Why Umbwe route?

This is one of the shortest routes to the southern glaciers and the western breach of Kibo. An ascent to Kibo via the Umbwe route is probably one of the most scenic ‘non-technic’ mountaineering expeditions in East Africa. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitudes, but the rewards are plentiful, fewer people, pristine forest, greater chance of seeing wild animals and birds in the lower level, and shorter walking distance



Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro airport you will be met by our representative and taken to Keys Hotel Travel and Tours. It is a family run hotel located on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, with comfortable accommodation, variety of meals, clean swimming pool and friendly services. Located just ten minutes walking distance to Moshi town center, palatable meal and luxurious accommodation; Keys Hotel is the most spectacular place one will always wish to stay, Keys Hotel Travel and Tours - 2700 ft (BB).

UMBWE GATE (1,800 M/5,905 FT) – UMBWE CAMP (2,800 M/9,186 FT)

Walking distance:    8 km/4.9 miles

Walking time:           5-7 hours

Altitude gain:            1000m/ 3,281ft

You are now setting off to the event you have prepared for and dreamt about for months, if not years. Time to tick your conquer of Africa’s highest free standing mountain off your Bucket list. After breakfast you will be transferred to the Umbwe Gate at Kilimanjaro National Park from where your hike starts. Today’s trekking pace is slow and very comfortable, ensuring you have enough time to enjoy the natural surroundings as you walk through beautiful rainforest with dense vegetation, often on a muddy trail with steep climbs. Take time for photographing and nibble on your packed lunch that we provide. The first campsite, Umbwe Camp, is positioned on a steep valley with rock overhangs between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers. Dinner and overnight at Umbwe Camp (FB).

UMBWE CAMP (2,800 M/9,186 FT) – BARANCO CAMP (3,950 M /12,960 FT)

Walking distance:    7 km/4.3 miles

Walking time:           4-6 hours

Altitude gain:            1,150 m/3,774 ft

From Umbwe Camp the trail continues over steep terrain. The vegetation changes to increasingly sparse trees and from bushes to moorland. Views of Kibo and Uhuru peak with its snow-capped summit becomes a regular sight as you get close to  Baranco Camp. The sun paints the rocks in front of camp a dreamy red-yellow colour with the white ice of the high peaks shining bright. Looking towards the south you may see the little town of Moshi far below. You be lucky to sleep above the clouds at Barranco Camp. Dinner and overnight at Baranco Camp (FB).

BARRANCO CAMP (3,950 M/12,960 FT)- KARANGA CAMP (4,040 M /13,255 FT)

Walking distance:    5.8 km/3.4 miles

Walking time:           4-5 hours

Altitude gain:            90 m/295 ft

After breakfast you will cross the Great Barranco Wall, topping out at about 4 420 m before dropping to the camp at the Karanga River at about 4040 m. The hike up the Barranco Wall is steep. You pass below the famous Breach Wall, the largest ice and rock face in Africa. The Breach Wall climbing route, known as ‘The Icicle’, was first climbed in the early 1970’s by Reinhold Messner. Daytime temperatures can reach up to 26C, while evening temperatures often drop below freezing point. Dinner and overnight at Karanga Camp (FB)

KARANGA CAMP (4,040 M/13,255 FT) – BARAFU CAMP (4,550 M/14,930 FT)

Walking distance:    3.5 km/ 2.2 miles

Walking time:           4-5 hours

Altitude gain:            510 m/1,675 ft

Today’s path takes you up and across a rocky zone where very little vegetation can be found on the inhospitable terrain. A field of sedimentary rocks litter the ground. You leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. Continue up to the Barafu Camp. At this point, you have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Amazing views of Kilimanjaro’s two peaks, Mawenzi and Kibo, are to be seen from Barafu Camp. An early dinner will be served in order for you to get the maximum rest before the final ascent starting at around midnight. Dinner and overnight at Barafu Camp (FB)

BARAFU CAMP (4,550 M/14,930 FT) – SUMMIT VIA STELLA POINT (5,752 M/18,871 FT) TO UHURU PEAK (5,895 M/19,340 FT) AND DESCENT TO MILLENNIUM CAMP (3,820 M/12,530 FT) OR TO MWEKA CAMP (3,100 M/10,170 FT)

Walking distance:    7 km/4.3 miles ascent + 23 km/14.2 miles descent

Walking time:           5-6 hrs + 1-2 hours up, 7-8 hours down (the overall walking time may vary between 10-16 hours

Altitude gain:            1,202 m/3,940 ft (Stella Point) or 1,345 m/4,410 ft (Uhuru Peak)

Descent:                     2,795 m/9,170 ft Mweka Camp

You will be required to wake up very early to have a quick bite and something warm to drink before setting out in darkness. The hike to Stella Point is a very slow steep walk on volcanic scree for about 5-6 hours. The headlamps on the trail towards the summit almost look like fireflies flying in a long row. As you approach the crater rim you will enjoy the most memorable sunrise you may ever experience – the golden sunrise over Africa! You will often see the curving of the earth at this high altitude and the sunrise on the horizon just accentuates it. Keep your camera ready at all times as there are plenty of photographing opportunities along the summit.

Once you reach Stella Point on top of the crater rim Uhuru Peak is in the sight. Hike along fairly flat terrain for about 40-45 min to reach Uhuru Peak. Spend a few minutes at the top and get photos of your choice next to the sign marking the summit. Descend from Uhuru Peak in high spirits as you have just achieved your goal. The trail down from Stella Point on the Mweka route is often enjoyed by hikers sliding down the scree slope, which entails skidding down the loose gravel with big steps and some sideways moves. Try it, it is fun! With every step going down your body enjoys having more oxygen to breathe in. Depending on how you feel, you may enjoy a short rest at Barafu Camp before descending down to Millennium Camp or Mweka Camp. Dinner and overnight at Mweka Camp (FB)

MWEKA CAMP (3,100 M/10,170 FT) – MWEKA GATE (1,980 M /6,500 FT)

Walking distance:    About 15 km, 9.3 miles

Walking time:           3-4 hours

Descend:                    1,120m/ 3,670ft

Enjoy a slow hike through the rainforest to Mweka Gate. It is not a rare sight to spot Black and White Colobus Monkeys on the trees as well as Blue Monkeys. Take time to enjoy the lush vegetation with the Old Man’s Beard (tree moss) growing on the giant trees as well as some Giant Ferns towering high over the forest bed. The path has many steps leading you down to Mweka Gate. You will be transferred back to Keys Hotels Travel & Tours for hot shower and overnight rest. (BB).


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