• FAQ

Daring experienced climbers seeking adventure and challenge will find just what they want on Umbwe route. A short steep climb traversing all the climate zones – from tropical rainforest to eternal ice – will put your strength and endurance to the test. Like no other route on Kilimanjaro Umbwe gives a sense of achievement to those who reach the summit.


This 6 days Kilimanjaro hike starts at Umbwe Gate and ascending to Uhuru summit via Stella Point. Recommended only to experienced hikers in good physical shape. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are plentiful. There are fewer people, pristine forest and the shorter yet steeper walking distances make it a great option for fit hikers. It joins the Machame route in the Barranco Valley, and hence has similar levels of people on trail as the Machame Route thereon. There is a night time ascent to the summit and descent is via Mweka Route.


Kilimanjaro: afromontane forest, glacial valleys and alpine desert, views of Mawenzi, ascent of Kibo and possible views of Kibo caldera and ash pit. Glaciers and the roof of Africa!

  • distance
    Hike Distance – Around 34 miles / 54 km
  • time
    Trekking Time – Approximately 37 hours
  • duration
    Duration – 6 or 7 days
  • diff
    Difficulty – Very High
  • scen
    Scenery – Excellent
  • crowd
    Traffic – Low

    Today we start the trekking of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. After breakfast, our mountain crew will arrive to meet you at the lodge/hotel and hold a quick briefing before we precede to the Umbwe Gate at Kilimanjaro National Park with picnic lunch boxes. Upon arrival at the gate, we will patiently wait for the permits formalities to be issued and registrations. Once the permits are settled, we begin our ascent at 1,640 m elevation. The first day hiking is not overly difficult but certainly steepens towards the latter end of the day, so find the right pace for the whole group and stick with it. You will walk on a mountain ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers before reaching Umbwe Cave Camp (2930 m) after about 5 to 6 hours of strenuous walking. At the campsite you can rest and enjoy some snacks while dinner is being prepared. You might be lucky enough to see the reflective eyes of a wild cat or monkeys jumping through the trees.

    ELEVATION: From 1,640M to 2,930M


    Day two we ascend from the forest zone into the heath zone. The path gets steeper on this section, taking it easy is essential to allow your body to acclimatize. A picnic lunch is taken on route. As we get out of the forest along the Umbwe ridge the route descends slightly to the Barranco camp which is nestled inside a huge volcanic fault.  Here we will have the opportunity to relax for a while before dinner, which significantly facilitates the acclimatization process. You will notice the camp is pretty busy. This is because you will be joining hikers from the Machame, Lemosho and Shira Route here. Enjoy amazing views of Kibo and the Great Barranco Wall.

    ELEVATION: From 2,930M to 3,960M
    HABITAT: Moorland


    Day three will test your mountain climbing power, agility, and strength, as you’ll tackle Barranco Wall for a bit of old-fashioned rock climbing. We make an early start to avoid crowding on the way up Barranco Wall. Afterbreakfast, we start by descending into the start of the Great Barranco, a huge ravine. We then exit steeply, up the Great Barranco Wall, which divides us from the southeastern slopes of Kibo. It’s a climb over rock, not technical but long and tiring. Safety is very important to us so please follow the guideline of your guides who will get you to the top safely. You might have to use yours hands every now and then to get a better grip but rest assured there are no alpine climbing passages.
    Passing underneath the Heim and Kersten glaciers, we head towards the Karanga valley and the junction, which connects, with the Mweka Trail. Despite the Wall’s seemingly daunting height and steepness the actual climb is rather merciful at a mere hour or so. The top provides a great photo opportunity with Kibo Peak as the backdrop. Today is a relatively short day’s hike and lunch is taken at Karanga camp. The afternoon is spent relaxing and acclimatising. In the evening a practice walk for the summit is taken to make sure you are completely comfortable with the kit you are going to summit in.

    ELEVATION: From 3960M to 4,035M
    HABITAT: Moorland


    Day four is a half day ascending to Barafu Camp. Your hike takes you across an alpine desert, making for a truly otherworldly day of hiking. Once again lunch is taken in camp allowing plenty of time to relax before the summit bid. As you’ll be summiting tomorrow, it’s important that you eat a full meal and drink plenty of fluids. A relatively early dinner is taken before heading to rest for the rest of the evening.

