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Umbwe Route

Top Climbers Expeditions - 7 days

  • Umbwe Route
  • 7 days / 6 nights
  • Max. group: 10 Persons
  • Difficulty: Easy
Overview
Itinerary
Included
Accomodation
FAQ
Training
Packing List
Top Climbers Expedition
Safety
How to Book

Overview

> Experience the most challenging trail of Mount Kilimanjaro
> Pure adventure feeling
> Phenomenal sunrise vistas at the Uhuru Peak (5,985m)

Widely know as the most challenging route, you will not find a lot of trekkers on the Umbwe Route. On this trail you don’t have to share the incredible vistas over Tanzania with a huge crowd, because this trek is only for experienced trekkers.

Hike through the moss-covered trees of Kilimanjaro’s cloud forest. The forest will thin later in the hike and heath herbs, tall grasses and wildflowers will come into view. After leaving the forest behind us, we continue through open moorlands until reaching Barranco Camp. This camp side is generally regarded as the most scenic campsite on the Umbwe, as it is surrounded by giant senecios and lobelias. Because we have 7 days on the Umbwe Route, we take a day of rest here and acclimatize in this inspiring landscape.

After this break we are full of energy again and can tackle the next challenge on our way up to the Barranco Wall. This is the hardest part of the day and in some places you may have to use your hands to aid your climb. Adrenaline is guaranteed here. You will be granted with more and more impressive landscapes on the way to the top, find yourself surrounded by breathtaking glaciers, the grandiose Mawenzi Peak and the green Kranaga River Valley, before we finally reach our target: The Uhuru Peak (5,985m).

Stand on the roof of Africa and see the sun slowly rising and coloring the whole world around you. You really did it. You defeated the most challenging route Mount Kilimanjaro has to offer.

Due to the quick ascent, Umbwe does not provide the typical stages for altitude acclimatization. Although the traffic on this route is very low, the chances of success are also challenge for every trekker. But what would life be without some challenges, right? Take the chance and demand every piece of energy your body has to offer. The greatest feeling of satisfaction and proud will fill your heart when you reach the roof of Africa.

What’s the plan?

Day 1: Umbwe Gate (1,800m) – Cave Bivouac Camp (2,850m) – 4/6 hrs
Day 2: Cave Bivouac – Barranco Camp (3,950m) – 5/7 hrs
Day 3: Acclimatize at the Barranco Camp (3,950m)
Day 4: Barranco Camp – Karanga Valley (4,200m) – 3/5 hrs
Day 5: Karanga Valley – Barafu Camp (4,600m) – 3/5 hrs
Day 6: Barafu Camp – Uhuru Peak (5,895m) – Mweka Camp (3,100m) – 12/14 hrs
Day 7: Mweka Camp – Mweka Gate (1,500m)

Itinerary

What’s the plan?

Day 1: Umbwe Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) to Cave Bivouac Camp (2,850m/9,350ft)

At 8am leave Moshi for Umbwe Gate where you will meet our porters, guides, and cooks who will spend the next six days trekking with you to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. After arriving, wait at the gate while we register your climb and the porters and guides make final preparations. Your first day’s destination is Cave Bivouac Camp, approximately 6 hours from the gate. The trail is steep and can be slippery in some places.
Hike through the moss-covered trees of Kilimanjaro’s cloud forest. The forest will thin later in the hike and heathers, tall grasses and wildflowers will come into view. Porters and cooks will walk ahead to set up the camp in time for your arrival.

Elevation Gain:1,050 meters, 3,445 feet
Hiking time: 4 to 6 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Tents

Day 2: Cave Bivouac (2,850m/9,350ft) to Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft)

The first section of the trail continues following the ridge. After leaving the forest, continue through open moorlands until reaching Barranco Camp. Barranco is generally regarded as the most scenic campsite on the Umbwe Trail as it’s surrounded by giant senecios and lobelias. As Barranco is in a valley, the sun rises later than at the other camps.

Total Elevation Gain: 1,100 meters, 3,610 feet
Hiking time: 5 to 7 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Tents

Day 3: Barranco Camp (3,900 m/12,800 ft)

Extra Day for Acclimatization. Adding this day will ease your effort, and amplify your acclimatization.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Tents

Day 4: Barranco Camp (3,950m/12,960ft) to Karanga Valley (4,200m/13,780ft)

Leave Barranco Camp after breakfast for Karanga Valley. The day begins with a 1.5 hour scramble up the Barranco Wall. This is the hardest part of the day and in some places you may have to use your hands to aid your climb. After reaching the top, hike through fairly level terrain before making a short but steep descent into the green Karanga River Valley.

