rescue fees and permits while on the mountain
All food and drink on the mountain
Wages of trek crew (guides, assistant guides, cooks
and porters) at KPAP rates.
Financial failure protection
Personal service and advice every step of the wayleading up to your trek, provided directly from
Kilimanjaro’s leading expert – Henry Stedman.
Flights – however we can assist in this area
Hire of clothing, trekking poles, head torches &
Food and drink away from the mountain (other
than those included at your hotel stay)
Tips / gratuities for your mountain crew (you can
refer to the guidebook prior to arrival for details)
*Price shown is per person for 1 to 2 trekkers, in $USD joining a 7 day public trek. Additional trekkers reduce cost per person. Our policy towards the welfare of porters and the dedication to a high standard of service means that our prices will never be rock bottom. Nevertheless, a brief internet search will hopefully convince you that our prices are the best value on the mountain.