Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route via Barafu Camp - 6 Days / 5 Nights
The less utilize Umbwe
Route was opened in June 1963. This route makes the distances covered
between camps shorter and avoids crowding experienced in some sites in
season. The summit and return days are as per the Machame Route. All your
supplies and camping equipment are carried up the mountain by porters
who also prepare all your meals. Your personal baggage is limited for
This is one of the
shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach of Kibo.
An ascent to Kibo via the Umbwe Route is probably one of the most scenic
non-technical' mountaineering expeditions in East Africa. It is quite
taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitudes,
but the rewards are plentiful. Fewer people, pristine forest, greater
chances of seeing wildlife and bird life in the lower levels, and shorter
walking distances make it a great option for fit hikers. There are two
main ascents on the Umbwe Route, via Barafu Hut or Arrow Glacier. Although
both of these options can be done in 5 days, a 6 days hike is recommended
for correct acclimatization.
1 Umbwe Gate (1700 m) to Bivouac 1 (2900 m)
After breakfast you are driven to the Umbwe Gate (1700 m). On
arrival at the park's gate you are met by your guides and porters. You
will now commence on a walk through the spectacular forest to the first
camp, Bivouac 1 (2900 m), with access to water. This path begins at 2100
m and generally keeps to the narrow ridge crest between the Lonzo River
on the west and the Umbwe on the east. The path gains altitude quickly,
and offers some spectacular
views of deep gorges, and if you are lucky glimpses of Kilimanjaro towering
above you in the distance! Take your time walking through this section.
It will help you acclimatize and the paths are often steep in places.
2 Bivouac 1 (2900 m) to Barranco Hut (3950 m)
The day starts with a walk up to Bivouac No. 2 (3780 m), just
under the first head-on view of the peak. If you're feeling strong, then
you may continue to Barranco Hut (3950 m). The path is fairly steep through
the forest, heading along a sharp ridge before it flattens as you approach
Barranco Hut in the moorland zone. After a fairly long and strenuous day,
you will now start to feel the symptoms of altitude.
3 Rest day at Barranco Hut (3950 m)
This day can be used for acclimatization and rest. You can hike
to any of the higher elevations surrounding the Barranco camp and return
for a well-deserved rest. The whole idea is to hike to a higher elevation
and return to sleep low, this should help immensely with acclimatization,
(walk high/sleep low).
4 Karanga Valley to Barafu Hut (4600 m)
morning starts with a scramble up the almost vertical Barranco Wall to
an altitude of about 4200 m and then the path crosses through the south-western
slopes to reach the Karanga Valley. Before reaching the camp at Karanga
Valley below 4000 m, you'll pass through valleys offering great views
of Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers that form part of the Southern Ice
This is the
last water stop on the route. There is no water at Barafu Hut (4600 m),
so you should take care and stock up your water supply. After lunch you
ascend a ridge along a footpath that leads to the next camp, Barafu Hut
(4600 m). On a clear day the Saddle and Mawenzi (5149 m) can be seen to
the east. Barafu Hut (4600 m) is situated on an exposed and dangerous
ridge, so familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any
tragedies. You will be able to rest up at Barafu for the whole afternoon,
acclimatizing and gathering strength for the summit.
At this point
you should take special care and move around this area with extreme caution
as many fatal accidents have been recorded at the camp over the years.
Porters will erect the tents and prepare supper and while this is happening
you can arrange your gear for the summit bid which will take place towards
midnight. Ensure that you replace your headlamp and camera batteries.
Because it so incredibly cold, it would be wise to carry yours water in
a thermal flask to avoid it freezing into one solid and useless icicle.
Of course, for practical reasons, the group size will determine how many
assistant guides are required.
