The world is full of amazing mountains that are just waiting to be climbed – or are certainly inviting enough to warrant a closer look. This is by no means an extensive list, but here are three mountain treks that I think should be on every dedicated peak-bagger’s radar.
As the tallest walkable summit on the planet, Kilimanjaro is a challenge that no discerning mountain hiker should miss out on undertaking. There are actually several routes to the top, although it’s advisable to choose one of the less-travelled trails like the Shira or Rongai paths to get the best experience.
Regardless of which track you follow, your ultimate goal will be the same: Uhuru Peak at 5,895 m.
Aside from the immense satisfaction you’ll get from reaching the top of Kilimanjaro, there are a few other reasons why this is among the best mountain walks in the world. Firstly, the wildlife you can spot in the Kilimanjaro National Park is as exciting and varied as the hike itself – Colobus monkeys, elephants, buffaloes, elands and duikers (both of which are types of antelope) are just a few of the creature you may see.
Secondly, the changing landscapes you’ll pass as you climb higher make the walk something special. Farmland and forests will characterise the early stages of your route, followed by moorland and heather that gradually gives way to an alpine desert. The ascent culminates with the ice and snow found right at the top of the peak.
Finally, the accessibility of the Kilimanjaro trek is excellent; there is no need for specialist climbing equipment or prior mountaineering training. You simply need to be reasonably fit and kitted out with comfy hiking gear.
Tour du Mont Blanc
The Tour du Mont Blanc doesn’t actually involve ascending the famous European peak, as this requires a lot of training and a range of climbing equipment. It does, however, lead you on a circuit around Mont Blanc, which will see you visit France, Italy and Switzerland all in one trip.
It will take around one week to complete and it’s regarded as a classic Alpine trail. You’ll begin in France, setting out from Les Contamines on a predominantly uphill track initially. Woodland, river valleys, gorges, and, of course, mountains are the main scenery you can look forward to as you hike.
This trek is strenuous and will involve walking through several mountain passes. On day four, for instance, you’ll reach the Col de la Seigne, which marks the border between France and Italy, while on day five, you’ll leave Italy behind and cross into Switzerland via the Col Ferret.
Our final mountain trekking tour is another one that will see you ascend to the top of a summit –Mount Toubkal in Morocco. This peak in the Atlas Mountain range stands at 4,167 m, which means it provides a challenge to hikers, but, as with Kilimanjaro, does not require specialist training or equipment.
It should be noted, however, that winter mountaineering experience is necessary if you want to climb Toubkal between November and March, due to the snowy and icy conditions on the peak.
The trek to Toubkal will lead you through valleys and small Berber villages, as well as past rivers and several of the summits in the Atlas range. There are various stops along the way that boast fantastic views of the mountains and valleys. Among them is Tizi n’Tamatert, where you can see the upper Mizane valley and the beginning of the path to the summit of Toubkal.
On the day you ascend the peak, you can look forward to soaking up the views while eating a picnic lunch once you’ve conquered the slopes and before you begin your descent to Aremd.