climb Mt Kenya in 2020

Mount Kenya is the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro.

It’s about  150 kilometres (93 mi) north-northeast of the capital Nairobi.

I’m looking at using Mt Kenya as an acclimatization hike immediately prior to Kilimanjaro.

Mt Kenya takes 5 days and reaches a high point of 4985 metres over a trek of about 50 kilometres. 

So far I’ve been talking to Adventure Alternatives and have been very happy with their response. And they’ve been quite flexible to help me fit in this climb just before Kili.

My rendezvous with the Kili group in Arusha is September 7th.

DETAILS – Mount Kenya Traverse 

30th August – 3rd September

Price starts at £1,095pp ($1355) plus extras. Much less expensive than Kili.

Mt Kenya

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Pumalín, Chile – Volcán Chaitén trail

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

Duration: 2½ hrs round trip.
Distance: 4,4 km round trip.
Return: Same route.
Difficulty: Medium-High.

In May of 2008, Volcán Chaitén erupted after 9000 dormant years, causing tremendous damage to Chaitén and Pumalín, and even into Argentina. The park was closed for two years, during which extensive restoration work was conducted.

Parque Pumalín 

Volcán Chaitén seen from commercial airliner 2008

This hike is not dangerous, but it is strenuous.

From the trailhead the volcano looked too far away. I assumed — correctly — that they still wouldn’t allow hikers to get very close.

It’s a steep climb. Interesting to see what vegetation has recovered over the past 10 years.

You arrive suddenly at a crater rim lookout.

It’s an impressive panorama looking over to the still very active mountain.

Another gorgeous day in Patagonia.

Check my cyclist’s tan!

Top 5 Hiking & Climbing Routes in Tanzania

Guest post by Marian Morgam:

Tanzania is an exotic tapestry of colors, flavors, and sights. From the vast plains of the Serengeti, teeming with Africa’s iconic Big Five, to paradisiacal islands that call for horizontal me-time on sun-soaked beaches, there is so much more to Tanzania than what you’d expect.

Jaw-dropping sights abound at every corner when you’re on a safari in Tanzania, but if it’s a killer view you’re after then look no further than the region’s heavenly mountains.

Here are our top 5 mountains in Tanzania that provide the most breathtaking views and trekking experiences. Don’t forget your best travel camera.

1. Mount Kilimanjaro

Best for: Intermediate – advanced climbers
Fitness level: High
Recommended days: 7 Days (depending on route)

Whether you’re daring enough to climb it or simply just want to take in this snow-capped mountain from the ground, stopping over at Kilimanjaro is an essential part of any Tanzanian itinerary.

The views at the top of Kilimanjaro lure thousands of trekkers to the roof of Africa each year and are completely worth the time and effort.

At 5896m, the peaks of this equatorial mountain can certainly seem imposing but that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach. Mount Kilimanjaro has six climbing routes that vary in length, scenery, and difficulty.

There is no single “best route” so when choosing a path to climb, it all comes down to your previous experience and fitness, the time of the year, and personal preference.

The Marangu route is the oldest on the mountain and often referred to by locals as the “Tourist Route” or “Coca-Cola Route” as it is the most popular (and because there is a hut that sells coca-cola along the way).

The trail begins among the ripe banana stands of Kilimanjaro’s verdant lower slopes and gradually inclines up through the dense, wet montane rainforest toward alpine meadows and moorlands before reaching the peaks.

It’s worth noting that, although this route is dubbed the easiest, it is definitely NOT for the faint of heart and only a third of the climbers on this route reach the summit, so you should definitely train your body for the trek.

The Machame route is a longer, scenic climb that takes more experienced trekkers across a succession of valleys, ridges, and barren lunar landscapes, before reaching the twin summits of Kibo and Mawanzi.

To aid acclimatization, plan on at least a seven-day round trip for a summit attempt, and budget at least USD$1700.

2. Mount Meru

Best for: Beginner – intermediate climbers
Fitness level: Moderate
Recommended days: 5 Days

Situated in the Arusha National Park, Tanzania’s second-highest peak is often lost in the shadow of Kilimanjaro, but these rugged slopes offer an exhilarating trek like no other.

