Looking for a unique hiking experience? East Africa is one of the regions that offer great hiking experiences. The region hosts Africa’s tallest mountains that include the Kilimanjaro Mountains that are nicknamed “the Roof of Africa”.
The East African region is made up of over ten countries including Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania that host famous mountains in the world. These countries host the tallest mountains in Africa; the Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Kenya in Kenya and the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda. These mountains are known for providing a mystical challenge to hikers. Whether you are a first-time hiker or experienced trekker, there is a right experience for you.
Below is the list of the top five mountains to hike in East Africa;
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Also known as the “roof of Africa” Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. It is also the highest single freestanding mountain above the sea level in the world.
Towering to a height of 5,895 meters, the mountain is the highest volcano in Africa and in the eastern sub region of the continent. The mountain is made up of three volcanic cones such as Kibo (dormant) which is the highest, followed by Mawenzi (dormant) and Shira (extinct).
Located on the North Eastern tip of Tanzania, this UNESCO world heritage site is protected by Kilimanjaro national park that is managed by Tanzania National Parks Authority TANAPA).
The trek towards the picturesque snowcapped peaks and observe the natural beauty of the Tanzanian landscape is one of the best experiences. The hikes take yu through a blend of diverse terrains from jungle to volcanic craters before reaching the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro. The highest peak of the mountain is Uhuru Peak.
Within the region, there is a lot to watch and do in the region and some of the nearby parks include Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservancy Area, Tarangire National Park, Nyerere National Park and more.
Besides mountain hiking and climbing, other adventure activities that can be done include; bird watching, unique and beautiful vegetation zones, waterfalls, several mammal species, rivers and waterfalls.
Mount Kenya, Kenya
With an elevation of 5,199 meters, Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest on the African continent. The mountain carries the name of the mighty country and it is positioned in the former Eastern and Central provinces of the country.
Mount Kenya is located in Central Kenya, just south of the equator. The Mountains is protected as Mount Kenya National Park and it is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). The park covers an area of 715 square kilometres (276 sq mi).
The area around Mount Kenya was designated a National Park in 1949 and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The World Heritage Committee described Mount Kenya as “one of the most impressive landscapes of Eastern Africa with its rugged Glacier-clad summits, Afro-alpine moor lands and diverse forests, which illustrate outstanding ecological processes”.
Mount Kenya contains different peaks that is Batian which is the highest, followed by Nelion and then Point Lenana. Since the mountain is protected by Mount Kenya national park, there’s a lot to encounter besides mountain climbing and hiking and among these include; bird watching, nature walking, game viewing, and others.
A hike to the highest peak of Mount Kenya, takes a maximum of 6 Days. You can plan your next hike with a local Kenya tour operator.
Mount Rwenzori, Uganda
The Rwenzori mountains are a range of mountains in the eastern equatorial Africa. It is positioned between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Also known as the Mountains of the Moon, the mountains stand as Africa’s third highest in Africa after Kilimanjaro of Tanzania and Mount Kenya of Kenya. The Rwenzori mountain ranges consist a number of peaks with Margherita on Mount Stanley being the highest at a height of 5,109 meters.
Other ranges include Mount Speke (4,890 metres), Mount Baker (4,843 meters), Mount Emin (4,798 meters), Mount Gessi (4,715 meters) and Mount Luigi di Savoia (4,627 meters).
A hike to the Margherita peak named the Rwenzori Central Circuit Trail takes 7 days (6 nights) of ascending and descending the mountain. The hikes start from Nyakalengija in Kasese, Western Uganda and can depart any time of the day all year round. There are three routes that attempt you to conquer the Margherita Peak.
The area around the Rwenzori Mountains is protected within the Rwenzori Mountains National Park of Uganda and the Virunga National Park of DR Congo. The protected area is a home to various attractions that include over 70 mammal species, about 217 bird species, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and a unique vegetation zone.
Mount Meru, Tanzania
Located in northern Tanzania, Mount Meru is a dormant stratovolcano. It is the fifth highest mountain in Africa. It is situated just 70 kilometers west of Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain in southeast of Arusha Region.
It stands to an elevation of 4,562 meters above sea level. There is only one route to capture its peak. It is called the Momelia Route and it starts from the eastern side of the mountain. The mountain is the centre of attraction in Arusha National Park.
Mount Meru is known for its fertile slopes that rise above the surrounding savanna and support the forests which host several wildlife species like monkeys, leopards and over 400 species of birds.
Mount Elgon; Uganda and Kenya
Positioned on the border of Uganda and Kenya, Mount Elgon is the oldest extinct volcanic mountain in East Africa and the second largest mountain in the Republic of Uganda after Rwenzori. Elevating to a height of 4,321 meters, the highest of peak of the mountain is known as Wagagai.
The mountain is located on the borders of eastern Uganda and western Kenya and it is known for offering variety of hiking options such as the adventurous climbs to the summit of Wagagai. Mount Elgon comprises of other peaks aside the highest peak – Wagagai, and among these include; Sudek (4,302 meters), Koitobos (4,222 meters), Mubiyi (4,211 meters) and Masaba (4,161 meters).
Protected by Mount Elgon national park, there are other features to see during your mountaineering safari apart from the mountain and these include; the caldera, warm springs by Suam river, beautiful vegetation and several wildlife species.