Elevation Gain: 250 meters, 820 feet
Distance: 7 Kilometers
Hiking time: 3 to 5 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Tents

Day 5: Karanga Valley (4,200m/13,780ft) to Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft)

After breakfast, begin the hike to Barafu Camp. On the way to Barafu, view several of Kibo’s glaciers as well as the junction that connects the descent route, Mweka, with the Machame trail. During day four, hike by the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. Although the trail to Barafu passes through alpine desert with little vegetation, Barafu Camp offers stunning views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Try to sleep after finishing dinner as you will wake before midnight for your summit hike.

Elevation Gain: 400 meters, 1,320 feet
Distance: 6 Kilometers
Hiking time: 3 to 5 hours
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Tents

Day 6: Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,100ft) to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft) to Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft)

Around midnight, begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak. Hike by the light of your headlamp for the next six hours. The ascent to the crater rim is the most challenging part of the entire trek. The trail is very steep until you reach the crater rim at Stella Point.
The hike from Stella Point to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and, as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the hike long and tiring. The crater rim hike takes approximately one hour. Upon reaching Uhuru, take photos of your guide and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Mweka Camp. On the way down from Uhuru, enjoy views of the mountain, crater, clouds and glaciers.

At Barafu Camp, eat breakfast and take a short break. You still have another three to five hours to go before reaching Mweka Camp.

Elevation Gain: 1,295 meters, 4,240 feet
Elevation Loss: 2,795 meters, 9,170 feet
Hiking time: 6 hours to the rim, 1 hour to Uhuru, 3 to 4 hours back to Barafu, 4 hours to Mweka
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Accommodation: Tents

Day 7: Mweka Camp (3,100m/10,170ft) to Mweka Gate (1,500m/4,920ft)

After breakfast, finish the trek with a hike through the forest to Mweka Gate. The trail may be slippery following rain. Our vehicles will meet you at the lower station of Mweka Gate to take you back to Moshi.

Elevation Loss: 1,600 meters, 5,250 feet
Hiking time: 4 hours
Meals: Breakfast Included
Accommodation: Tents

Included

Included:

√ Private transport to and from Kilimanjaro International Airport to your hotel
Your trekking company is able to pick you up from the airport and bring your to your hotel in Moshi, if needed. A transfer back to the airport can also be arranged.

√ Transportation to and from the Kilimanjaro gate
The transport from Moshi to the gate of Kilimanjaro National Park is taken care off. This also applies to the way back.

√ Four Season Mountain tents
Unless you are doing the Marangu Route, you’re staying in our strong and well maintained four season mountain tents. Every time you arrive at your camp the tent has already been set up.

(Huts on Marangu Route)
On the Marangu Route you will be provided with a bed in one of the huts on the way to Uhuru Peak. There are 60 bunk beds each at Mandara and Kibo Huts, and 120 bunk beds at Horombo Hut.

√ Double Layered Sleeping Mats
Double layered mats provided by your trekking company will put you to sleep in no time.

√ Hot meals daily while on the mountain
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are prepared during the trek. Your trekking company is bringing their own cook. Don’t be surprised when you see an exclusive three course dinner on your plate.

√ Treated and filtered water
During the trek you won’t have a shortage on drinking water.

√ Hot water for washing
Don’t expect an extensive shower, but there will be the possibility to use hot water for a decent wash.

√ Altitude Sickness & First Aid Kit
The guides carry an altitude sickness kit to monitor your pulse rate, oxygen saturation and heart rate twice a day (very useful for monitoring the symptoms of altitude sickness (AMS) at altitude).  Also emergency portable oxygen is carried along. On top of that the guides are qualified Wilderness First Responders.

√ KINAPA Rescue Fee
The fees for the Kilimanjaro Rescue Team are covered. This is managed by KINAPA, Kilimanjaro National Parks. Interesting fact: Kinapa means “We carry each other” in Swahili.

√ Park fee, camping fee, VAT and other taxes
The park entry fees, the crater fee, camping fee and value added tax are included in the price.

√ Fair salary, food, insurance and accommodation for guide and porter(s)
The total amount covers not only your own basics, but also those of your guide and porter. No unpleasant surprises.

√ Your own team of porters and guides
Per person you generally have a team of 1 guide, 1 cook and 3 porters who will support you in your climb. If you are part of a group of four, you will be able to enjoy 2 guides, 1 cook and 12 porters. Although there will always be enough hands on deck, the exact amount of support staff varies per trekking company.

Excluded:

× Visa for Tanzania
Visas are required for all visitors, and cost about $50. For most nationalities it is possible to get a visa upon arrival when you arrive at the airport in Tanzania. Check with your local Tanzanian embassy or consulate to see what the requirements are.

× Flights to and from Moshi
The total amount is also exclusive of flights to and from Tanzania. To get an idea of which airlines are visiting Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA), it is best to have a look at their website.

× Personal expenses
All personal expenses such as drinks at the bar, washing and other similar expenses are for your own account.

