7 Days

Umbwe Route

Tour Overview

The Umbwe Route is widely recognized as the most challenging trail, involving a demanding vertical climb through the jungle, where tree roots sometimes serve as improvised ladder rungs. Due to the high risks associated with staying at Arrow Glacier camp and summiting via the Western Breach, all our Umbwe route hikes are redirected to merge with the Machame route starting from the second night on the mountain. 

However, upon special request, we can provide assistance for Umbwe route hikes attempting to summit through the Western Breach/Arrow Glacier path and camping overnight at the Crater camp. Please be aware that this arrangement is only possible through our higher quality Standard packages, and an additional supplement rate will be applied. The primary difference in itineraries between the Umbwe 6-day and 7-day routes is the inclusion of an extra acclimatization day at Barranco camp.

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Program Details

Day 1 | Airport pick-up- Drop off at Hotel

You will be picked up by the staff of Grevy Safaris from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and driven to your accommodation in Arusha. Participants will be given a short briefing for the climb the next day. Kits and the necessary equipment will be checked as well.

Meals: Dinner
Accommodation: Sg Resort

Day 2 | Umbwe Gate (1614m) – Umbwe Cave camp (2850m)

  • Hiking time: 6 Hours
  • Distance: Approximately 10.3 km
  • Habitat: Forest (Montane)
After breakfast, you will be driven to the Machame gate where registration formalities will be completed. From there, we proceed to the Umbwe Gate (1641m), passing through villages with coffee and banana plantations. The air is thick with moisture and the path is usually muddy.

The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers some spectacular views of deep gorges and if you are lucky, glimpse of Kilimanjaro towering above you in the distance. The camp is perched between huge trees and thick undergrowth.

Meals: B,L,D
Accommodation: Umbwe Cave Camp

Day 3 | Umbwe Cave camp (2850m) – Barranco camp (3985m)

  • Hiking time: 6 hours
  • Distance: Approximately 6.3 km
  • Habitat: Moorland
Shortly after leaving the camp the forest starts thinning and is replaced by rockier terrain, sparser undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees. The path continues along a narrow, but spectacular ridge. As you gain higher altitude, you will have sightings of Kilimanjaro rising majestically ahead of you – etched against the blue sky.

The path flattens as you approach Barranco Valley. From Umbwe ridge, the route descends slightly to the Barranco camp. The camp is situated in the valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while your dinner is being prepared.

Meals: B,L,D
Accommodation: Barranco Camp

Day 4 | Barranco camp (3985m) – Karanga Camp (4040m)

  • Hiking time: 6 hours
  • Distance: Approximately 6 km
  • Habitat: Moorland / Semi desert
After spending a night at the great Barranco Wall, we make our way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end normally turns out to be easier than anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you will now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, and then joins up with the Mweka route. The last water stop on the route is the Karanga Valley, as there is no water available at Barafu camp.

Meals: B,L,D
Accommodation: Karanga Camp

Day 5 | Karanga camp (4040m) – Barafu camp (4681m)

  • Hiking time: 4 hours
  • Distance: Approximately 3.4km
  • Habitat: Alpine desert
After breakfast, we turn left up the ridge and the route ascends 640m towards Barafu Camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales, the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents.

The summit is now a further 1214m higher and you will commence with your final ascent attempt, the same night. Prepare your equipment, hiking poles and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask.

Meals: B,L,D
Accommodation: Barafu Camp

Day 6 | Summit Attempt- Mweka

  • Barafu camp (4681m)-Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3090m)
  • Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak | 6 to 8 hours to descend to Mweka Camp
  • Distance: Approximately 4.5 km ascent and 10.8 km descent •Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will get up around 23h20, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head northwest and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. Most climbers find the 6-hour walk to Stella point as the most mentally and physically challenging.

At Stella Point (5739m), you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise (weather permitting). From Stella Point, you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions but it’s best not to stop for too long as it will be extremely difficult to get going again due to cold and fatigue.

The walk back to Barafu from the summit takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a short rest before heading down to Mweka hut (3090m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon.

Meals: B,L,D
Accommodation: Barafu Camp

Day 7 | Mweka camp (3090m) – Mweka Gate (1641m)

  • Hiking time: 4 to 6 hours
  • Habitat: Forest
  • Distance: Approximately 8.5 km

It will be a short 4 to 6 hour scenic hike back to the Park gate. Some hikers do experience knee problems, which could make the descent longer than planned. At Mweka gate, successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5739m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates.From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village, you will be served a delicious hot lunch. Afterwards, we drive back to Arusha for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebration.

Meals: B,L,D
Accommodation: Sg Resort


  • Park fees

  • All activities (unless labeled as optional)

  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary

  • A professional driver/guide

  • All transportation (unless labeled as optional)

  • All Taxes/VAT

  • Roundtrip airport transfer

  • All Meals (as specified in the day-by-day section)

  • Camping Equipment

  • Porterage


  •  International flights (from/to home)

  • Additional accommodation before and at the end of the tour

  • Tips (tipping guideline US$20.00 pp per day)

  • Personal items (souvenirs, travel insurance, visa fees, etc.)

  • Government imposed increase of taxes and/or park fees

  • Alcohol drinks

  • Rescue Fee

  • Climbing Gear

  • Sleeping Bag

Climbing Packing guide

  • Top Base Layer
  • Bottom Base Layer
  • 4-5 Pairs of Underwear
  • 3-4 Short Sleeve
  • 1 Insulated Trekking Pants
  • 1-2 Long Sleeve Hiking Shirts
  • 1-2 Pairs of Hiking Trousers
  • 1 Insulated Winter Jacket
  • 1 Polartec Fleece Jacket
  • 1 Hard Shell Jacket

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