5 Barafu Hut (4600 m) to Uhuru Peak (5895 m) to Mweka Hut (3100 m)
around midnight you'll head in a north-westerly direction up to the South
East Valley towards Stella Point on the crater rim. The night is very
cold with the footpath rocky and steep in places. The long walk to Stella
Point is a mental and physical challenge. Even more serious, altitude
has now been gained rapidly. The result is shortness of breath, severe
headaches and nausea-affecting most climbers badly.
weather conditions, you could encounter snow and ice from below Stella
Point all the way to Uhuru Peak (5895 m). This stretch takes about an
hour and offers great views of Rebmann, Decken, Kersten and Heim Glaciers.
From Uhuru Peak you can also see Furtwangler Glacier to the north and
the Eastern Ice Fields to the north-east. Above all you are also rewarded
with just about the most beautiful African sunrise ever.
The time you
spend on the summit is determined by weather and wind conditions. These
can cause temperatures to plummet well below minus 30 degrees Celsius.
The walk back to Barafu Hut (4600 m) from the summit can take over three
hours. There you are able to have a short rest and collect the rest of
your gear before heading down to the final camp on the mountain, Mweka
Hut (3100 m).
6 Mweka Hut (3100 m) to Mweka Village (1450 m) to hotel
breakfast is served before you descend through the rainforest to the park's
gate. On reaching the gate you must enter your particulars into the park's
register. The guides are issued with green certificates for climber who
reached Stella Point and gold certificates for those who reached Uhuru
Peak. You can buy drinks, beer, maps, books and shirts from the ranger.After
all formalities are over, continue your descent to the Mweka Village (1450
m) where transport awaits to transfer you to the hotel for a bath or shower.
Certificates are presented during supper by either your guide or team
US$ 1350 per person:
Any additional day is US$ 210
The price is inclusive
2 transfers from Moshi to Umbwe park gate -return
3 meals per day while trekking - Vegetarian/Non-Vegetarian
6 days Kilimanjaro trek- Umbwe
5 nights accomodation in camps while trekking Umbwe
First and Last night accommodation at standard accomodation hotel in Moshi
-Bed and Breakfast.
All park entrance fees and government levies
English speaking mountain Guide and assistant guides
Minimum of 3 Porters per client
The Price does not include:
Sun glasses, Sleeping bag, Hats , Rain suits, Warm Jacket,
Heavy boots, Scarf's, Rain Trousers
All the above items can be hired at a reasonable price
Summit Gear List
Leather or thermal boots
Gore-Tex, Microtex or K-Tech Trilaminate jacket
Gore-Tex, Microtex or K-Tech pants
Gore-Tex mittens or gloves
Fleece gloves (use as inner for Gore-Tex mittens)
Thermal glove liners (use as inner for Gore-Tex gloves)
Thermal long johns
Sunglasses with UV protection
Kilimanjaro Trekking gear: (Wear between
Rain suit or poncho (mainly used in the rain forest)
Hiking boots or cross trainers
. Day pack
. Short pants
. Tracksuit pants
. Sun hat (peak
caps do not offer enough protection)
. Woolen socks
. Fleece beanie
. Water bottle
Kilimanjaro General gear & equipment
. Walking stick
. Sleeping bag (-10
. Sleeping mat
Kilimanjaro Helpful hints
Drink at least three to four litres of water a day.
. Use water filters and purifying pills to minimize
. Take enough snacks like energy bars, drink mixes,
. Do not move too fast, walk at a slow steady pace.
. Move as lightly as possible, do not carry unnecessary
. All clothing in Duffel bags or backpacks must be protected
with sack-liners to avoid getting wet, especially through the rainforest.
. High factor lip balm and sun block is essential.
. Nausea and headache pills should be kept handy on summit
. Symptoms of altitude sickness can be reduced by using
medication (consult your doctor).
. New boots should be walked-in; this avoids blisters.
. Use a sleeping mat when camping.
. Use a thermal flask on summit night; other water bottles
. Allow camera or video camera to acclimatize; do not
wrap or place them in plastic bags.
. Thermal glove liners allow easier camera handling on
. Use only new camera and headlamp batteries on summit
. Guides and porters will expect tips; confirm amounts
with your tour operator.