    ELEVATION: From 4,035M to 4,673M
    HABITAT: Alpine Desert


    Day five is summit night. Excitement is building up as we make an early start from Barafu Camp (4,673 m) at midnight and walk steeply upwards to the summit glaciers. Patience and persistence are the name of game to reach the summit (Uhuru Peak: 19341ft, 5895m). Technically the climb is relatively simple; however, the most challenging part is the high altitude. You’ll be hiking in utter darkness for the next 5 hours, so take it slow and you’ll arrive at Stella Point on the crater rim before dawn. You will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise during your short rest here. Faster hikers may view the sunrise from the summit. From here on your remaining 1hour ascent to Uhuru Peak, you are likely to encounter snow all the way.

    Congratulations, one step at a time you have now reached Uhuru Peak the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the entire continent of Africa. After photos, celebrations and maybe a few tears of joy we take a few moments to enjoy this incredible accomplishment.

    What goes up must come down however. We begin our descent by returning to Stella Point and then descending on scree slope and track back to Barafu Camp for a quick change of clothes and refuel before the long hike downhill to Mweka Camp. The downhill is hard on the knees and walking poles at this stage are highly recommended. You should reach Mweka Camp before dusk. Well-deserved rest awaits you to enjoy your last evening on the mountain.

    ELEVATION: From 4673M to 5895M / 5895M to 3100M
    HABITAT: Arctic, Alpine Desert, Heath


    Day six is a day of celebration, our final day of trekking. After a warm breakfast, a gentle trek takes us down through the rainforest to Mweka Gate (1,640 m). As the weather is drastically warmer, the terrain is wet, muddy and steep and we highly recommend Gaiters and trekking poles. Around midday you will be already at Mweka Gate, where we complete park formalities and receive certificates, which you can hang up with pride! Here, you’ll get to celebrate with your porters and guides, provide them with their tips for their hard work. After saying farewell to your crew, you are picked up and transferred back to your lodge for a well-deserved shower! Later that evening you will be visited by our Representative to congratulate you, to find out how the trip went and to answer any final questions you may have about your onward journey.

    ELEVATION: From 3100M to 1640M

  • Transfer to / from the mountain gate
  • Professional mountain support crew (including; professional qualified mountain guide, assistant guides, adequate porters, cook etc)
  • All meals on the hike. You will find delicious energy-rich meals on our mountain menus. Our cook will prepare assorted soups, garnishes, several types of fish and meat, fresh fruit and vegetables. Vegetarian/gluten-free/halal options are available upon request
  • Drinks on the hike (coffee, tea, hot chocolate and water)
  • Kilimanjaro National Park Permits Fees
  • Kilimanjaro National Park Rescue Fees
  • Camping Equipment (tents, table, sleeping pads, chairs, crockery and cutlery)
  • First aid kit
  • Flying Doctors Rescue Insurance during your trip
  • International certificates for a successful ascent
  • Fair wages for the mountain support crew as approved by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority (KINAPA) & Kilimanjaro Association of Tour Operators (KIATO)
  • Walking poles
  • Oxygen cylinders and oximeters
  • Free storage of excess luggage not required on the mountain trekking
  • Government Taxes (VAT, TDL and Service Levy. Mucho Tours & Safaris is an honest and responsible Tour Operator working in full compliance with the tax law of the United Republic of Tanzania)
  • International & Domestic Flights tickets
  • Visa Fees
  • Travel & Medical Insurance
  • Accommodations before & after the trekking
  • Tipping & gratuities for your mountain support crew (Highly Recommended)
  • Expenses of Personal nature; extra beverages, energy food, souvenirs etc.
  • Personal mountain gears (hiring service available)
  • Any excess luggage more than 15 Kg per person while trekking
  • Cost of any requested itinerary modification while the trekking is in progress
  • All statutory increases beyond our control
  • Laundry services
  • How many days early should I arrive?

    We recommend arriving one day early (what we refer to as “arrival day”). This will give you time to relax and get a proper briefing before the climb starts. More importantly, if there’s any delay to your flight or your luggage goes AWOL, there’s enough wiggle room so that this delay doesn’t derail your climb.

  • What is the best time of year to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

    You can climb any month of the year. At lower elevations, April, May, and November are quite wet while March and June are transitional months. August and September are the coldest and driest months. January, February, July, August, and September are all popular climbing months. If you have a particular event or day you would like to be standing on the summit, we will arrange that.

  • Which is the best route?

    There are seven different Kilimanjaro routes up the mountain. We recommend the eight-day Lemosho & seven-day Machame . These routes offer the best balance of a high success rate and beautiful scenery.

