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Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park. Photo Silvia Otto

Adventure Mountain hiking East Africa
up to 5.895 m and climbing

On our mountain hiking East Africa you can encounter 2 types of mountains / mountain ranges
Either they are of volcanic origin or lifted up precambrium stone material. Active volcanoes in East Africa are Oldoinyo Lengai and Nyiragongo. Dormant are part of Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru and Mount Longonot. Extinct are Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon, Oldonyo Lesatima and part of Kilimanjaro. OR are uplifted stone material of precambrian
age
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Mountain hiking East Africa – various mountains, different routes, several countries

Each mountain has its own fascination an character. It depends on your interest if you wish to hike the highest mountain of East Africa – Kilimanjaro or the wild Mount Kenya or to explore still active volcanoes like Nyiragongo or Ol Doinyo Lengai. With our experience we advise you well about mountain hiking East Africa.

The only very high not volcanic mountain range are the Rwenzori Mountains or also called the “Mountains of the Moon”. Margherita Peak is with 5.109 m the 3rd highest peak in Africa and borders Uganda and East Democratic Republic of Kongo (DRC).

 

8 and 3 million years ago during the widening of the Great Rift Valley and Albert’s Rift many volcanos were very active while tectonic forces uplifted different parts in Africa. These activities have also lifted up metamorphic rocks of precambrian age and formed the Rwenzori Mountains. Wind, water, ice and sun eroded the stones and glaciers and rivers formed valleys and lakes.

A highly active volcano is Nyiragongo! It is one of the 8 volcanoes of the Virunga mountains. Its lava lake level is fluctating and just in June 2021 the hot lava broke the crater walls and liquid lava flew towards Goma town.But it is an amazing experience standing on the crater and looking down to the glowing lava lake. 

What is important for our Mountain hiking East Africa? Walk slowly but steady and breathe calmly but regularly. Should you not feel well please report to your mountain guide. Good hiking shoes, walking stick, very warm cloths and sleeping bag, thermos flask, sun protection, sun glasses, a very strong torch – better a head light to have your hands free.

During mountain hiking you mostly sleep in 2-men tents and meal plan is full board. It is possible to have your single tent on request.

Our most booked mountain hiking East Africa combinations

starts with hiking or climbing Mount Kenya – see the routes here. And after spending one night in a hotel in Nairobi you reach Amboseli National Park for lunch. During the game drives you will encounter many elephant families with Kilimanjaro in the background. Various antelopes, zebras, buffalos, Maasai Giraffes and with luck lions and cheetahs are some of the wildlife sightings to enjoy. You will spend 2 nights at a lodge inside or just at the border of Amboseli National Park.

 

The swamp in Amboseli is fed by water from Kilimanjaro flowing underground. A couple of years ago a lake started growing and has now been permanent for a good while. So you have the pleasure of seeing flamingos. The park covers around 390 km2.

 

Either you will cross the border to Tanzania at Loitokitok which is just 40 minutes drive from the lodge. At the border the Tanzania team will welcome you. Or you drive through Amboseli National Park to reach Namanga. From here the shuttle bus will take you around Mount Meru, through Arusha town to Moshi. Actually a very scenic drive! Your Tanzania mountain guide will welcome you in Moshi and brief you for the hike up the tallest free standing mountain in the world – Kilimanjaro.

 

Short movie about elephants in Amboseli National Park

 

You have the choice to join a group at fixed dates or we gladly create your personal private tour for Mountain hiking East Africa

 

Dates to join groups for mountain hiking:

Mount Meru – Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route – mountain hiking

Exciting trekking, fantastic nature, a short safari in Arusha National Park, Wildlife and at the end you can be proud of yourself since you made it to the tallest mountain in Africa at Uhuru Peak 5.895 m.

 

Mount Meru is a dormant strato volcano of 4.562 m towering over Usa River and Arusha town. The mountain had been much higher but 6.000 years ago the eastern wall collapsed and an avalanche of mud run down into the plains and created the Momella Lakes. Inside the crater is a parasitic cone which was born 1880 during a smaller eruption. 

 

Hiking Mount Meru doesn’t require technical skills but you must have good stamina and be sure-footed. As described in other mountain trekking tours you ascend through different vegetation zones. 

