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Short and steep, the Umbwe route is considered the most challenging route on the mountain. Traffic on this route is very low, which might make it an attractive route to climbers. However, due to its quick ascent up Mt. Kilimanjaro it has one of the lower success rates for reaching the summit. We therefore only recommend this route to experienced hikers who are confident in their ability to acclimatize.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Moshi to Umbwe Gate to Umbwe Camp 8 km, 5-7 hours Montane Forest
Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and an hour drive from Moshi to Umbwe Village (1,490 m/4,890 ft) where your guides and porters pack your equipment and supplies and give you a lunch pack. You start your ascent at the small Umbwe Gate just above the village and follow a gentle winding vehicle track for an hour to a signboard that announces the small steep Umbwe trail. The introduction is over, and you now climb up for several hours through a dense forest of rubber trees and giant fig trees. In places, you must scamper up steep sections of roots and rock. The Umbwe Camp is in the forest, and there are some caves nearby. You will be greeted here with a graciously served hot meal.
Your day starts early with a steaming cup of tea or coffee. After breakfast, you will climb steeply through thinning forest glades to Giant Erica, Heather, and drier air. You continue up a ridge that drops steeply on both sides, and hopefully, the clouds will part to reward you with a view of Uhuru Peak looming overhead. After lunch, you enter a zone of giant groundsels (Senecio Kilimanjaro) that seem to guard the heights, and this garden is one of Kilimanjaro’s special treasures.
In the morning, you hike east over intervening ridges and valleys to join the Mweka Route, which will be your descent route. Turn left toward the mountain and hike up the ridge through a sparse landscape for another hour to the Barafu Hut where you will receive a hot lunch. The last water on the route is in the Karanga Valley; there is no water at Barafu Camp, even though Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice.” The famous snows of Kilimanjaro are far above Barafu Camp near the summit of the mountain. Your tent will be pitched on a narrow, stony, wind-swept ridge, so make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. Prepare your equipment and warm clothing for your summit climb, and drink a lot of fluids. After an early dinner, go to bed for a few hours of precious sleep
After breakfast, we continue up a steep ridge to the great Barranco Wall, then you climb this imposing obstacle, which turns out to be easier than it looks. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you can now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. With Kibo’s glaciers soaring overhead, you descend into the lush Karanga Valley to the Karanga Valley campsite. From the camp, you can look east and see the jagged peaks of Mawenzi jutting into the African sky. After a hot lunch in camp, your afternoon is at leisure for resting or exploring. This short day is very important for your acclimatization since your summit push is about to start.
It’s market day in Lausanne! Enjoy browsing and packing a picnic lunch for our 11 a.m. boat cruise on Lake Geneva. A few miles down-shore we’ll dock at Château de Chillon, where we’ll have a guided tour of this delightfully medieval castle on the water. On our way back we’ll take time to peek into the vineyards surrounding Lutry before returning to Lausanne. Boat: 2 hrs. Bus: 1 hr. Walking: moderate.
After a well deserved breakfast it is a short scenic three hours hike back to the park gate, you will be driven to the hotel for certificate and celebration with your crew