A Guide to Africa’s Most Challenging Treks


If you’re hoping to embark on a trekking holiday, Africa is the perfect destination for you. With a variety of challenging routes to be found all across the continent, coming here on an active break means you get to take in exotic wildlife and astounding scenery.
Although there is no shortage of fantastic hiking trails or wonderful places to visit, the following are among the best for those wanting a really memorable adventure.


Climb Kilimanjaro
As the tallest freestanding mountain in the world and measuring 5,895 m, it shouldn’t be too difficult to see why climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most challenging, yet also popular, treks in Africa.

Upon reaching the Tanzanian mountain’s summit, you’ll be afforded amazing panoramic views of the rest of the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park and – depending on what time of year you choose to climb Kilimanjaro – you might even be able to see the curvature of the earth.

Despite its staggering height, Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high peaks. Indeed, many people who reach the summit manage to do so with little in the way of specialist equipment beyond a walking stick and adequate clothing. You’d be mistaken, however, to think climbing it is easy. In fact, its high altitude means it is one of the most demanding treks in the world and it’ll take you several days just to acclimatise.

While, of course, you’ll want to get to the summit as soon as possible, doing so is not something that should be rushed and in fact you’ll quickly suffer from altitude sickness if you do. Instead, you’re best off taking a longer trek up one of Kilimanjaro’s various routes. That way, you can adjust to the thin air and be more confident of successfully getting to the top, as well as having more time to appreciate the jaw¬-dropping scenery that surrounds you.

Take a Kilimanjaro trekking holiday along the relatively little-used Lemosho route and you’ll experience the mountain’s diversely different climatic regions, which include rainforests, the Barranco Wall and Kibo icefields, on your way to Uhuru Peak, the mountain’s summit.

Simien Mountains
Quite understandably, Kilimanjaro is a popular draw for people wanting to embark on an African trekking holiday, but it’s certainly not your only option.

Indeed, walking through Ethiopia’s Simien Mountain range makes for a challenging, yet highly enjoyable, hiking trip. Situated in the Simien Mountains National Park, a reserve that holds Unesco World Heritage Site status, this is one of the largest mountain massifs in Africa and is home to towering spires and deep gorges.

Many of the peaks here measure more than 4,000 m, so bringing high-quality walking boots is a must. The most challenging part of your hike, however, will be the trek to the summit of Ras Dashen which, at 4,543 m, is the tallest mountain in Ethiopia and the fifth-tallest in the entire continent.

While the landscape here is truly spectacular, you should also keep an eye out for the diverse array of wildlife. Among the species you might come across on a trek through the mountain range are the gelada baboon and the walia ibex, an endangered goat that is found nowhere else in the world.

South Africa’s Wild Coast
As the name of the region suggests, trekking the trails of South Africa’s Wild Coast sees you go through unspoilt forests and along pristine beaches. Walking around this part of the country’s eastern coastline also gives you the opportunity to take in astounding views of the Indian Ocean. Head to the hilltop settlement of Coffee Bay and you’ll see the Hole in the Wall, a stunning rock formation on the coast that consists of a giant hole created by crashing waves.

From here, you can head to the Cwebe Nature Reserve, where you can expect to come across a vast range of animals – including wildebeest and zebras – as you hike.

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