Umbwe Route - Difficulty : VERY DIFFICULT


The Umbwe Route is the least used, least crowded route on the mountain. For good reason, it is also the most difficult route on the mountain. Umbwe is a steep, constant, straight climb to the top. Umbwe is mostly avoided because the ascent profile does not give climbers much time to adjust to the altitude. The success rate is very low.
The route takes six days minimum to complete, although seven days is recommended. The descent is down to Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain. Umbwe is not as scenically varied as Machame, Lemosho and Shira, because the path up and down are nearby.
The Umbwe is ideal for those who want a challenging climb, and are very confident in their ability trek over consistently steep slopes. Also, Umbwe is for those who are experienced at altitude and thus are confident that the punishing schedule of Umbwe will not impede their ability to adjust to altitude. Umbwe is also for those who want a secluded hike.
The Umbwe route has a well-deserved reputation of being the most challenging route on Mount Kilimanjaro. Due to the fast ascent to high altitude, this route does not provide the necessary stages for acclimatization. Although the number of people on this trail is very low, the chances of success are also low. Umbwe is considered to be very difficult, taxing route – one that should only be attempted by strong hikers who are confident in their ability to acclimatize quickly to altitude.
Approaching from the south, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb. After reaching Barranco Camp, the trail turns east and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. Descent is made via the Mweka route.
Primetime Tanzania Adventures offers you Umbwe route six or seven days private climb. The seven day variation adds an acclimatization day on day three at Barranco Camp.


The day begins with a 50 minute drive to Machame Gate where registration formalities will be completed. You then, transferred 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 you 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 you gain elevation, glimpses of Kilimanjaro can be seen. The path flattens as you approach Barranco Valley. From Umbwe ridge, the route descends to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful giants Senecio Forest.

On this part of the trek you will learn from the lizard when the mountain becomes steep. This creature has a very careful climbing technique and you will do likewise – using opposing arms and legs to force your body upwards the Great Barranco Wall. Push left, push right – this creates an axis that can be drawn diagonally through the body, allowing you to move your right foot and left hand freely upwards against the wall. Heading to Karanga valley and on your way will pass through a few valleys offering great views of Heim, and Decken Glaciers that form part of the southern ice fields. Overnight in Karanga campsite at (3995m) with spectacular view of Moshi town. This is a shorter day and 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), you begin to push towards the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part 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, you have made it at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the rooftop of Africa.
From the summit, now the descent continues straight down to the Mweka Hut camp, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is 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, the chef will be preparing the last supper on the mountain for a well-earned meal.

After breakfast will continue with another day of every step down to the gate and sign out then collect your certificate if made it to the summit, at the gate, you will say farewell to your hiking crew, get into the car then drive to Moshi / Arusha back to the hotel for a well-earned shower and drinks to celebrate your achievement.
What an exciting breathtaking trip of a life time!

above the clouds


Packing List

  • • Sun hat or scarf
    • Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
    • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • • Under garments
    • Hiking shorts
    • Lightweight cotton long pants
    • Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
    • Fleece or wool pants (seasonal)
    • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell pants
  • • T-shirts
    • Light and expedition weight thermal tops
    • Fleece jacket or pullover
    • Fleece wind-stopper jacket (optional)
    • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
    • Down jacket
  • • Lightweight gloves
    • Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof shell outer (seasonal)
  • • Thin and lightweight inner socks
    • Thick and warm wool hiking socks
    • Hiking boots with spare laces
    • Camp shoes (sneakers / sandals
    • Gaiters for protecting you from the stones entering your shoes on the summit night

Personal small first aid kit

  • Pain Killers (Ibuprofen)
    • Diamox (Acetazolamide) if you are climbing Kilimanjaro – Paracetamol
    • Zinc oxide tape and small scissors.
    • Compeed Blister Pads
    • Imodium / Loperamide anti-diarrhea tablets
    • Any medication you normally use
    Dioralyte sachets or similar re-hydration packs.
  • Note that your guide or safari liaison will carry a more comprehensive medical kit containing additional Acetazolamide, Ibuprofen, Anti-inflammatory gel, bandages, Loperamide, Amoxicillin, Oral Dexamethasone, and several other items.


  •  Headlamp with spare batteries
    • Camera and film / digital camera & spare memory cards & charger / batteries
    • Day pack 30-40 litres for personal use while on the mountain /safari
    • Rack sack or duffel bag to contain everything you will need while on the mountain / safari
    • Sleeping bag rated to – 10C if climbing Kilimanjaro with us / +5C if only doing safari
    • Sleeping mat
    • Large plastic bags – for keeping items dry inside your rack sack
    • Trekking poles
    • Water bottles
    • Water purification tablets / Iodine drops
    • Binocular
    • Ear plug – cause there’s some in the camp are snoring
    • Spare contact lenses and fluid – if worn /watch
    • Reading book
    • Journal and pen
    Personal Hygiene
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste & deodorant – Flat packed wet ones / travel wipes
    • Medium sized quick drying towel
    • Multipurpose soap
    • Face and body moisturizer
    • Small mirror
    • Hairbrush / comb
    • Tissue / toilet roll
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Lip bum with UV protection
    • Vaseline to prevent chafing skin and heel friction blisters
    • High energy snacks (Cereal bars, dried fruits and nuts
    Mobile phone. There is signal reception in much of the national parks and safari areas.
  • Note: It is a very good idea to unlock your phone before you come out so that a local SIM card can be used. This will make calls home very inexpensive.

Papiers indispensables

• Passport (with additional 6 months’ validity after proposed trip return date)
• Tanzanian Entry Visa. (If flying to Nairobi and taking the bus to Arusha, Kenyan visas can be bought on arrival at Nairobi airport.)


  •  Air Travel Documents – Cash in US dollars in denominations of $10 and $20 (tipping allowance and local purchases, taxis, meals, etc)
    • Credit Cards (recommended for eventualities only & obtaining extra cash from ATMs)
    • Travel Insurance Documents
    • Vaccination Certificates (where applicable) – Traveler’s Cheques are not recommend as they are subject to extremely poor conversion rates in Arusha.


  •  Malaria Tablets (if you choose to take these. Most will seek advice from their GP. Note: some anti-malarial courses need to commence several weeks before departure
    Sun cream.Note: some argue that most sun creams are carcinogenic and either organic sun barriers or loose fitting clothes that cover the skin are regarded by many as preferable.



1 PAX : 2249$

2-5 PAX : 2029$

6-10 : 1899$


  •  Tanzania VAT on tourism activities and Park fees
    • Transport to and from mountain’s gate
    • 1 Night hotel accommodation before and after the climb
    • All Kilimanjaro National Park entry fees, camping fees and climbing permit
    • Kilimanjaro rescue fees ( Kilimanjaro Rescue Team )
    • Emergency Oxygen Cylinder ( for use in emergencies only – not as summiting aid)
    • Basic first aid kit ( for use in emergencies only)
    • Camping equipment’s ( tents, chairs and tables)
    • Qualified mountain guides, assistant guides, porters and chef
    • Salaries for mountain crew as per guidelines set by Kilimanjaro National Park
    • Large portion of fresh, health and nutrition food based on three meals per day
    • Acclimatization walk and coffee tour before the actual climb
    • Water for washing up daily
    • Airport pick up


  •  International flights
    • Tips, drinks and food in Moshi / Arusha town and all items personal nature
    • South African passport holders do not require a visa for Tanzania, however, most other Nationalities require a visa for Tanzania
    • Health requirements (yellow Fever Compulsory if traveling to Tanzania recommended)
    • Highly recommended travel and medical insurance
    • All mountain gears (winter closes) we can also arrange for hiring