The Umbwe route has the well-deserved reputation of being the most challenging route on Mount Kilimanjaro. This route is for climbers looking for a real physical challenge. It is a quiet and rarely climbed route that can be very challenging, but at the same time incredibly rewarding. Do you want to test yourself on the steep slopes of Kilimanjaro and be far away from the crowds? If so, this is the route for you!
Your physical condition and endurance will be put to the test along the way. Due to the rapid climb to high altitude, this route does not offer the necessary phases to acclimatise. Therefore, the chances of succeeding are less, compared to other routes on Kilimanjaro.
During these 6 days we’ll be camping at the established campsites and reach the top of Kilimanjaro on day 5 at sunrise.
Your Team: Per group you climb with a professional team, generally consisting of 1 or 2 English speaking guides, 1 cook and 3 porters per person. The exact number sometimes varies and depends on specific requirements of our guests.
Our guides will lead you to the summit and provide you with all the necessary information, tips & tricks & lift your spirits when in dire need, to maximise your chances of a successful climb. All of the guides know the mountain like the back of their hands, are specially trained and have years of climbing experience.
The porters will carry all your belongings, tents & food, so you can climb at ease with only your daypack. The cook will prepare 3 solid meals a day, so you can take on the mountain like a champion. Drinking water will be provided as well, which will be refilled with a water filter at various points on the mountain.
This trek includes
*International flights can be arranged via us if preferred.
Safety: Safety on the mountain is our first priority. Even though it doesn’t take a professional climber to summit Kilimanjaro, it’s still a tall mountain and the high altitude comes with risks.
Prior to each climb, our guests receive a comprehensive briefing that covers the route, safety procedures on the mountain and discuss potential health issues of each individual guest, to ensure that everyone can ascend the mountain fully prepared and in a safe manner.
Our guides receive annual training on the effects of altitude, providing medical assistance and administering oxygen. The team is equipped with a professional medical kit in case of Emergency. They are responsible for your safety and have the authority of discontinuing the trek if they think the conditions are unsafe. At high altitudes, your blood pressure is measured daily to monitor your health.
Acclimatisation: Climbing is done according to the ‘climb high, sleep low’ principle. This principle states that one should climb to a relatively higher elevation than the altitude of where one sleeps. This gives your body the chance to get used to the high altitudes when climbing high, and grants the opportunity to recover and rest at the lower elevations. Doing so, decreases your chance of altitude sickness and increases your chance of reaching the summit.
Fair treatment of our personnel: We are committed to the fair and ethical treatment of all porters and guides. We strictly adhere all rules set by KINAPA (Kilimanjaro National Park); ensuring that each porter has the proper gear to ascent the mountain, and that all carrying bags supplied by us are weighed, to ensure that they do not exceed the maximum of 20 kg.
Furthermore, we promote fair wages, accommodation, insurance & food for cooks, guides & porters as set by the KPO (Kilimanjaro porters association). This way, you can climb the mountain feeling confident about yourself ánd your team.
Leave only footprints: On all our climbs, we strive to reduce our environmental impact to a bare minimum. We make sure that any waste that has gone up the mountain, comes back down as well. By doing this, everybody can enjoy this magnificent mountain for many years to come.
*We also recommend that you bring your own water bottle to reduce plastic waste.
On the first day of the Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route, we first drive to the Machame Gate, where you will be registered and start with the final preparations. Then we continue, passing the local villages and coffee and banana plantations towards the Umbwe Gate.
From here, you start the route and go steeply up, over a forest path, which meanders through the dense rainforest. The path narrows and becomes steeper as you approach the ridge, which is surrounded by two rivers and huge trees. The Umbwe camp is your first camp for the night and lies beautifully among the dense trees.
The second day of the climb turns into a rockier landscape. As you get higher, you can see the steep wall of the Western Fracture, the Great Barranco and glimpses of Kilimanjaro. The trail flattens out, as you approach the Barranco Valley, where you will spend the night.
After breakfast you start the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then you will climb this ‘non-technical’ but steep high cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall you will cross a number of hills and valleys until you descend into the Karanga Valley. There, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful Heim, Kersten and Decken glaciers.