If you’re after no traffic and a great wildlife experience, Mount Meru is the perfect mountain to climb! Because Meru is lower than Kilimanjaro, a trek can be done comfortably in four days and three nights. But, do not underestimate the mountain

While it is generally considered a “warm-up” to Kilimanjaro, its steepness, terrifying drop-offs on the final ascent, as well as the effects of altitude make it challenging climb. It is the second highest mountain in Tanzania and the fourth highest on the continent, but the rewards are unparalleled.

The ascent starts in a savanna, taking intrepid travelers through lush forest on the mountain’s lower slopes, rising up through picturesque glades and finishing with an exhilarating walk along the knife edge of Meru’s (dormant) volcanic crater rim.

The treks are geared more toward hikers than climbers and the paths lead travelers over an array of landscapes, brimming with elephants, giraffes, and buffalo!

2. Ol Doinyo Lengai

Best for: Beginner – intermediate climbers
Fitness level: Moderate
Recommended days: 3 Days

Have you ever thought of yourself as brave enough to climb an active volcano? If so, Ol Doinyo Lengai, aka the “Mountain of God” is one worthy adversary and can be completed in three days.

You can climb the volcano all year round, but during wet seasons (March to May, October and December) the roads to Ol Doinyo Lengai make it horrible to travel.

Thanks to its prime location in the eastern Rift Valley, this fiery peak offers amazing views. This impressive mountain, which dominates the whole plain, represents a great beauty due to its peculiar, almost perfect conical shape of about 1,600 m base diameter, and with the summit at 2,768 meters above sea level.

Its slopes have been formed by compacted ash for thousands of years, and its deep ravines, cracks and white lava flows are clearly visible from any spot, giving it an inhospitable and majestic appearance at the same time.

Because it is an active volcano, it’s very hot there, so make sure you bring enough water. To get a unique, breathtaking view of Tanzania, climb Ol Doinyo Lengai before sunrise.

4. Usambara Mountain Range

Best for: Beginner – intermediate hikers and climbers
Fitness level: Moderate
Recommended days: Routes range from 1 to 10 days

The Usambara mountain range is one of Tanzania’s most underrated attractions, home to a plethora of wildlife, verdant tea plantations and numerous scenic viewpoints.

Usambara is a vibrant, diverse location to admire and is often said to be the pinnacle of beauty in Tanzania and a true gem of Africa.

Although the mountains are known for their comfortable climate all year round, the best time to visit is a between June and November, the dry season.

While not on the main Tanzanian northern tourist circuit, these glorious mountains offer a unique African experience, where hikers can spot exotic wildlife in Magamba forest or take in jaw-dropping natural scenery such as the Mkuzu Waterfall.

There are many varieties of hikes in Usambara and if you happen to have more time there are options of longer multiple day treks in the Usambara Mountain region. This is a great way to see the local area and experience the hospitality of Tanzanian people.

5. Udzungwa Mountains

Best for: All hikers and climbers
Fitness level: All
Recommended days: Routes range from 20min hikes to 5 day treks

The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a paradise for both hikers and backpackers. It is an impressive destination covering a massive area of 2000 sq km of wild East African forests.

Although Uzdungwa is not usually listed in the catalogs of Tanzanian routes, it can be a great destination for those who love hiking. It provides an excellent network of forest routes, among which is a half-day walk to the Sanje waterfall that plunges 170 meters through a mist to the forest valley below.

Because of such a wide range in altitude and habitat types, Udzungwa National Park has one of the highest numbers of species worldwide. Six species of primate are found here, including the Iringa red colobus monkey and the Sanje Crested Mangabey, which are native to the area.

The plateau also supports a diverse, large mammal community including elephants, buffaloes, lions and leopards.

Udzungwa has the richest forest bird habitat in Tanzania. The dry season takes place from June to October, and that is when it is best to visit.

Each mountain is an earthly treasure, and there will be no regrets whichever one you choose. We wish you safe travels as you embark on your next adventure!

