6 Days 5 nights
The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach and it’s the most challenging route on Mt Kilimanjaro. Approaching from the south, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb. It is probably the most scenic, non-technical route on Kilimanjaro. Relatively faster ascent and steeper route makes it quite taxing for climbing through this route, but the rewards are equally plentiful. Due to the fast ascension to high altitude, this route does not provide the necessary stages for acclimatization. Since it is a very short and direct route, it is not recommended for people with little altitude experience.
Upon your arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, our transfer driver will be waiting for you. He will take you to the Hotel, where the rest of the day is at leisure. You might want to explore the town of Moshi (taxi required) or just relax at the lodge. In the evening you will be briefed by our team on site in preparation of the upcoming trekking tour.
The day begins with a morning pick up from the Hotel and drive to Machame Gate where registration formalities will be completed. We then transfer through villages and coffee and banana plantations to Umbwe Gate. The trail ascends sharply on a forestry track which winds up the dense
rain forest. The path narrows and steepens as we climb the ridge between two rivers surrounded by huge trees. Umbwe Camp is perched between trees and thick undergrowth.
Habitat: Montane Forest
Time: 5 to 7 hours
The landscape gradually changes to moorland from rainforest, and consequently vegetation becomes sparse and rocky outcrops dominate. You’ll be following the Umbwe Route ridge until it begins to flatten as it reaches the Barranco Valley. The Barranco Camp located at an altitude of 3950 meters sits under the shadow of Great Barranco Wall from where trekkers can clearly see Kibo in a distance. You will notice the camp is pretty busy and crowded. This is because you will be joining hikers from Machame, Lemosho and Shira route here.
Habitat: Rain forest/ Moorland
Time: 4 to 6 hours
We begin the day by ascending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then we climb the non-technical but steep, nearly 900 ft cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall we cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads us to Karanga Camp. This is a shorter day meant for acclimatization.
Habitat: Alpine desert
Time: 4 to 5 hours
Awakening to the sunlight dancing off the Kibo Summit, you will enjoy an energetic breakfast then, we leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Hut. At this point, 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. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be seen from this position.
Habitat: Alpine desert
Time: 3 – 4 hours
Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At the Stella Point (5756m), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak (5895m) the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. From here, you will get to experience Kilimanjaro and all its glory and enjoy a view over the landscape. After taking pictures and celebrations, you will descend down the same route to Mweka Camp.
Shortly before mid-day, you will arrive at Barafu Camp for your lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Distance: 20 km
Habitat: Alpine desert/ Arctic summit/ Montane forest
Time: 14 to 16 hours
Our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.
Habitat: Montane forest
Time: 3 to 4 hours
The day is left free to wind down after the trek before your flight home. Depending on flight times you could go and explore Moshi town and grab some souvenirs before heading to the airport.