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Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach and it’s the most hardest and challenging route on Mount Kilimanjaro.
The Umbwe Route is the trail for trekkers looking for a true climbing challenge. It is a quiet, seldom used path that can be very difficult, yet very rewarding at the same time. This is the route to choose if you want to test yourself on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, far from the crowds that are found on the more common trails.
Elevation (m): 1600m to 2900m, Distance: 11km, Time: 6 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest.
We will register at Umbwe Park Gate before starting our trek. The small winding path leads us up through rainforest and along the Umbwe river. The first night’s camp is at Umbwe Cave Camp, at about 2,900m altitude.
Elevation (m): 2940m to 3970m, Distance: 6km, Time: 4-5 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest.
We leave camp and shortly afterwards the forests ends. We can see the sheer wall of the Western Breach appearing and disappearing as the afternoon mists roll up the Great Barranco. We will camp at Barranco camp tonight.
Elevation (m): 3950m to 3930m, Distance: 7 km, Hiking Time: 4 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert.
Today starts with a short, but fun, scramble, to the top of the Great Barranco Wall. We then traverse over scree to the Karanga Valley (3930m) beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. We will stay overnight at Karanga campsite.
Elevation (m): 3930m to 4600m, Distance: 6kms, Hiking Time: 3 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert.
We leave Karanga campsite behind to meet the junction connecting with the Mweka descent Trail. From here we continue up to the Barafu Hut. You have now completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. At camp, we can rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be clearly seen from this position.
Elevation (m): 4600m to 5895m (and down to 3100m) , Distance: 7km ascent / 23km descent , Time:6- 8 hours ascent / 7-8 hours descent, Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit.
You will be woken at 23:30 with some quick tea and biscuits. We start our trek to the summit between the Rebman and Ratzel glaciers. We will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. At Stella Point (5732m), we will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). At Uhuru Peak (5895m), we will have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. It can be very cold at night at these elevations, but it will be quite warm by the end of the hiking day. From the summit, we descend down to the Mweka Hut camp site, via Barafu for lunch. Trekking poles will be needed for the loose gravel going down to Mweka Camp (3100m). Later in the evening, we will enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
Elevation (m): 3100m to 1800m, Distance: 8 km, Time: 3-4 hours, Habitat: Montane Forest.
We depart after breakfast descending 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 be suitable (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).