Umbwe Route

Need To Be On The Top Of Your Game

If you are in the peak of your prowess and conditioning, have relevant climbing experience and importantly have the mental reserves to back your physical claims- then attempt the Umbwe Route.

Unforgiving Topography

Umbwe Route takes its reputation as the most challenging route very seriously and would give you nothing. The only promise it holds for you is to put to test every ounce of you, on the way to giving an adrenaline-fuelled adventure of a lifetime.

Not Meant For Rookie Climbers

Approaching the summit Mount Kilimanjaro from the south, Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route is the shortest, steepest and most direct route to Uhuru. The quick ascent means you will have very little time acclimatize. Amateur and inexperienced climbers, please stay away! The rapid ascent will take you out even before you have begun.

Low Success Rates

The high degree of difficulty means a very low level of success rates. As a consequence, the route is free from the crowding by trekkers. But those who have what it takes get to immerse in the breathtaking sights including primal rainforest, beautiful Senecio forests, narrow rides, heavenly heathens.

Also make your Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing more significant with the Best Time To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro and Things To Know Before Climbing Kilimanjaro. For more information, you can go through the Mount Kilimanjaro FAQs.

For moments of new heights in adventure, trust Lifetime Safaris to deliver.

Day 1

We begin the day by driving to the Umbwe park gate at 1650m, where you will meet your guide , porters and cook who will be your constant companion on your trek to the summit. After making your way through villages and banana plantations the trail takes off sharply on a forested track which winds up the dense rainforest and follows through on a narrow and steep climb on a ridge between two rivers surrounded by huge trees. The steep and steady climb will be accompanied by scenic views of the montane forests and lucky spotting of black and white colobus monkeys. You camp for the day will be set up in the forests among the lichen-covered trees.

Day 2

Ascending further you will negotiate a short steep section to make your way through the montane forest and enter into the giant heather zone. So you will notice the heather thinning out and a much rockier section emerging as you close into the campsite near the Barranco hut (3950 m)

Day 3

Today it is about resting and acclimatizing. The last couple of days have been intense and as you continue gaining altitude it’s important that your body gets used to the rarified atmosphere and depleted oxygen levels. You can take a walk and survey the area and click a few photos. You can hike up some distance and then fall back to sleep in your tent to give your body the climb high /sleep low acclimatization benefits. The area for your campsite will be the heather moorland and you will see the beautiful senecios and lobelias. You can see a few birds gathering around the campsite and the four stripped mouse foraging for food scraps.

Day 4

Today you will be ascending the steep and intimidating Barranco Wall. The ascent of the steep Barranco Wall,  will be less climbing and more a scramble on all fours and after negotiating a few more hills and valleys you will make a sharp descent into Karanga Valley campsite at 4100 m.

Day 5

From Karanga valley, we head to the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail and continuing a steady ascent on a rocky trail we reach the Barafu Hut bringing to end a 600m trek. The desolate barren rocky landscapes isn’t a friend of the crew as there are only a few areas where they can put up camps. At this point, we have finished a round-up of the southern circuit and from Barafu, you can see soak in some great views of the summit and Mawenzi peak from a multitude of angles. You will have your dinner and turn in early as the summit challenge begins at midnight and sleep and rest will put you in better shape to make it to the top. If you are interested in birds then there isn’t much to see besides the white-necked ravens who you catch scavenging for food.