 

Mountain hiking – Mount Meru & Kilimanjaro program

Day 1 – Arrive in Tanzania

You will arrive at Kilimanjaro international Airport. One of our representatives will greet you and take you to the hotel.


Overnight in a hotel

 

Day 2 – Arusha

Those who arrived yesterday can visit Arusha town or relax in the hotel

Those arriving today will also get an airport transfer to the hotel.

Dinner will be joined by all inclusive your mountain guide who will give a briefing and you can ask questions.

 

Overnight in a hotel

 

Day 3 – Ascent Mount Meru – Miriakamba Hut 2.500 m

Hiking time 3 – 4 hours, altitude difference about 1.000 m

 

After breakfast a vehicle will take you to the starting point. You will already get an impression of the amazing mountain forest. Who knows, you might spot Kilimanjaro Colobus monkeys and Kilimanjaro White-throated monkeys.

 

At Momella Gate you will meet the crew and luggage will be checked and distributed to the porters. Then you start the walk up along a small clear river where you can also see buffalos, Maasai giraffes and warthogs grazing and browsing. You will pass huge strangler fig trees, African palm trees and the only indigenous conifer – the Pencil Cedar. White settlers used them to produce pencils hence the name. Nowadays they are protected.

 

A short stop at Majo Waterfall before you continue your walk through a forest like in a fairy tale. And suddenly you see the most special Strangler Fig!

 

Day 4 – Miriakamba Hut – Saddle Hut 3.550 m
Hiking time 3 – 4 hours, altitude difference 1.050 m

 

At around 3.000 m you have reached the tree line and alpine vegetation takes over. Smaller and larger attractive plants and flower will win your attention. Erica plants, heather, senecio, lobelia and others which are amazing when flowering. On steep ascending wooden steps you get higher up and more ahead you reach “Mgongo wa Tembo” = elephant back at around 3.200 m. At 3.550 m you will have reached Saddle Hut for overnight.

 

Day 5 – Peak ascend to Socialist Peak 4.562 m

Hiking time up 5 – 6 hour, down 4 – 6 hours, altitude difference up 1.012 m down around 2.960 m

 

The start through alpine bush land is very early in the morning. On a hard to see track that requires full concentration and a strong head light you are heading to Rhino Point at 3.820 m. Over the northern ridge you reach Socialist Peak (4.562 m). Your mountain guide will do the timing that you will experience the sun rise from the peak ridge. It is a dream to watch how the sun puts light on Kilimanjaro and the Momella Lakes below, the vast savanna and the crater with its parasitic cone.

 

You will descend is via Miriakamba Hut to Tululusia Fall. The spraying water might be very refreshing! From here it is not far to the meeting point where a vehicle is awaiting you and takes you to a lodge, guesthouse or hotel depending on your plans ahead. You have successfully managed the first part of your mountain hiking.

 

Day 6 – Arusha National Park 

Beside many Maasai Giraffes you will find Bushbucks, Common Waterbucks, Warthogs, Buffalos, Baboon, Plain Zebras and others. Elephants and Leopards are very elusive in this park. A special animal is the Red Duiker. You can find it in the forest with dense undergrowth.

 

Sometimes the Momella Lakes which you drive around have large pink patches caused by Flamingos. Enjoy your picnic at an idyllic place.

 

Beautiful and lovely to watch are the Kilimanjaro Colobus monkeys which you might find on the way up through the interesting forest to the Ngurdoto Crater rim.  The 15 million year old crater is 3 km in diameter. Its crater walls are covered by dense vegetation. Later in the afternoon you return to your lodge, guest house or hotel depending on your plans.

Day 7 – Arusha – Kilimanjaro Forest Camp 2.750 m
Hiking time 3 – 4 hours, distance 7 km, altitude difference 500 m

Most of the drive to Londorossi Gate (2.250 m) at the foot of  Kilimanjaro is quite bumpy. At the gate you meet your mountain crew and register. The trekking starts through dense mountain forest and maybe you will spot an Elephant of Buffalos. Today’s destination is Forest Camp

 

OR you start your Northern Tanzania Safari to one of the amazing wildlife areas 

OR you fly to Zanzibar and enjoy relaxing days at one of the stunning beaches of the Indian Ocean and visit Stone Town

 

Day 8  – Forest Camp – Shira Camp 2 – 3.850 m
Hiking time 5 – 6 hours, distance 10 km, altitude difference 1.100 m

 

After the forest is behind you the open heather and moorland zone welcomes you with amazing flowers of different colours and shapes. Shira Ridge is at 3.600 m and you will have to cross it. The landscape is amazing! Great views to Kibo, Shira and Mount Meru are the reward.

