Umbwe is a short route, providing challenges as it is very difficult to climb due to its steepness. Due to the fast ascension, this route does not provide the enough time for altitude acclimatization so proceeding slowly is vital. Although the traffic on this route is very low, the chances of success are not as great unless a acclimitization day is added.
The route is offered at a minimum of six days, and seven days is preferred. This route merges along the way with Machame route, Lemosho route and Shira route.
An alternative route to the summit approaches Uhuru Peak from the west, called the Western Breach Route. The strenuous Western Breach ascends 850m in about 1.25 miles (2 km), and requires some scrambling (climbing on hands and feet) at certain points. This path is very beautiful but also very challenging due to its rocks formations and its steep slope. The Western Breach was gaining popularity by climbers using the Umbwe, Lemosho, Shira and Machame routes until a rock fall claimed the lives of three climbers in January 2006. In response, Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) closed the Western Breach Route but in 2007 KINAPA open it again with condition that all clients and their supporting members who want to use this option must sign at the entrance gate that they are doing for their own risk.
Day 1: From hotel to Umbwe cave campsite.
Elevation: 1200m to 1700m to 2850m.
Distance: 10 km.
Hiking time: 4-5 hours.
Habitat: Montane forest.
Pick up with our vehicle from the hotel, drive to Umbwe gate. Here after completing the gate registration proceedures, the trek starts through the rainforest to Umbwe cave campsite where you will find all tents already setup then stop for dinner and overnight. Today you will walk across ridges and valleys into a really thick forest.
Day 2: Umbwe cave campsite to Barranco hut campsite.
Elevation: 2850m to 3950m
Distance: 9 km
Hiking time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Montane forest and heather
This day after breakfast you will trek through the remaining forest to the moorland and heath zone and you will be enjoying some wonderful views of Barranco valleys and ice cap on top of the mountain. Then you will arrive to barranco camp for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Barranco campsite to Karanga campsite
Elevation: 3950m to 3900m
Distance: 6 km
Hiking time: 4-5 hours
Today you will be having a short day walk and in the late morning you will start climbing Barranco wall and reach 4200m for acclimatization and continue crossing ridges and valleys to Karanga campsite for hot lunch. After lunch you will have a short rest and get another acclimatization of trekking up the screed slopes towards the Southern ice field then you will return to the camp for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Day 4: Karanga campsite to Barafu campsite
Elevation: 3900m to 4620m
Distance: 5 km.
Hiking time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Today trek up to the Barafu ridge campsite is tough because of altitude. The walking hours is few because is steep so it need slowly walk so to avoid fatigue as well as high altitude sickness. You will walk across alpine desert with strong cold wind blowing because there are no trees around as well as getting closer to the Kibo glaciers. You will have lunch and early dinner of around 1700hrs then rest until midnight when you commence you push for the summit.
Day 5: Barafu hut campsite to Uhuru peak to Mweka hut campsite
Elevation: 4620m to 5895m to 3100m
Hiking time; 10 – 12 hours
Habitat: Desert and ice
The day starts around midnight with a light breakfast, and then last preparations for your summit ascent. The goal is to climb before dawn so that you can reach Uhuru Peak shortly before or after sunrise. Leave to the peak at 12; 00am, switchback up steep scree or possibly snow, and reach Stella Point on the crater rim at 5,861m between 4 and 5am. At this point, you will have views of the fabled crater and its icecaps facing you and all spectacular all area surrounding you. Then after 1 hour of hiking along the Kibo crater rim near the celebrated snows takes you to Kilimanjaro’s true summit, Uhuru Peak. Here you will spend some time for taking photos. After your summit activities done, descend back to the Barafu Huts campsite, have lunch, rest, collect your equipment, and continue your walk down through moorland and heath zone to Mweka Huts campsite, then dinner and overnight at Mweka hut campsite.
Day 6: Mweka hut campsite to Mweka gate
Elevation: 3100m to 1700m
Descendng time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Montane forest
After breakfast, today is your last day on the mountain so you will descend down to Mweka park gate walking across Montane forest this descent will take 3-4 hours. Then here at the gate you will do sign out and get ready to board the vehicle ready for the transfer back to the hotel in Moshi for certificate presentation and a well deserved celebration.