Umbwe Route Description
The Umbwe route is the hardest but most spectacular and direct way to reach Uhuru Peak. It follows a forested ridge to the moorlands, then traverses below the Southern Icefields to reach the Barafu Route which is followed to the summit. An early start is made on the summit day to reach Stella Point, on the Crater Rim at dawn. Uhuru Peak lies a further 40 min. along the rim.
Accommodation on the Umbwe route is in tents which the porters will pitch for you; you will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes and walking poles. This is a steep, tough and in places slightly exposed trek within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. An extra day can be added to our itinerary to explore or relax along the route, (best taken at the Barranco Hut).
And if you are interested in the history of the Umbwe route and how the landscape of Kilimanjaro has changed over time then have a read of our mini article The Golden Era of the Umbwe Route
Itinerary Route of Umbwe
- Day 1 – Arrive at the Sringlands Hotel, (B&B).
- Day 2 – Drive to the Umbwe Route Gate at 1800m. from where a forestry track leads through natural rain forest to a narrow and steep forested ridge and the first campsite by some rock overhangs at 2940m, (5-6h).
- Day 3 – Continue till the forest ends and the path continues along a spectacular ridge with superb views of the icy Breach Wall above and the Great Barranco gorge below. The campsite is not far from the Barranco Hut. (5-6h, 3940m.)
- Day 4 – Scramble easily to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over screes and ridges to the Karanga Valley camsite (3h, 4000m.), beneath the icefalls of the Southern Glaciers.
- Day 5 – The trail ascends a ridge to a campsite by the Barafu Hut, an airy location with little vegetation (3h, 4600m.),
- Day 6 – Start just after midnight for the ascent of the screes leading to Stella Point (6h, 5725m.). From here a further 40mins. leads to Uhuru Peak. Descend to the Barafu Hut for a rest and brunch before continuing down to camp at Mweka Hut at 3100m, (11-14h total walking time). Those with energy on the summit may wish to descend to the Reutsh Crater and visit the dramatic ice pinnacles of the Eastern Icefields.
- Day 7 – A 3-4 hour descent through beautiful forest brings you to the Park Gate. Drive back to the Springlands Hotel (B&B).
- Day 8 – Leave hotel after breakfast.
Prices of Umbwe Route
COST – 6 Day Umbwe Trek From $1801 per person
Additional day for acclimatisation (if required) $262 pp
Single surcharge (if required) $76
Airport transfers from Kilimanjaro airport can be arranged for $20 per person, each way
Groups of 6 or more – Discount of $30 per person. Low season (April – 13 June & Nov) – Discount of $50 per person.
To see what is included/not included in the cost and for Tipping guidelines please see check our PDF
General Information: Umbwe Route
For more information about: what to take on your trip, health and safety information and our packing lists.
ZARA, one of the top three operators in Northern Tanzania. Begun in 1986 by Zainab Ansell as an international travel agency and in 1987 was appointed as an IATA agency. Safari trips, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru climbs commenced in 1987.
Many years of experience in running these trips have now been accumulated and in some years Zara has been the top provider. Zara is mentioned in many publications eg “Kilimanjaro & Mount Kenya” by Cameron M Burns, also on several websites that also provide references to Zara services.
We now have a large fleet of 4x4WD vehicles and over 80 guides working with us. 28 mountain guides are registered to Zara. All of our drivers and guides are experienced and speak English. In addition Zara now own and run two hotels – Springlands hotel in Moshi and the Highview hotel in Ngorongoro conservation area along with the safari Wildcamps in Ikoma, Serengeti and Ngorongoro. This allows Zara to be in complete control of your trek or safari from start to finish, ensuring that you receive the best possible service throughout. See what some of our previous clients comments on Trip Advisor.
LISTED BELOW ARE SOME OF THE MANY THINGS THAT ZARA HAVE DONE TO IMPROVE THE CONDITIONS FOR BOTH ZARA STAFF AND THE LOCAL PEOPLE:
Mount Kilimanjaro porters society (MKPS)
ZARA tours are proud of the work they do in using tourism to create better livelihoods for their employees, partners and communities. As such Director, Zainab Ansell, set up the Mount Kilimanjaro porters society (MKPS) in 2004 with the purpose of improving living and working condition for the porters (and their families) who climb Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru. This includes:
- Providing free training during the low season, in areas such as health, financial management and investment skills, mountain sickness training skills, environmental conservation education and English courses.
- Assisting porters to open bank accounts. Currently almost 90% of the members of MKPS have their own bank account and card. Wages are paid directly in to their account and this is helping them handle more safely and manage more effectively their money. This has helped porters to pursue their own businesses, afford to build their own houses, pay their bills and take care of their families as well as cover their basic needs of food, shelter, clothes and education.
- Helping provide employment opportunities to porters during the low season, for example environmental initiatives have led to several tree planting projects around Moshi and Karatu.
- Establishing tipping sheets for fairness and transparency to ensure that porters get their tips as agreed by clients. This sheet is signed by clients when the tip is paid and signed by porters when they receive their tips and is monitored by the office.
- MKPS through their sponsors Zara Tanzania adventures and colleagues pay higher wage rates than that which has been proposed by KINAPA and TANAPA.·
- Where required, members are loaned (free of charge) hiking equipment such as sleeping bags, tents, raincoats, waterproof trouser, jackets socks, gloves and shoes for the duration of their trek. The MKPS members have membership ID cards which help identify them and support their equipment requirements. It also helps with monitoring the whereabouts of the equipment at any one time.
- Ensuring that porters carry loads that respond to set standards of a maximum of 20kg per person, MKPS members have their luggage weighed at the base hotel. This means that luggage that is over this maximum may be left behind at the hotel. Therefore, when the porters from the ZARA organised trips arrive at the Kilimanjaro National Park gate to have the luggage weight double-checked before the climb, they will not be over the weight limit.
- MKPS porters and other staff are given 3 meals a day whilst on trek and each MKPS member has been given a bicycle.
For more information on the projects that Zara are currently involved with check the website www.zaracharitytanzania.org