Day 9 – Shira Camp 2 – Lava Tower ca. 4.600 m
Hiking time 3 – 4 hours, distance 8 km, altitude difference 750 m

 

Should Breach Wall be open you will hike up on this route to Lava Tower at the foot of Breach Wall. If it is closed your mountain guide will choose a different suitable route.

 

At a higher altitude there will be not vegetation but also the alpine desert with various rock formations is fascinating. The camp is behind Lava Tower which got extinct long time ago.

 

Day 10 – Lava Tower – Crater Camp 5.650 m
Hiking time 4 – 5 hours, distance depends on the route, altitude difference 1.050 m

 

Today will be a very interesting and diversified day! Hike up Western Breach Wall: passing rocks and walking on scree take you to the crater rim at 5.650 m. There the camp will be pitched. Western Breach route is at some places exposed to falling rock due to melting glaciers. A helmet is recommended.

This is the plan if Tanzania National Park Authority has the route open (mostly possible with a special permit) and participants are well acclimatized. The route has a few places where climbing is required but it is not difficult (UIAA1). Technical climbing skills are not required neither rope up nor using hooks for back up.

 

Those with less acclimation or less stamina can get to the peak today and descend via Mweka Route and wait at Millenium Camp.

 

Day 11 – Uhuru Peak ascend 5.895 m – Millenium Camp 4.000
Up 1 – 2 hours, down 3 – 5 hours, distance ca. 15 km

 

The short but steep path leads directly from the camp to Uhuru Peak. You also have the option to choose the gentler route via Stella Point. The ascend starts in the darkness and the head light will serve you well to place your feet safely. We hope that you will witness an amazing sun rise over the African savannah and Mawenzi.

 

Today you can also explore Reusch Crater, Kibo plateau and Heim glacier. Thereafter you descend in southeastern direction via Mweka Route to Barafu Camp and further to Millenium Camp.


Day 12 –  Millenium Camp – Moshi

 

It is a long descend and some might feel their knees getting week. Despite that enjoy the beautiful mountain vegetation and some interesting birds.

 

At Mweka Gate you will be handed over your success certificate. Also the time has come to say good-bye to your local mountain guide, porters and cook. In Africa gratitude is expressed with a tip.

 

A vehicle will take you to a hotel in Moshi and you will now enjoy a hot shower.

 

Day 13 – Moshi and your plans

 

Either you will be taken to Kilimanjaro international Airport for your departure flight

OR you start a safari to the amazing wildlife areas of Northern Tanzania

OR you fly to Zanzibar and relax


More about Kilimanjaro

Ol Donyo Lesatima - Aberdare National Park

The Aberdare range consists of several volcanoes and is over many kilometers the Eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley. As described in other mountain hiking tours each altitude has its own vegetation zone. From mountain forest to bamboo zone, through a forest with mainly Podocarpus and Rosewood trees you reach the open moor land at around 3.000 m.

 

5 to 6 Mio years ago tectonic forces lifted the earth crust up and the Great Rift Valley sank. Thousands of years the volcanic hills were exposed to wind, rain, temperature differences and sun and that created a hilly moor land at 3.000 m.

 

Ol Donyo Lesatima or Oldoinyo Lesatima is with 4.001 m the 3rd tallest mountain in Kenya. To reach the peak you won’t need any technical skills just a good fitness. You can start here to get used to the altitude befor climing Mount Kenya. Who knows you might spot a rare and endangered Mountain Bongo!

 

Ol Donyo Lesatima is a day trip from one of the lodges in the park (The Ark) or a lodge near Mweiga. During your hike you pass the “Dragon teeth”. A rock formation that really deserves its name. Plants you pass by can be a real treat for your eyes!

