Duration
6 Days
Travellers
2+
  • Tour Plan
  • Similar Tours
  • Overview
  • Day 1 - Umbwe Gate – Bivouac (first) camp
  • Day 2 - Bivouac (first) camp – Barranco Camp
  • Day 3 - Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
  • Day 4 - Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
  • Day 5 - Barafu Camp to Summit, down to Mweka Camp
  • Day 6 - Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate
  • Day 7 - Departure Day
Overview

The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. It is probably the most scenic, non-technical route on Kilimanjaro. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are plentiful. Fewer people, pristine forest and shorter walking distances make it a great option for fit hikers. Add to your experience – overnight on the crater floor!! Be one of a few fortunate people to spend a night in Africa’s largest volcano. This option is highly recommended, as this will be the only opportunity to get close to the beautiful and fascinating glaciers of Kilimanjaro and to be able to visit the ash pit.

Day 1 - Umbwe Gate – Bivouac (first) camp

Elevation: 1660m/5450ft to 2850m/9350ft
Distance: 11km/7mi
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest

After breakfast you will be driven to the Umbwe Gate at 1660m, passing through villages with coffee and banana plantations. On arrival at the Parks Gate your guide and porters will meet you. Sign the register before you entre the park for your first step to accomplishing a life-long dream. The air is thick with moisture and the path is usually muddy. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers some spectacular views of deep gorges and if you are lucky, glimpses of Kilimanjaro towering above you in the distance. The camp is perched between huge trees and thick undergrowth.

Day 2 - Bivouac (first) camp – Barranco Camp

Elevation: 1660m/5450ft to 2850m/9350ft
Distance: 11km/7mi
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest

Shortly after leaving the camp the forest starts thinning and is replaced by rockier terrain, sparser undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees. The path continues along a narrow, but spectacular ridge. As you gain higher altitude, catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro rising majestically ahead of you – etched against the blue sky. The path flattens as you approach Barranco Valley. From the Umbwe ridge the route descends slightly to the Barranco camp. The camp is situated in the valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while your dinner is being prepared.

Day 3 - Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

Elevation: 4000m/13,000ft to 4050m/13,250ft
Distance: 5km/3mi
Hiking Time: 34 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall to the Karanga Valley and the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail.

Day 4 - Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

Elevation: 4050m/13,250ft to 4700m/15,350ft
Distance: 4km/2mi
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert

We continue up to the Barafu Camp. You have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day.

Day 5 - Barafu Camp to Summit, down to Mweka Camp

Elevation: 4700m/15,350ft to 5895m/19,340ft Down to 3090m/10,150ft
Distance: 5km/3mi up / 13km/8mi down
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours up / 5-6 hours down
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am), you will continue your way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. At Stella Point, you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). It can be very cold at night at these elevations, but it will be quite warm by the end of the hiking day. You will want clothing for both extremes with you. From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon.

Day 6 - Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate

Elevation: 3090m/10,150ft to 1680m/5500ft
Distance: 10km/6mi
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Forest

From Mweka Camp you continue the descent down to the Mweka Gate. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy). At the Mweka Gate summiting climbers receive their summit certificates. Our driver will meet you at the gate and transport you to your Arusha/Moshi hotel (depending on availability, overnight stay included in our packages.

Day 7 - Departure Day

Our packages include departure day services. Enjoy breakfast and a morning sightseeing in the city or join us for one of our Safari Adventures. If you are returning home our driver will bring you to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) to catch your flight home.

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6 Days Umbwe Route

Duration
6 Days
Travellers
2+

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