Trekking Africa: Top Four Treks for your Annual Self-Challenge!
There is no day wasted on an African trek; you can chose from a variety of rugged barren mountains, thick indigenous forests with pristine falls to show off their rain-making ability, fiercely jagged canyons, deep eroded cliffs giving way to valleys and escarpments and vast stretches of lose dessert sands and giant dunes. Whichever your choice, trekking in Africa calls for distinctive prepping and a good briefing of what to expect in terms of terrain, altitude and weather conditions. While some trekking companies have adapted a grading system to guide trekkers in selecting trails within their ability, excellent physical condition is top priority. Jovago.com has put together four African treks you should take up for an annual self-challenge.
Ethiopia’s landscape offers audacious contrasts for thrill seeking trekkers; from the Simien Mountains- a historic feature listed on UNESCO World Heritage sites, the ruins at Axum and the rock hewn churches in Lallibela, monasteries on Lake Tana and the Omo Valley, home to world’s most ancient culture. Trekking the Simiens is however not the only sport-related attraction for tourists in Ethiopia; trail running is also gaining popularity as the country seeks to top the list of the top visited countries in Africa by 2020.
The rugged rock formation, volcanic extrusions which tower above the highlands are every trekker’s fascination. This age old agrarian landscape is also spotted with gorges, valleys and escarpments which all together form an exhilarating experience. Be sure to indulge in the coffee culture and mingle with the local community for a taste of their traditional warm welcome. The drier months of May-October are best for such outdoor engagement.
Fish River Canyon-Namibia
This one is for the voracious and adventurous; the soul that appreciates the wanderlust of the earthly crust. The Fish River Canyon in the vast Namib dessert offers silent seclusion from mundane anxieties of everyday life. At a length of 161 km, 27 Km width and 550 meters deep, the canyon is arguably second to only Arizona’s Grand Canyon in size. The trek and the harsh beauty of the Fish River Canyon and the exploits there within is worth every drop of sweat. However, there is a “softie” trek for the newbies which is less grueling yet does not skim on the sightings.
Ruwenzori –Mountains of the Moon, Uganda
Unknown to many, Ruwenzori has several peaks, with the highest point- Margerhita- ranking as third on the list of Africa’s highest peaks. The several peaks were named after the Italian royals in the 1900s in accordance to the Victorian Historical. Legendarily referred to as The Mountains of the moon, Ruwenzori was initially hypothesized by Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy before great explorer Henry Morton Stanley confirmed their existence. The name Ruwenzori translates to “The Rainmaker” in the local dialect thus no surprise if the trek gets too wet and steep! Most trekkers use the tried and tested Central Circuit which can last between 5-8 days. There are a number of tour companies in Uganda who organize the trips.
Trekking Mount Kenya, Kenya
It may not harbor Africa’s highest peak, but Mt. Kenya offers the unique experience of wildlife spotting and impressive layers of contrasting eco systems. The colorful giant heathers, towering bamboo, acres of open moorland, bizarre plant life, and sky-hugging forest canopy form one of the most impressive landscapes in East Africa. In contrast to popular Mount Kilimanjaro, the mountain of Ngai (term for the God of the surrounding community-Ameru,Agikuyu) is made of jagged edges and ragged peaks of sharp splinters and glacier. There are different routes to the peaks, Sirimon route is the most popular for a steady altitude gain to the most visited peak-Lenana whick stands at 4985m. Pros and technical mountaineers can challenge their prowess on Peak Batian (5199m) or take a rest at the second highest peak, Peak Nelion (5188m).
As is with most trips, the main objective should be to enjoy your journey. The true secret to this adventure is not the walk, but the sightings and the heroic ascent down the mountains or the pleasant idleness at the end of the trek, without guilt!
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