Umbwe is one of the least climbed routes on Kilimanjaro, which makes it very appealing. We prefer this to the Machame Route which has become very crowded. For the first two days, you hardly see another climber. The rate of ascent is exactly the same as the other routes we trek and allows climbers who do not have extra time to summit happily and safely. On this route, we start our summit climb at midnight.
Day 1: Moshi
A Shrike Safaris representative will pick you up in Arusha city or perhaps Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and transfer to Moshi town, best-known as the gateway to the roof of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. Once in Moshi, your tour guide will meet, greet and brief you about your trek to Kilimanjaro. We spend two nights in Moshi allowing you time to regenerate and meet with your guides as they give you a detailed climb orientation and gear check. He will also make sure that you have taken all the gear necessary for the trek. In case you are missing important equipment, it can easily be hired in Moshi.
Day 2: Umbwe Cave
9,360-ft/ 2,853-m | 6.83 miles/ 11 km | 5-6 hours
After breakfast we have a short drive from our hotel to the Umbwe Gate at 4,590 ft., passing through villages with small banana groves and coffee plantations. After signing in at the gate, we follow the winding trail up through the rainforest. We climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers beneath the massive tree canopy. The path offers some spectacular views of deep gorges and glimpses of Kilimanjaro off in the distance. Our scenic camp is perched between huge trees and thick undergrowth.
Day 3-4: Barranco
12,950-ft/ 3,950-m | 4 miles/ 6.4 km | 4-5 hours.
Not far from camp, you'll notice that the forest starts thinning out. We find more rocky terrain with undergrowth and trees draped with witches beard. We follow the ridge, gaining altitude, occasionally seeing Kibo peak towering in the distance. As we approach Barranco, the path flattens out a bit and then descends into Barranco camp. Our camp is situated away from most of the other trekkers' camps, beneath the Western Breach and the Barranco wall. We spend 2 nights at Barranco to acclimatize. On our extra day, we hike up approximately 1,500 ft. towards Lava Tower for a beautiful view of the Barranco, and its unusual flora, such as Senecio and Lobelia.
Day 5: Karanga
13,230-ft/ 4,033-m | 3.6 miles/ 5.8 km | 4-5 hours.
Our first challenge of the day is to breach the 500 ft. Barranco Wall - not too tough, but a challenge nonetheless. Most of the day is spent skirting the base of Kibo peak over our left shoulder. We descend down into the Karanga Valley and climb up the other side, where we rest up for the night before the tough climb up to Barafu Hut.
Day 6: Barafu
14,950-ft/ 4,556-m | 2.1 miles/ 3.4 km | 4 hours.
The air starts getting quite thin, and you will be running short of breath. It's tough, but a rewarding uphill climb to the rocky, craggy slopes at the camp. "Barafu" means, "ice" in Swahili, and it is extremely cold at this altitude. There is a buzz of excitement in the air, as climbers anticipate the toughest day just ahead. The clouds move in and out, revealing the eroded peak of Mawenzi, painted with colors of the African sun.
Day 7: Barafu | Summit - Uhuru Peak | Mweka
Summit: 19,340-ft/ 5,895-m | 2.75 miles/ 4.5 km | 7-9 hours
Mweka: 10,400-ft/ 3,170-m | 6.8 miles/ 10.9 km | 7-8 hours
Dress warmly because we start climbing around midnight, on the steepest and most demanding part of the mountain. The moon, if out, will provide enough light, and we'll reach the Crater rim by sunrise, after a 7-hour hike. Mawenzi Peak is a thrilling sight, with the Kibo saddle still in darkness beneath you, and the crater's ice-walls looming ahead. We now continue to Uhuru Peak (1-2 hrs.) This is the highest point in Africa, and the world's highest solitary peak (19,340 ft). It's the best view in Africa. The descent is invigorating. It's a good idea to have a little rest once in awhile as you continue down back to Barafu Camp (3 hours), and then down to Mweka camp (4-5 hours). This is where we spend our last night on the mountain.
Day 8: Mweka Gate | Moshi
Gate: 5,500-ft/ 1,676-m | 5.3 miles/ 8.5 km | 4-5 hours
Moshi: 3,000-ft/ 914-m | 30 minute drive
This is a short relatively swift and final day on the mountain, descending through the forest with lush and extremely picturesque to Mweka gate. The climb will be concluded by registering the succession at the gate before transfer to the hotel., this is the last time to see your porters, it is recommended to tip them at this point. The Shrike vehicle will meet you and drive back to your hotel for a hot shower and some. You will enjoy a farewell dinner with your guides.
Day 9: Moshi
Depart Tanzania, or continue on your wildlife safari. Shrike Safaris takes you through some of the most spectacular wildlife reserves on the planet. You stay in hand-picked lodges and camps in the SERENGETI, at the NGORONGORO CRATER, TARANGIRE & LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK. Click here