nomadic ADVENTURES

Umbwe Route Itinerary          

Day-1: Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer to hotel. Overnight hotel.                          

Day-2: Umbwe Gate (1800m) - Bivouac (first) camp (2940m)

Elevation: 1800 metres to 2940 metres
Distance: 8 kilometres
Trek time: 5 hours
Environment: Montane Forest    

After breakfast you will be driven to the Umbwe Gate at 1800m, passing through villages with banana and coffee plantations. On arrival at the Parks Gate your guide and porters will meet you. You will have to sign the register before you enter the park. As you head into the forest, temperature scan rise to about 35 degrees C, but as you quickly rise in altitude, they will progressively drop, by about 1 degree for each 200m climbed. The paths can also be quite muddy. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and becomes steeper as you climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers some 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.

Day-3: Bivouac (first) camp (2940m) - Barranco (3950m)

Elevation: 2940 metres to 3950 metres
Distance: 6 kilometres
Trek time: 6 hours
Environment: Heath land                      

 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 and as it ascends through the heath, the ridge narrows and sharpens quite quickly. As you gain higher altitude, you will note how quickly the various vegetation zones change. Sighting of Lammergeyer are quite common. 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.

Day-4: Acclimatization Day

This day will be spent at Barranco camp to aid with acclimatization. You can spend the day walking around to explore the surrounding areas such as up to the Barranco wall, take in sights of the magnificent Scenecio's, or just rest.

Day-5: Barranco (3950m) to Barafu (4550m)
Elevation: 3950metres up to 4550 metres
Distance: 13 kilometres
Trek time: About 7 hours

After breakfast you will begin the scramble up the Great Baranco Wall and then begin the traverse over the scree towards the Karanga Valley at 4000m. It is here that you will get the incredible views of the Heim, Kersten and Decken glaciers. After leaving the Karanga Valley , you will continue along the trail to Barafu Hut. You will now find yourself completely in the alpine desert of crushed stone and scree. The campsite is very cold and gets buffeted by the wind. Barafu is the Swahili word for "ice". The summit is a further 1345m up. It is this ascent that you will tackle in the early hours of the next morning. That night, it is important to prepare your gear, lay out your clothing etc for your summit attempt. It is also highly advisable to sleep with your water bottles to prevent them from freezing up overnight. Ensure that your headlamp had a new battery and that you have spare camera batteries if necessary. You will head for bed around 18h30.                      


Day-6: Barafu camp (4550m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Mweka (3100m)

Elevation: 4600 metres to 3100 metres
Highest point: 5895 metres (Uhuru Peak)
Distance: 30 kilometres (7 kilometres ascent, 13 kilometres descent)
Trek duration: 13 to 16 hours (6 - 8 hours ascent, 7 - 8 hours descent) 

Environment: Stone scree / ice-capped summit          

You will wake around 23h00 and after a cup of tea and a biscuit, shuffle off into the night for the summit of Kilimanjaro. The route heads up between the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers towards Stella Point and then on to Kilimanjaro Uhuru Peak where you will enjoy the magnificent views and a well deserve photo opportunity.
You will then descend back down to Barafu camp from the summit, which takes about 3 hours. The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. Mweka camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner, and washing water will be provided as well as drinking water.

Day-7: Mweka camp (3100m)- Mweka Gate (1980m)
After an early breakfast, it is a short 3-hour scenic hike back through a beautiful forest to the Mweka gate. At Mweka gate you will have to sign your name and details in a register in order to receive you summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5685m) 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. In the Mweka village you will meet up with your team and bus, and head back to the hotel a long over due hot shower.

Day-8: Depart


After breakfast, transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for your departure flight home.



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bELOW ARE SOME OF THE QUESTIONS WE ARE FREQUENTLY  ASKED ABOUT KILIMANJARO

Is Kilimanjaro a technical climb?

No. Kilimanjaro is a trekking peak in that you essentially hike or trek to summit. No technical expertise is required, nor use of rope etc. There are sections on the mountain which require a scramble up rocky areas, dependant  on which trekking path you follow.                    

How difficult is Umbwe Route?

The bulk of the volcanic activity for Kibos eruption happened to the west of the mountain making Umbwe steeper and more rugged. While Umbwe route is a non-technical climb, it does offer steep ascents and requires trekkers to scramble over rocks and tree roots at certain points. It is the hardest and most direct route up the mountain and even features several exposed ridges that are not for the faint of heart.

How difficult is it to climb Kilimanjaro?

The word climb is something of a misnomer as no technical gear is used but considering the alttitude gained it is classified as a climb. Any person with moderate hiking skills who is fit and healthy can summit the mountain.

