There is no day wasted on an African trek; you can chose from a variety of rugged barren mountains, thick indigenous forests with pristine falls, fiercely jagged canyons, deep eroded cliffs giving way to valleys and escarpments and vast stretches of loose dessert sands and giant dunes. Whichever is your choice, trekking in Africa requires careful thought and planning and a slightly different way fo planning a trip compared to a traditional safari.
There are many places in Africa that you can trek especially if you're prepared to go 'off-piste' but below are 4 destinations that we highly recommend if you want explore Africa’s mountain areas and snow-capped peaks.
Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and the highest in Africa. Climbing Kilimanjaro is an extremely rewarding, challenging and potentially life-changing experience. With its blend of diverse terrain and spectacular scenery, trekking this ancient dormant volcano will prove to be an exciting physical and mental adventure.
There are several routes available both up and down the mountain. The choice of route will largely depend on the number of days you have available to take up this challenge. Our recommendation would be a 7 days/6 nights for optimum altitude acclimatization with Lemosho being a good option for the most comfortable and successful climbs.
Ethiopia’s landscape offers audacious contrasts for thrill seeking trekkers; from the Simien Mountains- a historic feature listed on UNESCO World Heritage sites. The rugged rock formation, volcanic extrusions which tower above the highlands are every trekker’s fascination. This age old agrarian landscape is also spotted with gorges, valleys and escarpments which all together form an exhilarating experience. Be sure to indulge in the coffee culture and mingle with the local community for a taste of their traditional warm welcome. The drier months of May-October are best for such outdoor engagement.
Trekking the Simiens is however not the only sport-related attraction for tourists in Ethiopia; trail running is also gaining popularity as the country seeks to top the list of the top visited countries in Africa by 2020.
It may not harbor Africa’s highest peak, but Mt. Kenya offers the unique experience of wildlife spotting and impressive layers of contrasting eco systems. The colorful giant heathers, towering bamboo, acres of open moorland, bizarre plant life, and sky-hugging forest canopy form one of the most impressive landscapes in East Africa. In contrast to popular Mount Kilimanjaro, the mountain of Ngai (term for the God of the surrounding community-Ameru, Agikuyu) is made of jagged edges and ragged peaks of sharp splinters and a glacier. There are different routes to the peaks, Sirimon route is the most popular for a steady altitude gain to the most visited peak - Lenana whick stands at 4985m. Pros and technical mountaineers can challenge their prowess on Peak Batian (5199m) or take a rest at the second highest peak, Peak Nelion (5188m). Make your way back down the mountain and head out on to the Laikipia plateau for some R&R at a lodge or camp surrounded by wildlife.
Unknown to many, the Rwenzori Mountains have several peaks, with the highest point - Margerhita - ranking as third on the list of Africa’s highest peaks. These peaks were named after the Italian royals in the 1900s in accordance to the Victorian Historical. Legendarily referred to as The Mountains of the moon, the Rwenzoris were initially hypothesized by Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy before great explorer Henry Morton Stanley confirmed their existence. The name Rwenzori translates to “The Rainmaker” in the local dialect thus no surprise if you get wet or find yourself walking through areas of soggy bogs. It's well worth it though with spectacular scenery around you throughout. Most trekkers use the tried and tested Central Circuit which can last between 5-8 days, depending on your fitness levels and time available.