  • How far do I hike each day?

    Depending upon the selected route, you may trek an average of 4-8 hours per day with the summit day being the longest. Most days, other than the summit day, will begin with breakfast around 6:30 AM and departure at 7 AM. You will walk four to five hours with a break for lunch followed by another hour or two of hiking in the afternoon. These days are not long or difficult and you will be advised to walk slowly – Pole pole.

  • Why do we make the final ascent in the pre-dawn darkness?

    The final ascent requires patience and persistence to reach the summit (Uhuru Peak: 19341ft, 5895m). Normally, we start the ascent around midnight, depending on the perceived fitness of the group, the weather and the route. The pre-dawn hours are ideal to start the ascent to the summit as it is cold but also calm and clear. It is rare find cloudy weather at the summit at dawn any time of year and at dawn, you have the best view.

    On the other hand, if you leave in early morning, it could be very windy and the ascent becomes more difficult. The ascent day is a long hiking day, so it is better start early and walk slowly. It can take up to 15 hours to reach the summit and descend to the camp for that night.

  • How much weight will I have to wear and where can I leave unnecessary luggage?

    You will simply carry a day pack of about two to four kilograms, although some people carry more or less. Your gear (not to exceed twelve kilograms) will be placed inside a waterproof duffle at the trail head and a porter will carry this for you. If you have things that you do not need on the climb, you may leave them at our office.

  • How do I get to Mt Kilimanjaro?

    Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is the most convenient arrival airport, sitting only 42 km away from the mountain town of Moshi and 50 km from Arusha.

  • Who will accompany me during the climb?

    The usual ratio is three or four crew members for each climber, although small groups may have four or five of them. The mountain crew support usually consists of an English speaking guide or guides, a professional cooker, and gear-carrying porters. We encourage you to interact with your staff. They are all trustworthy, local people who have grown up in the shadow of the mountain. Many of them have climbed the peak a hundred or more times.

  • What kind of tents will I sleep in? What are the huts on the Marangu Route like?

    Your tents are mountain-style, double-walled, mosquito-netted, and durably-floored with waterproof material. While technically rated as three-person tents, they accommodate two people very comfortably. Tents are erected and packed up by our mountain support crew. There is enough space for tall people to stretch out and room for your gear within the tent. On the Marangu Route, the huts are just large enough for four bunks built against the walls of A-frame cubicles. Tall hikers will feel cramped. Gear is stored on the floor. Wash and toilet facilities are shared and are outside of the bungalows.

  • What is the food like?

    We understand that sufficient caloric intake and purified water are essential to keep the body functioning properly high up on the mountain. Our menu is specific to the activities of that day, and day of trekking ahead. By incorporating the right balance of carbohydrates and proteins, we keep our clients in top health.

    We have vegetarian & vegan menus available and accommodate gluten free and do our best with other special dietary situations.

    The following are a sample of our menu items:


    • Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate
    • Toast, Biscuits with Margarine, Jam, Peanut Butter
    • Eggs, meat, sausage
    • Porridge
    • Fresh fruits: Mango, Banana, Avocado, Watermelon, Oranges


    • Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate
    • Chicken or Vegetable Soup
    • Bread, Biscuits or Pancakes with Jam, Peanut Butter
    • Sandwich with Meat or Cheese, Boiled Egg
    • Snack: Peanuts, Popcorn, Cake, Cookies
    • Fresh fruits and Fruit Salad: Tomato, Cucumber, Onion, Carrots


    • Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate
    • Chicken or Vegetable Soup
    • Bread, Biscuits or Pancakes with Jam, Peanut Butter
    • Roasted Chicken, Beef or Fish
    • Potatoes, Rice, Pasta
    • Fresh Vegetables: Carrots, Peas, Tomato, Beans
  • What happens if I need to descend before the summit?

    No one is forced to go on. There is always enough staff to split the group accordingly to needs and regroup later at the camp. Most people have no trouble reaching the highest campsite. If some party members decide not to climb the final distance to the peak or cannot proceed at any point in time, they can wait for the other group climbers to come back or can go down with a guide following the same way or take a lateral path to the descent route.

  • What kind of help is available in case of an emergency?

    We always have a first aid kit with us and guides are well trained on first aid. Serious injuries are very rare and Kilimanjaro National Park has a rescue team in case of emergency.

  • What kind of equipment and clothing should I bring?

