The Most Stunning Treks and Hikes in East Africa

With plenty of trails, mountains, and volcanoes dotting the region, East Africa is one of the best places on earth to enjoy some incredible hikes. It also has soaring Rift Valley mountains with accessible summits, snaking forest trails and flatland savannah. East Africa has a range of trekking experiences to suit most time frames and fitness levels.

 

Mt. Kilimanjaro, at 5895m (19,340 ft).

– Trek to the roof of Africa
Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in both Tanzania and Africa, is just as impressive as you would imagine. Picture forest trails that lead into rocky and moon-like landscapes before giving way to snowy glacial views.
There are several trails for hikers attempting this climb, and the Machame, Lemosho, and Shira routes are the most popular and ranging from six to eight days. If you have some extra time and a slightly larger budget, check out the Northern Circuit route. 
The trail can take eight and a half days, but you’ll be rewarded with the mountain’s most gorgeous and expansive views. Additionally, make sure to cross your fingers for a clear summit day, as the views from Uhuru Peak really highlight the roof of Africa in all its glory.
 

Rwenzori Mountain Range, at 5090.16m (16,700 ft.)

The Rwenzori Mountains, also known as the Mountains of the Moon, are situated in Western Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The range is at high altitude, boasting the third highest peak in Africa. The accompanying glaciers are actually one of the sources for the Nile River, and the range’s rocky cliffs and nine lakes are stunning. There are several summits available for hikers, including Margherita Peak, Mount Stanley, Mount Speke and Mount Baker.
Margherita Peak on the Rwenzori Mountain is Uganda’s highest point
Often dubbed ‘The Mountains of the Moon’, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rwenzoris are a chain of six beautiful mountains that straddle the equator along the border with Uganda and the DRC. 
Rwenzori in a local language means ‘mountain of the rain’, and it’s a mystical mist-shrouded place with valleys full of emerald-green lakes, rocky cliffs, high glaciers and snow-capped peaks. The unique plant life includes dense tropical rainforest, bamboo forests and alpine species such as giant heathers and lobelia. 

East African treks and Safaris offers treks to Rwenzori Mountains starting from 3day trek and one can summit to the highest Snowcapped Margherita Peak (5,109 metres) in 7/8days or 9days depending on fitness. The Rwenzori’s highest point is on Mount Stanley which is Magherita peak and the Stanley glaciers wide enough giving hiker a way up to the main peak. The trek requires endurance, physical fitness and the final ascent to magherita peak is a technical climb which requires at least a grade two climbing experience.
There are many ascents and descents along the route due to the ragged terrain of the mountain which makes the trek tough but the spectacular scenery and unusual vegetation make it a worthwhile challenge.

Rwenzori Mountains also have more than one peak to summit, Main peaks Summited are, Magherita peak at 5109m , Mt. Speke at 4890m , Mt. Baker at 4842m , Wiseman peak 4620m , Mutinda peak 4032m , Alexander peak 5090m, portal peaks 4627m, mount gessi 4715m, mt.Emin 4798m. Both Mutinda peak 3975m and Alexander peak 5083m are fully technical while the rest won’t require technical experience.

 

Mt. Kenya, at 5199.9m (17,060 ft.)

– second-highest mountain in Africa
As the second highest mountain in Africa, and the highest mountain in Kenya, climbing Mt. Kenya is not an activity to undertake lightly. There are a couple of different routes up the mountain, and all reward hikers with the sparkling glacial summit.
Sirimon, the most popular route, can take only two days for trekkers ascending in a hurry, although the three day Burguret route is little used and absolutely magnificent. Naro Moru and Chogoria are the two descending trails, and take two or three days respectively — making the whole hike a minimum of four days long. 

Known as Kenya’s largest forest reserve with the 2nd highest peak in Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the snow-capped Mount Kenya features dramatic landscapes of dense woodlands, waterfalls, moorland and precarious-looking rocks with permanent ice and glacier lakes viewed as you ascend its magnificent peaks.
The highest peak is Batian (5,199 metres 17,057 ft) and Nelion (5,188 metres 17,021 ft) which are completely technical ascents though the destination for trekkers is Point Lenana; at 4985 metres which is a strenuous hike, but manageable if you are reasonably fit and allow sufficient time to acclimatize to the altitude.

 

Mt Elgon 4,321 at meters or (14,176 ft)

Rising to 4321 meters or 14176 feet, Mount Elgon has the longest base of any mountain in the world and the second-largest caldera. It also features incredible bio-diversity and exhilarating views into neighbouring Kenya from the summit on Wagagai peak.
Mount Elgon
ead called Budadiri where our guide Moses met us. He brought a couple porters to carry our camping supplies, as well as a cook with him.

