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Unlike the Marangu route, all other routes to Uhuru’s Peak make use of tented accommodation. The Umbwe Route is renowned for its caves, one of which used to be used to provide climbers with their first nights shelter on the mountain. Today it is strictly prohibited to sleep inside the caves due to the slim risk of an earthquake.
The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes It is probably the most scenic, non-technical route on Kilimanjaro. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are plentiful. There are fewer people, pristine forest and the shorter yet steeper walking distances make it a great option for fit hikers.
On arrival you are personally met at the airport by one of our representatives and transferred to your chosen hotel in Arusha or Moshi. In the afternoon there is a full briefing with the climbs manager and your guide. Dinner is included.
After breakfast you will be driven to the Umbwe Gate at 1800m, passing through villages with coffee and banana plantations. On arrival at the park gate your guide and porters will meet you. You sign the register before you enter the park and take your first step in accomplishing a life-long dream. The air is thick with moisture and the path is usually muddy. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers spectacular views of deep gorges and if you are lucky, glimpses of Kilimanjaro towering above you in the distance. The camp is perched between huge trees and thick undergrowth.
Shortly after leaving the camp, the forest starts thinning and is replaced by rockier terrain, sparser undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees. The path continues along a narrow, but spectacular ridge. As you gain altitude, catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro rising majestically ahead of you – etched against the blue sky. The path flattens as you approach Barranco Valley. From the Umbwe ridge the route descends slightly to the Barranco camp. The camp is situated in the valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while your dinner is being prepared.
After breakfast you will start your hike towards the great Barranco wall. The path is steep and rocky, with views of Mt. Meru, Kilimanjaro’s little sister, punching her peak through the clouds. Climbing this part takes about 1hour and a half and you turn towards the great Barranco wall (4200m), then a steep descent for about 15 minutes and up a few small hills before you reach Karanga Valley. This is the last water point on this route. The campsite is spectacular. Vegetation has now all but disappeared, leaving only rock and scree in varying shades of brown and black.
From the Karanga camp steep scree and rocky outcrops requiring a scramble lead up to Barafu Camp (4600m). This day will be the shortest by far. After reaching Barafu Camp you will have hot lunch and a rest before an early dinner and much needed sleep.
You will rise around 1.00am and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the early morning darkness. You will probably encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak . Time spent on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life. The walk to Barafu camp from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest, before heading down to Mweka camp (3100m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner, and hot, washing water will be provided as well as drinking water.
After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a 5-hour, scenic hike back to the park gate. At Mweka gate, you sign your name and details in a register. This is where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5735m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. You will then be driven back to your hotel for lunch and a long overdue hot shower and celebrations!!
The itinerary may change at any time due to weather or safety conditions. Hiking times and distances are estimated only, but have been calculated to give the hiker a comfortable pace throughout the hike.
Departure day. If you would like to book additional nights please inform us as early as possible. We will arrange for you to be transferred to the airport or you may join a Lem Carnivores Tours safari and continue your holiday with us and explore the famous game reserves of Tanzania