5 Days Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route
The Umbwe Route takes a direct path to the southern glaciers. The Umbwe Option is without question the most difficult and steepest way to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Due to the demanding stages, we recommend this route only for experienced alpinists. The direct route also unfortunately means that there is very little time for acclimatization.
The special feature of this ascent option is mainly in the first stage. On the very first day you will reach the Umbwe Cave Camp at an altitude of almost 3000 meters between high trees. From there it is only a short detour to visit the caves that give the camp its name. On the second hiking day the Umbwe Route merges with the Machame Route at Barranco Camp.
Day 1: Arrival in Arusha / Moshi
Transfer from Kilimanjaro airport or Arusha bus terminal (e.g. from Nairobi) to your accommodation in Moshi or Arusha.
Day 2: Arusha – Umbwe Gate (1,600 m)- Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 m)
altitude Δ: 1250 m, distance: approx. 10.5 km, time required: approx. 6 hours
Today your driver will pick you up and drive you to the Umbwe Gate entry point. After you have completed the formalities, you will have to register in the mountaineering book. Your journey begins through dense rainforest with huge fig trees. You can hear and see different kinds of animals, such as the Colobus monkeys. The path winds up between the rivers Lonzo and Umbwe and becomes noticeably steeper. While climbing, on a clear day you can admire the Kibo peak in the distance. The ascent ends after 5 to 7 hours at Umbwe Cave Camp. If you still have energy left, you can visit the nearby cave. Dinner followed by an overnight stay in tents.
Day 3: Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850 m) – Barranco Camp (3,960 m)
altitude Δ: 1100 m, distance: approx. 6.5 km, time required: approx. 6 hours
After breakfast you will start your next stage. After a short time you will reach the tree line and the landscape will gradually change from rainforest to moss-covered trees and heathland. You will follow a challenging ridge which will finally lead you into the Barranco Valley. The Barranco Camp is situated at an altitude of almost 4000 meters in the shadow of the Great Barranco Wall. At this camp the three routes Lemosho, Shira, Machame are combined with your Umbwe ascent. Dinner and the overnight stay at the Barranco Camp.
Day 4: Barranco Camp (3,960 m) – Barafu Camp (4,640 m)
altitude Δ: 650 m, distance: approx. 9 km, time required: approx. 7 hours
After your breakfast the ascent from Barranco Camp starts at the Great Barranco Wall, then continues to Karanga Valley Camp (4070 m). This site is challenging but offers great views of the southern glaciers of Kibo. From Karanga Valley Camp we continue on a ridge to Barafu Camp (4600 m), your base camp before the summit ascent at night. Dinner followed by an overnight stay in tents.
Day 5: Barafu Camp (4,640 m) – Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) – Mweka Camp (3,080 m)
altitude Δ: 1560 m, distance: 17 km, time required: approx. 12 hours
Night ascent with flashlight from Barafu Camp in northwestern direction through scree and snow to the summit of Kilimanjaro. After about 6 hours you will first reach Stella Point (5725 m) at the crater rim. Due to the altitude this is the physically challenging part of the hike. With good visibility you will experience a magnificent sunrise here. From here you need another hour to reach the summit of Uhuru Peak. Now you stand on the roof of Africa and enjoy the best viewpoint on the continent. Then you descend again to Barafu Camp, rest there for a while and continue your descent to Mweka Camp (3100 m).
Day 6: Mweka Camp (3,080 m) – Mweka Gate (1,630 m) – Arusha / Moshi
altitude Δ: 1450 m, distance: approx. 10 km, time required: approx. 3 hours
The last stage of your hike begins after a hearty breakfast. Afterwards you will walk gently downhill through the tropical rainforest to Mweka Gate. Your faithful mountain crew will bid you farewell here with a traditional ceremony and your summit certificate. Afterwards you will be brought to your accommodation for a well-deserved drink and dinner.
Day 7: Arusha / Moshi
After breakfast transfer to the central bus station, to the airline office in the city for your shuttle bus to the airport or extension e.g. Northern Circuit Safari or onward flight to Zanzibar.