Day 6

The ascent to the summit begins at 1 a.m. so you will wake up at midnight; have your tea and some snacks and then gather your gear, strap on your headlamp and start your ascent into darkness in freezing temperatures with your guide showing you the way. The first challenge will be negotiating the scree laden steep trail to reach the crater rim (5700mts) and finally the Stella Point(5740m) and witness the delightful sunrise over Mawenzi. But that’s not the summit and after another short hike of another 90minutes, you will reach the summit at Uhuru peak. The trail to the Uhuru is laden with snow and scree along the crater’s rim. At the summit at Uhuru(5895m) awaits the most magnificent sunrise over the east. Pull out your camera to capture the breathtaking vistas that open up to you and also capture photos with your team to mark a personal milestone

After basking for a few moments at the summit you will start your descent to your overnight camp for a brief period of rest and recuperation and have a late breakfast. After that you will start a long descent at your guide’s behest which will be taxing; so use your trekking poles to support your joints. Your camping for the night will be at Mweka hut which is situated in upper echelons of the rainforest. So expect some rain in the late afternoon which is also your ETA( estimated time of arrival). Once at the camp you will have your dinner and last sleep on the mountain.


A member of life time safari Travel hospitality team greets you upon your arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). He will drive you to your hotel, which provides all the amenities necessary for your comfort: pleasant rooms with hot showers, swimming pool, ever-helpful staff and access to the Internet.

In the evening your travel manager will brief you with all the detail of your ensuing ascent of Kilimanjaro. You will review your preparation and gear readiness for one last time before you launch your bid to the summit.


In the morning your guide and support crew will join you at the hotel and formal introduction later will brief you with all the details of your ensuing ascent of Kilimanjaro. You will review your preparation and gear readiness for one last time before you drive to the Umbwe Gate of Kilimanjaro National Park to launch your bid for the summit. Once at the park office you will complete your registrations and permit paperwork. Your first day’s ascent will catapult you to 2930mts on the mountain at the Umbew camp. That’s stretching it a lot for the day and you will feel the effects of altitude once you reach the camp. Follow the lead of your guide and stick together. The initial part of the trek will be a journey through the lush rainforests and you might have to contend with frequent showers. Make sure you and your backpack have rain protection. Your support crew will  reach your campsite in advance to set up the camp and receive you with a warm dinner
This being the group’s first night at this elevation, we recommend that you follow the below rules from here on:

Do not consume any alcohol and minimize your caffeine intake
Drinking no less than 4 liters of water per day is a good way to keep yourself hydrated. Take it in small amounts but frequently
We encourage our clients to use Diamox in the mornings prior to the day’s climb. This reduces altitude sickness symptoms. Consult your doctor on the use of Diamox before leaving home on this trip.
Nightly discomfort often accompanies acclimatization. However, while such symptoms as headaches and nausea are common, make sure you inform your guide of them immediately.

Change in Elevation: Umbwe Gate (1,640 m) — Umbwe Camp (2,930 m)
Hiking distance: 11 km
Hiking time: 5–7 hours


Rising early you will have breakfast and start your trek towards Barranco camp. Soon you will see your way out of the montane rainforests and find yourself in the heath regions. If the weather holds up good you catch the sight of Mt. Meru. You will be covering an average length for the day but you will gain significant altitude when you reach Barranco Camp at (3,960 mts), in a mere two days. It will be a steep but steady climb with the terrain turning increasingly rocky as you approach the camp. You will have your lunch and then rest and recuperate to usher in some much-needed acclimatization and fight off the effects of high altitude.

Change in Elevation: Umbwe Camp (2,930 m) — Barranco Camp (3,960 m)
Hiking distance: 6 km
Hiking time: 4–5 hours


After breakfast you will start an early ascent of the intimidating Barranco Wall; early is better cause you want to avoid the crowd that will be trying to assail the wall. Its intimidating but doable and you reach the top of the wall you can take pictures of the impressive Kibo peak and rest a while. Soon you will start your hike to the Karanga valley which a series of steady ascents and short descents and switchbacks to reach the Karanga Camp. Follow the lead of your guide and let them set the pace of the trek. Once at the camp you will be served a warm lunch and a short break later you will head uphill 200 meters to the Barafu camp and then fall back to the campsite. This acclimatization hike is necessary to mitigate the effects of altitude.

Note: Kilimanjaro is a high altitude trek where acclimatization is the vital ingredient for a successful summit. So you have to make allowances for acclimatization wherever and whenever possible to give yourself the best possible chance of fighting altitude sickness and make the summit.

