- Transfer to Kilimanjaro park gate
- Moshi (831m) → Umbwe Gate (1,800m)
After arriving at the gate, you will register with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities. Expect to linger around for approximately an hour to two hours as the porters need to weigh and distribute all of the equipment.
After all is settled and ready-to-go, it’s off to your first stop, the Umbwe Cave Camp, to begin your first trek of the trip!read less
- Lush rainforest alive with monkeys and birds
- Umbwe Gate (1,800m) → Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850m)
The path is straightforward as you follow the forest path, and while the trail rises steadily, there can be some steep sections. It can be muddy (it IS a rainforest) and you may be scrambling over rocks so be careful with each step you take. With that said, rain in the area is always a possibility so be sure to have rain gear at your disposal!
The path begins to narrow as you approach the narrow ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers. You’ll be exposed to striking views of the deep gorges and if lucky, you can see glimpses of Kibo in the distance.
The day concludes at the Umbwe Cave Camp where you are perched amongst the trees and thick undergrowth.read less
- Emerging above the treeline
- Umbwe Cave Camp (2,850m) → Barranco Camp (3,900m)
As you continue to ascend, Kilimanjaro begins etching itself in your view and you begin to feel as if you’ve become immersed into the mountainside. The descent into the Karanga valley will feel like a step backwards, after having worked hard all day to reach higher altitudes. However, to hike high and sleep low is a crucial step in acclimatizing your body, helping you for the days following.
The night is spent at the stunning Barranco Camp; hosting views of Kibo, the Western Breach, and the beginning of the southern glaciers. A well deserved treat after the hard work you’ve done that day!read less
- Into thin air and alpine desert
- Barranco Camp (3,900m) → Barafu Camp (4,673m)
You will start your day by scaling the iconic Barranco Wall which is as challenging as it is beautiful. The Barranco Wall is very steep, and a fair bit of scrambling may be necessary. However, despite its famed difficulty, with regular breaks and an easygoing pace, you’ll be triumphant when you see the awe-inspiring views from the top.
Once you reach the highs of the wall, you will be greeted by the heart-melting sight of the Heim Glacier. Take a moment to stop and soak in the beautiful sights around you and the sense of achievement you will feel when you have conquered the wall.
Then it’s back down again as you descend into the narrow Karanga Valley. This windy and cold gully is also lush and green; a nice switch from the previously barren and rocky landscape. After descending through the valley, it’s a small ascend up to the Karanga Camp. At this point, you might have to say goodbye to other climbers who stay here overnight as the path from Barranco to Barfu is sometimes split into two days.
As you make your way up to the Barafu Camp, you’ll notice that the dusty black volcanic rocks and ashes gradually give way to the high alpine desert. Cold winds and icy temperatures are common here and you will definitely want to ensure you have your layers on.
On a clear day, the sunlight casts a golden glow over the summit, as a sombre and beautiful reminder of the journey ahead.read less
- Final summit push through the night and sunrise on top of Africa
- Barafu Camp (4,673m) → Uhuru Peak (5,895m)
Once you’ve strapped on your boots, you will head out of Barafu Camp. These small cliffs will cause you to scramble around a bit, but you will soon reach the bottom of your next challenge: the climb to Stella Point. Stella Point rests at the top of Kibo, and to hike up to it will be hard work. A series of switchbacks through volcanic scree will test you. Be sure to find YOUR appropriate momentum, and focus on taking it one step at a time.
The air will become thinner, and altitude sickness may begin to hit you. Frigid temperatures and icy winds will require an iron determination to keep going. Each step will take all your focus and energy. Your final push to the top may seem endless and time seeming to work against you, but rest assured that it will come to an end. What satisfaction as you reach Stella Point at the top of Kibo! Congratulations! You’ve already conquered an impressive feat and will receive your climbing certificate for making it to this point. No matter what happens next, you can be proud that you’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!
