The Most Incredible Hikes in Eastern Africa

Pris­tine coast­lines and majes­tic safaris are prob­a­bly the first things that come to mind when you think of Africa. The con­ti­nent is wide­ly known for its beau­ti­ful scenery and exot­ic wildlife—but did you know it also plays host to some of the world’s best-hik­ing des­ti­na­tions? The east­ern coast of Africa has some par­tic­u­lar­ly won­der­ful hik­ing trails. Here are a few you will want to check out next time you’re on the continent!

Hanang MountainHanang Moun­tain, Tanzania
While no Kil­i­man­jaro, Hanang Moun­tain still pro­vides plen­ty of sweep­ing views of the sur­round­ing plains, mak­ing it the per­fect alter­na­tive to those who can’t take a week to tack­le the country’s most well-known behe­moth. Hanang is Tanzania’s fourth largest moun­tain with a steep climb that takes rough­ly 10 hours to tra­verse. Along the way you’ll come across a vari­ety of wildlife you won’t find any­where else. Numer­ous native tribes live in the area, which is also home to a vol­canic crater.

Mount KenyaMount Kenya, Kenya
Whether you’re in town for five days or five hours, Mount Kenya is a must for any hik­er vis­it­ing the coun­try. The Naro Moru Hike, begin­ning at the park gate and con­tin­u­ing to the Met Sta­tion at 10,000 feet, offers some of the most unique land­scape in Africa. Along the way, you’ll pass ele­phants, colobus mon­keys, and buf­fa­lo, as well as tus­sock grass and Senecio plants. If you’re will­ing to head anoth­er hour north to the alpine zone, you’ll be reward­ed with awe-inspir­ing views.

Mgahinga Gorilla ParkMgahin­ga Goril­la Park, Uganda
The Mgahin­ga Goril­la Park is a some­what com­pact region of the coun­try that offers an abun­dance of explo­ration, includ­ing some of the country’s best hik­ing trails. Many of the hikes in the park can be com­plet­ed in half a day but if you choose to tack­le any of the three vol­canic sum­mits it can take between 6 and 10 hours apiece. The Bat­wa For­est Trail is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to get a close-up of the native Bat­wa Pyg­mies. Of course, most of the hikes offer fan­tas­tic chances to see some of the country’s majes­tic goril­las and the near­ly extinct gold­en monkeys.

Simeon GeladasSimien Moun­tains, Ethiopia
The Simien Moun­tains are a range with numer­ous sum­mits above 4,000 meters. Hik­ing here can take days or weeks, depend­ing on how much ter­rain you’re will­ing to tack­le. One of the best hikes is to the sum­mit of Ras Dashen, the high­est peak in the range and the fourth high­est in Africa. The hike to the top cross­es sev­er­al gorges and streams and is home to local wildlife like the Walia ibex and gela­da baboon. At 14,901 feet you’ll prob­a­bly need at least a full day to get to the top, so be pre­pared to rest on some pret­ty rough terrain.

Mount MulanjeMount Mulan­je (Mulan­je Mas­siff), Malawi
Mount Mulan­je is the crown jew­el of Malawi and is eas­i­ly one of the most breath­tak­ing spec­ta­cles on the African con­ti­nent. Sheer cliff walls rise dra­mat­i­cal­ly out of the sur­round­ing val­ley and climb to over 10,000 feet. Climb­ing to the top isn’t for the faint of heart, but those up to the chal­lenge are reward­ed with tru­ly spec­tac­u­lar views of the region. Some of the endem­ic draws of the area include the Mulan­je cedar, klip­springers, vervet mon­keys, and black eagles. The moun­tain has earned the nick­name “Island in the Sky” due to the fact that the cliffs seem to burst through a cot­tony haze on a misty day.