6 Days Umbwe Route this route should only be considered by those with some sturdy calf muscles and experience trekking at high altitude. It is the shortest route on Kilimanjaro, just 28 km to the top but there is no such thing as a short cut on the mountain. 6 Days Umbwe RouteDay 1: Umbwe Gate – Umbwe Cave Camp
The starting point for Umbwe is the closest from Moshi town- after a short drive you will arrive at the gate where you will sign in to the National Park. The first couple of hours are a sharp uphill walk along a 4WD track, passing through the rainforest. Keep your eyes peeled for Black and White colobus and blue monkeys as well as the little red beauty that is the Kilimanjaro Impatiens flower (native only to this region). After approx. 2 hours trekking the road ends and the ‘real’ trail starts. This is where the fun begins as you spend the rest of the day scrambling up over tree roots- reaching out for bits of shrubbery around to pull yourselves up some of the more vertical sections. Your legs may be sore but you will no doubt be distracted by the beauty of the forest around you. Eventually, you will emerge from the forest to see Umbwe Cave Camp, where a lovely hot dinner will be awaiting you (and you can finally put your feet up.
Day 2: Umbwe Cave Camp – Barranco Camp
This day takes you through one of the most scenic areas on the mountain. Shortly after leaving camp you will come out on to a ridge, with two steep ravines home to the Lonzo stream on the left and Umbwe stream on the right, either side of you (those with a fear of heights best stay focused on Kibo peak up ahead). Today you will start in the forest, come out into heath land then pass into moorland, before arriving at Barranco Camp on the border of the alpine desert ecosystem. This is one of the many marvels of climbing Kilimanjaro – encountering several ecosystems in one day. Following lunch the path gets rockier and vegetation changes as the path steadily climbs before (finally!) a short downhill to arrive at Barranco Camp. Say goodbye to the serenity you have enjoyed the previous two days and enjoy meeting with other travelers merging from the three routes (Lemosho, Machame and Umbwe).
Day 3: Barranco Camp – Barafu Camp
Rise for an early breakfast and then head for a little challenge as you climb up what has been nicknamed the breakfast rock. It’s all worth it though as at the top of this rock you can have a great view to Kibo peak and its magnificent glaciers, whilst at the same time in the other direction you’ll be able to see Mt Meru. With many increase and decreases in elevation you will pass the valley which marks the last point for water passing on the Machame route. Head back up the valley to Karanga camp where you can stop for lunch and a short break. On your way to Barafu camp you will pass over the alpine forest and volcanic rocks from previous explosions where you will be able to view the entire landscape of the mountain. You will arrive at Barafu camp around 5 pm for dinner and then rest up and get some sleep in preparation for your summit night! Although warmer during the day, the Barafu / ice camp really lives up to its name once the sun goes down.
Summit Night: Your friendly guide will give you a warm wakeup call at approximately 11 pm (depending how well you have fared so far you may get up earlier or later!). From here you will start your ascent to the summit. This is the final push to the top therefore your guide will take you at a much slower pace compared to your trekking the previous days. This will make sure that you have the best chance of getting to the peak, giving your body time to cope with the high altitude. Once you reach Stella Point at 5735 m you will have earned your certificate but don’t let that stop you- it’s only another 45 minutes until you will find yourself at Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. Enjoy your time here, take in what will surely be your most memorable sunrise and celebrate with your guide before heading back down.
Day 4: Summit – Mweka Camp
From the summit you will descend back down to Barafu Camp where you will be welcomed by the rest of the crew and enjoy a short break and breakfast. Here you can have a nap for a couple of hours if you wish and depending on the time you arrive. From Barafu Camp you will make your way down to Mweka Camp, passing from desert to moorland terrain. You will reach Mweka Camp at approximately 5pm. There’s always a great atmosphere at camp this night – the hard work is over and now you can pat yourself on the back! Celebrations won’t go on for too long as you will no doubt want to head into the tent early.
Day 5: Mweka Camp (3080 m) to Mweka Gate (1800 m)
Passing through the montane forest, similar to your first day trekking, you will make your way down to Mweka Gate, stopping to watch the monkeys and spot turaco birds or hornbills. Upon reaching the gate you will sign out and exit Kilimanjaro National Park. From here you will be picked up by our company transport and transferred back to our office in town where you will be presented with your certificate before returning to your hotel for a well-deserved rest massages can be arranged.