There is no denying that Africa is a magical continent; a vast canvas comprised of a myriad of different cultures, a dazzling array of wildlife, and breathtaking landscape scenery. It is of little wonder why many intrepid explorers flock to the world’s second largest continent every year in search of their next bucket list adventure.
While many people choose to travel to Egypt for its ancient historical monuments, or Botswana to experience the magic of a wildlife safari, there are plenty of outdoor enthusiasts looking to push their body to the limit on one of the many multi-day treks Africa has to offer. These once in a lifetime excursions showcase the dramatic natural beauty and wide ranging diversity of the continent, but also provide the opportunity for meditation, reflection, and self-learning.
Of all the world-class treks that can be found in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is undoubtedly the most famous, due largely to its position as one of the Seven Summits – the list of the tallest peaks on every continent. But even taking into consideration the epic journey to “the roof of Africa”, there are still plenty of amazing multi-day treks that will change your life, ranging from the high altitude mountains of North Africa to the sweeping coastline along the tip of South Africa.
Below I’ve put together an amazing list of the top 5 bucket list treks on the African continent, with the hope that it will help you plan your own African adventure and inspire you to explore some of the most beautiful landscapes that the world has to offer.
The Top 5 Treks in Africa
- Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania – 5 to 10 Days
As mentioned above, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most popular trekking routes in the world, and it is for good reason. While it stands proudly as the highest peak in Africa at 5,895m, the gradual ascent is non-technical, making it an accessible adventure for a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts.
A number of different routes can be chosen to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, which provides a bit of variety to the experience and eases some congestion on the trail, but by far the most popular are either the Machame Route – commonly referred to as the “Whiskey Route” – or the Lemosho Route.
No matter which route you end up choosing, you will need to navigate through 5 climate zones to reach the snow-capped summit, from which the views across the African landscape are truly unforgettable! There are plenty of logistical details to work out for a trek like this, so be sure to read up on everything you need to know in this guide to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Mount Mulanje – Malawi – 1 to 4 Days
As the tallest mountain in Malawi, Mount Mulanje is a truly impressive sight. The collection of 20 peaks is rocky and imposing; however, the approach up the mountainside passes through a variety of landscapes, including fertile grasslands and forested canyons.
Also popular with rock climbers, the main draw of Mount Mulanje is the hike into the clouds, where trekkers will climb the mist-shrouded slopes and sleep overnight in mountain huts. Anyone looking for more information on climbing this rugged massif can contact the Mountain Club of Malawi.
- Mount Toubkal – Morocco – 1 to 3 Days
Nestled in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Mount Toubkal is a magnet for adventurers who don’t have the time to undertake a lengthy journey. Steep uphill climbs, high altitudes, and breathtaking mountain views characterize this amazing trek in North Africa.
For anyone familiar with the warmth of Moroccan hospitality, this trek is the perfect experience, as you will likely encounter friendly locals who inhabit the mountain pastures and peaceful valleys of the area. If you have a good level of physical fitness and not a lot of time on your hands, then trekking up Mount Toubkal is one of the best experiences to be had on the continent.
- Fish River Canyon – Namibia – 4 to 6 Days
Passing through the second largest canyon in the world, the Fish River Canyon Trek is an amazing experience that highlights the natural beauty and geological history of Namibia. While you will certainly be able to revel in the scenery and views of the surrounding wildlife, this route still needs to be taken seriously.
With no facilities on the trail, trekkers will need to pack in all of their food and supplies, making for a logistically challenging adventure. Even still, if you are looking for a unique outdoor experience in Africa, then this route should be at the top of your list.
- Otter Trail – South Africa – 3 to 5 Days
Last – and certainly not least – on this list of epic African trekking adventures is the Otter Trail. Skirting the coast of South Africa, the Otter Trail is an amazing experience that enables you to take in the striking contrast between the deep blue ocean and the beautiful African landscape.
Rugged coastal terrain, sandy beaches, vibrant forests, and countless waterfalls make this one of the most visually stunning treks on the continent, and authorities are trying to keep it that way by implementing a reservation system for the trail. For anyone seeking a bit of a variety on their adventure, this is definitely not one to miss.
While the above excursions are certainly some of the most sought after treks in Africa, there are plenty of other life changing experiences to be had on the continent. Whether your interests revolve around climbing the highest peaks, viewing a diverse range of wildlife species, or learning about the rich history and traditions of many different cultures, do your research and you will be sure to find an African adventure that will pique your curiosity and hopefully become an unforgettable memory.