Opt for 6 days on the scenic and rugged Umbwe Route, with 3 days & nights between 11,000 and 13,000 feet.
On this route we trek high and camp low, allowing you to acclimatize to the altitude thus helping your chances of success. This route includes an overnight trek from 15,000 feet to the summit (a 15-19 hour trek in one day including the descent).
The Umbwe route is often heralded as the most beautiful of all Kilimanjaro routes and among the more challenging. With its steep non-technical approach that requires periodic rock scrambling, the Umbwe route is appropriate for experienced hikers.
This route is worlds away from the heavily touristy Marangu (Coca-Cola) Route. Thomson makes it special with our experienced staff, safety equipment, food and all the services that make us stand apart from other companies.
Day 1 Depart U.S.
Depart the U.S. in the late afternoon for Amsterdam.
Day 2 Arrive Arusha
Arrive in Amsterdam this morning and check in for your connecting flight to Kilimanjaro, arriving in the evening. You are met by your guide and transferred to your lodge located in the hills just outside of Arusha, set in a stunning location with magnificent views of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Day 3 Arusha National Park
Full day wildlife viewing and walking in Arusha National Park. This park is one of Tanzania’s best-kept secrets, with beautiful landscapes ranging from lush woodlands and lakes to the dramatic black cliffs of Mount Meru. Moreover, this day is a great chance to acclimatize to higher altitude, and recover from the long flights.
Day 4 Umbwe Caves Camp
After a hearty breakfast and a comprehensive climb briefing, you’ll be transferred to the Umbwe Gate (5,900 ft.) to begin your climb.
This first trekking day is through dense rainforest, under the tangled canopy of moss-coated vines which are home to the black & white colobus monkey, blue monkey, and a vibrant array of exotic birds.
Stemming from Umbwe village on the south side of the mountain, the rugged path leads through thick forest of roots and rocks, to reach the forested Umbwe Caves camp set in the lower heather belt. A hot dinner awaits you in your mess tent.
- Trekking:6-7 Hours
- Overnight:Umbwe Caves Camp (9,500 ft.)
Day 5 Barranco Camp
You will be woken with a steaming cup of tea or coffee at around 6am, before continuing up through the forest. Soon the taller trees will give way to Giant Erica and Giant Heather, and the air will become drier. The ridgeline forms steeply on this day and on either side of the trail the ground drops away. At some point the forest and the clouds will part to give you a fabulous view of Uhuru Peak, seemingly "overhead". After lunch, you will encounter giant groundsels and giant lobelia as you continue your journey into the Moorland zone.
- Trekking:6-7 Hours
- Overnight:Barranco Camp (12,800 ft.)
Day 6 Karanga Camp
The day begins with a scramble up the steep ’Barranco Wall’ exposing you to altitudes upwards of 14,000 feet in the Alpine Desert Zone. We then traverse up and down the slopes of valleys that have carved their way into the mountain’s southern face.
Kibo’s glaciers loom above to your left and the jagged peak of Mawenzi appears just over the southern slope of Kibo. We stop in the Karanga Valley at the end of this day.
- Trekking:4-5 Hours
- Overnight:Karanga Camp (13,000 ft.)
Day 7 Barafu Camp
We begin this morning and the trail turns steadily uphill. The temperature will grow colder and the landscape more sparse as we near Barafu Camp. Barafu Camp is set on an exposed ridge, acting a base camp from which you will make your summit attempt at midnight tonight. Our cooks will help you eat and drink as much as possible before retiring to your tent for rest and sleep.
- Trekking:5-6 Hours
- Overnight:Barafu Camp (15,100 ft.)
Day 8 Summit Mount Kilimanjaro
You’re awoken before midnight and after a hot cup of tea, you set out up the steep scree covered slopes for the summit.
As you near Stella Point on summit rim, at 19,000 ft., the sun will begin to rise over the jagged spires of Mawenzi (the second biggest volcano of Kili’s three volcanoes) at your back, and as dawn comes the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers will begin to take form.
At Stella Point, you’ll have a rest and a cup of tea, and then you'll summon your strength for the relatively flat path to Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft.). Descend the Mweka Route to Barafu Camp for lunch before continuing to your camp nestled in thick heather on the southern slopes.
- Trekking:6-8 Hours to Summit / 5-7 Hours to Reach Mweka Camp
- Overnight:Mweka Camp (11,000 ft.)
Day 9 Descend / Rest
Complete your descent through the rainforest to the Mweka Gate, where you will be met and transferred back to your lodge for a much-needed shower and some merry convalescence.
Day 10 Arrive Home
Connect in Amsterdam to your flight back to North America OR Add a Safari, see below.
Add a Safari
Days 10-11 Serengeti National Park
You will fly out to the Serengeti to meet your safari guide this morning. After your safari briefing, head out into heart of Africa. Before you, unforgettable scenes play out as herds of animals runs across the plains and predators stalk their prey.
We have many game drives amongst the masses of wildlife in this vast, untamed wilderness. Enjoy your evenings in our private Thomson Nyumbas, or canvas bush "homes," allowing us to explore off the beaten path.
All Meals Included
Overnights:Thomson Serengeti Nyumba
Days 12-13 Ngorongoro Crater
This morning, you will drive towards the Great Rift Valley, into the verdant Ngorongoro Highlands. You'll make the 2,000 foot descent via Land Rover to spend the afternoon on the crater floor. Here you'll be amazed as you witness some of the highest concentrations of animals in East Africa.
Tomorrow, you'll have a full day to continue your exploration of the crater floor, enjoying magnificent wildlife viewing before returning to your Thomson Nyumba camp perched high on the crater rim.
All Meals Included
Overnights:Thomson Ngorongoro Nyumba
Days 14-15 Depart / Arrive Home
Head back to Arusha this morning where we will say our good-byes over lunch. You will have time in the afternoon to relax or shop before transferring to Kilimanjaro Airport for the flight to Amsterdam. Arrive home on the afternoon of Day 15.
Day Room:KIA Lodge
Show Me the Umbwe Dates & Prices
or Send Me a Free Catalog