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 IN THE CRATER!! 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 One - Umbwe Gate
(1800m) - Bivouac (first) camp (2940m)
Hiking time: 5h
On day one of the Umbwe route.After breakfast you will be driven to
the Umbwe Gate at 1800m, 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 enter 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 two - Bivouac (first) camp
(2940m) - Barranco camp (3950m)
Hiking time: 6h
Day two on the Umbwe route up Mt Kilimanjaro.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.
A group of climbers on day two of their ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro
via Umbwe route.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 Three - Barranco camp (3950m) -
Lava Tower (4630m) - Arrow Glacier Camp (4800m)
Distance: Approximately kms
Habitat: Moorland / Semi desert
Day three on Umbwe Route on Kilimanjaro.After breakfast you will
start your hike towards Lava Tower, a famous landmark on
Kilimanjaro. The path is steep and rocky, with views of Mt. Meru,
Kilimanjaro's little sister, punching her peak through the
Tent camp on day three of the Umbwe route.From Lava Tower you
turn towards the Western Breach, a steep climb to Arrow Glacier
camp (4800m). This is taxing and symptoms of altitude sickness
might become noticeable. The campsite is spectacular. Vegetation
has now all but disappeared, leaving only rock and scree in
varying shades of brown and black. The campsite is very cold and
you need to be prepared.
Day Four - Arrow
Glacier (4800m) - Crater (5700m)
Hiking time: 5h
Day four on the Umbwe route up to Uhuru.From the Arrow Glacier
camp steep scree and rocky outcrops requiring a scramble lead up
the Western Breach to the crater floor (5700m). This day will be
the toughest challenge by far. After snowfalls the route can
become icy and in these conditions an ice axe or ski stick may
be required. When reaching the crater rim, you will be
astonished by the view of snow and glaciers. Visible to you left
is the Northern Ice fields of Kilimanjaro with the Furtwangler
Glacier in front of you. Walk past this glacier to the Crater
camp, situated at the crater rim. If time permits, you can climb
to the Ash Pit (1 ½ hour). The Ash Pit is 340m across, 120m deep
and is one of the most perfect-formed examples in the world. The
campsite is very cold as snow might occur. Be one of a fortunate
few to spend a night in the inner crater of Kilimanjaro.
Day Five - (Summit
attempt) Crater (5700m)-Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3100m
Hiking time: 2h to Uhuru, 7-8h to Mweka
The camp on day five of the Umbwe route.You will rise around 04:00,
and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the early
morning darkness. From the crater floor you will probably encounter
snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. Time spend on
the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here
for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due
to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember
for the rest of your life.
Group of climbers at Uhuru after successfully summiting via Umbwe
route.The walk to Barafu camp from the summit, takes about 3 hours.
Here you will have a well earned but short rest, before heading down
to Millennium camp (3100m). The route is not difficult and will take
you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually
into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist
or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing
water will be provided as well as drinking water.
Day Six - Mweka camp
(3100m)- Mweka Gate (1980m) A view of Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance on
day six of the Umbwe route.
Hiking time: 3h
Distance: Approximately kms
Wake early to enjoy a well-deserved breakfast, and then tackle the
five hour walk to the park gate. Pay your porters only when you know
you and your equipment is safe at the gate.
At Mweka Gate you receive your certificate of summit, after signing
the register, and if you've completed the climb successfully.
Climbers who successfully got to Uhuru receive golden certificates,
while those who made it to Stella Point receive green certificates.
From Mweka Gate you walk to Mweka Village, a one hour walk through
3kms of muddiness (usually). You receive a hot lunch at the Mweka
Village, and are taken back to Moshi, where you can celebrate your
summit, and have that long-overdue hot shower. You stay the night in
Please note: Safety conditions or weather may cause the
itinerary to change without warning. Hike times are estimated,
calculated to form a comfortable pace throughout the ascent.
Please note: The itinerary above serves only as a guide. You
can add an extra day if you so wish. You can summit Mt Kilimanjaro
via Arrow Glacier or Barafu Camp with Umbwe Route.