Kilimanjaro Packages – Umbwe Route
Day One: Umbwe Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) to Cave Bivouac Camp (2,850m/9,350ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,050 meters, 3,445 feet
Hiking time: 4 to 6 hours
At 8am leave Moshi for Umbwe Gate where you will meet our porters, guides, and cooks who will spend the next six days trekking with you to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. After arriving, wait at the gate while we register your climb and the porters and guides make final preparations. Your first day’s destination is Cave Bivouac Camp, approximately 6 hours from the gate. The trail is steep and can be slippery in some places.
Hike through the moss-covered trees of Kilimanjaro’s cloud forest. The forest will thin later in the hike and heathers, tall grasses and wildflowers will come into view. Porters and cooks will walk ahead to set up the camp in time for your arrival.
Day Two: Cave Bivouac (2,850m/9,350ft) to Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft)
Total Elevation Gain: 1,100 meters, 3,610 feet
Hiking time: 5 to 7 hours
The first section of the trail continues following the ridge. After leaving the forest, continue through open moorlands until reaching Barranco Camp. Barranco is generally regarded as the most scenic campsite on the Umbwe Trail as it’s surrounded by giant senecios and lobelias. As Barranco is in a valley, the sun rises later than at the other camps.
Day Three: Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft) to Karanga Valley (4,200m/13,780ft)
Elevation Gain: 250 meters, 820 feet
Distance: 7 Kilometers
Hiking time: 3 to 5 hours
Leave Barranco Camp after breakfast for Karanga Valley. The day begins with a 1.5 hour scramble up the Barranco Wall. This is the hardest part of the day and in some places you may have to use your hands to aid your climb. After reaching the top, hike through fairly level terrain before making a short but steep descent into the green Karanga River Valley.
Day Four: Karanga Valley (4,200m/13,780ft) to Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft)
Elevation Gain: 400 meters, 1,320 feet
Distance: 6 Kilometers
Hiking time: 3 to 5 hours
After breakfast, begin the hike to Barafu Camp. On the way to Barafu, view several of Kibo’s glaciers as well as the junction that connects the descent route, Mweka, with the Machame trail. During day four, hike by the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. Although the trail to Barafu passes through alpine desert with little vegetation, Barafu Camp offers stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Try to sleep after finishing dinner as you will wake before midnight for your summit hike.
Day Five: Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft) to Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,295 meters, 4,240 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,795 meters, 9,170 feet
Hiking time: 6 hours to the rim, 1 hour to Uhuru, 3 to 4 hours back to Barafu, 4 hours to Mweka
Around midnight, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak. Hike by the light of your headlamp for the next six hours. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek. The trail is very steep until you reach the crater rim at Stella Point.
The hike from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the hike long and tiring. The crater rim hike takes approximately one hour. Upon reaching Uhuru, take photos of your guide and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Mweka Camp. On the way down from Uhuru, enjoy views of the mountain, crater, clouds and glaciers.
At Barafu Camp, eat breakfast and take a short break. You still have another three to five hours to go before reaching Mweka Camp.
Day Six: Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft) to Mweka Gate (1,500m/4,920ft)
Elevation Loss: 1,600 meters, 5,250 feet
Hiking time: 4 hours
After breakfast, finish the trek with a hike through the forest to Mweka Gate. The trail may be slippery following rain. Our vehicles will meet you at the lower station of Mweka Gate to take you back to Moshi.
– Day 0 Moshi (915 m/3,000 ft)
Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Moshi for your overnight.
– Day 1 Moshi (915 m/3,000 ft) to Umbwe Gate (1,800 m/5,905 ft) to Umbwe Camp (2,800 m/9,190 ft) 8 km, 5-7 hours Montane Forest
Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and an hour drive from Moshi to Umbwe Village (1,490 m/4,890 ft) where your guides and porters pack your equipment and supplies, and give you a lunch pack. You start your ascent at the small Umbwe Gate just above the village and follow a gentle winding vehicle track for an hour to a signboard that announces the small steep Umbwe trail. The introduction is over, and you now climb up for several hours through a dense forest of rubber trees and giant fig trees. In places, you must scamper up steep sections of roots and rock. The Umbwe Camp is in the forest, and there are some caves nearby. You will be greeted here with a graciously served hot meal.
