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6 DAY UMBWE ROUTE

Tour Overview:

The Umbwe route has a well-deserved reputation of being the most challenging route on Mount Kilimanjaro. Due to the fast ascent to high altitude, this route does not provide the necessary stages for acclimatization. Although the number of people on this trail is very low, the chances of success are also low. Umbwe is considered to be very difficult, taxing route – one that should only be attempted by strong hikers who are confident in their ability to acclimatize quickly to altitude.

Approaching from the south, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb. After reaching Barranco Camp, the trail turns east and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. Descent is made via the Mweka route.

Itineraries

DAY 1: Umbwe Gate to Umbwe Camp

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

  • Elevation: 5,249 ft to 9,514 ft
  • Distance: 11 km/7 miles
  • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: Heath

DAY 2: Umbwe Camp to Barranco Camp

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

  • Elevation: 9,514 ft to 13,044 ft
  • Distance: 6 km/4 miles
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Heath

 

DAY 3: 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 900 ft 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.

  • Elevation: 13,044 ft to 13,106 ft
  • Distance: 5 km/3 miles
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert

 

DAY 4: 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.

  • Elevation: 13,106 ft to 15,331 ft
  • Distance: 4 km/2 miles
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert

 

DAY 5: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak

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 (18,900 ft), you 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.

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

  • Elevation: 15,331 ft to 19,341 ft
  • Distance: 5 km/3 miles
  • Hiking Time: 7-8 hours
  • Habitat: Arctic

Uhuru Peak to Mweka Camp

  • Elevation: 19,341 ft to 10,065 ft
  • Distance: 12 km/7 miles
  • Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
  • Habitat: Rain Forest

DAY 6: Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

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

  • Elevation: 10,065 ft to 5,380 ft
  • Distance: 10 km/6 miles
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Rain Forest

 

DAY 7: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak

On our last day, we have a long trek mostly downhill through the tropical rainforest. Once at the park headquarters at Marangu gate, we collect our summit certificates. A vehicle will meet us here and drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.

  • Elevation (ft): 12,205 ft to 6,046 ft
  • Distance: 20 km/12 miles
  • Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
  • Habitat: Rain Forest

 

Safari Details

Departure & Return Location

Kilimanjaro Airport (Google Map) or From the hotel

Departure Time

07:00 Am (East Africa Time)

Price Includes

  • Portable toilet tent
  • 2 Night Hotel accommodation in Moshi, a day before trek and a day after trek
  • Transportation to and from your selected route
  • Transfer from Airport/Bus station in Moshi on arrival and return to airport/Bus station after climb.
  • Quality, Waterproof, four-season private mountain sleeping tent
  • Quality Mess tents with table and chairs
  • Certified, experienced, English speaking mountain guides:
  • All Tanzanian National Park Fees
  • Government Climbing Taxes
  • Climbing permits
  • All hot Meals prepared by our cook while on Mountain
  • Guides, Porters and Cook Salaries
  • Fair and ethical treatment of Porters
  • Enough porters to carry your luggage
  • Safety Equipment:
  • Emergency Oxygen
  • Pulse Ox meter

Price Excludes

  • Tips for guides, porters and cook (this is a guide to tipping on the mountain
  • Any Private Expenses
  • International airfares and departure taxes
  • Alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks
  • Laundry services
Tipping is highly appreciated at the end of safari

Tips will vary depending on the length and complexity of the trip, the number of staff on the trip and the number of clients on the trip. Generally, groups like to meet before the end of the trek to discuss how much they would like to tip each staff member based on their individual trek experience.
The following are daily rates for each climber recommended to tip per staff member:

  • Guides: $20/day/guide
  • Cook: $15/day
  • Porter: $10/day/porter

N/B: Our Guides, cooks and Porters are always satisfied with your thanks giving (tip) you have and not beyond your ability.