The Umbwe Route is the least used, least crowded route on the mountain. For good reason, it is also the most difficult route on the mountain. Umbwe is a steep, constant, straight climb to the top.
This 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. The Mweka Route is used for the descent. Accommodation on the mountain is in tents which our team will pitch for you. 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).
Recommended Tipping Guidelines:
Those who have climbed Mt Kilimanjaro before know that without the hard work and strength of the mountain crew, one would not be able to fully experience the magnificence of the mountain. At Naomi Grace Tours we pay our crew more than the salary suggested by the Kilimanjaro National Park and Tanzania Tour Operator Association. However, many crew also heavily depend on tips to support their families. The following are recommended daily rates for the entire group to tip per staff member:
Senior guide - $20 – 30 / day
Assistant guide - $15 – 25 / day
Cook - $12 – 15 / day
Waiter - $10 – 12 /day
Porter - $8 – 10 / day
Summit porter - $12 – 15 / day
Toilet crew - $10 – 12 / day
In general for all Kilimanjaro routes except Marangu you will have*:
1 Climber: 1 senior guide, 1 cook and 3 porters
2 Climbers: 1 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook and 6 porters
3 Climbers: 1 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook and 9 porters
4 Climbers: 2 senior guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 cook, 1 waiter and 9 porters
For Marangu you will have*:
1 senior guide and 1 cook for each 8 climbers
1 additional assistant guide for each 3 climbers
2 Porters per climber
* These are estimates and actual numbers may vary depending on the needs of the group.
It is ideal to have a tipping ceremony with the climbers and crew on the last day on the mountain. Ideally tips should be given to the individual crew members directly to ensure the full amount of the tip is received.
Sample 5 or 6 day itinerary for the Umbwe route below (ARROW GLACIER IS OPTIONAL):
5DAYS /4NIGHTS CLIMBING itinerary:
Upon arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Meet your climbing guide for briefing and final gear check. Overnight at the hotel.
Moshi – Forest Cave campsite (9,350ft/2850m)
Drive to park gate for registration then to Umbwe gate where the climb starts and trek through the rain forest to Forest Cave Campsite. Dinner and stay overnight here.
Forest cave camp – Barranco camp (12,960ft/3950m)
Depart for the second day’s rest at Barranco Campsite going through moorland with picnic lunch on the way.
Barranco camp – Arrow Glacier camp (16,000ft/4876m)
After breakfast, ascend to Arrow glacier camp beautifully surrounded by glacier streams. Have dinner and get set for the mid-night hike to the summit.
Arrow Glacier – Summit (19,340ft/5895m) – Mweka hut
Take the final ascend to Uhuru peak then hike down to Barafu campsite for breakfast then down to Mweka Hut for lunch, dinner and overnight stay.
Mweka hut – Moshi
After breakfast, descend to Mweka gate where a vehicle awaits to transfer you. Drive to a town hotel for a well-deserved shower and lunch.
6DAYS /5NIGHTS CLIMBING itinerary:
Drive to the Umbwe 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).
Continue until 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, 3950m.).
Scramble easily to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over screes and ridges to the Karanga Valley camsite (3h, 3937m.), beneath the icefalls of the Southern Glaciers.
The trail ascends a ridge to a campsite by the Barafu Hut, an airy location with little vegetation (3h, 4600m.),
Start just after midnight for the ascent of the screes leading to Stella Point (6h, 5732m.). 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, (11-13h 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.
A 3-4 hour descent through beautiful forest brings you to the Park Gate. This ends the trekking.