There are many routes to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and while some are said to be more challenging than others, the Umbwe Route is widely considered the toughest of them all.
Approached from the south, Kilimanjaro’s Umbwe Route is shorter, steeper and more direct than most of the mountains other routes, and while only those with hiking experience and the ability to acclimatise quickly should attempt it, it does have the benefit of being less crowded than the popular Marangu and Machame Routes.
If you feel like Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro along the Umbwe Route, here is a brief overview of what you can expect…
Day 1 Walking Time 5-6 hrs
Drive to the isolated Umbwe Gate entrance to Kilimanjaro National Park (5,440 ft.) and set off on the beautiful and unspoiled forest route to Umbwe Cave Camp (9,760 ft.) Overnight: Umbwe Cave Camp
Day 2 Walking Time 5-6 hrs
As you climb alongside steep forest gorges, your trail winds higher and higher toward the timberline of Mount Kilimanjaro. You will arrive at Barranco Camp at the base of Kibo’s spectacular Breach Wall (12,800 feet) by mid afternoon. Barranco Camp will be your base camp for two nights as you acclimatise to the higher elevations and take time to enjoy one of the most remarkable mountain locations in the world. Overnight: Barranco Camp
Hiking with just a daypack is one of the most effective and enjoyable means of acclimatising to higher altitudes. After breakfast, you will hike to the Lava Tower (15,000 ft.) and beyond to Arrow Glacier or the Natural Bridge feature called “The Window” at the base of the Breach Wall. Your day will conclude with a second restful night at Barranco Camp. Overnight: Barranco Camp
Day 4 Walking Time 3-4 hrs
Today is a relatively short hiking day. After breakfast, you will make your way up and over the Barranco Wall to Karanga Camp (13,100 ft.) Overnight: Karanga Camp
Day 5 Walking Time 5-6 hrs
Today you will make your way to the busy Barafu Camp in time for lunch, before continuing upwards another 800 vertical feet to the clean, open expanse of Kosovo, a special-use campsite. After an early supper in the dining tent, you will settle down for 8 hours of rest before beginning your climb to the summit (15,900 ft.) Overnight: Barafu High Camp
Day 6 Walking Time 10-14 hrs
Up just before midnight, you will set off on your ascent to Stella Point on the Crater Rim (19,000 ft.) Once you have cleared Stella Point, you have just a short walk along the edge of the crater rim to the very top of Africa – Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft.).
After taking a moment to celebrate your success at the summit, you will descend back to Kosovo for lunch, before hiking down the Mweka Trail to Mweka Camp for dinner and overnight. Overnight: Mweka Camp
Day 7 Walking Time 5-6 hrs
The long descent continues as you travel through the forest and down to the park gate. After a festive and relaxing celebration with your mountain staff at the gate; your Land Cruisers will be waiting to take you to your hotel for hot showers, cool drinks, great food, and a good night’s rest! Overnight: Arusha