Umbwe Route – 6 Days

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
  • Activity Level Challenging
  • Group Size Large Group
All about the Umbwe Route – 6 Days.

Umbwe is a short route, providing challenges as it is very difficult to climb due to its steepness. Due to the fast ascension, this route does not provide the enough time for altitude acclimatization so proceeding slowly is vital. Although the traffic on this route is very low, the chances of success are not as great unless a acclimatisation day is added. The route is offered at a minimum of six days, and seven days is preferred. This route merges along the way with Machame route, Lemosho route and Shira route.
Western Breach Approach
An alternative route to the summit approaches Uhuru Peak from the west, called the Western Breach Route. The strenuous Western Breach ascends 850m in about 1.25 miles (2 km), and requires some scrambling (climbing on hands and feet) at certain points. This path is very beautiful but also very challenging due to its rocks formations and its steep slope. The Western Breach was gaining popularity by climbers using the Umbwe, Lemosho, Shira and Machame routes until a rock fall claimed the lives of three climbers in January 2006. In response, Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) closed the Western Breach Route but in 2007 KINAPA open it again with condition that all clients and their supporting members who want to use this option must sign at the entrance gate that they are doing for their own risk.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

All Park entry fees – All Park Camping fees/Hut fees
Pick up from the Airport
Guide/assistant guide/Porters
Overnight at the Hotels/Lodge/Tented Camps/Campsites according to the program
Chef/Meals as per the above itinerary
Park commission fees
Transport to and from the gate
Complimentary bottled drinking water 1.5 litter per person per day during on safari
1 night free Hotel accommodation on your arrival in Arusha with bed & breakfast
Tents/Sleeping mats/Sleeping bags Tents

Whats not included in this tour.Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.

International flights & Domestic flight
Fees for passport, visas, immunizations and insurance
Tips for staff such as guides/Chef & porters.
Expenses of personal nature (like souvenirs)
Climbing gears.

  1. Day 1 From hotel to Umbwe Cave Campsite.

    Elevation: 1200m to 1700m to 2850m.
    Distance: 10 km.
    Hiking time: 4-5 hours.
    Habitat: Montane forest.
    Pick up with our vehicle from the hotel, drive to Umbwe gate. Here after completing the gate registration proceedures, the trek starts through the rainforest to Umbwe cave campsite where you will find all tents already setup then stop for dinner and overnight. Today you will walk across ridges and valleys into a really thick forest.

  2. Day 2 Umbwe Cave Campsite to Barranco Hut Campsite.

    Elevation: 2850m to 3950m
    Distance: 9 km
    Hiking time: 4-5 hours
    Habitat: Montane forest and heather
    This day after breakfast you will trek through the remaining forest to the moorland and heath zone and you will be enjoying some wonderful views of Barranco valleys and ice cap on top of the mountain. Then you will arrive to Barranco Camp for dinner and overnight.

  3. Day 3 Barranco Campsite to Karanga Campsite

    Elevation: 3950m to 3900m
    Distance: 6 km
    Hiking time: 4-5 hours
    Habitat: Moorland
    Today you will be having a short day walk and in the late morning you will start climbing Barranco Wall and reach 4200m for acclimatization and continue crossing ridges and valleys to Karanga campsite for hot lunch. After lunch you will have a short rest and get another acclimatization of trekking up the screed slopes towards the Southern ice field then you will return to the camp for dinner and overnight.

  4. Day 4 Karanga campsite to Barafu campsite

    Elevation: 3900m to 4620m
    Distance: 5 km.
    Hiking time: 3-4 hours
    Habitat: Alpine Desert
    Today trek up to the Barafu ridge campsite is tough because of altitude. The walking hours is few because is steep so it need slowly walk so to avoid fatigue as well as high altitude sickness. You will walk across alpine desert with strong cold wind blowing because there are no trees around as well as getting closer to the Kibo glaciers. You will have lunch and early dinner of around 1700hrs then rest until midnight when you commence you push for the summit.

