Umbwe route kilimanjaro

Umbwe Route

The Umbwe route is one of the shortest but steepest routes to the Southern Glaciers, affording one views of the forests, valleys, magnificent vegetation and glaciers. However, it is only recommended for very fit climbers as you gain altitude very quickly over a shorter distance. Unfortunately, while the traditional route followed up through arrow glacier, this route is now closed.



Umbwe Route Overview

Day-1: Arrive

Day-2: Umbwe Gate (1800m) - Bivouac (first) camp (2940m)

Day-3: Bivouac (first) camp (2940m) - Barranco camp (3950m)

Day-4: Acclimatisation Day

Day-5: Baranco to Barafu Camp (4550m)

Day-6: Barafu - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Mweka Camp (3100m)

Day-7:Mweka camp (3100m)- Mweka Gate (1980m)

Day-8: Depart



Umbwe Route Detailed Itinerary

Day-1: Arrive
Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer to hotel. Overnight hotel.

Day-2: Umbwe Gate (1800m) - Bivouac (first) camp (2940m)
After breakfast you will be driven to the Umbwe Gate at 1800m, passing through villages with banana and coffee plantations. On arrival at the Parks Gate your guide and porters will meet you. You will have to sign the register before you enter the park. As you head into the forest, temperature scan rise to about 35 degrees C, but as you quickly rise in altitude, they will progressively drop, by about 1 degree for each 200m climbed. The paths can also be quite muddy. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and becomes steeper as you 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-3: Bivouac (first) camp (2940m) - Barranco camp (3950m)
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 and as it ascends through the heath, the ridge narrows and sharpens quite quickly. As you gain higher altitude, you will note how quickly the various vegetation zones change. Sighting of Lammergeyer are quite common. 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.

Day-4: Acclimitisation Day:
This day will be spent at Barranco camp to aid with acclimatisation. You can spend the day walking around to explore the surrounding areas such as up to the Barranco wall, take in sights of the magnificent Scenecio's, or just rest.

Day-6: Barranco Camp (3860m) - Barafu Camp (4550m):
After breakfast you will begin the scramble up the Great Baranco Wall and then begin the traverse over the scree towards the Karanga Valley at 4000m. It is here that you will get the incredible views of the Heim, Kersten and Decken glaciers. After leaving the Karanga Valley , you will continue along the trail to Barafu Hut. You will now find yourself completely in the alpine desert of crushed stone and scree. The campsite is very cold and gets buffeted by the wind.

Barafu is the Swahili word for "ice". The summit is a further 1345m up. It is this ascent that you will tackle in the early hours of the next morning. That night, it is important to prepare your gear, lay out your clothing etc for your summit attempt. It is also highly advisable to sleep with your water bottles to prevent them from freezing up overnight. Ensure that your headlamp had a new battery and that you have spare camera batteries if necessary. You will head for bed around 18h30.

Day-7: Barafu camp (4550m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Mweka (3100m):
You will wake around 23h00 and after a cup of tea and a biscuit, shuffle off into the night for the summit of Kilimanjaro. The route heads up between the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers towards Stella Point and then on to Kilimanjaro Uhuru Peak where you will enjoy the magnificent views and a well deserve photo opportunity.

You will then descend back down to Barafu camp from the summit, which takes about 3 hours. The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. Mweka 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-8: Mweka camp (3100m)- Mweka Gate (1980m):
After an early breakfast, it is a short 3-hour scenic hike back through a beautiful forest to the Mweka gate. At Mweka gate you will have to sign your name and details in a register in order to receive you summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will meet up with your team and bus, and head back to the hotel a long over due hot shower.

Day-9: Depart
After breakfast, transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for your departure flight home.

End of services
Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro



Kilimanjaro Full Moon Dates

2016 Full Moon 2017 Full Moon 2018 Full Moon
January 24 12 2, 31
February 22 11 2
March 23 12 31
April 22 11 30
May 21 10 29
June 20 9 28
July 20 9 27
August 18 7 26
September 16 6 25
October 16 5 24
November 14 4 23
December 14 4 22
Umbwe Route up Kilimanjaro


Duration 8 Days
Best time Jan - Feb, June to October
Sleeping Tents

Kilimanjaro Frequently asked questions

Full Moon Dates

Trek Grade: 2CF
A combination of very long days with steep paths, boulders and mountain scrambling. Glaciers and snow may be encountered at high altitude. There is no need for technical climbing experience. Medium risk of altitude sickness. Altitudes up to 6000m. Good cardio vascular fitness is needed with weight and circuit training and running. Lots of hill walking. Backpacks will weight about 4-5kg and contain water, camera and essentials. Trek weight loss in the region of 4kg. Fully Portered

Kilimanjaro Video



Dates and Costs

Although we have some open departure dates, most climbs are arranged on a private basis.

Prices vary based on the number of people and days, from $2606.00 to $1917.00 per person sharing

For current prices

Umbwe Route Kilimanjaro

Price includes
Transfers from the airport to hotel and return
All park fees
The climb
All meals on the mountain
Sleeping Tents
Eating utensils
Two nights accommodation in Moshi on a bed and breakfast, twin / triple share basis.

Prices excludes
International flights
Required airport taxes
Visa's
Vaccinations
Porters tips
Items of clothing, sleeping bags and miscellaneous drinks, etc.

Ratio of porters per climber: 4/5 to 1


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