Umbwe route has a well-deserved reputation of being the most challenging route on Mount Kilimanjaro.Approaching from the south, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb.After reaching Barranco Camp, the trail follows the southern circuit to the summit. The descent is done via the Mweka route.
Umbwe is considered to be very difficult, taxing route – one that should only be attempted by strong hikers who are also confident of their ability to acclimatize to altitude.
Due to the fast ascent to high altitude, this route does not provide the necessary stages for acclimatization. Although the traffic on this route is very low, the chances of success are also low.
The route is offered at a minimum of six days, and seven days is preferred when attempting to climb using Umbwe. The seven day itinerary includes a rest day at Barranco Camp. However, overall, the Umbwe route is not recommended.
Umbwe is offered as a six to seven day private climb.
The day begins with a 50 minute drive to Machame Gate where registration formalities will be completed. We then transfer through villages and coffee and banana plantations to Umbwe Gate. The trail ascends sharply on a forestry track which winds up the dense rain forest. The path narrows and steepens as we climb the ridge between two rivers surrounded by huge trees. Umbwe Camp is perched between trees and thick undergrowth.
The second day of the trek follows rockier terrain with sparse undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees. As we gain elevation, glimpses of Kilimanjaro can be seen. The path flattens as we approach Barranco Valley. From Umbwe ridge, the route descends to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest.
We begin the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then we climb the non-technical but steep, nearly 900 ft cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall we cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads us to Karanga Camp. This is a shorter day meant for acclimatization.
We leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this position.
Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. Near Stella Point (18,900 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.
We are doing ethical climbs and responsible Trekking; we believe the tourism industry has an obligation and a great opportunity to protect the world‟s natural habitats, cultural heritage sites and communities. We actively promote environmental sustainability and social responsibility.
We are not doing cheap Climb, cheap climb means we are doing tourism while exploiting our Porters who are the ones who make Kilimanjaro trek possible for the vast majority of climbers, and who do all the heavy lifting. Fair and ethical treatment of our porters (crew) is one of the important priorities of Eco-Africa Climbing when we do climb.
Eco-Africa Climbing has begun the qualification process to become a Partner with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP). Please contact ([email protected]) to confirm this. KPAP raises public awareness regarding the proper treatment of porters on Kilimanjaro and assists climbing companies with implementing procedures that ensure fair and ethical treatment of their porters. Every of our climb is audited by KPAP to ensure crew members are provided proper salaries, tips, food, equipment and sleeping conditions.