– Day 2 Umbwe Camp (2,800 m/9,190 ft) to Barranco Camp (3,900 m/12,800 ft) 8 km, 4-5 hours Semi-Desert
Your day starts early with a steaming cup of tea or coffee. After breakfast, you will climb steeply through thinning forest glades to Giant Erica, Heather, and drier air. You continue up a ridge that drops steeply on both sides, and hopefully, the clouds will part to reward you with a view of Uhuru Peak looming overhead. After lunch, you enter a zone of giant groundsels (Scenario Kilimanjaro) that seem to guard the heights, and this garden is one of Kilimanjaro’s special treasures.
– Day 3 Barranco Camp (3,900 m/12,800 ft)
Extra Day for Acclimatization. Adding this day will ease your effort, and amplify your acclimatization.
– Day 4 Barranco Camp (3,900 m/12,800 ft) to Karanga Camp (4,200 m/13,780 ft) 7 km, 4 hours Alpine Desert
After breakfast, we continue up a steep ridge to the great Barranco Wall, and then you climb this imposing obstacle, which turns out to be easier than it looks. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you can now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. With Kibo’s glaciers soaring overhead, you descend into the lush Karanga Valley to the Karanga Valley campsite. From the camp, you can look east and see the jagged peaks of Mawenzi jutting into the African sky. After a hot lunch in camp, your afternoon is at leisure for resting or exploring. This short day is very important for your acclimatization, since your summit push is about to start. Scramble easily to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over screes and ridges to the Karanga Valley campsite (3h, 4000m.), beneath the icefalls of the Southern Glaciers.
– Day 5 Karanga Camp (4,200 m/13,780 ft) to Barafu Camp (4,550 m/14,930 ft) 13 km, 8 hours Alpine Desert
In the morning, you hike east over intervening ridges and valleys to join the Mweka Route, which will be your descent route. Turn left toward the mountain and hike up the ridge through a sparse landscape for another hour to the Barafu Hut where you will receive a hot lunch. The last water on the route is in the Karanga Valley; there is no water at Barafu Camp, even though Barafu is the Swahili word for ice. The famous snows of Kilimanjaro are far above Barafu Camp near the summit of the mountain. Your tent will be pitched on a narrow, stony, wind-swept ridge, so make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. Prepare your equipment and warm clothing for your summit climb, and drink a lot of fluids. After an early dinner, go to bed for a few hours of precious sleep.
– Day 6 Summit Day! Barafu Camp (4,550 m/14,930 ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft) to Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft) 7 km up, 23 km down 8 hours up, 7-8 hours down Scree and seasonal snow
You will rise around 11:30 PM, and after some steaming tea and biscuits, you shuffle off into the night. Your 6-hour climb northwest up through heavy scree between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers to Stella Point on the crater rim is the most challenging part of the route for most climbers. At Stella Point (5,685 m/18,650 ft) you stop for a short rest and a chance to see a supremely sanguine sunrise. At Stella Point you join the top part of the Marangu Route, but do not stop here too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Depending on the season and recent storms, you may encounter snow on your remaining hike along the rim to Uhuru Peak. On the summit, you can enjoy your accomplishment and know that you are creating a day that you will remember for the rest of your life. After your 3-hour descent from the summit back to Barafu Camp, you will have a well-earned but short rest, collect your gear, and hike down a rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest to Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft). This camp is in the upper forest, so you can expect mist or rain in the late afternoon. Dinner, and washing water will be prepared, and the camp office sells drinking water, soft drinks, chocolates, and beer!
– Day 7 Mweka Camp (3,100 m/10,170 ft) to Mweka Gate (1,980 m/6,500 ft) to Moshi (890 m/2,920 ft) 15 km, 3 hours Forest
After a well-deserved breakfast, it is a short, scenic, 3-hour hike back to the park gate. Don’t give your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely, but do remember to tip your staff at the gate. At Mweka Gate, you can sign your name and add details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Climbers who reached Stella Point are issued green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate, you will continue down to the Mweka Village, possibly a muddy, 3 km, 1 hour hike if the road is too muddy for vehicles. In the Mweka Village you will be served a delicious hot lunch after which you are driven back to Moshi for an overdue hot shower and comfortable night at your hotel in Moshi.