Overview - Kilimanjaro Climb via UMBWE

The Umbwe Route is widely regarded as the hardest trail, a tough vertical slog through the jungle, the least used and the least crowded route on the Mount Kilimanjaro. For good reasons, it is also the most difficult route on the mountain. Umbwe is a steep, constant, straight climb to the top. Despite its reputation as the toughest trek, the Route is still a non-technical climb. All you need are an iron will and calves of steel because it is truly a trek to test your mettle.


Umbwe is mostly avoided because the ascent profile does not give climbers much time to acclimatise and adjust to the altitude. The success rate via this route is very low. This route takes six days minimum to complete, although seven days is what we recommend. Having reached the Southern Circular Route, trekkers can continue north-west to tackle Kibo from the west and the difficult Arrow Glacier Route; or you can follow the Southern Circular Route east round to Barafu and approach the summit from there. The descent is down via Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain. What interests many of our clients is that, Umbwe is not as scenically varied to Machame, Lemosho and Shira, because all the paths up and down are nearby.


The Umbwe is ideal for those who want a challenging climb, and are very confident in their ability trek over consistently steep slopes. Also, Umbwe is for those who are experienced at altitude and thus are confident that the punishing schedule of Umbwe will not impede their ability to adjust to altitude and acclimatization. Umbwe is also for those who want a private, quite and secluded hike to the summit of the African top.

Trip Itinerary - 6 Days UMBWE Route

Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), where you will meet our company representative (Manager), and transfer to the hotel under the rate. The hotel will provide all the essentials for a comfortable stay: restful rooms, hot water, and Internet access. In the evening, there will be a briefing with our managers, who will also make sure you are ready to begin the climb.

Your guide and climb support crew arrive at your hotel in the morning. Introductions and a last brief equipment check precede your drive to Umbwe Gate. This entrance, situated at 1,640 m above sea level, is where your trek starts. The head-guide will finalize the permits and registrations for search and rescue services.
Your first day trekking is meant to bring you to Umbwe Camp for your first mountain overnight. Climbing up to 2,930 m increase in altitude, so find the right pace for the whole group and stick with it. As this part of Umbwe route goes through rainforest with its probability of rain showers, do not forget your raincoat. Your support crew will have prepared the camp and dinner by the time you get there.

This being the group’s first night at this elevation, we recommend that you follow the below rules from here on:


  • Do not consume any alcohol and minimize your caffeine intake
  • Drinking no less than 4 litres of water per day is a good way to keep yourself hydrated. Take it in small amounts but frequently.
  • We encourage our clients to use Diamox in the mornings prior to the day’s climb. This reduces altitude sickness symptoms. Consult your doctor on the use of Diamox before leaving home on this trip.


Nightly discomfort often accompanies acclimatization. However, while such symptoms as headaches and nausea are common, make sure you inform your guide of them immediately.

Trekking from Umbwe Gate to Umbwe Camp

Elevation change: Umbwe Gate (1640 m) – Umbwe Camp (2,930 m)

Distance: 11 Km

Hiking Time: 5-7 hours

Habitat: Montane Forest

Early wakeup, breakfast and the start of trekking to Barranco Camp. The rainforest will quickly give way to brush, and if it is not too cloudy you will be able to see Meru Volcano for the first time. Trekking on Umbwe route for this day will be of a moderate length, and around lunchtime you will reach Barranco Camp (3,960 m), which is nestled inside a huge volcanic fault. Lunch will be provided here, and then you have the opportunity to relax for the rest of the day, which significantly facilitates the acclimatization process.

Trekking from Umbwe Camp to Barranco Camp

Elevation Change: Umbwe Camp (2930 m) – Barranco Camp (3960 m)

Distance: 6 Km

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Semi-desert

Early wakeup, breakfast and the start of summiting Barranco Wall (we recommend you leave the camp as early as possible to avoid crowds of the other groups). Hiking up the gorge wall is not difficult and only takes around an hour. After the climb, you can have a rest and take photos in front of the Kibo volcano.