 

Mount Meru, Tanzania at 4,565 m (14,977ft)

– Widely considered to be a brilliant alternative to Kili, and it’s close to Arusha.

Mount Meru is Tanzania’s second highest mountain standing at 4,566 metres (14,980 ft).
Mount Meru Trekking
It is often used a practice acclimatization run for its close neighbor, Mount Kilimanjaro. The trek up to the summit of this rather beautiful volcano takes 3-4 days. The route passes through ancient lush rain forests of fig trees, giving way to heather and rocky moors. Along the the trail, buffaloes, baboons and giraffes are commonly sighted as well as hundreds of species of birds.

The best time to go up is August – October. Hikers spend the nights in small well-tended huts along the route. An armed ranger is compulsory so it’s best to organize your trip in advance.
 

Ol Doinya Lengia, Tanzania at 2,962 m (9717.8ft)

Located in Tanazania, Ol Doinya Lengia means Mountain of God In Maasai. It is a sacred mountain to the Maasia people.
There are beautiful sunrise views of the entire Rift Valley from the top. And a very interesting crater to see.

Specifics on the hike: It takes 5-6 hours to climb. We recommend long sleeves and pants, sturdy hiking shoes, a head lamp, water and a bandana to tie around your mouth to keep out some of the ash.

 

Usambara Mountains at 2440metres (8,005 ft.)

Unlike many of the hikes in East Africa that require permits and park rangers, the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania are casual, idyllic, and easily accessible.
Spend just a day or two wandering through the winding mountain trails, or upgrade to a full week in the region.
Small towns, bustling markets, and plenty of well kept guesthouses in the Lushoto district render this colorful hiking excursion incredibly relaxing.

 

Udzungwa Mountains.

Harbouring one of East Africa’s great forests, Udzungwa Mountain National Park has an area of 1990 sq km, bordered by the Great Ruaha River to the north, with Mikumi National Park and Selous Game Reserve located further to the north and east.

With no roads entering Udzungwa National Park it is a paradise for hikers and backpackers alike. Numerous breathtaking day-hikes can be organized along with multiple day excursions into the dense rain forest or onto the high plateau. One beautiful trek is up to the Sanje River Waterfall, which plunges for 170 meters through the forest to the valley below. The view from the top is magnificent!

Udzungwa National Park supports a diverse, large mammal community including elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, African wild dogs, elands, waterbucks and sable. Six species of primates are found here and two are endemic, the Iringa (Uhehe) Red Colobus monkey, and the Sanje Crested Mangabey, which was discovered in 1979. There is also a rich small bovid community including good numbers of Red, Blue and Abbots duikers, and bushbuck.

Apart from the forest, which acts as a water catchment area and having a large number of endemic species of both animals and plants, the park has spectacular mountains scenery, grasslands, rocks, rivers and waterfalls. One of the most interesting sights is the presence of two indigenous species of primates, the Iringa red colobus monkey and the Sanje Crested Mangabey, not known until 1979. Apart from providing habitat to about six species of primates, its plateau contains populations of elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, African hunting dogs and several forest bird species.

Walking safaris to the Sanje River waterfalls (170 metres) is one of the popular activities in this park.

Mt. Sabinyo, 3,645.4 metres (11,960 ft.)

With the official trailhead located just outside of Kisoro in Uganda, Mt. Sabinyo is considered one of the most difficult hikes on the Virunga Mountain Range. Muddy forest paths, multiple summits, and a grueling incline make hiking this extinct volcano almost futile, but the panoramic views and changing ecosystems make it a necessary addition to the bucket list of all avid hikers. Plus, it’s only an eight hour day hike and the summit is shared by Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Stand in all three countries at once, no passport check required.
 

Mt. Karisimbi at 4508,etres ( 14,790 ft.)

As Rwanda’s tallest mountain, Mt. Karisimbi is beyond spectacular. Hikers will trek for two days, spending one night at the extinct volcano’s base camp before attempting summit the following morning. The intense incline is challenging, but picture-perfect views of Rwanda’s rolling hills and sparkling Lake Kivu are included at no extra cost.
 

Preparations for Trekking.

The following is a list of Kilimanjaro or Meru Packing List. The golden rule here is to pack as lightly as possible. You don’t want to be stuck with a lot of heavy baggage that you might not use anyway.
The Packing List below will help you to pack only the necessary and correct items.
How Do I Prepare for Trekking?:-This section covers what gear you need to bring, physical training, Tanzania entry requirements (passport & visa), immunizations and vaccinations, and travel insurance.