However, the summit night can be hard going as you ascend 1500m in anythign from 5.5 to 9 hours. Apart from that, after the summit you need to descent 3000m in 16-18 hours making it challenging. So while you don’t need to be a a super athlete or have prior climbing experience it is mportant to be active and committed to training prior to the climb.

How long does it take to hike Kilimanjaro?

The shortest number of days required to climb to Uhuru Peak is on a 5 day Marangu route, totally 7 by the time you have added on arrival and departure days. However, it is not advisable to do it over 5 as the ascent is very quick and  the overall success rate, low. It is better to do the trek over a minimum of 6 or 7 days to increase your chances of success.  Most hikers add an extra day to acclimatize helping them achieve a higher Kilimanjaro Success Rate.

Will we have access to fresh running water at camps?

There are several streams on the   trail and porters will collect water from them. The cook then boils this water for you to fill you water bottles  for your days hike. You can also use purifier tablets in stream water or add it to your boiled water however it can also have an effect on the diamox and make you feel nauseous. The higher you climb the less water there. On the Machame trail, for example, the last water point is at the Karanga Valley, the lunch-stop before Barafu; on Marangu, it’s just before the Saddle. For this reason it is essential that you carry enough bottles for at least two litres.

When is the best time or months to climb Kilimanjaro?

The warmest months with the clearest trekking days, are from mid to late December, January, February, September and October. The rains often come in April and the start of May with the possibility of some snow. June through to August are superb trekking months, though evening temperatures tend to be colder. The wettest months are November and early December, where snowfalls are likely. Note however, that as this is a mountain it is not impossible to get sporadic snow or rainfall at odd times throughout the year, although the snow normally only falls above 4800m.

Which is the best route to follow to climb Kilimanjaro?

There are 7 summit routes; namely, Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame. Of all the routes, Machame is by far the most scenic albeit steeper route up the mountain. The Rongai is the easiest camping route and the Marangu is also easier but accommodation is in huts. As a result, this route tends to be very busy and ascent and descent routes are the same. Both of the latter have lower prospects to acclimitise by the climb high sleep low principle unless one adds on extra days. The Northern Circuit, approaches Kibo from the west, crossing the caldera of Shira Volcano before turning north to follow the trail through Moir Valley and around the northern side of Kilimanjaro.

The Shira, Lemosho and Machame all meet up before Lava Tower (day three), and then with Umbwe at Baranco Camp (end of day three). Marangu, Rongai and Northern Circuit all meet up at Kibo Huts.

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How Bad is the Barranco Wall?

The Barranco wall is along the Machame Route, Shira Route, Lemosho Route and Umbwe Route. Is it a “wall” – well no it is not, in the sense that a wall is pretty much vertical which Barranco is not. It consists of a rocky path that zig zags up the rock section of the mountain. Yes it is steep, let us not deny that fact, but do-able? Definitely!

The wall itself is only 843 ft tall (257 meters) so in terms of distance, it could certainly not be classified as endless. It is a climb? Once again, no it is not.


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How hard is it to hike to Everest Base Camp compared to Kilimanjaro?

Most people think Everest Base Camp is higher than Kilimanjaro but surprise surprise, it is not. Base camp of Everest (or rather Kala Pathar – the little hill you climb up above base camp) is actually 5545m, whereas Kilimanjaro summit is 5895m.

People also think it is a tougher hike than Kilimanjaro, but Kilimanjaro is actually regarded as tougher by those who have done both.


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How will the altitude affect me on Kilimanjaro?

This is a really difficult one to answerdirectly - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an ' unknown' factor as no-one can predict how your body will cope at altitude. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one climb suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly, pole pole. Choosing a path like  Machamewhere you get to follow the principle of "climb high, sleep low" is also advisable.                    

How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?

The Kilimanjaro National Park fees are something that nobody can escape and are a large portion of your climb cost. For a six day/five night camping trek you pay about $800 in fees alone!  So on average a climb will cost you between $1450 and $2800 depending on the number of days, number of people and the route that you take. There are some operators  who will quote you $1000 for a trek - ask yourself, what are they skimping on and who is going to suffer as a result. You? Your safety? The porters?

Where can I get climbing Insurance for Kilimanjaro?

If you are going hiking or climbing or trekking then you need extra cover for your activities. Hiking and Climbing have become popular for many adventure seekers looking to add a climb up Kilimanjaro or a trek to Everest Base Camp, Annapurna or even Island Peak to their list of amazing adventures. But any climb to high altitude carries with it a number of risks and having the correct and good trekking insurance is an absolute must. We recommend two different groups depending on which country you reside in. For further details, click on the icon


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