From here, you only have approximately 150 meters of altitude to go for your final trek to Uhuru Peak. You can do it. It is important to prepare yourself for what might become the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trip, so rest and eat to gain energy for the final haul. The walk is a gentle incline, but the thin air will make it difficult to predict how you feel in this last stretch. Those who react well to the altitude may find it easier than others, with adrenaline rushing through their body. Some don’t react as well as others, and will find this to be the most challenging, despite the gentle incline. However, everyone will feel the pride that you’ve come that far as you make it to the summit.
The end is near, and you push yourself to the highest point. A stunning landscape overlooking the icefields and glaciers is waiting for you. Dawn is approaching as you push yourself to the highest point of Mt. Kilimanjaro and of Africa – Uhuru Peak. You’ve made it! Take some pictures, pat yourself on the back, hug your companions and enjoy the glistening pink and orange sunrise hues overlooking the ice fields and glaciers. The rolling clouds splash against the noble beauty of Kibo – it’s a sight you won’t soon forget.read less
- Half way down into thicker air
- Uhuru Peak (5,895m) → Millennium Camp (3,807m)
After making it all the way up to the summit of Uhuru Peak, you will still feel that lingering sense of euphoria that comes with such a magnificent achievement. Now the challenge is to make your way down to Millennium Camp, which sits at 3,800 metres – an an altitude drop of more than 2,000 metres. As you make your way down, you will find that the descent is tough on your knees, which will by now be feeling the impact of your climb up this formidable mountain. To ease the strain on your knees, make good use of your walking poles.
For the initial part of your journey down from Stella Point, you will encounter fields of sand and scree, which can be particularly challenging to navigate your way through. Gaiters are once again essential here, to prevent some of the glacial scree making its way into your boots! There are different ways you can tackle the scree. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can simply slide or ski down the scree slopes, which is a fun and quick way of conquering it! If you’re not comfortable with that, simply walk slowly down the scree, although this will add additional time onto your journey.
Your slope then turns into rocks before you reach Barafu Camp. Rest and eat to regain some energy. However, don’t rest too long. You still have over 2 hours to go. As you descend, you’ll notice that some of the plants starts to reappear and the surroundings are not as barren as it has been in recent days. Once the greenery reappears, Millennium Camp isn't far, located just above the tree line.
You will be feeling tired and worn from the journey by the time you reach your camp for the night, but this is normal. Conquering Kilimanjaro is far from easy and you can take solace from the fact that you have completed a challenge that you’ll remember for a lifetime. Finally, you’ll be able to get some well earned rest and relaxation, and celebrate the completion of this important milestone of your journey.read less
- All the way back down through the forest
- Millennium Camp (3,807m) → Mweka Gate (1,640m)
Soon even the jungle will gradually start to fade in favour of dirt tracks and the return of civilisation, which signals your arrival at Mweka Gate – the exit of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. Once you have reached this point, your journey across Kilimanjaro will have concluded and you will be satisfied in the knowledge that you have reached the summit and finally conquered this tough but beautiful mountain.
Once you arrive at Mweka Gate and you have completed your walk, it will be time to bid farewell to your crew. It is customary to tip your guides, cook and porters for their assistance during your trip before you are transported back to your hotel. Please check the tipping procedure and tipping ranges recommended by your tour company before the start of your climb.read less
- Transfer to your hotel
- Mweka Gate (1,640m) → Moshi (831m)
Arriving at your hotel, you’ve finished the magical journey, and it’s time to sift through photos, brag to your friends, and reminisce fondly on those life-long memories that you’ve just made.read less
More info about the 5-day Umbwe Route
The 5-Day Umbwe route is the shortest route to climb Kilimanjaro in terms of distance. It is the most direct path to Uhuru Peak. Alternatively, the 5-Day Rongai Route can be completed in the same amount of time. Furthermore, it's also possible to do the Marangu route in 5 days.
However, don't mistake short for easy as the opposite is true on Kilimanjaro. You still need to conquer almost the same altitude difference as on any route. The shorter the route is, the steeper is its path and the less time you have to acclimatize to the high altitude.
Therefore, only pre-acclimatized or very fit climbers who are confident of their ability to acclimatize to the high altitude should choose a short route.