In addition to its magnificent wildlife safaris and several adventure experiences, Africa is also one of the most ideal destinations for mountain climbing safaris. With hundreds of glittering summits across the continent, hikers have an endless list to choose from where they want to drop their sweat.
1. Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania
Africa’s tallest mountain Kilimanjaro is located in northeastern Tanzania near the border with Kenya. Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru peak, the highest point in Africa rises to 5895 meters above sea level. Kilimanjaro is Africa’s most-visited trekking destination, attracting tens of thousands of tourists every year.
One major factor that makes Kilimanjaro so popular among travellers is that you don’t have to be a technical climber to hike it, you just need to be physically fit and no special equipment is required. There are six routes for hikers to choose from with each offering a unique scenery and varying degrees of difficulty and success. Hikers go through five different climatic zones before they reach the glaciers with arctic cold temperatures at Kibo summit.
Climate change experts predict that the ice and snow in Kilimanjaro’s upper slopes could could disappear within decades because they are melting. If you are planning to hike Kilimanjaro soon, this is an alarming call for you to speed up things!
2. Mount Kenya
A vast extinct volcano lying just south of the Equator, Mount Kenya is the second-highest peak in Africa at 5,199 meters above sea level. It is another popular trekking destination on the continent due to its stunning glacial valleys, successive vegetation zones and diverse wildlife.
However, Mount Kenya is perhaps the most technical for climbers in the East African region as the ascent to its steep ice-capped is quite challenging. There are several routes that lead hikers to the mountain’s summit and majority of them take between three and seven days to reach. Temperatures at the mountain’s crest rarely rise above the freezing point.
3. Atlas Mountains – Morocco
The impressive mountainous range of the High Atlas in central Morocco host North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal at 4,165 meters. Several hiking routes to the summit have been earmarked though inexperienced climbers should be ready for the challenging trek through the mountain’s terrains which is quite demanding.
The trek through the mountain’s rugged landscape offers climbers with magnificent views of spectacular gorges and rolling valleys. The journey also offers a breathtaking encounter with the amazing local Berber people who have inhabited the mountains’ rough terrains for centuries.
4. Mount Rwenzori – Uganda
Africa’s third-highest mountain Rwenzori is located in western Uganda at the border with Democratic Republic of Congo. Margherita, the highest peak of the mountain stands at 5,109 meters above sea level. A hike to Rwenzori summit is so rewarding as climbers go through a variety stunning vegetation zones with magnificent views of both flora and fauna species.
The mountain is part of the greater Mount Rwenzori National Park which rewards travellers with more experiences like game viewing, bird-watching, nature walks and more.
5. Mount Meru – Tanzania
Though always shadowed by its imposing neighbour Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru is Tanzania’s second-highest mountain at 4,565 meters and has got its own uniqueness.
Mount Meru is a beautiful volcanic cinder cone with sunning views and diverse wildlife including a dense rainforest which precedes the rocky areas. Climbers love using Meru for acclimatisation before trekking Kilimanjaro.
6. Simien Mountains – Ethiopia
The Simien Mountains in northern Ethiopia is another tourist treasure in this rich cultural heritage area. Travellers are attracted to the mountains’ several jagged peaks of solidified lava which are separated by deep valleys to form an overwhelming landscape.
There are several species of some of the world’s rarest animals that call these mountains home including the walia ibex which is not found anywhere else in the world. Ras Dejen is Simien’s highest peak at 4,533 meters and the region’s national park has since 1978 been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
7. The Drakensberg – South Africa
The vast mountainous range of the Drakensberg stretches through South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland covering some 1,125 kilometres of land and rising to 3,475 meters above sea level.
The vast Drakensberg Mountains accommodate both casual day hikes through indigenous forests and more tough expeditions along their rough terrains and rocky terraces. Several national parks and game reserves are also within this vast mountainous range, attracting thousands of tourists to the area every year.
8. Mount Elgon – Uganda
Mount Elgon is a stunning summit of an extinct volcano straddling the border of Uganda and Kenya. The mountain has several inviting peaks which surround its enormous crater including Wagagai, the highest at 4,321 meters.
Mount Elgon is part of the larger protected area of Mount Elgon National Park which offers several experiences to its visitors including game viewing and birding. Elgon’s exclusive experiences include climbing to its peak, visiting its ancient caves and zipping past its spectacular cliffs over which Elgon’s streams cascade as dramatic waterfalls.
Climbers pass through dense forests and bamboo belts which cover the Mountain’s slopes. From here. they head into a breathtaking moorland zone blanketed by tree heaths, massive groundsels and lobelias. There are several routes that lead to Elgon’s peaks while a full trekking circuit takes up five days.