One last steep climb up and you will arrive to the Karanga camp. This is a shorter day, meant to acclimatise.
In the early morning you will leave Karanga Valley camp. You continue to the junction, which brings you on the Mweka Trail. From here you’ll continue to the Barafu Hut at 4600m high, which offers views of the summit. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit. This is a great moment to grab your camera, as the two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are visible from this site. Here we will set up camp, so we can overnight with our eyes on the prize.
Make sure to eat well and drink lots, as tonight is… SUMMIT NIGHT.
In the early, early morning. Still shivering from our short and cold night, we will enjoy warm coffee or tea together to lift our spirits. Now we will hike in the dark, with flashlights towards the summit of Uhuru peak at 5895 meters high. Once at the top, we will enjoy one of the world’s most incredible sunrises. Such moments make the climb well worthwhile. You’ve made it! Uhuru Peak is the highest point of Kilimanjaro ánd the whole of Africa. A place never to forget.
Make sure to bring two sets of clothing. The night will be bitterly cold, but after the sun rises over the peak of Kilimanjaro, the temperature will quickly rise. After the summit, we will make our descent straight down to the Mweka Hut Campsite, stopping at Barafu Camp for lunch. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and some well-earned sleep.
Hopefully well rested and not too sore from the long hike the other day, we will have 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.
The car will be waiting for you at the Mweka Gate to take you back to the hotel in Moshi for a hot shower.
Well, if you’re reading this, you’re probably curious about the best time of the year to climb Kilimanjaro. Then perhaps, I can make you happy, because you can climb Kilimanjaro all year round! There are just a few periods that we recommend or discourage more. Let’s start with the period we do not recommend, as it falls in the rainy season. Here you have the chance of the climb being blown off, on the other hand, nature is breathtaking green. This is the time period between March and May.
The other months are actually all recommendable. For instance, the most popular period is from December to February because these are Tanzania’s summer months. The temperature at the summit is most pleasant! In the month of November, you face small alternating rain showers, on the contrary, the temperature is very nice and you hike through beautiful green surroundings. The mountain is also great to climb in the months of June to October. This period, although it’s quite cold, it is outside the rainy season. So now you see, everything has its pros and cons.
Are you excited about climbing Kilimanjaro? A 6-year-old boy climbed the mountain once and came back in one piece too, so I think you can do it also! Of course, you shouldn’t compare yourself to that, but the fact is that the mountain is accessible to everyone. Every year, thousands of people successfully reach the summit.
You definitely need to have a healthy fitness level and bear in mind that the conditions on the mountain have a big impact on your body. The high altitude, rugged terrain and temperature changes, quickly exhaust you. These conditions also require you to cover a good number of kilometers over several days. If you can walk 20 km with a heavy backpack without getting sore muscles, you are probably in the right shape.
Are you a little unsure about your physical fitness? Then we have some tips you can use before conquering Kilimanjaro.
Temperatures on the mountain can be very different and vary by altitude zone (5 in total). Also, it depends on what time of year you are climbing Kilimanjaro. At the bottom of the mountain, it is usually between 15°C (59°F) and 30°C (86°F), but on the way to the summit, no matter what, it is going to be very cold! The temperature there can vary between -30°C (-22°F) and -5°C (23°F). So, it is very important to bring enough clothes for all weather conditions.
When packing, it is important to avoid cotton (this becomes wet from sweat and dries badly). You are better off packing fleece, polypro, merino wool or silk fabrics. Below is a short packing list to be well prepared to climb Kilimanjaro:
Of course, there is a fair chance you won’t have all the materials on your packing list. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! Most clothing and equipment can be rented from us on location for a decent price.
Let us know in advance what equipment you need, and we’ll make sure the gear is ready when you arrive.
Did you know that it is absolutely impossible to climb the mountain on your own? You climb Kilimanjaro with your own team. This team includes guides, chefs and porters. Of course, you get to decide how much tipping you give to people.
However, guidelines have been given for what is customary to give to them. Arusha Trips recommends a total budget of $200 – $350 per person for the entire trek. Remember, this is per climber, which means the amount does not get smaller when the group is bigger.