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.
Approaching from the south, the Umbwe route is a short, steep and direct climb. After reaching Barranco Camp, the trail turns east and travers’s 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.
Elevation (ft): 5,249 ft to 9,514 ft
Distance: 11 km
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
When we arrive at the Umbwe Gate, we make sure that we finish the registration paperwork and prepare the expedition gear. The trek beings up a gradual inclining 4WD path, which ends with a sign marked “Umbwe Trail.” From here we ascend through a dense forest on a steep and sometimes muddy path until we reach Umbwe Camp.