6 Days Umbwe Route-Mt Kilimanjaro Trekking


The climb starts above the picturesque mountain village of Machame to the south of Kilimanjaro. After passing through the Machame forest and into the moorland zone, we scramble up and over some rocks and eventually emerge onto the Shira Plateau. We then advance counter-clockwise traversing below the southern face of Kibo, climb Lava Tower for magnificent 360-degree panoramas, ascend the Great Barranco Wall, a challenging and exhilarating rock scramble, and approach Uhuru Summit from Barafu or Kossovo Camp and the ridge that abuts the Southeast Valley. The climb from Barafu offers incredible views of Mawenzi Peak and Kilimanjaro’s remnant volcanic cone.

The direct route means that very little time is allowed for acclimatizing, and the trying climbing conditions combine with this to make it the route with the lowest success rate.


Day by Day Itinerary


On your arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport/shuttle bus stand a member of our staff will be at holding a Biko Adventures Tours placard. You will then be transferred to your Hotel in Moshi /Arusha based on Bed and breakfast.


Umbwe Gate to Umbwe Cave Camp

  • Today’s Stats
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Total Distance: 8 km
  • Starting Altitude: 1800m (5905ft)
  • Final Altitude: 2956m (9698ft)
  • Environment: Montane Forest

After breakfast and a comprehensive trek briefing, we take a 2-hour drive to the Umbwe Gate at 1800m (5905ft) where you will meet your guides and mountain crew as we take care of all National Park formalities, registering all climbers and the weighing of all duffle bags to ensure the load carried by each porter does not exceed the mandatory 20kgs limit.

Our trek begins following a forestry track winding through natural rain forest under the canopy of moss-coated vines where you will hear the calls of many exotic birds and if we are lucky we may see blue monkeys and hear the grunting calls of the magnificent black colobus monkeys with their long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail.

Proceeding ever upwards, the path narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers spectacular views of deep gorges to either side as we make our way to the Umbwe Caves camp located in the lower heather zone.


Umbwe Cave Camp to Barranco Camp

  • Today’s Stats
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Total Distance: 8 km
  • Starting Altitude: 2956m (9698ft)
  • Final Altitude: 3978m (13054ft)
  • Environment: Lower heather zone

Shortly after leaving camp the forest starts thinning and is replaced by rockier terrain, sparser undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees and Giant Heather and Erica.

The path continues along a narrow, but spectacular ridge. As you gain higher altitude you may catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro rising majestically ahead of you – etched against the blue sky.

Transitioning to the moorland zone you will encounter giant lobelia and groundsels. As you approach the Barranco Valley the path flattens along the Umbwe ridge and then you descend a short distance to Barranco Camp.


Barranco Camp to Karanga Valley Camp

  • Today’s Stats
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Total Distance: 8 km
  • Starting Altitude: 3978m (13054ft)
  • Final Altitude: 4046m (13277ft)
  • Environment: Alpine Desert

Today we undertake the Great Barranco Wall – an imposing face above Barranco camp. A steady climb up the eastern wall takes us just below the Heim Glacier, where we may have some breathtaking views of the Heim Glacier and Mt. Kilimanjaro depending upon the weather and any cloud cover.

Our trail continues down into the alpine desert of the Karanga Valley, where we finish this second acclimatization day at Karanga Camp (4046m).


Karanga Valley Camp to Barafu Camp

  • Today’s Stats
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Total Distance: 3.5 km
  • Starting Altitude: 4039m (13250ft)
  • Final Altitude: 4600m (15200ft) (option Kossovo Camp 15900ft)
  • Environment: Alpine Desert

We begin the day trekking through the alpine desert of the Karanga Valley. Here the temperature will grow colder as we follow the trail climbing through this barren and dry landscape up to the Barafu camp.

Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice”, and the camping area is on a ridge in a narrow and exposed flat area. Here there are ever-present powerful winds blowing down from the mountain peaks. Our campsite at 4600m offers spectacular views of the nearby peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi.

In preparation for your final ascent tonight, you will familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark, and prepare your equipment and thermal clothing for the summit attempt. Sleep will be difficult and you will to retire to your tents after dinner to rest for the 1385m final ascent to the roof of Africa.


Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak to Millennium Camp

  • Today’s Stats
  • Hiking Time: 7 hours to summit, 7-8 hours descent
  • Total Distance: 7km to the summit, 23km descent
  • Starting Altitude: 4682m (15360ft)
  • Summit Altitude: 5895m – Uhuru Peak
  • Final Altitude: 3819m(12530ft)
  • Environment: Stone Scree, Ice capped summit, Alpine desert, Mooreland

We will rise early to leave camp at around 12 am and after a warm drink and a light snack, you will begin the most difficult though the most rewarding day of the trek – your hike to the roof of Africa. After approximately 6 hours of slow but strenuous hiking, you will reach the rim of the main crater, Stella Point, at 5685m. At this point, we stop to rest, eat lunch and take in the views over the clouds.

From Stella Point, the trail is normally snow-covered, and every step of the 2-hour final ascent to Uhuru peak is challenging. Passing alongside the iridescent blue Rebmann and Tarzel glaciers we reach Elveda Point (5882) we can see Uhuru Peak now only minutes away. The roof of Africa is within your grasp.

Arriving at the summit you feel a huge sense of elation and accomplishment you have done it, you have made it to the highest point in Africa. We spend as much time as you need to appreciate your accomplishment, as this is a day to remember for the rest of your life! The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions and temperature.

We start back down the same trail and descend to Barafu camp. Here you will have a well-earned but short rest and remove some of your many layers of clothing as the day begins to heat up.

We head down the rock and scree path into the moorland zone, reaching the forest, and eventually arriving at Millennium Camp in the early afternoon where a hot shower and meal awaits. Today is the longest, and the most mentally and physically challenging of the trek. But a life-changing day that will stay with you forever, as you conquered the heights of Kilimanjaro. 


Millennium Camp to Mweka Gate

  • Today’s Stats
  • Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
  • Total Distance: 13.5 km
  • Starting Altitude: 3819m (15530ft)
  • Final Altitude: 1652m (5420ft)
  • Environment: Montane Rain Forest

Today your legs will be further tested as the trail descends steeply through the lush Mweka rain forest. The trail is steep in places and the going slippery if wet.

The route follows the crest of a broad ridge separating two river valleys until it meets with a road that leads us for the last 40 mins to the Mweka Park Gates where we stop for a well-deserved picnic lunch where successful hikers will receive their summit certificates (gold for Uhuru Peale, Green for Stella point) from the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority.

Post celebrations, we are taken by either a private bus or Jeep to our hotel in Moshi/Arusha. You can now depart Tanzania or continue your dream with amazing safari extensions or Zanzibar that we can help you plan and prepare a good quote. 

For trekkers not continuing with a safari we provide transfers to Kilimanjaro International Airport or bus station for your onward journey.


  • Private transport to & from Kilimanjaro International Airport to your accommodations in Moshi.
  • 2 nights of accommodation in Moshi.
  • Transportation to & from the Kilimanjaro gate
  • Park entry fees,
  • Camping fees
  • Team Kilimanjaro Rescue fees
  • 18% VAT on tour fees & services
  • 4 Season mountain tents
  • Double layered Sleeping Mats
  • Friendly and professional mountain guides, cook and porters
  • 3 hot meals daily while on the mountain
  • Enough treated & filtered drinking water throughout the trek
  • Hot water for washing
  • Fair wages for the mountain crew as approved by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority (KINAPA), Kilimanjaro Association of Tour Operators (KIATO)
  • Government taxes
  • Portable oxygen tanks & ox meter
  • Emergency first-aid kit
  • International airfare
  • Travel insurance – Clients are suggested to have medical cover that covers up to 6,000 metres ASL
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Costs of visas
  • Immunizations
  • Personal expenses such as beverages (other than those included with meals, as listed in each itinerary)
  • Room service
  • Souvenirs
  • Laundry
  • Communication charges
  • Medical or extra evacuation fees
  • Staff gratuities
  • Personal trekking equipment
  • Additional transportation
  • Meals incurred by a client unable to continue a planned itinerary due to illness
  • Medical conditions or due to airline schedule changes
  • Guides: $20/day/guide
  •  Cook: $15/day
  • Porter: $10/day/porter

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