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and reach new heights. Go on an epic mountain safari in Tanzania! It’s an experience you’ll never forget.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marian Morgam is a travel blogger from Minnesota. She has traveled to almost 50 countries and spent two years living and working in Europe as well as volunteering in Tanzania. Currently, she is working on a book about tips for backpacker travelers around the world.

This article was originally published in bookallsafaris.com.

Laugevagur hike Iceland – day 3

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

day 3 – Þórsmörk (Básar) to Skógar

25km, 10-12hrs

When I think back on Laugevagur, my first thoughts are of the amazing waterfalls on the last day. Is there a more spectacular chain of falls anywhere else on Earth?

Happily, the weather was quite good when I woke early. Then a thunder storm rolled in and disappeared before I’d finished coffee.

Later I learned that Mark was already up high. Very nervous. There’s no place to hide from lightning in Iceland.

Here I was psyching up for the 900m climb to Fimmvörðuháls pass.

I knew it could be a long, tough day climbing to the icefields up on a high plateau. It’s the most glaciated section. But at least there are NO RIVER CROSSINGS!

The ascent was quite easy, as it turned out.

What’s this?

These were the first hikers I saw coming the other direction. Doing this with a day pack is quite popular.

Stunning views.

Recall the 2010 volcano that disrupted air traffic all over Europe?

This is it. You walk that massive lava flow.

Moodi and Magni (Thor’s sons) are two summit cones pushed up in 2010.

Magni

Everyone climbs Magni to enjoy the 360 degree view.

One worry late in the season is the snowfields turning to slush. Or water.

Happily, it was still good walking for me on July 29th.

Baldvinsskali is a small emergency hut en route. Hikers are allowed to escape the wind and elements if needed.

My only complaint about this hiking day is some road walking on the way down. I’d prefer they make a parallel walking trail.

How far to Skógar?

Waterfalls begin.

The trail follows the river down.

Every tourist to Iceland visits the falls at Skógar.

Made it!

About half way through the day I’d decided to bus back to Reykjavík, if I could. Mark was shooting photos at the base of the falls. I bought a ticket on his bus.

You could stay over. Skógar has a hostel and camping. As well as several restaurants.

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

Laugevagur hike Iceland – day 2

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info

Hvannagil to Þórsmörk (Thorsmork)

26km, 10-12hr

Hoping to make a huge day, I was one of the first to leave camp. In the fog.

Bleak and flat to start.

Bridge! Thank God.

What an epic landscape!

Quite quickly you arrive at this pretty tourist area built 1995.

I had some hot brunch in the cook tent. Then moved on quickly. Some stop here to climb one or two summits as day hikes.

More bridges!

Interesting geology at every turn.

I was missing that brief bit of blue sky from yesterday. Everyone wore their rain gear today.

This is volcanic ash. Worse than sand, it gets into everything.

Oh my. This is amazing.

My first … tree !?

Trees are rare in Iceland. But there are plenty in Þórsmörk (Thorsmork)… Thor’s forrest.

(Iceland was actually 25% forested at one time. Timber cutting resulted in only about 1% remaining.)

When you finally arrive Þórsmörk you need choose between 3 separated campsites: Húsadalur, Langidalur or Básar.

Husadalur is biggest and has a natural hot springs.

But if you plan to continue hiking next day to Skógar, Básar is the best choice. It’s closest to the exit trail for next morning.

That’s where I headed.

Langidalur is pretty, however. The tenting looks superb.

I met again two Canadian women waiting for the bus. They’d had enough of rugged Laugevagur. Here’s the vista that dissuaded them from climbing up to the glaciers next day.

It does look intimidating.

If you do decide to linger at one of the 3 campsites, there’s even more day hiking here than at Landmannalaugar

Básar is sprawling. Busy with campers and day hikers.

I asked for advice on a quiet tent spot.

While I was eating dinner Mark from Boston arrived.

He and I were the only two from the start who had made it this far, this fast. We both planned to get an early start next day and finish to Skógar. It would be the toughest and best day of all.

Day 0 | Landmannalaugar | 1 | 2 | 3 | video | info