× Travel Insurance Including Repatriation
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. It is important that your travel insurance also covers adventures at a high altitude. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before you travel to Tanzania.

× Tipping
Tips for guides and porters are exclusive. You decide what you want to tip, but be generous and read our blog post about tipping when you are planning go trekking in Tanzania.

× Portable flush toilet
Portable flush toilet with a toilet tent is available for USD 70 for the entire trek.

× Accommodation before and after the trek
Whether you stay in Moshi, Arusha or anywhere else, before and after the trek you have to take care of your own accommodation and meals.

Accomodation

Accomodation

Four Season Mountain tents
Unless you are choosing the Marangu Route, you will be staying in durable tents that are equipped for all weather situations. A few porters will always trek ahead of you to make sure that your tent is ready when you arrive. There will also be tables and chairs. Accommodation comes with freshly prepared meals. Every campsite has a long drop toilet. Along the trek you can find your private space behind a rock. Read all about camping on the Kilimanjaro here.

Huts on Marangu Route
On the Marangu Route you will be provided with a bed in one of the huts on the way to Uhuru Peak. There are 60 bunk beds each at Mandara and Kibo Huts, and 120 bunk beds at Horombo Hut.

FAQ

FAQ

Best Season
Because Mount Kilimanjaro covers a relatively large surface area and a lot of elevation, the mountain has more or less its own climate. Responsible for the weather patterns around Mount Kilimanjaro are trade winds that bring along moist from the Indian Ocean. Because of these trade winds, the months of March, April, May and November are the wettest. The southern mountain slopes are especially rainy in these months. From January to March there is a greater chance to see snow on and around the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. This can be experienced as negative, but it will any case be much quieter on the trails. Although these are the coldest months, snowfall and cold temperatures can be expected from December to May. The most suitable and most popular season for climbing Kilimanjaro is from June to October. In these months you can choose any route without having to worry about rain too much. If you want a comfortable route during the rainy season, you best choose the Rongai Route, approaching Kilimanjaro from the North. Due to the differences in altitude and the associated climate zones, it is difficult to estimate the temperatures.


Porters
Trekking on Kilimanjaro is hard, both for yourself and your support staff. Per person you have a team who will support you in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. This team usually consists of a guide, three porters and a cook. This way you don't have to carry your full gear yourself. The guide speaks English and usually the rest of the team speaks English as well. You can make things more interesting by learning a few words of Swahili in advance. 

Bookatrekking.com strives to only work with providers who treat porters in a fair manner. Without porters, there is no trekking on Kilimanjaro. They are the heart and soul of your adventure and every day, they carry part of your gear. Bookatrekking.com always tries to find a balance between an affordable trekking adventure and the fair treatment of porters. Read everything about porters on Kilimanjaro here

Tipping
It is impossible to climb the Mount Kilimanjaro solo. This means that every climber has his or her own team. Both the guide, the assistant guide, the porter and the cook expect a tip. For the whole trek, this sums up to an amount ranging from USD 330 to USD 450. This is per climber, which means that the amount will not be smaller if the group is larger. Be generous. Read our extensive blog about tipping on Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Currency and Payment Methods
The currency of Tanzania is the Shilling. We recommend you bring US dollars or Euros to cover the costs of your visa, extra travel, and other. It is easiest to travel in Tanzania with US dollars, but credit cards are also accepted in most places. Before you travel, check with your bank whether your credit or debit card can also be used in Tanzania. 

Visa Tanzania
Visa are required for all visitors, and cost about $50. It is possible to get a visa-on arrival when you arrive at the airport in Tanzania. Look here at the website of the embassy for arranging your visa.  

Vaccinations
Tanzania is an area where yellow fever occurs and therefore we recommend you to be vaccinated. We also recommend that you have all other vaccinations such as Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio and Hepatitis A & B up to date. Malaria is present in Tanzania but there are no mosquitoes at high altitude. Always consult your health professional 90 days ahead of departure.

Training

Training

Do you reach Uhuru Peak or not? There is a chance that you won’t. Often this depends on the unpredictable weather on the mountain. However, it can also depend on your own physical condition.

Do you enjoy hiking, have you gone trekking at higher altitudes and do you exercise twice a week on average? With a little extra training, you are soon fit to challenge Mount Kilimanjaro.

Is this the first time that you are trekking at altitude? Make sure you are well prepared. This is important for your safety, but also for that of your team. Make sure you start six months in advance with an hour's walk or hike twice a week. Read this blog post and get fit for your Kilimanjaro ascent.

Packing List

Packing List

Trekking in Kilimanjaro requires decent gear. Especially the basics like an 80-90l backpack and quality trekking socks. Also make sure to check our
ultimate packing list for trekking Kilimanjaro.