  5. Day 5 Barafu hut campsite to Uhuru peak to Mweka hut campsite

    Elevation: 4620m to 5895m to 3100m
    Distance: 15km
    Hiking time; 10 – 12 hours
    Habitat: Desert and ice
    The day starts around midnight with a light breakfast, and then last preparations for your summit ascent. The goal is to climb before dawn so that you can reach Uhuru Peak shortly before or after sunrise. Leave to the peak at 12; 00am, switchback up steep scree or possibly snow, and reach Stella Point on the crater rim at 5,861m between 4 and 5am. At this point, you will have views of the fabled crater and its icecaps facing you and all spectacular all area surrounding you. Then after 1 hour of hiking along the Kibo crater rim near the celebrated snows takes you to Kilimanjaro’s true summit, Uhuru Peak. Here you will spend some time for taking photos. After your summit activities done, descend back to the Barafu Huts campsite, have lunch, rest, collect your equipment, and continue your walk down through moorland and heath zone to Mweka Huts campsite, then dinner and overnight at Mweka hut campsite.

  6. Day 6 Mweka Hut campsite to Mweka Gate

    Elevation: 3100m to 1700m
    Distance: 9km
    Descendng time: 3-4 hours
    Habitat: Montane forest
    After breakfast, today is your last day on the mountain so you will descend down to Mweka park gate walking across Montane forest this descent will take 3-4 hours. Then here at the gate you will do sign out and get ready to board the vehicle ready for the transfer back to the hotel in Moshi for certificate presentation and a well deserved celebration.

Mount Kilimanjaro is located in the northeastern part of Tanzania in East Africa. To get here, you have several options to either catch a flight to Dar es Salaam (aiport: DAR), Nairobi (airport: NBO) in Kenya or, the most convenient and nearest airport, Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha.

More flights from different parts of the world are available in both DAR and NBO compared to JRO and since most travelers find flights to NBO a lot cheaper, this usually becomes their choice of entry.

From Nairobi, you can fly to Kilimanjaro airport for approximately 1 hour or take shuttle bus to Arusha for 5 to 6 hours. If you’re coming from Dar es Salaam which is in the southern part of Tanzania, it’ll take you about 60 to 90 minutes via air or 8 hours by road.

Whatever hub you decide to go to, one’s Mount Kilimanjaro adventure should start in Moshi or Arusha town. From there, you will drive down to Marangu where you can find the entrance gate to Kilimanjaro National Park and then register for your climb. Travel time from Arusha to Kilimanjaro is usually 3 hours. Typically, your tour operator will arrange your pick-up and drop-off from these points.


The government of Tanzania and the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority established a policy regulating all trekkers to be accompanied by a registered and licensed guide. In addition, straying away from official routes is strictly prohibited as well as staying in bivouacs or caves.

There are 7 established routes to reach the summit. Each route offers varying degrees of difficulty, scenery and success rates. Upon arrival at the gate, you will be asked to register with the Park Authority before you can begin your climb and at the same time specify your chosen route. If you haven’t thought about it yet or if you’re still caught between several routes

Food during a Kilimanjaro climb is prepared and carried by the staff. A cook/chef will impressively put together nutritious, tasty variants of food despite the minimal access to equipment and ingredients. If you have any allergies, food restrictions/diet and religious restrains, always inform your tour operator so they can accommodate it and prepare something that best suits you.

Typically, you will have an early breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea/snacks and dinner every day. Breakfast spreads usually consist of eggs (however you like it), cooked stew, porridge, bread with either jam, honey or peanut butter, a piece of fruit which is usually either a banana or an orange, and some tea, coffee or hot chocolate. For your lunch, since you’re probably trekking your way up the summit, it’s usually packed and carried on a daypack.

At the end of the day’s hike, afternoon tea is served with peanuts, biscuits and salted popcorn. Of course, food selection may vary. After a few hours, the largest meal of the trekking day will be served. Dinner usually starts with soup followed by a main course. Expect heavier meals during dinner – meat, chicken, pasta, rice, potatoes!

