Umbwe Route - Kilimanjaro
The Umbwe route is considered Mount Kilimanjaro’s toughest and most unforgiving route of all, thanks in part to its fast ascent and high altitude. Therefore being prepared isn’t just advisable, it's mandatory to a successful and safe summit! Learn more about the route below and equip yourself for one incredible challenge.See all Umbwe Route tours
Day-by-day breakdown of the Umbwe route
Below you will find a detailed breakdown of what, where and how long you'll be trekking should you opt to select the challenging 6-day itinerary for the Umbwe route.
|Day||Start||Altitude (m/ft)||Finish||Altitude (m/ft)||Time (hrs)||Distance (km/mi)|
|1||Umbwe Gate||1,600m/ 5,249ft||Umbwe Camp||2940m/ 9514ft||5-7||11km/ 7mi|
|2||Umbwe Camp||2,940m/ 9,514ft||Barranco Camp||3,976m/ 13,044ft||4-5||6km/ 4mi|
|3||Barranco Camp||3,976m/ 13,044ft||Karanga Camp||3,995m/ 13,106ft||4-5||5km/ 3mi|
|4||Karanga Camp||3,995m/ 13,106ft||Barafu Camp||4,673m/ 15,331ft||4-5||4km/ 2mi|
|5||Barafu Camp||4,673m/ 15,331ft||Uhuru Peak||5,895m/ 19,341ft||7-8||5km/ 3mi|
|Uhuru Peak||5,895m/ 19,341ft||Mweka Camp||3,068m/ 10,065ft||4-6||12km/ 7mi|
|6||Mweka Camp||3,068m/ 10,065ft||Mweka Gate||1,640m/ 5,380ft||3-4||10km/ 6mi|
Frequently asked questions: how to climb the Umbwe route
How do I prepare for the Umbwe route?
Any physical activity you can do beforehand will help make your ascent more enjoyable. As for how hard you train, this will depend on whether you're aiming for the Uhuru Peak or embarking on a shorter journey and will be different for everyone.
When should I climb the Umbwe route?
You can climb the Umbwe route year-round, but it may be wet and cold which means you should be equipped with the right waterproof gear. Consider climbing between January–March and June–October. Note that April, May and November are the wettest months.
What should I pack and what equipment do I need?
While trekking tour operators may supply some of the gear you’ll need, there are a few non-negotiables you will need that includes waterproof gear, a headlamp, sunglasses, appropriate hiking boots, personal medication, a non-disposable water bottle and a cap or a beanie for example. Learn more.
How to get to the Umbwe Route?
Before you start your hiking escapade to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, you will need to establish how to get there, and the best mode of transport to suit your itinerary or tour. Travellers flying from the UK, the US, Australia or Canada and other parts of the world have a few options to explore. Learn more.
What are the climbing requirements for the Umbwe route?
Mount Kilimanjaro welcomes hikers of all levels of fitness and ability, but if you’re planning to reach the summit, careful planning and vigorous training is vital. Consider adding extra time to your itinerary to avoid altitude sickness and to enjoy your time climbing Kilimanjaro. Learn more.
What permits do I need?
Each visitor will be required to pay a fee per person, per day for the conservation fee to help manage the national park, however, most tours will cover the permits and entry fees are included in the price.
Mount Kilimanjaro routes & maps
If you’re searching for the most ‘iconic’ trek, the Marangu route is the oldest marked trail. The gradual slope appeals to many travellers as it's considered the easiest route, and is the only Kilimanjaro route that offers hut accommodation. It’s recommended to allow for one extra night to acclimatise.Read more
Distance: 72 km
Average duration: 5-6 days
Average difficulty: Marangu route has one of the lowest summit success rates of all the routes up the mountain. Although it is known as the easiest trekking route, the summit success rate is sometimes as low as 50% when travellers undertake a shorter hike.
Known as the most popular climbing route on Kilimanjaro, Machame is classified as a difficult route due to its steep ascent, and each day tends to cover more distance compared to the Marangu route. Because of it’s challenging nature, Machame tends to attract adventurous and experienced hikers.Read more
Distance: 62 km
Average duration: 6-7 days
Average difficulty: A 7-day hike often shows a higher success rate of approximately 85%. A 6-day hike generally shows a lower success rate of 70%. Less experienced hikers are advised not to rush and aim at 7-day hike for higher chances of reaching the summit.
Starting in a similar direction to the Shira route, climbers are likely to encounter lower traffic on the trails until the route meets with the Machame route. Lemosho is known as one of the most beautiful routes as it includes hiking through the rainforest, past the Shira Plateau and through vast icefields.Read more
Distance: 70 km
Average duration: 7-8 days
Average difficulty: The success rates are high, and the longer you take to complete the journey often shows a higher success rate. An 8-day hike usually offers around a 90% success rate while a 7-day hike will be around 85%. For a 6-day hike, the success rate will be much lower at approximately 65%.
Starting from the northern side of Kilimanjaro, Rongai is the only route that travels from this direction and is often less crowded than Marangu. Rongai is considered a moderately difficult route recommended for less experienced hikers.Read more
Distance: 73 km
Average duration: 6-7 days
Average difficulty: This route is considered difficult as it does not offer the same climb height. The longer you take to complete this trail, the higher the success rate will be. A 7-day hike often sees an 80% success rate, and a 6-day hike is much lower at 65%.
Shira Plateau Route
Boasting similar qualities to the Lemosho route, the Shira route also approaches Kilimanjaro from the west. Hikers should take note of the steep elevation on this route, as day one catapults you to some serious altitude.Read more
Distance: 56 km
Average duration: 7-8 days
Average difficulty: Shira has an excellent success rate. However, it should only be tackled by more experienced climbers or those who are comfortable with their ability to acclimatise as the first day is incredibly steep.
Northern Circuit Route
The Northern Circuit route follows the Lemosho trail at the start before travelling along the northern slopes where trekkers can enjoy more space on the trails.Read more
Distance: 98 km
Average duration: 8-9 days
Average difficulty: Because of its length, the Northern Circuit is one of the most successful routes for reaching the summit and sees a success rate of almost 95%.