Africa is not always at the top of the list for walking holidays, but this continent has a lot to offer trekkers and is incredibly varied. It’s hard to narrow down the best places for hiking in Africa, but here are a few of the top options if you’re looking for something a little different on your next break.
Tanzania is one of the most obvious places to head to if you’re looking for some serious trekking on your getaway. It is, of course, home to the world-famous Mount Kilimanjaro and it is this summit that many hikers aim to conquer when they visit the country.
One of the best things about Kilimanjaro is that there are six routes you can choose between to reach the top, so you won’t necessarily have to follow a crowded trail and lose out on the wilderness experience. Among the least-crowded options for the ascent are the Rongai route, which approaches the peak from the north, and the Lemosho route, which comes from the west.
There are a host of excellent walking routes in South Africa for you to discover, giving you the chance to see everything from the country’s amazing wildlife to some of its historical sites.
If you book a tour with Explore Worldwide, which takes in neighbouring Swaziland as well, you can expect to go on a walking safari in the fantastic Kruger National Park, trek past stunning features like the Bridal Veil Falls and learn about the Zulu nation and its war against colonial powers by taking a tour of the Battlefield of Isandlwana. This is where one of the bloodiest battles between the Zulus and British colonial forces took place.
Ghana and Togo
Another option for visiting two African nations in one trip is the Ghana and Togo on Foot tour offered by Explore Worldwide at £1,669 without flights. This is the ideal holiday to pick if you’re keen to get well off the beaten tourist trail, as you’ll travel to remote regions of these little-visited countries.
Starting out in Ghana, you’ll hike in the Kakum National Park, which is predominantly covered by undisturbed, virgin rainforest. One of the highlights of a day here is the chance to follow the canopy walk, which comprises a series of suspension bridges stretching between the trees at heights of 30 m and 40 m.
When you travel to Togo after spending eight days in Ghana, you’ll notice the landscape is much drier and more arid than the tropical forests you’ve so far been discovering. Huge baobab trees dominate the scenery around Mount Kabye and, after you’ve ascended this peak, you’ll move on to explore the Atakora Mountains and meet the Tamberma people who have lived in the region for centuries.
The unusual mud houses they inhabit have been constructed in the same way for hundreds of years and resemble towers in their design. The region in which these people live has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their traditional way of life.
If wildlife is one of your passions, as well as walking, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Madagascar. This island off the east coast of the continent is well-known for its varied and unique flora and fauna. As you’d probably expect, there are several national parks in the country and you’ll have the chance to visit a few of these during a walking holiday in Madagascar.
The Mantadia Andasibe National Park is likely to be one of your stops, where you can see a range of the country’s most recognisable creatures, including the Aye-aye and Indri indri (both kinds of lemur), as well as the Calumma parsonii, which is the largest chameleon found in Madagascar. In total, 14 species of lemur, 51 kinds of reptile and 108 types of bird inhabit this protected area.
You could also spend some time walking in the Andasibe Analamazaotra Special Reserve, which is famous for being the home of various rare orchid species, like Cymbidiella falcigera. This flower has distinctive black edges around its white petals and a yellow centre.
The final place on the list of top trekking destinations in Africa is Ethiopia. The country is home to the Simien Mountains, which is a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The landscape here is particularly striking, with jagged summits rising above the plateau.
You’ll have the opportunity to hike to the top of the highest peak in the range – and indeed the country – in the form of Ras Dashen at 4,543 m, as well as being in with a chance of spotting some rare wildlife during your walks. Creatures such as the gelada baboon, Simien fox and Walia ibex all live in the reserve and you may be lucky enough to see them if you keep your eyes peeled.
Matt Cook enjoys travelling and cycling which helps in his role of eCommerce Manager for Adventure Travel company Explore.
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