6-Day Umbwe Route

Photo by Peter Snow

Photo by Peter Snow

The Least-Traveled And Most Scenic Shorter Route

A Kilimanjaro climb through lush rainforest and traverse rocky ridges with a steady incline.  This challenging trek along the Umbwe route packs it all in with invigorating mist-shrouded views, rock scrambles, and the 15-hour nighttime summit bid required on all treks shorter than nine days.

Trip Highlights:

  • Shortest safe summit bid
  • 96% summit success
  • Much less crowded than the Marangu & Machame routes
  • Steeper, more challenging trails
  • Breathtaking views
  • Climb with a National Geographic Best Adventure Travel Company On Earth

Umbwe Route Map

Days 1-2
Depart North America / Arrive Arusha, Tanzania

Upon your evening arrival, a staff member will greet you at the airport and escort you to tonight’s lodge, nestled in the hills outside Arusha.

Overnight: Rivertrees Country Inn


Day 3
Acclimatization & Hiking Day in Arusha National Park

After a comprehensive climb briefing with your guide, spend a full day exploring Arusha National Park. You’ll appreciate the time to stretch your legs on scenic acclimatization hikes, and you may even catch your first glimpses of African wildlife in their natural habitat. Return to your cozy lodge in the late afternoon to rest up for tomorrow.

Overnight: Rivertrees Country Inn


Day 4
Begin Trek to Umbwe Caves Camp

After a hearty breakfast you’ll head to Umbwe Gate to sign in, enjoy lunch at the trailhead, and then begin your climb. Accompanied by expert porters, fully outfitted in all-weather uniforms, you’ll hike through lush rainforest to your first mountain camp. Savor a hot dinner and time to stargaze.

Overnight: Umbwe Caves Camp (9,500’)
Hours trekking: 6-7


Day 5
Umbwe Caves to Barranco Camp

Wake early for a steaming cup of coffee, and then journey onward past waterfalls and senecios into the Great Barranco Valley, nearing tonight’s camp. Keep your eyes to the sky, where Uhuru Peak can be seen as the clouds part.

Overnight: Barranco Camp (13,004’)
Hours trekking: 6-7


Day 6
Barranco to Karanga Camp

Jump-start your day with a steep rock scramble up the Barranco Wall before crossing the rolling ridges of Karanga Valley. The glaciers of Kibo—Kili’s first volcanic cone—loom in the distance.

Overnight: Karanga Camp (13,231’)
Hours trekking: 4-7


Day 7
Karanga to Barafu Camp

Today you’ll hike a steady incline over barren, rocky landscapes. The cold air and mist-shrouded views will invigorate you as you approach tonight’s camp and prepare for a nighttime summit bid.

Overnight: Barafu Camp (15,331’)
Hours trekking: 5-6


Day 8
Barafu to Summit / Mweka Millennium Camp

Wake before midnight and begin the challenging ascent to the summit. On the way, you’ll stop for tea and sunrise views over Mawenzi, Kili’s highest volcanic cone. Take time to celebrate your victory and capture some memorable photos before descending 6,800 feet to tonight’s camp.

Overnight: Mweka Millennium Camp (12,500’)
Hours trekking: 6-8 to Summit / 4-7 to Mweka Millennium Camp


Days 9-10
Complete Trek / Return to North America

After a restful night’s sleep, journey through dense rainforest to Mweka Gate for a farewell lunch with your guides. Transfer to a day room in Arusha where you can take a hot shower and rest before your evening flight home.

Day room:  KIA Lodge
Hours trekking:  4-6

Looking to continue your adventure in Tanzania? Add a 5- or 7-day safari extension, starting from Arusha (details below) or add on one of our exciting, trip extensions to exotic Zanzibar, chimpanzee colonies in Mahale, one of Tanzania’s many stunning national parks, and more.

Add a Safari

Learn more about our 5-Day Wildlife Highlights Safari extension.

Learn more about our 7-Day Classic Safari extension.

Rivertrees Country Inn

Reminiscent of its legacy as a former German colonial farm and coffee estate, Rivertrees Country Inn blends simple elegance and modern convenience. Wake up in your farmhouse-style room to the sound of the rushing Usa River, and enjoy a hearty breakfast in an open-air, thatched-roof dining area.

Mountain Camps

A comfortable yet rugged experience on your way to the roof of Africa …

A challenging journey deserves specialized accommodations. Your mountain camps include double-occupancy all-weather tents, with customized fly-sheets, upgraded zippers, and full-ground pads. Camps are set up and broken down each day by your expert porters. Private toilet tents, solar-lit dining tents with tables and chairs, and hot basins of water are all provided daily.

After full trekking days, savor hot meals prepared by the camp’s chef, expertly trained in hygienic food preparation. In the afternoons, piping tea and hearty snacks will be waiting for you. And there’s nothing quite like starting each day with a breath of crisp mountain air.

Mount Meru Hotel

The Mount Meru Hotel has been a mainstay of Arusha accommodations since it opened in the 1960’s, when Tanzania tourism was still in its infancy.  It was recently renovated top to bottom, and the finished product is even better than the original. With reliable modern conveniences, a variety of dining options, a beautiful pool, and a central location, it is one of the best places to start or end your safari or trek.

Return from Trek


Per Person Double Occupancy Land Packages:


Umbwe Route Trek: $4490
5-Day Wildlife Safari Extension: $3090
7-Day Classic Wildlife Safari Extension: $4090

Single Accommodations:
– Umbwe Route Trek: $330
– 5 or 7-Day Wildlife Safari Extension: $490


Please call to discuss our competitive Business Class fares.

Thomson was professional, helpful and all around perfect!

The climb was something we will never forget and was incredible.  Our head guide, Abel and the entire crew were fantastic! I honestly do not have one bad word to say about any aspect of the trip.

I spent spring break climbing Kilimanjaro with my father. I could have stayed in Tanzania forever!

I spent my high school spring break climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with my father. I was given the incredible opportunity to travel to Africa, and I wanted to do something special. I set up a fundraiser to raise money for a local non-profit, Memphis Child Advocacy Center. The fundraiser was a huge motivator in actually completing […]

Thanks for helping us achieve our dream!

We just got back from our trip and wanted to say “Asante!” as the trip was AMAZING!!! We cannot thank you enough for taking the time to walk us through the trip planning process, information on required gear, and what to expect on Kilimanjaro. It certainly was appreciated when we hit the summit with negative […]

An extremely challenging and amazing adventure

It was an extremely challenging and amazing adventure.  I was quite pleased that I was able to summit.  My trek mate and I both had a little bit of altitude sickness but we powered through it and were both ecstatic to have made it to the top. First, my expectations were exceeded in all facets […]

I had dreamed about this for over 20 years.

I have to say I was really pleased to have chosen Thomson Safaris for my Kilimanjaro trek.  All three of us were successful in reaching the summit, and the complete arrangements were near perfect.

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