This route is steeper and shorter than the Machame Route. The Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route appeals to hikers seeking an authentic climbing experience. It offers a secluded, less-traveled path that presents significant challenges but also remarkable rewards. This route is ideal for those eager to push their limits on Mount Kilimanjaro, away from the bustling crowds often encountered on more popular trails. Hikers should possess advanced mountain trekking skills and endurance to navigate this demanding route effectively.

Once at the Barranco Hut you continue on with the other Machame hikers. The descent is down the Mweka trail. Since it is a very short and direct route, it is not recommended for people with little altitude experience.

View from Moshi to Kilimanjaro

Arrival in Tanzania

On your arrival, you will be picked up at the Kilimanjaro International Airport and transferred to a hotel in Moshi town; where you will meet a mountain guide who will brief you on your upcoming trek and do an equipment check to make sure you have all the necessary mountain gears. The missing gears can be hired on this day or on the next morning before leaving for your Kilimanjaro Umbwe Trekking.

Hotel in Moshi: bed and breakfast included.

Day 1: Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Umbwe Gate, Hike to Umbwe Cave Camp

Drive from Moshi to the Umbwe Gate (about 1 hour). Commence the climb through the rain forest with packed lunch on route. Also you can see some wildlife, including Colobus monkeys.

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

Elevation: 1660 m / 5450 ft to 2850 m / 9350 ft
Distance: 11 km / 7 mi
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Habitat: Montane Forest
Meals: Lunch / Dinner

black and white colobus monkey at Arusha National Park
Barranco Valley | Kilimanjaro Trekking

Day 2: Umbwe Cave Camp to Barranco Camp

After breakfast, we will leave the glades of the forest and follow an ascending path on the open moorland to Barranco Camp. In the moorland you will spot exotic plants, including giant lobelia and groundsel. As you ascent, the trail provides a spectacular view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

The Umbwe trail then flattens and descends into the Barranco Valley until you reach Barranco Camp. At this campsite, you will be next to a stream and have a spectacular view of the Western Breach and the Great Barranco Wall in the East.

Elevation: 2850 m / 9350 ft to 4000 m / 13,000 ft
Distance: 6 km / 4 mi
Walking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Semi-desert
Meals: included

Day 3: Hike Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall to the Karanga Valley and the junction, which connects, with the Mweka Trail.
At this point of the Kilimanjaro Umbwe Trekking, it is normal for hikers to start feeling the effects from the altitude including headaches and shortness of breath.

Elevation: 4000 m / 13,000 ft to 4050 m / 13,250 ft
Distance: 5 km / 3 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Meals: included

Barranco Wall | Kilimanjaro Trekking

Day 4: Hike Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

We continue up to the Barafu Camp. South Circuit will be completed, this circuits offers views of the summit from many different angles.
Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day.

Elevation: 4050 m / 13,250 ft to 4700 m / 15,350 ft
Distance: 4 km / 2 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Meals: included

Day 5: Hike Barafu Camp to Summit, down to Mweka Camp

Very early in the morning, we will continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. We will head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy stone scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek.
At Stella we will stop for a short rest and rewarded with the magnificent sunrise ever seen.
From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit (Uhuru Peak) the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. 

From the summit we begin our descent by continuing straight down to the Mweka Camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You may want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. We arrive at Mweka Camp and enjoy our last evening on the mountain.

Elevation: 4700 m / 15,350 ft to 5895 m / 19,340 ft
Down to 3090 m / 10,150ft
Distance: 5 km / 3mi up / 13 km / 8 mi down
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours up / 5-6 hours down
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
Meals: included

Uhuru Peak | Kilimanjaro Trekking

Day 6: Hike Mweka Camp to Mweka Gate, drive to Moshi

After breakfast we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).

From the gate, continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka gate to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi/Arusha.

Elevation: 3090 m / 10,150 ft to 1680 m / 5500 ft
Distance: 10 km / 6 miles
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Forest
Meals: Breakfast


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The Kilimanjaro Umbwe Trekking is not the only single option to hike to the summit of Kilimanjaro. In total there are 6 optional routes. Please find in the buttons below the information and daily itinerary of the other routes.

ONA SAFARI - Kilimanjaro Routes Overview