Please read this carefully and make sure you have gathered everything before you depart on your trip.

What Gear Do I Need to Bring?
You are responsible for bringing personal gear and equipment while communal equipment (tents, food, cooking items, etc.) is provided. Below is a gear list of required, recommended and optional items to bring on your climb:-

Technical Clothing:
1 – Waterproof Jacket, breathable with hood
1 – Insulated Jacket, synthetic or down
1 – Soft Jacket, fleece or soft-shell
2 – Long Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
1 – Short Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
1 – Waterproof Pants, breathable (side-zipper recommended)
2 – Hiking Pants (convertible to shorts recommended)
1 – Fleece Pants
1 – Shorts (optional)
1 – Long Underwear (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
3 – Underwear, briefs (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
2 – Sport Bra (women)

Headwear
1 – Brimmed Hat, for sun protection
1 – Knit Hat, for warmth
1 – Balaclava, for face coverage (optional)
1 – Bandana (optional)

Hand wear
1 – Gloves, warm (waterproof recommended)
1 – Glove Liners, thin, synthetic, worn under gloves for added warmth (optional)

Footwear
1 – Hiking Boots, warm, waterproof, broken-in, with spare laces
1 – Gym Shoes, to wear at camp (optional)
3 – Socks, thick, wool or synthetic
3 – Sock Liners, tight, thin, synthetic, worn under socks to prevent blisters (optional)
1 – Gaiters, waterproof (optional)

Accessories
1 – Sunglasses or Goggles
1 – Backpack Cover, waterproof (optional)
1 – Poncho, during rainy season (optional)
1 – Water Bottle (Nalgene, 32 oz.)
1 – Water Bladder (Camel back type, 2-3 liters)
1 – Towel, lightweight, quick-dry (optional)
1 – Pee Bottle, to avoid leaving tent at night (recommended)
Stuff Sacks or Plastic Bags, various sizes, to keep gear dry and separate
Equipment
1 – Sleeping Bag rated at a minimum of -10 degrees warm, four seasons
1 – Sleeping Bag Liner, for added warmth (optional)
1 – Trekking Poles (recommended)
1 – Head lamp, with extra batteries
1 – Duffer bag, for porters to carry your equipment
1 – Day pack, for you to carry your personal gear

Other Toiletries Prescriptions
Sunscreen
Lip Balm
Insect Repellent, containing DEET
First Aid Kit
Hand Sanitizer
Toilet Paper
Wet Wipes (recommended)
Snacks, light-weight, high calorie, high energy (optional)
Pencil and Notebook, miniature, for trip log (optional)
Camera, with extra batteries (optional)
Paperwork
Trip Receipt
Passport
Visa (available at JRO)
Immunization Papers
 
Insurance Documents:-The most common mistake that climbers make is that they over pack and bring way too much gear.
Be selective in what you take with you. Please note that our porters are limited to carrying (15 kg) of your personal belongings.
 
Everything the porters will carry for you between campsites should be placed into the duffel bag, including the sleeping bag, but it is OK to pack the sleeping bag separately if necessary. If you rent a sleeping bag from us, note that the bag weighs is 3 kgs. and this weight does count against the 15 Kgs.
Our porters will place your duffel bag and sleeping bag into a large, sturdy, waterproof bag with a roll-top closure.

If you have excess weight, you will be required to hire an additional porter. It is rare to require an extra porter and should happen only in special cases, such as for carrying extensive photography equipment.
 
You are expected to bring everything you need, though we do rent warm sleeping bags and trekking poles on location. All extra luggage, items you will not use on your climb, such safari clothing, Zanzibar, gear and equipment, can also be safely stored at the hotel.

Plastic, recyclable water bottles are not allowed in the park, due to past problems with litter. So water should be carried in Nalgene bottles, water bladders, or similar devices. You should be able to carry 3-4 liters of water with you at all times. “Drinking Alkohol and high altitude do not mix well.

Checked luggage on airplanes can get lost or delayed on the way to Tanzania. You should prepare for this possibility by wearing or carrying on the items that are essential to your climb. While most clothing, gear and equipment can be replaced in Tanzania prior to your climb, there are some things that you should not replace.

Sima Safari Africa recommends that you wear one complete hiking outfit on the plane, including a long sleeve shirt, hiking pants, underwear, socks, and hiking boots. In your carry-on baggage, you should bring your backpack, waterproof jacket and pants, insulated jacket, fleece pants, snacks, toiletries, medications, camera and all paperwork. Airline regulations do not allow you to carry trekking poles on the plane. Make sure you do wear/carry your hiking boots; wearing a different pair of boots on your climb wills likely cause blistering.

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