The Umbwe route is possibly the most beautiful route in Mount Kilimanjaro. It is a camping route and it begins in the rain forest to Umbwe cave (3000m) to Barranco (3950m) then proceeds with the Kibo circuit up to Barafu (4600m) in the alpine desert if you don’t ascend to the summit through the western breach. This steep and very direct route is suitable for more experienced trekkers, but should not be rushed. It combines pleasant forest walking with a challenging approach to the summit.
For the best hike it takes a minimum of six days. It is also (in) famous the shortest route (24.35km) from the gate to the summit via the Western Breach although the steepest and hardest of the trails on Kilimanjaro. The gradient is that in a couple of places on the first day you can stand upright and kiss it at the same time although it is a non-technical climb. The difficult is that, it is so damn relentlessly uphill but your eyes will be grateful you chose this route as they will feast upon the awesome scenery, particularly on the second morning as you leave the forest and find yourself on a narrow ridge between the heathers. This route is also one of the less visited on the first two days but from day three it joins up with the popular Machame route and heads through the Kibo circuit to Barafu. Approaching the summit from Western Breach via the Arrow Glacier, it is quieter than
all the other summit trails because it is risk to use the Western Breach as it is common with avalanches.
DAY 1, MOSHI – UMBWE GATE – UMBWE CAVE:
After breakfast drive to the Umbwe gate (1800). There after start the ascend through the heavy rain forest to Umbwe cave for about six to seven hours. Dinner and overnight at Umbwe cave (3000m). Distance covered is 11km and altitude gained is 1200m.
DAY 2, UMBWE CAVE – BARRANCO CAMP:
After breakfast start the ascend with your picnic lunch box to Barranco camp. The walk now is steeper through the ridge of valleys in both sides but very scenic. Dinner overnight at Barranco camp. (3950m) on the moorland). Distance covered is 6km altitude gained is 950m.
DAY 3, BARRANCO CAMP – KARANGA CAMP:
Breakfast and climb Barranco walls (4250m) to Karanga camp (4000m) have hot lunch, rest and walk around for Acclimatizing. It takes 3-4hrs. Dinner and Overnight. Distance covered is 4.25km and altitude gained is 60m.
DAY 4, KARANGA CAMP – BARAFU CAMP:
Having breakfast about 8:30am continue on hiking to Barafu Camp (4600m) for 3-4hrs. Hot lunch, rest, early dinner and sleep for a short hour’s then wake up at about 11:00pm, pack things for summit, having hot drinks and bites then start hiking to the summit. It takes about 6-7hrs. Distance covered is 4.86km and altitude gained is 1295m.
DAY 5, BARAFU CAMP – UHURU PEAK – MWEKA CAMP:
Early in the morning start hiking to the summit passing Stella point (5750m) head to the summit (5895m) and back to Barafu for rest, lunch and continue descending to Mweka camp for dinner and overnight. [Barafu –Uhuru 6hrs, Uhuru -Barafu 3hrs and Barafu- Mweka camp.
Distance covered is 11.5km and altitude lost is 2795m.
DAY 6, MWEKA CAMP – MWEKA GATE:
After breakfast, descend to Mweka gate (1700m). The walk begins through the rainforest taking 2 to 3 hours. Distance covered is 9.1km
and altitude lost is 1400m. Meet the vehicle from the office for transfer to the hotel in Moshi for shower, lunch and rest.