Often touted as the hardest trekking route due to its unrelenting steep ascent, the Umbwe route offers dramatic views, blessed solitude and some terrific, calf burning, invigorating trekking – and all without the clutter and chatter of other trekkers. Those who know the mountain consider it Kili’s best-kept secret. Read the full itinerary here or add this item to your cart to book.
Day 1: Umbwe Gate to Umbwe Cave Camp
After breakfast and a comprehensive trek briefing, we take a 2 hour drive to the Umbwe Gate at 1800m (5905ft) where you will meet your guides and mountain crew as we take care of all National Park formalities, registering all climbers and the weighing of all duffle bags to ensure the load carried by each porter does not exceed the mandatory 20kgs limit.
Our trek begins following a forestry track winding through natural rain forest under the canopy of moss-coated vines where you will hear the calls of many exotic birds and if we are lucky we may see blue monkeys and hear the grunting calls of the magnificent black colobus monkeyswith their long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail.
Proceeding ever upwards, the path narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers spectacular views of deep gorges to either side as we make our way to the Umbwe Caves camp located in the lower heather zone.
Day 2: Umbwe Cave Camp to Barranco Camp
Shortly after leaving camp the forest starts thinning and is replaced by rockier terrain, sparser undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees and Giant Heather and Erica.
The path continues along a narrow, but spectacular ridge. As you gain higher altitude you may catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro rising majestically ahead of you – etched against the blue sky.
Transitioning to the moorland zone you will encounter giant lobelia and grounsels. As you approach the Barranco Valley the path flattens along the Umbwe ridge and then you descend a short distance to Barranco Camp
Day 3: Barranco Camp to Karanga Valley Camp
Today we undertake the Great Barranco Wall – an imposing face above Barranco camp. A steady climb up the eastern wall takes us just below the Heim Glacier, where we may have some breathtaking views of the Heim Glacier and Mt. Kilimanjaro depending upon the weather and any cloud cover.
Our trail continues down into the alpine desert of the Karanga Valley, where we finish this second acclimatization day at Karanga Camp (4046m).
Day 4: Karanga Valley Camp to Barafu Camp
We begin the day trekking through the alpine desert of the Karanga Valley. Here the temperature will grow colder as we follow the trail climbing through this barren and dry landscape up to the Barafu camp.
Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice”, and the camping area is on a ridge in a narrow and exposed flat area. Here there are ever-present powerful winds blowing down from the mountain peaks. Our campsite at 4600m offers spectacular views of the nearby peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi.
In preparation for your final ascent tonight, you will familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark, and prepare your equipment and thermal clothing for the summit attempt. Sleep will be difficult and you will to retire to your tents after dinner to rest for the 1385m final ascent to the roof of Africa.
Day 5: Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak to Millennium Camp
We will rise early to leave camp at around 12am and after a warm drink and a light snack, you will begin the most difficult though most rewarding day of the trek – your hike to the roof of Africa. After approximately 6 hours of slow but strenuous hiking, you will reach the rim of the main crater, Stella Point, at 5685m. At this point we stop to rest, eat lunch and take in the views over the clouds.
From Stella Point the trail is normally snow-covered, and every step of the 2 hour final ascent to Uhuru peak is challenging. Passing alongside the iridescent blue Rebmann and Tarzel glaciers we reach Elveda Point (5882) we can see Uhuru Peak now only minutes away. The roof of Africa is within your grasp.
Arriving at the summit you feel a huge sense of elation and accomplishment you have done it, you have made it to the highest point in Africa. We spend as much time as you need to appreciate your accomplishment, as this is a day to remember for the rest of your life! The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions and temperature.
We start back down the same trail, and descend to Barafu camp. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and remove some of your many layers of clothing as the day begins to heat up.
We head down the rock and scree path into the moorland zone, reaching the forest, and eventually arriving at Millennium Camp in the early afternoon where a hot shower and meal awaits. Today is the longest, and the most mentally and physically challenging of the trek. But a life changing day that will stay with you forever, as you conquered the heights of Kilimanjaro
Day 6: Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate
Today your legs will be further tested as the trail descends steeply through the lush Mweka rain forest. The trail is steep in places and the going slippery if wet.
The route follows the crest of a broad ridge separating two river valleys until it meets with a road that leads us for the last 40 mins to the Mweka Park Gates where we stop for a well deserved picnic lunch where successful hikers will receive their summit certificates (gold for Uhuru Peale, Green for Stella point) from the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority.
- Two nights’ accommodation at the Hotel in Arusha (before and after the climb)
- First night includes Dinner and breakfast
- Last night includes dinner & breakfast
- Transportation from Arusha to/from the starting/finishing points respectively
- Airport transfers
- Qualified guides with mountain crew
- National park fees
- Tents and sleeping mattresses
- Cutlery / Crockery / Eating utensils
- Mess tent (for dining) / Mini camping chairs / Tables / Candles
- Rescue fees
- Pulse oxi-meters
- First aid kit
- Guides, porters, cook, waiter salaries
- Hot water on the mountain
- All meals on the mountain (breakfast, lunch & dinner)
- Guides, porters, waiter, cook accommodation and entry fees on the mountain
- Single room supplement at the Hotel (except on the 1 person rate)
- Guides, Porters, Cook & Waiters tips
- Meals and drinks not specified
- Gear for your climb
- Items of personal nature
- Additional nights beyond the two standard hotel nights included