Route Duration – 6 Days Hiking
The Umbwe Route is slightly steeper than the Machame Route. Once at the Barranco Hut, you can continue on with the other Machame hikers on the South Circuit, but it is often done in conjunction with the Western Breach approach.
The descent is down the Mweka trail.
DAY 1 -- Umbwe Gate to Umbwe Camp
Elevation (m): 1800m to 2800m Elevation (ft): 5900ft to 9200ft
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
Drive from Moshi to the Umbwe Gate. Commence the climb through the rain forest with packed lunch on route. Dinner and overnight at the first encampment at 2,800 meters.
DAY 2 -- Umbwe Camp to Barranco Camp
Elevation (m): 2800m to 3900m Elevation (ft): 9200ft to 12,800ft
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
After breakfast, we leave the glades of the forest and follow an ascending path on the open moorland to the Barranco Hut located at 3,900 meters. Dinner and overnight at the campsite.
DAY 3 -- Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
Elevation (m): 3860m to 4200m Elevation (ft): 12,700ft to 13,800ft
Habitat: Alpine Desert
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, to the Karanga Valley campsite.
DAY 4 -- Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp
Elevation (m): 3860m to 4600m Elevation (ft): 12,700ft to 15,100ft
Hiking Time: 8 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, through the Karanga Valley (4200m), and the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue to the Barafu Hut. 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.
DAY 5 -- Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Hut
Elevation (m): 4600m to 5895m (and down to 3100m) Elevation (ft): 15,100ft to 19,300ft (and down to 10,200ft)
Distance: 7km ascent / 23km descent
Hiking Time: 6- 8 hours ascent / 7-8 hours descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am),, we continue our way to the summit. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. At Stella Point (5685m), you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting).
From Stella Point, you will encounter snow all they way on your 2-hour ascent to the summit. At Uhuru Peak, we have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Faster hikers will see the sunrise from the summit.
It can be very cold at night at these elevations, but it will be quite warm by the end of the hiking day. You will want clothing for both extremes with you.
From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. 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. Beer and soda may be available for purchase at the Mweka Hut — the only location on this route.
DAY 6 -- Mweka Camp to Moshi
Elevation (m): 3100m to 1830m Elevation (ft): 10,200ft to 6000ft
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
From the gate, continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to hotel in Moshi. Don’t forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration!