This route is the hardest but most spectacular and direct way to reach Uhuru Peak. It follows a forested ridge to the moorlands, then traverses below the Southern Icefields to reach the Barafu Route which is followed to the summit. An early start is made on the summit day to reach Stella Point, on the Crater Rim at dawn. Uhuru Peak lies a further 40 min. along the rim.
Accommodation on the mountain is in tents which the porters will pitch for you; you will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes and walking poles. This is a steep, tough and in places slightly exposed trek within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. An extra day can be added to our itinerary to explore or relax along the route, (best taken at the Barranco Hut).
Day 1 : Moshi to Umbwe Gate to Umbwe Camp
Drive from Moshi to the Umbwe Gate. Commence the climb through the rain forest with packed lunch on route. Dinner and overnight at the first encampment (9,186 ft / 2,800 m).
Overnight: Umbwe Camp
Day 2 : Umbwe Camp to Barranco Hut
After breakfast, we leave the glades of the forest and follow an ascending path on the open moorland to the Barranco Hut (12,795 ft / 3,900 m).
Overnight: Barranco Hut
Day 3 : Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, through the Karanga Valley (13,770 ft / 4,200 m), and the junction that connects with the Mweka Trail.
Overnight: Karanga Valley Camp
Day 4 : Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
We continue to the Barafu Hut. You have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo can be viewed from our camp.
Overnight: Barafu Camp
Day 5 : Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Hut
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2 a.m.) we begin our push to the summit. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. At Stella Point (18,652 ft / 5,685 m), you stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to experience.
From Stella Point, you will encounter snow all the way on your trek to the summit. Once at Uhuru Peak we have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Faster hikers will take quick photos at the summit.
It can be very cold at night at these elevations, but you will be quite warm by the end of the hiking day. You will want clothing with you for both extremes.
From the summit we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon.
Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned rest. Beer and soda may be available for purchase at the Mweka Hut.
- Meals: BLD
- Overnight: Mweka Hut
Day 6 : Mweka Hut to Moshi
After breakfast we continue the descent to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably provide plenty of warmth (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
From the gate, continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi. Don't forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration!
Standard Lodging: Bristol Cottages/Similar One