The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. It is probably the most scenic, non-technical route on Kilimanjaro. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are plentiful. Fewer people, pristine forest and shorter walking distances make it a great option for fit hikers. Add to your experience – OVERNIGHT IN THE CRATER!! Be one of a few fortunate people to spend a night in Africa’s largest volcano. This option is highly recommended, as this will be the only opportunity to get close to the beautiful and fascinating glaciers of Kilimanjaro and to be able to visit the ash pit.
Day 1: UMBWE GATE – BIVOUAC CAMP
After breakfast you will be driven to the Umbwe Gate at 1800m, passing through villages with coffee and banana plantations. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers some spectacular views of deep gorges and glimpses of Kilimanjaro towering above you in the distance. The camp is perched between huge trees and thick undergrowth.
Day 2: BIVOUAC CAMP – BARRANCO CAMP
Shortly after leaving the camp the forest starts thinning and is replaced by rockier terrain, sparser undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees. The path continues along a narrow, but spectacular ridge. Catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro rising majestically ahead of you – etched against the blue sky. The path flattens as you approach Barranco Valley. From the Umbwe ridge the route descends slightly to the Barranco camp. Dinner and overnight at the campsite.
After breakfast you will start your hike towards Lava Tower, a famous landmark on Kilimanjaro. The path is steep and rocky, with views of Mt. Meru, From Lava Tower you turn towards the Western Breach, a steep climb to Arrow Glacier camp (4800m). The campsite is spectacular. Vegetation has now all but disappeared, leaving only rock and scree in varying shades of brown and black. Overnight at the campsite.
Day 4 & 5: ARROW GLACIER – CRATER
From the Arrow Glacier camp steep scree and rocky outcrops requiring a scramble lead up the Western Breach to the crater floor (5700m). When reaching the crater rim, you will be astonished by the view of snow and glaciers. Visible to you left is the Northern Ice fields of Kilimanjaro with the Furtwangler Glacier in front . Walk past this glacier to the Crater camp, situated at the crater rim. If time permits, you can climb to the Ash Pit (1 ½ hour). Spend a night in the inner crater of Kilimanjaro.
Day 6: MAWENZI TARN CAMP – KIBO HUT
Early rise at around 04:00 am, and after some snacks shuffle off into the early morning darkness. From the crater floor you will probably encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The walk to Barafu camp from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest, before heading down to Millennium camp (3100m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner, and washing water at the campsite.
Day 7: MWEKA CAMP – MWEKA GATE
After an early breakfast, it is a 5-hour, scenic hike back to the Park gate. At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! You will then drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower and celebrations!! Overnight in a hotel.
Transfer to and from the base of the mountain
All park entrance fees to include government taxes
Full board accommodation whilst on the trek.
Meal plan as detailed
All park entrance fees.
Service of an English speaking professional Mountain guide on the mountain