Technical Clothing
- Waterproof Jacket, breathable with hood
- Insulated Jacket, synthetic or down
- Soft Jacket, fleece or soft-shell
- 2 Long Sleeve Shirts, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
- Short Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
- Waterproof Pants, breathable (side-zipper recommended)
- 2 Hiking Pants (convertible to shorts recommended)
- Fleece Pants
- Shorts (optional)
- Long Underwear (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
- 3 Underwear, briefs (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
- 2 Sport Bra (women)

Headwear
- Brimmed Hat, for sun protection
- Knit Hat, for warmth
- Balaclava, for face coverage (optional)
- Bandana (optional)

Handwear
- Gloves, warm (waterproof recommended)
- Glove Liners, thin, synthetic, worn under gloves for added warmth (optional)

Footwear
- Hiking Boots, warm, waterproof, broken-in, with spare laces
- Gym Shoes, to wear at camp (optional)
- 3 Socks, thick, wool or synthetic
- 3 Sock Liners, tight, thin, synthetic, worn under socks to prevent blisters (optional)
- Gaiters, waterproof (optional)

Accessories
- Sunglasses or Goggles
- Backpack Cover, waterproof (optional)
- Poncho, during rainy season (optional)
- Water Bottle (Nalgene, 32 oz. recommended
- Water Bladder, Camelback type (recommended)
- Towel, lightweight, quick-dry (optional)
- Stuff Sacks or Plastic Bags, various sizes, to keep gear dry and separate

Equipment
- Sleeping Bag, warm, four seasons
- Sleeping Bag Liner, for added warmth (optional)
- Trekking Poles (recommended)
- Head lamp, with extra batteries
- Duffel bag, (waterproof recommended) for porters to carry your equipment.
- Daypack, for you to carry your personal gear

Other
- Toiletries (Option)
- Prescriptions
- Sunscreen
- Lip Balm
- Insect Repellent, containing DEET
- First Aid Kit
- Hand Sanitizer
- Toilet Paper (To be provided)
- Wet Wipes (recommended)
- Snacks, light-weight, high calorie, high energy (optional)
- Pencil and Notebook, miniature, for trip log (optional)
- Camera, with extra batteries (optional)

Top Climbers Expedition

Top Climbers Expeditions

Top Climbers Expedition is a true expert when it comes to Tanzania. Our office is based in Moshi, the Kilimanjaro region - Tanzania. We live, work and travel here. We have more than 4 years of experience in the tourism industry.  Top Climbers Expedition is a competent company in Tourism and Travels services in Tanzania. Our product and services range from mountain trekking, safaris, cultural tourism, beach holiday, day tour excursions and accommodation.

Manase Y. Mwanga – Owner

My name is Manase Mwanga, the Founder and Managing Director of Top Climbers Expedition. I am Tanzanian, born and raised in Kilimanjaro region. I have strong experience and great team of people that guarantees the highest quality. As a Director my focus is on organizing tours with an ethical and professional approach to exceed tourist expectations. All our tours benefit the indigenous people i.e. hard-working local porters and guides by creating job opportunities in order to eradicate poverty. We utilize natural resources in a sustainable manner for the benefits of present and future generations.

Safety

Safety

Safety is of the utmost importance to us. That is why this is an area in which we simply do not compromise when it comes to keeping the cost of our trekkings low. Our guides have been selected on the basis of their technical competence, proven safety performance, impeccable judgment, friendly attitude and ability to provide useful and expert instructions. They are also very professional and well trained in first aid and personal protection equipment. First aid kits are available on all treks. In addition, the routes are ideally designed to give you enough time to acclimatize. 

While the intention is to stick to the described route, a certain degree of flexibility is built in. In some cases it may be necessary to change the route here and there. The mountains are full of surprises, and the weather on Mount Kilimanjaro is unpredictable. The guides continuously carry out risk assessments throughout the expedition. It is therefore best to plan a number of extra days in Tanzania to cover for possible unforeseen circumstances. Read all about altitude sickness here.

How to Book

How does it work?

On Bookatrekking.com you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking adventure your match? In that case you can proceed to booking. At Bookatrekking.com you make a deposit of 15% of the total amount. You pay the remaining amount on location prior to the trek directly to the trekking company.

Bookatrekking.com uses only the safest payment methods. Once your booking has been received, your place is reserved, your place is safe and you can look forward to your chosen trekking.

After you have made your booking, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with all necessary information and the contact details of the trekking company. If you have any questions or if you want to clarify something, you can obtain information directly from the right person. Of course, you can also always ask us your question. Send us an e-mail on support@bookatrekking.com

The trekking company will also receive your details and can therefore always contact you and provide you with extra information.

Cancellation Policy

You wish you didn’t have to, but there is no other way: You find yourself having to cancel your plans. In this case, you lose your deposit, but since you haven’t paid the large sum yet, you at least save that. Please do let us know if you cannot make it. A no-show can be a small disaster for your trekking provider, who did its best to block your dates. View our complete cancellation policy here.

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