The Umbwe route has a well-deserved reputation of being the most challenging route on Mount Kilimanjaro. Due to the fast ascent to high altitude, this route does not provide the necessary stages for acclimatization. Although the number of people on this trail is very low, the chances of success are also low. Umbwe is considered to be very difficult, taxing route – one that should only be attempted by strong hikers who are confident in their ability to acclimatize quickly to altitude. The Umbwe route joins the Machame route at Barranco Camp on the second night. On the other routes Barranco Camp is reached on the third or fourth night. Goes to show how much steeper Umbwe is…
The path can also be a very muddy experience, particularly if it has rained recently! It’s a steep and rough trail up to the first camp, Umbwe Cave. The route is offering a real sense of adventure for the intrepid climbers.
Approaching from the south, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb. After reaching Barranco Camp, the trail turns east and traverses underneath Kilimanjaro’s Southern Ice Field on a path known as the Southern Circuit before summiting from Barafu. Descent is made via the Mweka route.
Kuwahuru Tanzania Adventure offers Umbwe as a six or seven day private climb. The seven day variation adds an acclimatization day on day two at Barranco Camp.