The Umbwe Route

Duration: 6 days hiking is recommended but it can be done in 5 days.

Overview: The Umbwe route is the toughest non-technical route up Kilimanjaro. It is very steep and you gain elevation quickly. This route is not recommended for those who do not have serious mountain climbing experience. An extra day to help in acclimatization is also recommended.

Climber Community: Click here to read what others have to say about the Umbwe Route.

umbwe route

Day 1:Umbwe Gate (4,593 ft) to Camp 1 (9,843 ft)

Elevation Gain Distance Time
5250 ft 7 mi 5-6 hrs

Your climb today is through the beautiful rain forest The path is very steep and muddy. This route is normally used as a descent route and is rarely traveled. There are often exposed tree roots sticking out of the ground that must be navigated. Your camp is near the Umbwe Cave.

Day 2: Camp 1 (9,843 ft) to Barranco Camp (12,960 ft)

Elevation Gain Distance Time
3117 ft 4 mi 4-5 hrs

The path continues it's steep climb through the rain forest, up through the heather and moorland to Barranco Camp. There are some sections where you will need to scramble over rocks. Your camp is in the beautiful Barranco valley with large lobelia and senecio trees dotting the landscape.

Barranco Camp (12,960 ft) to Barafu Camp (14,928 ft)

Elevation Gain Distance Time
1968 ft 8 mi 7 hrs

You start the morning with a climb up the great Barranco wall, with some parts requiring a bit of scrambling over the rocks. Then it is about a 2 hour walk down to Karanga valley where you will have lunch. After a rest, you continue up to Barafu camp, where you will rest before the big summit attempt.

While the overall elevation gain is only about 2,000' feet you will actually climb more like 3,700' since you climb up the Barranco wall, hike down into the Karanga valley, and then back up to Barafu camp.

Day 4: Barafu Camp (14,928 ft) to Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft)

Elevation Gain Distance Time
4412 ft 4 mi 5-7 hrs

Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft) to Mweka Camp (10,171 ft)

Elevation Loss Distance Time
-9169 ft 14 mi 6-8 hrs

This is the longest day. At around 12:30 am, you will begin your summit attempt. The path up to Stella Point zigzags back and forth along a gravel path. This portion takes about 6 hours. This can be quite boring as most of the hiking is in darkness with little to see. Then you scramble over a few rocks and continue up to Uhuru Peak. After a few victorious photos, it’s time to head back down to Barafu for a short rest before making your way down to Mweka camp.

Day 5: Mweka Camp (10,171 ft) to Mweka Gate (6496 ft)

Elevation Loss Distance Time
-3675 ft 9 mi 3-4 hrs

Enjoy your last views of the mountain as you descend through the moorland and rain forest zones on your way to Mweka Gate. The path will be muddy, especially if it rained recently. At the gate, you will receive your completion certificate if you made it to Stella Point or Uhuru Peak. Then it’s back to the hotel for a hot shower and a dip in the swimming pool!