When climbing Kili, you’d be astounded by the varying landscapes and even more by its changing climactic zones. Some trekkers even said, “It’s somehow like going through different seasons in just a matter of days in one place!”

Zone 1: Cultivation (2,600 ft to almost 6,000 ft or 800m – 1800m)

Receiving most of the rainfall in the mountain, this zone is made up of farmland and tiny Chagga villages (most guides and porters live here). You can find mostly coffee and fruit plantations in this zone and while most routes start with a drive through these lands, some routes which exits through Mweka Gate will allow you to walk through some of the fields.

Zone 2: Montane forest (6,000 ft to just over 9,000 ft. or 1800m – 2800m)

This zone circles a majority of Mount Kilimanjaro and it is where you can also find wildlife albeit elusive. Since most of the rain falls on the south and east side, the forest is much more lush in these areas compared to the north side. Blue and colobus monkeys can be easily spotted in this area but if you’re lucky, you can also find leopards, giraffes, olive baboons, elephants, black rhinos, mongooses and buffaloes.

Zone 3: Heather-Moorland (9,000 ft and tops out around 13,000 ft. or 2800m – 4000m)

In this zone, you will be above the cloud line and since there will still be little cloud cover to protect you from the sun, lots of sunscreen is highly advised. You will find a lot of giant heathers and heather shrubs as you leave the rainforest and then once you pass through the rocky trail, you will find yourself in large fields of wild flowers. Also, be mindful of this zone’s highly erratic temperatures. During the day, it will be very hot as temperature could soar over 100°F and during the night, it could be freezing at less than 32°F.

Zone 4: Alpine Desert (13,000 ft. up to 16,000 ft. or 4000m – 5000m)

Also called Highland Desert zone, this region features a barren and very unique landscape. You will find deep gorges on the slopes as well as volcanic rocks in all shapes and sizes. You will also have to endure the harsh sun and the sub-zero temperature all day so bundle up!

Zone 5: Arctic (16,000 ft. and continues to the top of Uhuru Peak at 19,340 ft. or 5000m – 5895m)

The glacier summit is known the Arctic zone because of the ice patches and the summit glaciers. In the lower section, loose dirt and gravel known as “scree” make up the area. Hence, it is quite difficult to climb to. This is one reason why climbing the summit begins at night when the screes are tightly knit together, creating a more stable path. When you reach the rim of the volcano at Stella Point, you only need to follow the rim as it rises beside a massive glacier at Uhuru Peak. From there, you will see the sign that you have reached the summit. Welcome to the Roof of Africa.

Mount Kilimanjaro lies near the Equator and so, it only has dry and wet seasons. Although it is very possible to climb Kilimanjaro anytime of the year, it is best to climb when there is a lower possibility of precipitation. The best trekking months are January to February and July to October.

* Short Sleeve and Long SleeveTrekking Shirts
* Top and Bottom Base Layer
* Hiking trousers
* Polartec fleece jacket
* Insulated winter jacket
* insulated trekking pants
* Lightweight rain gear
* Hard shell jacket
* Sunhat, ideally with neck cover or neck gaiter
* Warm beanie or head gear
* Sunglasses
* Gloves/Mitts (both inner and outer)
* Adjustable Trekking Poles
* Mid-weight Hiking Boots
* Camp Trainers / Trekking Sandals
* Trekking Socks (bring thick ones, too)
* Waterproof duffel bag
* 20-30L Daypack (with raincover)
* 4-Season sleeping bag (if you’re not taking the Marangu Route)
* Insulated sleeping mat
* Large-volume water bottle
* Sunscreen (better if it’s sweat-resistant)
* Insect repellant
* Blister plasters
* General medications
* Toiletries
* Energy bars
* Camera
* Face towels

Yes, they have most of the equipment for rent but it would be so much better to bring your own to ensure that everything is up to your standards.

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