    • Travel bag, backpack or kitbag, weighing no more than 12kg. Please do not bring a suitcase or trolley bag, as this type of luggage cannot be carried by the porters.
    • Day backpack with rain protection.
    • High quality sleeping bag for harsh conditions (at night temperatures can drop to -20°C).
    • Different layers of clothing including thermal base layers, fleece clothing, trekking pants, warm jacket and water-resistant top layers as well as a warm headgear.
    • Water-resistant and comfortable hiking boots and a variety of trekking socks.
    • Please note that the above list is not complete and these are just a few things that you will have to bring with you. Once we have confirmed your booking, you will receive a more detailed list.
  • Do I need to get any vaccinations before I leave?

    There are no specific vaccine requirements for entry into Tanzania. However, be aware that the Government of Tanzania requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival if you are travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever. Also COVID vaccination certificate or PCR Test results less than 72 hours.

    While it’s not mandatory by any means, we suggest you talk to your doctor about getting the following vaccinations (which are standard in developed countries): Hepatitis A & B, typhoid, yellow fever, tetanus, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and meningococcal meningitis (Africa and Asia).

  • Will I need a VISA for Tanzania?

    Yes, you can obtain it online. Please also note that you need a passport that’s valid for at least six months after your departure date.

  • Can I find cheaper prices for the same route?

    The major sources of cost variations are the money spent on food, off-mountain accommodation, porter and guide wages, tents, and the cost of getting to the mountain.
    Mucho Tours & Safaris is determined to provide the best food, best guides and porters, best tents and equipment, top quality before-and-after-climb accommodation, a full professional pre-climb orientation, insurance for all staff and inclusion of all park permits, meals, transfers and local hosting costs.

    Cheap operators may sacrifice:

    • Safety equipment
    • Contract out your climb to unknown companies
    • Non-certified guides with no medical training
    • Neglect proper cooking preparations
    • Exclude private sanitary facilities
    • Poor group equipment
    • Select quick and crowded routes
    • the list can go on and on….

    Our approach is not to provide the cheapest trip, but rather to do everything we can to increase the likelihood you will reach the summit and enjoy the overall experience with a staff of people who are well qualified and compensated for the extraordinary assistance they provide to you.

  • How much should I tip the staff?

    On Kilimanjaro and Safari tipping is an expected practice for the crew who assist you. As a general rule USD$250 to USD$300 per person will adequately cover crew tips on the mountain.

  • Should I use Altitude medication?

    The majority of climbers have not been at high altitude before and do not know how their body will react. Diamox (generic name Acetazolamide) is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, which means it forces the kidneys to expel bicarbonate, thus re-acidifying the blood. The drug forces the kidneys to emit bicarbonate. By increasing the amount of bicarbonate removed to the urine, the blood becomes more acidic. Acidifying the blood stimulates ventilation, which increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and has shown to decrease the detrimental effects of altitude on the body.

    This is a personal choice and has been known to assist clients with minimizing the effects of altitude. This should ultimately be a decision between you and your physician.

  • Is Mt Kilimanjaro a technical climb?

    No, in the sense that no prior climbing experience is needed. However, this should not lead to the notion that this is a simple hike. A Kilimanjaro climb is a very special type of adventure, beyond a traditional vacation. Unlike popular beach vacations or simple hiking tours, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro requires certain preparations. After all, this adventure takes hikers to the highest point of Africa at 5,895 m/19,340 f. This is often the highest altitude many climbers to ever achieve, making this trip a true adventure of a lifetime. The Climb Kili personal Fitness Program will prepare your body and mind for the daily trekking and rigors of the mountain.

  • Should I climb Kilimanjaro?

    Yes! The challenge is real, but absolutely worth it. Over the course of several days, you and your team journey through a tropical rainforest and transition to an Alpine Desert, ending in an Arctic climate, while still in Africa. Camping along scenic routes overlooking Tanzania, while you trek the famous volcano Kilimanjaro is the experience of a lifetime. Finally, you can stand on Uhuru Peak and watch the sun rise up over the curve of the earth from the highest point in all of Africa.

  • Advice for women climbing Mt Kilimanjaro

    Here are three (very valid!) questions we’re often asked by women preparing to climb Mt Kilimanjaro:

    • Where do I go to the toilet during the climb?
    • How can I keep clean during the climb?
    • How do I manage my period on the climb?

    Where do I go to the toilet during the climb?

