Mountain Hiking in East Africa
For those who enjoy being active, hiking vacations are great opportunities to experience East Africa from a different perspective. The smells and sounds of the area are sharper, nature is closer and the views stunning.
Mount Kilimanjaro - Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's most popular trekking destination, and at 19,336 feet it's Africa's highest peak. The trek to the summit takes you through 5 different climatic zones. More than 20,000 people attempt the climb every year.
Routes vary in degree of difficulty, traffic and scenic beauty. The least difficult routes are Marangu and Rongai; the more difficult routes are Machame, Shira and Limosho. The longer routes have more difficult hiking but you'll be more acclimatized and your chances of reaching the summit are therefore higher. An average trek will cost from $2500-$5000 per person.
Mount Kenya - Kenya
Africa's second highest peak. While the highest peaks Batian (5200m) and Nelion (5188m) require some technical climbing, Lenana (4985m) is the peak trekkers head to. Mount Kenya's slopes are cloaked in forest and moorland which gives way to rock, ice and snow. The mountain is part of a larger reserve.
The best time to climb Mount Kenya is between January - February, and July - October. There are huts on the mountain, or you can camp. Expect to pay around $850 per person on up, depending on the route you take.
The Simien Mountains are a vast mountain range in Ethiopia with many summits above 4,000 meters (13,000 feet). The highest peak is Ras Dashen which stands at 4,543 meters (14,901 feet), making it the fourth highest mountain in Africa.
Trekking here is fantastic, not only because of the scenery, gorges and streams, but also because you get a chance to see some unique, endemic wildlife like the gelada baboon and Walia Ibex.
Most treks start from Debark (or Debarek), which is a 3-4 hours drive from Gondar. Equipment, porters, donkeys and more can be arranged from here.
Rwenzori Mountains - Uganda
The Rwenzori Mountains (Mountains of the Moon) lie just north of the Equator along the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda. Mount Stanley is the highest mountain in the range, with twin summits each standing over 5,000m high making it Africa's 3rd tallest mountain. Permanent glaciers adorn the peaks.
The main trail up Mount Stanley's peaks is called the Central Circuit and takes 4-10 days. Along the route you'll encounter thick forest, bogs, boulders, glaciers and elephants. Guides and armed rangers are compulsory. There are basic huts along the routes. Best time to trek is December - February and June - August.
Nyiragongo Volcano - DR Congo
Nyiragongo volcano is located in Virunga National park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC and is situated around 19 kilometers of Goma, very close to Rwandan border. The Nyiragongo is one of Africa 's most dangerous and the most famous for its semi permanent lava lake. Though it is currently safe to hike Nyiragongo. The volcano is also known to the people of Congo as a sacred mountain where an angry spirit is trapped. The volcano is still active and it has erupted several times throwing lavas toward the town of Goma and other neighboring villages.Hiking Nyiragongo Volcanoe is not a piece of cake but any fit individual would find it fairly easy to climb. It takes 5 hours to get to the top of this active volcanoe. The hike starts in hot forest and ends at the desolate volcanic rocky cone, where it's also cold at 5 degrees. The most stunning view while on top of Nyiragongo is the bubbling lava at night. There are a few new wooden shelters with two mattresses each. If you don't have a spot arranged, you need to bring a tent. Either way, warm clothes and a warm sleeping bag are necessary.
You also need to bring food and water for the 1 1/2 days, including dinner up on top. The rangers make a fire that you can cook or BBQ on. If you have space to bring extra food, they are really excited to gobble it up. Make sure to bring enough for the hike and the night, plus whatever cooking you plan to do while on top as most hiking spend the night there.
Lakes of hot lava are one of the most spectacular forms of volcanic activity, but they are very difficult to see since there are currently only a few of them in the world. So, if you want to see a really impressive lava lake, you have only one option left: Hiking Nyiragongo
Karisimbi Mountain - Rwanda
Mount Karisimbi is an inactive volcano in the Virunga Mountains on the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. At 4,507 metres (14,787 ft), Karisimbi is the highest of the eight major mountains of the mountain range, which is a part of the East African Rift Valley. Karisimbi is flanked by Mikeno to the north, Bisoke to the east and Nyiragongo to the west, on the other side of the Rift Valley. The volcanoes Park is famously known for its endangered gorillas mountains.
The name Karisimbi probably comes a word in the local language, Kinyarwanda, which means Little white shell. This is an allusion to the white snow cap that can sometimes be found on the volcano.
Between Karisimbi and Bisoke is the Karisoke Research Centre, which was founded by Dian Fossey in order to observe the mountain gorillas living in this area.
Karisimbi was first successfully climbed by Berthelmy in 1903.
The best months to climb Karisimbi are January, February, March, July, August, September, October.
Anyone interested in hiking any of the above mountains should send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.