The Umbwe Route is seldom used these days as an ascent thanks to the fact that it
has probably the steepest intial climb, and as one of the least developed of the main trails is given on occasions to be a rough scramble over tree roots and slippery gradients.
Up to the point of Barranco Camp the trail is direct and unrelenting, and is about
as close as Kilimanjaro comes to a technical climb. The upside of choosing Umbwe Route is that, apart from the odd party opting for this trail as a descent route, you will rarely come across a climbing party, and the views from the Umbwe Trail, in particular
on the second day as you traverse a narrow ridge in the heather fields, are second only to the vistas that spread forth from the summit.
Umbwe Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) to Cave Bivouac Camp (2,850m/9,350ft)
Elevation Gain:1,050 meters, 3,445 feet
Hiking time: 4 to 6 hours
At 8am leave Moshi for Umbwe Gate where you will meet our porters, guides, and cooks who will spend the next six days trekking with you to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. The drive through coffee farms and villages to Umbwe Gate takes about 1 hours. After arriving,
wait at the gate while we register your climb and the porters and guides make final preparations. Your first day’s destination is Cave Bivouac Camp, approximately 6 hours from the gate. The trail is steep and can be slippery in some places.
Hike through the moss-covered trees of Kilimanjaro’s cloud forest. The forest will thin later in the hike and heathers, tall grasses and wildflowers will come into view. Porters and cooks will walk ahead to set up the camp in time for your arrival.
Cave Bivouac (2,850m/9,350ft) to Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft)
Total Elevation Gain: 1,100 meters, 3,610 feet
Hiking time: 5 to 7 hours
The first section of the trail continues following the ridge. After leaving the forest, continue through open moorlands until reaching Barranco Camp. Barranco is generally regarded as the most scenic campsite on the Umbwe Trail as it’s surrounded by giant senecios
and lobelias. As Barranco is in a valley, the sun rises later than at the other camps.
Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft) to Karanga Valley (4,200m/13,780ft)
Elevation Gain: 250 meters, 820 feet
Distance: 7 Kilometers
Hiking time: 3 to 5 hours
Leave Barranco Camp after breakfast for Karanga Valley. The day begins with a 1.5 hour scramble up the Barranco Wall. This is the hardest part of the day and in some places you may have to use your hands to aid your climb. After reaching the top, hike through
fairly level terrain before making a short but steep descent into the green Karanga River Valley.
Karanga Valley (4,200m/13,780ft) to Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft)
Elevation Gain: 400 meters, 1,320 feet
Distance: 6 Kilometers
Hiking time: 3 to 5 hours
After breakfast, begin the hike to Barafu Camp. On the way to Barafu, view several of Kibo’s glaciers as well as the junction that connects the descent route, Mweka, with the Machame trail. During day four, hike by the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. Although
the trail to Barafu passes through alpine desert with little vegetation, Barafu Camp offers stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Try to sleep after finishing dinner as you will wake before midnight for your summit hike.
Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft) to Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,295 meters, 4,240 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,795 meters, 9,170 feet
Hiking time: 6 hours to the rim, 1 hour to Uhuru, 3 to 4 hours back to Barafu, 4 hours to Mweka
Around midnight, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak. Hike by the light of your headlamp for the next six hours. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek. The trail is very steep until you reach the crater rim at Stella
The hike from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the hike long and tiring. The crater rim hike takes approximately one hour. Upon reaching Uhuru, take photos of your guide
and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Mweka Camp. On the way down from Uhuru, enjoy views of the mountain, crater, clouds and glaciers.
At Barafu Camp, eat breakfast and take a short break. You still have another three to five hours to go before reaching Mweka Camp.
Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft) to Mweka Gate (1,500m/4,920ft)
Elevation Loss: 1,600 meters, 5,250 feet
Hiking time: 4 hours
After breakfast, finish the trek with a hike through the forest to Mweka Gate. The trail may be slippery following rain. Our vehicles will meet you at the lower station of Mweka Gate to take you back to Moshi.