Trekking from Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp:
Change in Elevation: Barranco Camp (3,960 m) — Karanga Camp (4,035 m)
Hiking distance: 5 km
Hiking time: 4–5 hours

Acclimatization hike:
Change in Elevation: Karanga Camp (4,035 m) — Destination point en route to Barafu Camp (4,270 m)
Hiking distance: 2.5 km
Hiking time: 1–2 hours


You start your hike for the day to Barafu Camp after breakfast and soon you will find the last vestiges of heather moorlands disappear for desolate barren rocky landscapes. The terrain isn’t a friend of the crew as there are few areas where they can put up camps, so they will reach the place early and set up the camp and make arrangements for your dinner and sleep. Once you arrive at the camp you will rest and then head for an acclimatization hike towards the Kosovo Summit Camp (4,800 mts) and then return to Barafu Camp following the principles of climb high/sleep low. As Barafu camp is the site from where you will launch your summit ascent. Rest of the day you will spend resting and mentally preparing for summit hike at midnight. So you will have an early dinner and sleep.

Trekking from Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp:
Change in Elevation: Karanga Camp (4,035 m) — Barafu Camp (4,640 m)
Hiking distance: 6 km
Hiking time: 4–5 hours

Acclimatization hike:
Change in Elevation: Barafu Camp (4,640 m) — Kosovo Camp (4,800 m)
Hiking distance: 2 km
Hiking time: 1–2 hours


The push to the summit at Uhuru peak (5895mts) begins at midnight in the dark. It’s going to be biting cold beside the trying high altitude conditions. Our guides accompanying two group members each will monitor for fitness and symptoms of altitude sickness. Once you reach the summit you might opt to explore the breathtaking glaciers of Kilimanjaro. Pull out your camera to capture the stunning vistas that open up to you and also capture photos with your team to mark a personal milestone. After basking in the glory of your achievement for a few moments you will start your descent towards  Barafu Camp where you rest for two hours before resuming the descent to Millennium Camp. (3,820 mts)

Don’t rush on your descent and be watchful of your footing as statistics suggest that 90% of accidents happen during the downhill trek. Use the trekking poles to avoid injuries.

Change in Elevation: Barafu Camp (4,640 m) — Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) — Millennium Camp (3,820 m)
Hiking distance: 15 km
Hiking time: 8–12 hours


The Millennium Camp is perched in the lower regions surrounded by rainforests. You can heave a sigh of relief as you won’t have to contend with the challenges of altitude sickness and afford a good sleep on the back of your successful summit. After breakfast, you will start your descent to the Mweka Gate Park exit (1,650 m)  where you will receive your summit certificates from the park office as recognition of your efforts. This will be your last few moments on the mountain and the team so make it count.

Recap and capture the memories with your crew and guide before driving out to your hotel.

Change in Elevation: Millennium Camp (3,820 m) — Mweka Gate (1,650 m)
Hiking distance: 12 km
Hiking time: 4–5 hours


Rest in the hotel and transfer to the airport.

Note: Hotel check-out is at 11:00 AM. In case you need a late check-out because of an evening flight, there is the option to extend your hotel stay for an extra fee.

Included in the price
  • All meals on the safari.
  • All Park entrance fees.
  • All prices are quoted in US Dollars.
  • Camping equipment if applicable (tents
  • mattresses
  • sleeping bags
  • pillows
  • table and chairs)
  • Flying Doctors rescue insurance for the time of the tour with Shadows of Africa.
Excluded from the price
  • Any sightseeing
  • excursions and optional activities other than those specified
  • Entry visas
  • International flights
  • Laundry
  • Please
  • read our Terms and Conditions
  • Tips and gratuities to safari crew – recommended: 15-20 USD per day to safari driver
  • 10 – 15 USD per day to safari cook
  • Travel insurance
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