The Umbwe Route often draws fit young people who are attracted by the route’s designation as the hardest route on the mountain. The route is certainly raw and unkempt and very steep until it reaches Barranco at 3,984m, from which point it intersects the Machame Route.
Only two days are spent reaching the same point that is reached after three days on the Machame Route and for this reason headaches and mild nausea are relatively commonly on the Umbwe Route, even below 4,000m.
The route can switch left from Barranco to summit via the Western Breach but nowadays more usually switches right, over the Breach Wall, to summit via Barafu.
High Incidence of Mountain Sickness on the Umbwe Route
Please think carefully before deciding on this route. While challenging and exciting - unless already acclimatised from Meru or another 4,000m peak - your summit chances are considerably lower than on our own Rongai Route or the Machame and Lemosho routes.
We are frequently asked which is Kilimanjaro's best route, but this question does not have an answer that applies to all climbers at all times of year. The volume of misleading information elsewhere on the Internet requires that we offer quite a comprehensive, and clarifying perspective on how to ensure you're enabled to choose the best Kilimanjaro route.
According to local accounts, the Italian Balletto discovered the Machame Route with the help of his dog. When trying to surpass complicated obstacles through the rain forest Balletto is said to have thrown a piece of meat for his dog who found the most efficient route to it. Balletto then forged his route by watching where his dog walked.
Budget operators attempt to encourage people to climb the Marangu Route by claiming that it is the easiest route. The reality is that the Marangu Route is only the easiest route for the operator as very little equipment is needed because accommodation is in huts, the entry gate is close to Moshi (where most of the low-budget operators are based), and the access road is paved all the way to the park gate.