The Umbwe route is widely regarded as the hardest trail, a tough vertical slog through the jungle, in some places using the tree roots as make shift-rungs on a ladder. Having reached the southern circuit, trekkers used to continue north-west to tackle Kibo from the difficult Arrow Glacier Route. Though, with this currently closed, you now have to follow the southern circuit east around to Barafu and approach the summit from there. The entire walk up and down takes a minimum of five days if going via the Barafu campsite, though this is entirely too rapid.
How difficult is the Umbwe route? Despite its reputation as the toughest trek, Umbwe route is still a non-technical climb. Taxing, but not technical. All you need are an iron will and calves of steel. This is truly a trek to test your mettle.
The difficulty is that it is relentlessly uphill. As far as rewards go, while your calves and thighs will curse the day God paired them with somebody who would want to undertake such a climb, your heart and lungs will be thankful for the work-out. Your eyes, too, will be grateful you choose Umbwe, as they feast up on the scenery, particularly on the second morning, as you leave the forest and find yourself walking on a narrow ridge between spindly heather.
The views on either side of the trail here are amongst the most dramatic the mountain has to offer, save for those on the summit itself. Your ears, too, will be glad they are stuck to the side of your head, for they will enjoy the break. This is the quietest trail of them all, at least until the second day when you find yourself joining the hordes at Baranco Camp, the busiest on the mountain.
Duration for the safari is 8 days