 

Short movie from Kenya Wildlife Service. Those who are not Facebook members might not be able to watch it

Mount Elgon - Mountain hiking East Africa

Mount Elgon

Mount Elgon is an extinct strato volcano. At Wagagi Peak which is already in Uganda it reaches 4.321 m. The border between Kenya and Uganda crosses the mountain. Mount Elgon National Park on the Kenya side covers 140 km2 while on the Ugandan side 1.110 km2. It is estimated that the volcano erupted 15 Mio years ago. In comparison Kilimanjaro is 1 Mio years young.

 

Koitobos is the highest point in Kenya – 4.222 m. Podocarpus trees, bamboo, African Olive trees and many more are part of an amazing forest. The higher altitudes are covered by various alpine plants.

 

Temperatures can be hot at day time but quite cold at night. The northern side receives about 2.000 mm rain a year, the southern and western side 1.500 mm. The wettest months are March to May and August to October.

 

Highly interesting and described by many researchers is Kitum Cave. With a good torch / head light you can walk inside. On the walls you see the marks from elephant tusks scratching off minerals. If you look up at the ceiling you see many bats and different kind of crystals. Elephants in this park are very shy. They visit the cave sometimes at night and so do Buffaloes and Bush bucks. Spotted Hyenas then try to hunt.

 

BBC documentary Elephants in Kitum Cave

 

There is also a smaller less visited cave nearby.

 

On a safari at Mount Elgon National Park you can find Western Colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza matschei), Diademed monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni), Olive Baboons, Black-fronted Duiker, Bush bucks and others. Those who like can walk up to the “Elephant Hills” and enjoy the view.  

 

You can also cross over Mount Elgon. Starting point is either in Kenya or Uganda. The whole trip will last 8 days but can be extended with days on a safari in Kenya or Uganda. We gladly provide a detailed program.

Mount Longonot - Mountain hiking East Africa

Mount Longonot 2.776 m
Mount Longonot crater

Mount Longonot is one of the few volcanoes inside the Great Rift Valley. Most volcanoes are either at the edge or further away. In most areas the ground is too hard for lava to penetrate. Therefore lava had searched for softer material or cracks in the underground to break through to the surface.

 

The strato volcano Mount Longonot is 2.776 m high and the National Park covers 52 km². A ranger or local guide will accompany you to hike up – 3.1 km that might take around 2 hours. The crater has a diameter of 1.8 km and it is 7.2 km walk on a rough path and it will take you around 3 hours to surround it.

 

Mount Longonot is near Lake Naivasha and you will overnight there or start very early in the morning from Nairobi. Days can be very hot here and you need to carry plenty of drinking water.

Mount Longonot was created around 21.000 years ago and it is thought that 1860 it erupted last. Periodically geotectonic activities occur showing the volcano is only dormant but not extinct. It means that hot liquid lava moves underground.

Hiking Mount Longonot can be combined with a boat ride on Lake Naivasha or a visit to Hell’s Gate National Park.

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Ol Doinyo Lengai - the sacred mountain of the Maasai

Ol Doinyo Lengai is 2,960 m high. It rises in Northern Tanzania and belongs to the volcanic system along the Great Rift Valley. Oldoinyo Lengai is not only special due to the fact that it is the only active volcano in Kenya and Tanzania, but its lava is unique on earth. Silvery Carbonatite lava (calcium, sodium and carbon dioxide) flows down and due to the relatively low temperature of 700 degrees Celsius it only glows at night.  2007 it was spitting ashes covering the area and tremors were felt up to Nairobi.

To reach the area below the mountain a 4×4 vehicle is required. The partly straining hike up can well be combined with a stay at any of the camps in the area. Coming from Northern Serengeti you pass through a great landscape with fantastic views onto different mountains. If you wish just to visit Ol Doinyo Lengai starting from Arusha you should make it a 3 day trip minimum.

At 2:00 a.m. you will start your climb to the peak of Oldonyo Lengai – still an active volcano! Please strictly comply with instructions of your guide! The chance of seeing eruptions or effluents of lava (black and about 500°C) is really big. You will have a fantastic and unique view from the peak! You might see the Kitumbeine, Kerimasi and Empakai Crater and by luck Mt. Meru too. Like a Fata Morgana Lake Natron lies beneath your feet.

It is possible to stay overnight on the mountain so have more time to explore volcanic activities. Tents, water and food has to be carried from Arusha. 3 porters per client carry the equipment up the mountain.