Then you start a more difficult hike to Karanga Camp, which features numerous ascents and descents during the route, but don’t worry: our guides are experts at choosing an optimal pace for the group. After reaching the camp you will be offered warm lunch. After a couple of hours, you will have to complete an acclimatization hike in the direction of Barafu Camp with a 200-meter gain in altitude, and then descent back down to the camp.


Note: The acclimatization hike is an easy trek with a slight gain in altitude done in order to speed up the acclimatization process. You should take the acclimatization hikes very seriously. They help increase your chances of successfully summiting Kilimanjaro and save you from the consequences of altitude sickness.

Trekking from Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp:

Elevation Change: Barranco Camp (3,960 m) – Karanga Camp (4,035 m)

Distance: 5 Km

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert


Acclimatization Hike:

Elevation Change: Karanga Camp (4,035 m) – Destination point towards Barafu Camp (4,270 m)

Distance: 2.5 Km

Hiking Time: 1-2 hours

In the morning after breakfast, you begin your way to Barafu Summit Camp (4,640 m), the starting point for a night summiting Uhuru Peak (5,895 m). Our team will set up a camp for you ahead of time, including tents and sleeping bags, so you can relax. After regaining strength, you have to complete an acclimatization hike towards the intermediate Kosovo Summit Camp (4,800 m) and then back to Barafu Camp, where you will be served a hot dinner. It is better to spend the remaining time of the day resting and sleeping before night summiting.

Trekking from Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp:

Elevation Change: Karanga Camp (4,035 m) – Barafu Camp (4,640 m)

Distance: 6 Km

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Alpine Desert


Acclimatization Hike:

Elevation Change: Barafu Camp (4,640 m) – Kosovo Camp (4,800 m)

Distance: 2 Km

Hiking Time: 1-2 hours

The group leaves Barafu Camp at the altitude of 4,640 m around midnight. This night you climb up to 5,895 m at Uhuru Peak. The altitude poses a challenge on this trek, despite the relative ease of the walk. Every two climbers in the group will be accompanied by a guide whose responsibility is the constant monitoring of their fitness for the climb. Upon reaching Uhuru Peak, you may choose to walk on the Kilimanjaro glaciers. The group will then return to Barafu Camp or a 2 hours rest before the descent to 3,820 m at Millenium Camp. Please note that while descent brings relief from high altitude, it is also where most accidents (as much as 90%) happen. It is easy to avoid falling and possibly breaking a limb., as well as damaging your toenails if you just watch your step.


Elevation Change: Barafu Camp (4,640 m) – Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) – Millenium Camp (3,820 m)

Distance: 15 Km

Hiking Time: 8-12 hours

Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

Millennium Camp sits within a rain forest. Lower altitude and the associated relief from any effects of altitude sickness, as well as the realization of having reached your goal makes a good night’s sleep. The group will set out on the last leg of the journey towards Mweka Gate Park exit (1,640 m) upon finishing breakfast. This will be your last opportunity to share memories of the climb with your guides and the support team. You will receive your certificates of accomplishment at our offices before being driven back to your hotel.

Elevation Change: Millenium camp (3,820 m) – Mweka Gate (1,640 m)

Distance: 12 Km

Hiking Time: 4-5 hours

Habitat: Montane Forest

Rest in the hotel and transfer to the airport.

Note: Hotel check-out is at 11:00 AM. In case you need a late check-out because of an evening flight, there is the option to extend your hotel stay for an extra fee.

Request a Free Quote


  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • 2 Nights’ accommodation in Moshi is or Arusha included
  • All transfers to the mountain and back to your Moshi hotel
  • Professional, experienced, mountain guides
  • Guides, Porters, cook salaries and park fees
  • Quality, waterproof, four seasons private mountain sleeping tents
  • Sleeping Mattress
  • All meals while on the mountain
  • Quality mess tents with table and chairs
  • All Government taxes and levies including 18% VAT.
  • Kilimanjaro National Park Entrance fees
  • Large portions of fresh, healthy, nutritious food
  • Flights
  • Tips to mountain crew
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Laundry Services
  • Entry visa for Tanzania
  • Personal trekking equipment such as sleeping bags, hiking boots, clothes etc. (available for renting)
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