When it comes to vacations, often the most rewarding experiences can be those that allow you to go back to your life after having accomplished something. While this ‘something’ can range from wanting to help those less fortunate than ourselves or tracking wildlife in some far off land, hiking mountains is certainly a noble pursuit that has viewed as a worthwhile endeavour for mankind for many a decade.
If your adventurous spirit is tickled by the notion of undertaking the trek up a mountain and being able to experience the personal pride that accompanies reaching the summit, then you’ll probably be interested in finding the perfect mountain for your journey. In an effort to help you, we’re taking a look at five of the greatest mountains to hike on the African continent. So prepare to be enticed!
No African-themed mountain hiking list would be complete without the mention of Africa’s most popular hiking destination, Mount Kilimanjaro. Ranking in at 19 336 feet, it’s the continent’s highest peak and offers a page of route options that vary in length and difficulty when it comes to choosing your trail to the top. For those of you who’re less experienced at hiking, the Marangu and Rongai routes are for you, while those of you who’re up for a challenge will much prefer the Machame, Shira and Limosho routes. While the longer routes are obviously more difficult, they do allow for more time to acclimatize, which means your chances of summiting will probably be better.
Mount Kenya, Kenya
While Mount Kenya comes in second when it comes to mountain height on the continent of Africa, it’s still a very impressive 17 057 feet. Besides the hiking options for the Batian and Nelion peaks, the Lenana peak adds another dimension to the trek with some technical climbing. The slopes of Mount Kenya provide diverse scenery for hikers, changing from forest and moorland to the equally dramatic rock, ice and snow of its peaks. During your hike, you can camp or stay in the huts that are situated on the mountain, with the best times for hiking being between January and February and July and October.
Atlas Mountains, Morocco
As a country characterises by rugged mountainous terrain, it comes as no surprise that Morocco should feature on a list of five of the best mountains to hike in Africa. The Atlas Mountains’ highest peak measures 13 667 feet and offers a very challenging adventure. The views make it a worthy undertaking however, and if you’re fighting fit, you can reach the summit and head back to Imlil, a town nearby, in a day. However, we recommend that you stretch the experience over at least three days, so that you can get the most from our adventure in the Atlas Mountains.
Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Ethiopia is one of our favourite travel destinations, with the Simien Mountains proving a stunning 14 902 foot mountain that’s well worth a visit. Ranking the fourth tallest mountain in Africa, anyone who choose to venture upon the slopes of the Simien Mountains will be rewarded with gorgeous scenery, striking gorges and crystal clear streams. The wildlife that you can encounter during your hike are a definite highlight for the Simien Mountains, with the gelada baboon and Walie Ibex proving unique and unforgettable animals to view.
The Drakensberg, South Africa
The country’s highest mountain range, The Drakensberg offers an almost endless array of peaks and passes for walkers and hikers of all experience levels to try. If you’re more relaxed about your hiking, then you can fill in time between treks with such experiences as San Rock Art tours, horse riding and bird watching. If, however, you’re on the search for some serious hiking, then you’ll be looking at attempting the Drakensberg Traverse. Set to take between two and three weeks, the hike encompasses many of the Drakenberg’s giant peaks, including the Tugela Falls, the Sentinel and the Cathedral. If you’re not quite up to the full three weeks, then you can get a taste of the Traverse by hiking from the Sentinel to the Cathedral.