Umbwe Route

Umbwe Route 6 Days Trek

Commonly referred to as the hardest trail on the mountain, the Umbwe trail involves a tough vertical climb through the jungle and in some places, tree roots that act as a natural ladder.

The trek is shorter and much more direct than the other trails, however, should not be attempted by novice climbers. And while it is not a technical climb, it’s both a physically and mentally challenging journey. 
Aside from the physically taxing journey, the scenery is the ultimate reward. Your eyes will be treated to jaw-dropping views along each stage of the journey.

As for the route itself, Umbwe starts from the southern part of Kilimanjaro and presents trekkers with a steep climb and travels below the Southern Ice Field before eventually summiting from Barafu. 

Previous trekking experience is highly recommended, as the days will feature 6-8 hours hiking with daily ascents of 900m to 1,000m, perhaps with the odd day ascending around 1,100m to 1,200m.
Depending on the route, you may be trekking at an altitude of over 3,500m. You need complete confidence in your ability to trek for many days over difficult terrain.

  • Location: Getting to the start of the Umbwe trail is uncomplicated. Starting from the south of Mount Kilimanjaro, the route is easily accessible. 
  • Difficulty rating: Challenging. 
  • Height: The Umbwe route travels to the summit and reaches the Uhuru peak and a height of 5,895 metres (19,341 feet). 
  • Duration: The Umbwe route can be completed in 5 days, however, this is not advised as there are no acclimatisation days and success rates are low. Most itineraries will travel for 6 or 7 days which allows time for acclimatisation.
  • Trail conditions: The trail itself is steep, and you will find yourself trekking through rocky outcrops, and in places, you’ll be holding on to tree routes as you haul yourself up to the slope. As you travel to the high alpine zone you will encounter strong winds and will be exposed to the elements. 
DAY START ALTITUDE (M/FT) FINISH ALTITUDE (M/FT) TIME (HRS) DISTANCE (KM/MI)
1 Umbwe Gate 1,600m/ 5,249ft Umbwe Camp 2940m/ 9514ft 5-7 11km/ 7mi
2 Umbwe Camp 2,940m/ 9,514ft Barranco Camp 3,976m/ 13,044ft 4-5 6km/ 4mi
3 Barranco Camp 3,976m/ 13,044ft Karanga Camp 3,995m/ 13,106ft 4-5 5km/ 3mi
4 Karanga Camp 3,995m/ 13,106ft Barafu Camp 4,673m/ 15,331ft 4-5 4km/ 2mi
5 Barafu Camp 4,673m/ 15,331ft Uhuru Peak 5,895m/ 19,341ft 7-8 5km/ 3mi
  Uhuru Peak 5,895m/ 19,341ft Mweka Camp 3,068m/ 10,065ft 4-6 12km/ 7mi
6 Mweka Camp 3,068m/ 10,065ft Mweka Gate 1,640m/ 5,380ft 3-4 10km/ 6mi