Undoubtably the less utilised and shortest route to the Western Breach. This route makes the distances covered between camps shorter and avoids crowding experienced in some sites in season.
An ascent to Kibo via the Umbwe Route is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitudes, but the rewards are plentiful. Fewer people, pristine forest, greater chances of seeing wildlife and bird life in the lower levels, and shorter walking distances make it a great option for fit hikers.
There are two main ascents on the Umbwe Route, via Barafu Hut or Arrow Glacier. Although both of these options can be done in 5 days, a 6-day hike is recommended for correct acclimatisation.
From the Umbwe Gate (1 700 m) you will walk through the spectacular forest to camp 1 – Bivouac 1 (2 900 m). The path generally keeps to a narrow ridge crest between the Lonzo River on the west and the Umbwe on the east. Altitude is gained quickly with some spectacular views of deep gorges, and if you are lucky glimpses of Kilimanjaro towering above you in the distance.
Camp 2 on this route is Bivouac No 2 (3 780 m), if youre feeling strong, then you may continue to Barranco Hut (3 950 m). The path is fairly steep through the forest, heading along a sharp ridge before it flattens as you approach Barranco Hut in the moorland zone. A fairly long and strenuous day, you will now start to feel the symptoms of altitude.