This route is the hardest but most spectacular and direct way to reach Uhuru Peak. Extra days can be added to our itinerary to explore or relax along the route or to camp in the Karanga River valley.
Accommodation on the mountain is in tents; you will need a sleeping bag but a mat is provided. The porters do not pitch the tents for you but will help if you wish.
1. Arrive at hotel.
2. Drive to the Umbwe Roadhead at 1800m. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers. The first campsite is in the forest by some rock overhangs at 2940m, (5-6 hours walking).
3. Shortly after leaving the camp the forest ends and the path continues along a narrow spectacular ridge. Above, the sheer 1000m of the Breach Wall appears and disappears as the afternoon mists roll up the Great Barranco. From the Umbwe ridge the route descends slightly to the Barranco Hut and our camp in the valley floor at 3900m, (5-6 hours walking).
4. A short scramble to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over scree and ridges to the Karanga Valley (4000m, 3 hours), beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers.
5. After climbing out of the Karanga Valley the trail ascends a ridge to the Barafu Hut, a bleak location with little vegetation at 4600m, (3 hours walking).
6. An early start for the ascent to the rim of the Kibo Crater between the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers, (4 hours); the last section before the rim can sometimes be snow-covered and an ice-axe or ski stick is useful for balance. From here a further hour leads to Uhuru Peak, from where there are often fine views of Meru to the west and the jagged peak of Mawenzi to the east. After a short time on the summit you descend to the Barafu Hut for a rest and lunch before continuing on down to camp at Mweka Hut in the giant heather zone on the Mweka route. Those with energy on the summit may wish to descend to the Reutsh Crater and visit the dramatic ice pinnacles of the Eastern Icefields.
7. A 3-4 hour descent through beautiful forest brings you to the Park gate and your waiting transport. Drive back to the hotel near Moshi / Arusha.
8. Leave hotel after breakfast.