You will leave Arusha early morning and reach the area near Lake Natron late in the afternoon. On your way you will pass through dry land with once in a while a lonely tree. A stop is planned at the Meteorite crater “Shimo la mungu” = God’s cave. Prepare yourself for the night trekking. The following day you will relax or walk up Ngare Sero River.

On day 3 before you are heading either to one of the national parks (Serengeti Lobo, Lake Manyara or Tarangire) or Ngorongoro Crater you visit Lake Natron at the time of sun rise. You can thereafter also head to Arusha and get ready for the Kilimanjaro hike.

Rwenzori Mountains

Rwenzori Mountains - Mountain hiking East Africa

Rwenzori Mountain climbing Margherita Peak (5.109 m) or cross over from DRC to Uganda or from Uganda to DRC (Adventure expedition)

The Rwenzori Mountains are with 5.109 m the 3rd highest mountain in Africa. It is also the only big mountain range south of the Sahara desert which is not of volcanic origin.

8 and 3 Million years ago strong volcanic activities occurred. Tectonic plates moved, the Great Rift Valley expanded and sunk while the Rwenzori Mountain Range was lifted up as “Horst”. As a result the Albert’s Rift was formed and in it Lake Albert, Lake George and Lake Edward filled with water. Glaciers, rivers, endemic plants, a rich bird life with the Albert’s Rift endemics await you.

The Rwenzori Mountains were declared a UNESCO World heritage. The national park covers around 1.000 km². See more here

The Rwenzori hike can be combined with a visit to the Mountain Gorillas.

In the centre of the mountain hike and climb tour to the “Mountains of the Moon” as the Rwenzori Mountains are also called, is the hike and climb to Mount Stanley which is partly covered by a glacier. Margherita Peak (5.109 m), Peak Alexandra (5.092 m) and Point Albert (5.087 m) build the highest part of the mountain. Mount Speke and Mount Baker are part of the Rwenzori Mountains and are the 4th and 5th highest mountains in Africa. Each of the peaks has to be climbed separately.

Inclusive the arrival and departure days it is a 16 days tour. Professional mountaineers will lead the treks and climbs. The tour also includes a long drive from Kampala to Western Uganda where also Queen Elizabeth National Park will be visited.

We will gladly send you the detailed program or you tell us your wishes and we create your private special tour.

Fixed dates to join a group for Mountain hiking

This mountain hiking tour requires experience in high altitude treks, climbing skills for quite demanding and difficult climbing stretches

For those who don’t want to go to the highest altitudes but would like to explore the interesting nature we gladly send you possible tours.

 

Rwenzori cross over from Congo (DRC) to Uganda
The tour starts in Kivu province in East Congo. This is a political unstable region and therefore the tour is only suitable for those who are adventurous and aware of the risks. But the reward is an amazing mountain and the walks through the untouched nature of the Western side of the mountains! The political situation will be carefully investigated before the tour and all security measures will be in place. We can not guarantee that the tour will take place at the planned date. The tour will be guided by professional expedition leaders who have experience from difficult regions all over the world.
 

The detailed program will also consider the security situation. Please get in touch if you are interested in this adventurous and most interesting mountain hiking tour.

Mount Stanley
Let's go to Rwenzori Mountains

Nyiragongo Volcano - Mountain hiking East Africa

Nyiragongo glowing lava

Nyiragongo is a strato volcano (3.470 m) and belongs to the 8 volcanoes of the Virunga Mountains along the border between Ruanda and Eastern Congo. The caldera measures 1 km in diameter. Nyiragongo is one of the 16 most active volcanoes world wide and is accordingly monitored since it over towers Goma town with around 700.000 inhabitants.

 

The liquid lava lake inside the crater started raising in March 2021 and warning were sent out. It was feared the hot lava could melt through the crater walls. 22nd of May 2021 it unfortunately happened. The lava broke through the walls and was flowing towards Goma town. It covered part of it. Luckily it did not ignite the methane and other gas types under the water of Lake Kivu as it was feared. The town inhabitants started returning soon after to rebuild their houses and clean up the area.

 

It is an experience without comparison to hike up the volcano and see the glowing and flowing lava inside the crater. The volcanic activity has to be monitored before a trip can be conducted. 

 

It is a 2 day trip and you will overnight on the crater rim. You will also notice amazing flowers and plants during your hike. Also here we only work with highly qualified guides!