The Umbwe Route is the least used, least crowded route on the mountain. For good reason, it is also the most difficult route on the mountain. Umbwe is a steep, constant, straight climb to the top. The Umbwe Route is the least used, least crowded route on the mountain. For good reason, it is also the most difficult route on the mountain. Umbwe is a steep, constant, straight climb to the top.

Climbing Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route | 6 Days

Itinerary for Climbing Kilimanjaro via Umbwe Route- 6 Days 

Umbwe route is for you who are seeking an adventurous and challenging Mountain Kilimanjaro climb. If you are confident in your mountaineering skills and abilities to hike over fast ascending steep slopes, or if you already have good experience with hiking high altitudes at fast speed, the Umbwe route is for you.

Climbing Kilimanjaro via the 6-Days Umbwe route is certainly the shortest but most adventurous way via the Southern Glaciers as well as the Western Beach. This route is very short but also the steepest of them all with the most direct climb up the Kilimanjaro which makes it very taxing as you ascend so fast into the higher altitudes. The climber traffic on Umbwe route is very low because of the fast ascension but it is also very scenic.  Although most climbers using Umbwe route typically summit to the peak in 6 days, we recommend 7 days to allow for more acclimatization along the way. The route will descend via Mwenka camp on the southeastern side of Kilimanjaro mountain. 

Umbwe route climbing is 53km or 32 miles and is best completed in 6 days, although some hikers do it in 5 days. The Umbwe route is considered the hardest route on Mount Kilimanjaro. The trail is steep and challenging, gaining altitude very quickly. The rapid speed of the ascent makes acclimatization difficult. The success rate for Umbwe route is however ±90%. The first two days of the Umbwe Route trek are through tree plantations and then beautiful and rich rain forest, before continuing into the steep Western Breach and Arrow’s Glacier path, scramble up to the Reutsch Crater (5,800 meters) where trekkers spend the night near one of Kilimanjaro’s last remaining glaciers, Furtwangler Glacier.

From Crater Camp, one can take an optional one-hour hike to Reusch Crater, or simply explore the areas around Furtwangler Glacier. Reusch Crater is a magnificent sight. It is almost perfectly circular and the ash pit measures 400 feet (120 m) deep and 1,300 feet (400 m) wide. This is rarely seen by tourists.

Recommended Umbwe Route Itinerary  - 6 Days

DAY 1:  UMBWE GATE TO UMBWE CAVE CAMP 
Elevation (m): 1600m to 2900m, Distance: 11km, Time: 6 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest.

You will be registered at Umbwe Park Gate before starting our trek. The small winding path leads us up through the rainforest and along the Umbwe River. The first night’s camp is at Umbwe Cave Camp, at about 2,900m altitude.

DAY 2:  UMBWE CAMP TO BARRANCO CAMP 
Elevation (m): 2940m to 3970m, Distance: 6km, Time: 4-5 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest.

We leave camp and shortly afterward the forest ends. We can see the sheer wall of the Western Breach appearing and disappearing as the afternoon mists roll up the Great Barranco. We will camp at Barranco camp tonight.

DAY 3: BARRANCO CAMP TO KARANGA CAMP 
Elevation (m): 3950m to 3930m, Distance: 7 km, Hiking Time: 4 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert.

Today starts with a short, but fun, scramble, to the top of the Great Barranco Wall. We then traverse over scree to the Karanga Valley (3930m) beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten, and Decken Glaciers.  We will stay overnight at the Karanga campsite.

DAY 4:  KARANGA CAMP TO BARAFU CAMP 
Elevation (m): 3930m to 4600m, Distance: 6kms, Hiking Time: 3 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert.

We leave the Karanga campsite behind to meet the junction connecting with the Mweka descent Trail. From here we continue up to the Barafu Hut. You have now completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. At camp, we can rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be clearly seen from this position.

DAY 5: BARAFU CAMP TO SUMMIT TO MWEKA HUT 
Elevation (m): 4600m to 5895m (and down to 3100m) , Distance: 7km ascent / 23km descent, Time:6- 8 hours ascent / 7-8 hours descent, Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit.

You will be woken at 23:30 with some quick tea and biscuits. We start our trek to the summit between the Rebman and Ratzel glaciers. We will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. At Stella Point (5732m), we will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). At Uhuru Peak (5895m), we will have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. It can be very cold at night at these elevations, but it will be quite warm by the end of the hiking day. From the summit, we descend down to the Mweka Hut camp site, via Barafu for lunch. Trekking poles will be needed for the loose gravel going down to Mweka Camp (3100m). Later in the evening, we will enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.

DAY 6:  MWEKA CAMP TO HOTEL
Elevation (m): 3100m to 1800m, Distance: 8 km, Time: 3-4 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest.

We depart after breakfast descending 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 be suitable (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).

Talk to Our Umbwe Route Specialist

Enquire about the Climbing Umbwe route Mount Kilimanjaro Adventure and its tour prices.

Talk to our local Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Specialist to start planning a memorable adventurous experience.

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