Super Game Tanzania Safaris and Tours

Mountain Trekking 6 Days Mount Kilimanjaro climb - Umbwe Route

The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach and it’s the most challenging route on Mt Kilimanjaro. Approaching from the south, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb. It is probably the most scenic, non-technical route on Kilimanjaro. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are plentiful. Due to the fast ascension to high altitude, this route does not provide the necessary stages for acclimatization. Although the traffic on this route is very low, the chances of success are also low.
Difficulty: Very High
Scenery: Very good
Traffic: Very low
The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach and it’s the most challenging route on Mt Kilimanjaro. Approaching from the south, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb. It is probably the most scenic, non-technical route on Kilimanjaro. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are plentiful. Due to the fast ascension to high altitude, this route does not provide the necessary stages for acclimatization. Although the traffic on this route is very low, the chances of success are also low.
Fewer people, pristine forest and shorter walking distances make it a great option for fit hikers. Add to your experience – OVERNIGHT IN THE CRATER!! Be one of a few fortunate people to spend a night in Africa’s largest volcano. This option is highly recommended, as this will be the only opportunity to get close to the beautiful and fascinating glaciers of Kilimanjar o and to be able to visit the ash pit.

Day 1Umbwe route 6 days – Umbwe Gate (1800m) – Bivouac Camp (2940m)

Habitat: Montane forest
Hiking time: 5 hours
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you will be picked up from Arusha (1400m) and driven to the Umbwe Gate. Here you can buy mineral water and will receive a packed lunch. At this time, the porters will organize and pack the belongings for the hike while you and your guide register with the Tanzania National Park (TANAPA). You will then begin your ascent into the rainforest. During this section of the hike, you should expect rain, mud, and fog. Also, be on the lookout for wildlife, including Colobus monkeys! About halfway up the trail you will have a lunch break and you will reach the Bivouac Camp (2940m) in the late afternoon or early evening. The porters and chef, who move very fast up the mountain, will reach camp before you and set up your tents, boil drinking water, and prepare snacks for your arrival. After washing up, a hot dinner will be served. For overnight, mountain temperatures may drop to freezing so be prepared!

Day 2Umbwe route 6 days – Bivouac Camp (2940m) – Barranco Camp (3950m)

Distance: About 18 km’s – Habitat: Montane forest.
Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a 45-minute drive from Moshi (910m) to the Machame village (1490m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment in the village. Depending on the condition of the road, it is possible to drive from the village to the Machame gate, but if not, the muddy 3 km walk will take about 1 hour to complete. After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rainforest. You will receive a lunch pack at the gate and you can also drink bottled water you bought at Springlands Hotel in Moshi. There is a possibility of rain in the forest, which will transform the trail into a very soggy, muddy and slippery experience. In the evening the porters will boil drinking and washing water and the cook will prepare dinner before you retire to your tent for the night. Night temperatures can already drop to freezing point at Machame campsite. Machame Gate (1490 m) – Machame camp (2980 m), Hiking time: 7 hours

Day 3Umbwe route 6 days – Barranco Camp (3950m) – Lava Tower (4630m) – Arrow Glacier Camp (4800m)

Habitat: Moorland/Semi desert
Following an early morning breakfast, you will leave the moorland environment and enter the semi desert and rocky landscape. After 5 hours of hiking east, you will be come face to face with the Lava Tower (4630m). Packed lunches are served at the Tower and hikers have the option of climbing the massive Lava Tower weather permitting. At this point of the hike, it is normal for hikers to start feeling the effects from the altitude including headaches and shortness of breath.
After eating lunch at Lava Tower, hikers will scramble up the steep Class 2 trail to the Arrow Glacier Camp (4800m). Vegetation at Arrow Glacier is sparse and hikers are surrounded by stone scree. Snacks, dinner, and washing water will be provided, as hikers stay warm in their tents at this camp.

Day 4Umbwe route 6 days – Arrow Glacier (4800m) – Crater (5700m)

Hiking time: 5 hours
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped glacier
After an early morning breakfast, hikers will continue to scramble up the Class 2 trail on rocks. During the rainy season, an ice ax and crampons are required due to icy conditions. Hikers slowly ascend up the Western Breach to the Crater (5700m). Upon reaching the top of the crater, you will be amazed by the Northern Ice fields of Kilimanjaro with the Furtwangler Glacier directly in front of you. At the campsite, you have the option of completing a day hike to the infamous Ash Pit (1.5 hour) of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The ash pit is 340m across and 120m deep. After hiking, you will enjoy a warm dinner and be one of the few and fortunate hikers to stay at the inner, snow-covered crater of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Day 5Umbwe route 6 days – Summit Attempt

Crater (5700m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Mweka (3100m)
Hiking time: 2 hours to Uhuru and 7-8 hours to Mweka
Distance: Approximately 7 kilometer ascent and 23 kilometer descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Your guide will wake you around 0400 for tea and biscuits. You will then begin your summit attempt. During the ascent, many hikers feel that this is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the climb. For about 2 hours, you will hik e on a snow-covered trail to Uhuru Peak (5895m). Reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is a lifetime accomplishment! You will be able to spend a short time on the summit taking photographs and drinking tea before the descent to Barafu begins. The hike down to Barafu Camp takes about 3 hours.
At camp, you will rest and enjoy a hot lunch in the sun. After eating, you will continue descending down to Mweka Hut (3100m). The Mweka Trail will lead you through the scree and rocks to the moorland and eventually into the rain forest.
Mweka Camp (3100m) is located in the upper rain forest, so fog and rain should be expected. You will have a dinner, wash, and rest soundly at camp.

Day 6Umbwe route 6 days – Mweka Camp (3100m) – Mweka Gate (1980m)

Hiking time: 3 hours
Distance: Approximately 15 kilometers Habitat: Forest
Following a well-deserved breakfast, your staff will have a big celebration full of dancing and singing. It is here on the mountain that you will present your tips to the guide, assistant guides, chef(s), and porters. After celebrating, you will descend for three hours back to Mweka Gate. The National Park requires all hikers to sign their names to receive certificates of completion. Hikers who reached Stella Point (5685m) receive green certificates and hikers who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. After receiving certificates, hikers will descend into the Mweka village for 1 hour (3 kilometers). You will be served a hot lunch then you will drive back to Arusha for long overdue showers and more celebrations.


Please note: Safety conditions or weather may cause the itinerary to change without warning. Hike times are estimated, calculated to form a comfortable pace throughout the ascent. The itinerary above serves only as a guide. You can add an extra day if you so wish. You can summit Mt Kilimanjaro via Arrow Glacier or Barafu Camp with Umbwe Route.

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