Best Time

All year round


6 Days, 4 Nights


The following is day by day itinerary of the most difficult and challenging route on Kilimanjaro, the Umbwe route. Important things to note on the itinerary are the elevation gains, the distance to be covered each day, and notable features or things to do each day. The Umbwe route is sometimes done in 5 days, but we highly recommend a 6-day itinerary as follows:


Day 1 – Umbwe Gate (1800 meters) to Umbwe Cave Camp (2850 meters):

Africa Nature Photography will pick you up from your hotel in Moshi or Arusha and transfer you to the starting point – the Umbwe gate. At the gate you will register for the climb and immediately after you are cleared for the trek, you will start your trek following instructions from your head guide. Today’s trail is through a thick forest where you will be able to spot some wild animals. Note that the trail is steep and in some places slippery, you will have to be extra careful.  Today’s final destination is Umbwe Cave Camp.

Distance: 11km

Trekking time: 6-7 hours

Zone: Montane Rainforest

Altitude gain: 1050 meters

Day 2 – Umbwe Cave Camp (2850 meters) to Barranco Camp (3,900 meters):

After breakfast at the camp, you will start this trek towards the busy Barranco Camp. Today’s will see us leave the rainforest zone and enter the low Alpine desert zone. Today’s trek is fairly steep and the altitude gain is decent at 1000 meters hence you are advised to walk slowly and drink plenty of water to avoid altitude problems. At Barranco Camp, you will be treated with a superb view of the Kibo Peak, Southern Glaciers, and the Western Breach.

Distance: 6km

Trekking time: 4-5 hours

Zone: Montane Rainforest

Altitude gain: 1050 meters

Day 3 – Barranco Camp (3,900 meters) to Karanga Camp (3,995 meters)

 Today you will climb the Great Barranco Wall to reach the top of Karanga Valley. The 257 meters rock face may look intimidating but climbing it is easier than you may think. You will need to be extra careful as you scramble towards the top of the wall. You need neither technical skills nor any special trekking gear to climb the Barranco Wall.

Once you reach the top of the Barranco Wall you will be welcome with great views, it is time to pause and take great photos before you start trekking through a series of inclines and declines to Karanga Camp (3,960 meters).

Distance:  6 km

Trekking time: 4-5 hours

Zone: Moorlands

Altitude gain: 95 meters

Day 4: Karanga Camp (3,995 meters) to Barafu Camp (4,673 meters)

After breakfast at Karanga Camp, you will start the trek to finish the Southern Circuit. You are likely to meet people on their way down to Mweka at the Mweka Trail junction. From the junction, you will continue towards your final destination of the day, Barafu Camp.

At Barafu Camp, which is the base camp, you will have an early dinner before you rest to prepare yourself for the summit attempt. You will have great views of Mawenzi peak and Kibo peaks at Barafu camp.

Distance:  4 km

Trekking time: 4-5 hours

Zone: High Alpine desert zone

Altitude gain: 678 meters

Day 5 – Barafu Camp (4,673 meters) to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters) and then Mweka Camp (3,100 meters):

This is the day you have been waiting for. Your mental and physical stamina are going to be tested to the limit. You will start summit night at around 11:00 PM or 12:00 AM depending on how your head guide sees it fit. Important tip, put your snacks and bottle of water under your first layer jacket. After you have checked that you are well dressed and have all trekking gears for the summit attempt, you will start the steep slope in a pole pole style (slowly slowly). Your big stopping point is at Stella Point (5756 meters) where you can have snacks and hot tea.

After a short rest at Stella Point (not more than 5 minutes), you will continue hiking to Uhuru summit. After the Uhuru summit, a tough descent will be waiting for you. You will descend to the base camp, rest a little bit, then descend further to Mweka Camp. We chose to descend to Mweka Camp(3100 meters) so as to give you a chance to relax well and have enough oxygen unlike the other option of resting at Millenium Camp (3950 meters) which is still higher compared to Mweka Camp.

Distance:  Total 10 km to the summit and back to the base camp, then from base camp to Mweka Camp it will take approximately 11 km

Trekking time: 6-8 hours to the summit, then another 6-7 hours back to the base camp. From base camp to Mweka Camp you may spend 5-8 hours.

Zone: Glacial zone and all preceding zones.

Altitude gain: 1222 meters, altitude loss: 2795 meters.

 Day 6 – Mweka Camp (3,100 meters) to Mweka Gate (1,640 meters):

After your breakfast at Mweka Camp, you will start a final descend to the exit gate. The walk on this day is through a tropical rainforest. At the Mweka Gate, you will have to sign out and be handed certificates of completion. If you successfully reach Stella Point you will be handed a green certificate. If you successfully reached Uhuru peak, a gold certificate will be handed to you. After all administrative procedures have been completed at Mweka Gate, you will be transported to your hotel.

Distance:  Total 10 km

Trekking time: 3-4 hours.

Zone: Moorlands at Mweka Camp then descending to Montane forest zone at Mweka gate.

Altitude loss: 1460 meters

“Join us on your next African Adventure and we promise to make it a truly once in a life time experience and absolutely perfect.”

Plan Your Trip to Tanzania

Tell us about your wishes and one of our Safari specialists will be in touch to plan a unique trip for you