If Marangu have nickname Coca Cola route and Machame route Whisky route what does make Umbwe so unique and famous? Is the shortest route (24.35km) via Western breach route, steepest and hardest of the trails on Kilimanjaro but Machame is fairly steep here and there.
Umbwe is a beautiful one but very Challenging too, it fit for all young people and the sports ones who ready to face challenges. The Umbwe is hardest route on Kilimanjaro its very steep from the Umbwe gate you can hiking for almost one hour then facing the steepest up to Umbwe cave and continued until you reach to Baranco Camp.
This route you may have two option whether to summit via Western breach or diverted to right side and climbing Baranco wall and summiting through Barafu camp. But this is more safe, also this route needs acclimatization first whether you already climbed to high elevation and acclimatized well and if not we recommended Mt. Meru (4,665 m) through that you already acclimatized well and able to face Kilimanjaro via Umbwe route.
DAY 1 - UMBWE GATE TO UBWE CAVE
The Umbwe Route departs from the south. Most trekkers get driven from Arusha or Moshi to the Machame Gate, where registration takes place. From there trekkers are transferred to the Umbwe Gate at 1,600 meters. Here you will start your trek with your guide and porters in tow. The route follows a forestry track through the rainforest before steepening between the Lonzo and Umbwe Rivers. If the weather is clear you will get a good view of Kibo in the distance. The campsite between large evergreen trees and thick undergrowth, with Umbwe Cave a short walk away. On arrival your tents will already be assembled and dinner will be served in your mess tent.
- Elevation: 1,600 m to 2,850m
- Distance: 10.5 km
- Hiking time: 5-7 hours
- Habitat: Rainforest
DAY 2 - UMBWE CAVE TO BARRANCO CAMP
On Day two the landscape changes rapidly from rainforest to moorland, with rocky outcrops and sparse vegetation. The path follows the narrow and steeper, Umbwe Route ridge until it begins to flatten close to the Barranco Valley. The Barranco Camp (3,900 m) sits in the valley under the shadow of the Great Barranco Wall with Kibo visible in the distance. You will notice the camp is pretty busy. This is because you will be joining hikers from the Machame, Lemosho and Shira Route here.
- Elevation: 2,850 m to 3,900 m
- Distance: 6.5 km
- Hiking time: 4-6 hours
- Habitat: Rainforest / Low Alpine Zone
DAY 3 - BARRANCO CAMP TO KARANGA
Day three starts with a steep climb up the 257 m Barranco Wall. No technical skills are required but you will need to use all four limbs to scramble up to the top. From here you will follow an up and down route along the Southern Circuit through the Karanga Valley and up to Karanga Camp (3,960 meters). You will stop at Karanga Camp for the night, unless you are on a five-day route, in which case you will continue on to Barafu Camp (4,670 m)
- Elevation: 3,900m to 3,960m
- Distance: 6 km
- Hiking time: 4-6 hours
- Zone: Low alpine zone / High alpine zone
DAY 4 - KARANGA CAMP TO BARAFU CAMP
Day four is a relatively short climb from Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp at 4,670 m. The route sojourns through the rocky and sparsely vegetated high alpine desert zone. Barafu Camp is very exposed to the elements, especially the gale force winds that are common at this altitude. You will arrive at the camp around lunchtime, giving you lots of time to rest or potentially climb a bit higher if you are feeling up to it. Set an hour aside to ensure that your gear is ready and packed for the summit ascent that begins around midnight. Well after lunch at the Base Camp you will rest and attend the early dinner in order to give the time to sleep and rest before the finally assault to the summit. Which start on the midnight.
Karanga Camp (3,960 meters) to Barafu Camp (4,670 meters)
- Elevation: 3,960 m to 4,670 m
- Distance: ~3.5 km
- Hiking time: 4-5 hours
- Habitat: High alpine zone
DAY 5 - BARRANCO TO UHURU PEAK TO MWEKA CAMP
After being awoken with hot tea and biscuits you will set off up the heavily screed slopes of Kibo. The route up to the crater rim is long and arduous! Your physical and mental capacities will be seriously tested. It is important to remain focused on your goal, one step at a time. Around dawn you will reach Stella Point (5,739 m) at the top of the crater rim. This is not the summit but is a major milestone. Take a moment to rest and enjoy where you have got to but don’t lie down as this can stymie your final push to the summit. From Stella Point the route flattens as you walk an additional 1-2 hours to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m). You will not be able to stay too long at the summit as the lack of oxygen and cold is debilitating. Make sure to get all the pictures and video footage you want and then make your way back to Stella Point. Many trekkers decide to scree slide down the slopes of Kibo to Barafu Camp where you will have a chance to take a short break before continuing on to Mweka Camp. Remember to use your trekking poles as the impact on your knees of the 5-8 hour descent from the Summit to Mweka Camp can be very tiring and painful.
- Elevation: 4,670 m to 5,895 m to 3,100 m
- Distance: ~4.5 km ascent and then 11km descent
- Hiking time: 6-8 hours to the summit and then 5-8 hours to Mweka
- Habitat: Glacial zone and the all preceding zones
DAY 6 - MWEKA CAMP TO MWEKA GATE
By the morning of the sixth day you should have your appetite back and can enjoy your last breakfast on the mountain before heading down through the thick undergrowth of the lower slopes. Your knees may be very sore so go slowly and make sure of each footing as you descend to Mweka Gate. On arrival at the gate you will sign-out with the authorities and be presented with your summit certificate.
- Elevation: 3,100 m to 1,640 m
- Distance: ~9 km
- Hiking time: 3-5 hours
- Habitat: Rainforest