    Needing to wee and not being able to go … we’ve all been there, and it’s stressful! When climbing Kilimanjaro, you’ll need to wee fairly often. Altitude makes us urinate more frequently plus you’ll be drinking more water than usual. So here’s some basic info and advice when it comes to:

    • peeing while hiking
    • pooping while hiking
    • the toilet tent at camp

    Peeing while hiking

    You’ll be drinking a lot of water during your Kilimanjaro climb. In fact, you should be drinking a minimum of three litres a day! That means you’ll be needing to go to the toilet a lot. Additionally, the higher you climb, the more often you need to go, as altitude makes you urinate more frequently.

    Some women climbing Kilimanjaro like to use a Shewee or similar urinating device to make it easier to take a leak whilst hiking. These devices let you wee in a similar way to a man: you just need to turn your back on the crowd, unzip your trousers and push your knickers aside, then wee into the contraption. The funnel ensures your wee comes out in a stream away from your feet. We suggest you opt for a device that comes with a storage container.

    Urinating devices

    Female urinating devices are, of course, all about personal preference. But know that you won’t be the only one using it on the mountain. The higher up the mountain you climb, the less vegetation there is to hide behind for dropping your trousers and copping a squat. The ‘bush’ toilet will turn into a ‘rock’ toilet. You might also find during tiring stretches of the hike that you’re grateful for the heightened ease and efficiency offered by the Shewee.

    Pooping while hiking

    Hiking at altitude often makes bowel movements more frequent. So it’s quite likely that you’ll need to pooh while on the trail. It’s best to prepare yourself mentally and practically for this (deciding you won’t need to go before reaching camp, or that you’ll talk your bowel into submission, isn’t really a plan, and just provides unnecessary stress).

    The toilet tent in camp

    Unless you’re hiking the Marangu route, which provides permanent hut accommodation, you’ll usually be using a portable toilet inside a tent when in camp. Most tour operator provides its trekkers with a private toilet tent. Be sure to check your trip inclusions. If a private toilet is not listed here, you will be using the public toilets at camp.

    How can I keep clean during the climb?

    Keeping clean on a Kilimanjaro climb is an interesting exercise. At no point on the mountain is there showers available, unless you’re hiking the Marangu route, which does offer cold showers. For the rest of us hiking one of the other seven Kilimanjaro routes, there’ll be no showering during the trek. And that means we’ll all be getting a bit smellier than normal.


    You’re going to be on the mountain for around seven days without a shower. So it’s a good idea to plan ahead of time what you want to do about your hair. And since everyone’s hair is different, we suggest making a game plan based on what you know about your own hair.

    Obviously a good idea is to wash your hair just before you head to the mountain, that way you’re golden for the first couple of days. After that, consider tying longer hair in a plait to limit the dust that can settle on it. Giving it a brush at night should also help to remove a bit of dust and any freeloaders like the odd small leaf.

    From then on, the plan might simply be a bandanna, beanie or cap that keeps it covered. And that’s a solid, Kili-stlye plan. We suggest you might like to use the head cover as well as utilise a little baby powder or dry shampoo at the roots, to keep the oiliness under control. Be sure also that your hair tie (if you have long hair) is sturdy, or that you have a backup band should yours break or get lost.


    We recommend cutting your nails short just before starting the trek to avoid (too much) dirt getting under them. A small scrubbing brush and a toothpick for cleaning under your nails might also be good ideas. If the sight of dirty nails horrifies you, then we recommend wearing a dark nail polish to hide the dirt.

    How do I manage my period on the climb?

    According to the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, a woman’s menstrual cycle can be affected by changes in altitude, particularly a great increase in altitude. This means climbing up Mt Kilimanjaro could well result in ‘surprises’, from causing your period to stop before usual to causing it to be early, irregular or longer than the norm. Basically, your period should be thought of as a wildcard on a high-altitude trek. And this means that every lady with a period should prepare to deal with it on the climb, even if you’re trekking at a time that you know you shouldn’t get it.

  • How do I shower and use the loo?

    This is an outdoor adventure trip in the African wild. There are no showers on the mountain. Warm water will be supplied in a bowl and you will be able to wash your face and hands. For the rest you can bring wet wipes. At each campsite, we set up a private toilet tent which contains a plastic toilet. If you need to use the bathroom on the trail, you’ll find a spot behind a tree or rock. But you’ll need to have a little baggie for putting used toilet paper in that you then carry to camp and dispose of in a bin.