Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb

Overview

Kilimanjaro is not only Africa’s tallest peak but also the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. The summit, named Uhuru Point, is 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level.

Most high mountains are part of ranges, such as Mount Everest’s Himalayan Mountain Range. These are formed in a process called plate tectonics. Below the ground, Earth’s crust is made up of multiple tectonic plates. These plates have been moving since the beginning of time due to geologic activity.

When plates push against each other, the edges crumple, forcing slabs of rock into the air. These are known as fold mountains and are the most common type of mountain. A fault-block mountain range is caused when a fault (crack) in the Earth’s crust pushes blocks of rock up between two tectonic plates. The uplifted blocks become block mountains.

Free-standing mountains like Kilimanjaro are usually a result of volcanic activity. Volcanic mountains are formed when molten rock erupts, and piles upon the surface.

Itineraries

6 Days Kilimanjaro Climb – Umbwe Route

Day 1:

Umbwe Gate to Umbwe Camp

  • Elevation: 1651m/5417ft – 2944m / 9659ft
  • Distance: 11km
  • Hiking time: 5-7hrs
  • Habitat: Heath

After being collected from your accommodation in the morning, you will be driven to Umbwe Gate to register for the climb. You will then hike to Umbwe camp through beautiful rainforest scenery while your guide tells you all about the local flora, fauna, and natural wildlife. The camp is surrounded by huge trees and thick undergrowth. Enjoy a delicious, hearty dinner followed by an overnight stay at Umbwe camp.

Day 2:
Umbwe Camp to Barranco Camp

  • Elevation: 294m / 9659ft – 3986m / 13 077ft
  • Distance: 4-5hrs
  • Hiking time: 5-7hrs
  • Habitat: Heath

After breakfast, trek through rocky terrain and the beauty of moss-covered trees. As you ascend, you will be able to catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro. The path plateaus as we approach Barranco Valley. From Umbwe Ridge, the path descends to Barranco Camp through the beguiling Senecio Forest. Stay overnight at Barranco Camp.

Day 3:
Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp

  • Elevation: 3986m / 13 077ft – 4034m / 13 235ft
  • Distance: 5km
  • Hiking time: 4-5hrs
  • Habitat:  Alpine Desert

After breakfast, we start our day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. We then climb a steep but not technically challenging 900ft cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall, we cross over a series of hills and valleys until we descend into Karanga Valley. We then ascend once more before entering Karanga Camp. This is a shorter hiking day to assist with acclimatization.

Day 4:
Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp

  • Elevation: 4034m / 13 235ft ft – 4662m / 15 295 ft
  • Distance: 4kms
  • Hiking time: 4-5hrs
  • Habitat:  Alpine Desert

After breakfast, we continue along a rocky path towards Barafu Camp. Once reached, you have completed the South Circuit which offers numerous breathtaking views of the summit. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this position. An early dinner and rest prior to our summit day climb.

 

Day 5:
Barafu Camp to Uhuru Camp

  • Elevation: 4662m / 15 295 ft – 5895m / 19 341ft
  • Distance: 5kms
  • Hiking time: 7-8hrs
  • Habitat: Arctic

Around midnight, we begin the final climb to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. This is the most mentally and physically demanding part of the trek with extreme temperatures, strong winds, and eerie darkness peppered with the glow of head torches and ancient stars. We climb throughout the night, taking frequent, short breaks. Near Stella Point on the crater rim, you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise over Mawenze Peak. We then summit through snow to Uhuru Peak – the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Hongera sana (many congratulations) for climbing to the roof of Africa!

Uhuru Camp to Mweka Camp

  • Elevation: 4034m / 13 235ft feet – 3106m / 10 190ft
  • Distance: 12km
  • Hiking time: 6-7hrs
  • Habitat: Rain Forest

From the celebrations at the peak, we then descend a steep and rocky trail stopping at Barafu Camp for lunch. Trekking poles are useful for this part of the hike. We arrive at Mweka Camp in the late afternoon, situated in the tranquil misty upper forest. That evening, we enjoyed our last delicious dinner on the mountain and a very well-deserved sleep.

Day 6:
Mweka Camp to Mweka Camp

  • Elevation: 3106m / 10 190ft – 1633m / 5358ft
  • Distance: 10kms
  • Hiking time: 3-4hrs
  • Habitat: Rainforest

On our final day, we continue to descend to Mweka Gate through calming rainforest terrain. At the base, we celebrate everyone’s achievements in song and dance and say our goodbyes to the incredibly hospitable and helpful guides, porters, and cooks. We collect our summit certificates and are greeted with a ride back to Moshi / Arusha.