Tanzania’s destination is rich and gifted with many highlands that offer spectacular topology in various areas of the country like; the Northern Arc Mountains, Eastern Arc Mountains, Crater Highlands, and Southern Arc Mountains, these form the best mountains in Tanzania. These areas have made Tanzania’s destination an attractive place for mountain climbing, trekking, hiking, and viewing points. A good example is when climbing mounts Meru, you will get a nice view of Mount Kilimanjaro’s snowcap.
Tanzania’s destination has a number of the world’s first-class and famous mountains. Tanzania acts as the roof of Africa because it has the highest mountain in Africa and the first free-standing mountain in the world. Kilimanjaro Mountain, one of the world’s dormant mountains, has 19,340 feet (5,895m) of height above sea level. The three summits of Mount Kilimanjaro are known as Shira, Kibo, and Mawenzi. Kibo summit is the highest summit among the other two, and it is located in the center of the mountain. Kilimanjaro mountain’s snow-capped top attracts worldwide trekkers.
Apart from Mount. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, has several other famous and attractive mountains like; the second highest mountain in Tanzania and the fifth in Africa, Mount Meru. Mount. Meru has 4,566 meters of height. It offers a diversity of attractions, including; game-filled lower slopes, chattering forests with tropical birds and monkeys, a spectacular crater, and, throughout the year, lovely views of famous snows across the Steppe.
The other mountains that attract Hiking, Flower watching, Bird watching, Picnic sites, and Culture tourism include; Oldonyo Lengai, meaning the ‘Mountain Of God’, the only active Soda Carbonate volcano in the world and is located in the northern part of Tanzania, Mount Hanan’g (Northern part of Tanzania), Rungwe Mountains, found in the Southwest of Tanzania, Usambara Mountains (Eastern Arc Mountains), Uluguru Mountains (Eastern Arc Mountains), Udzungwa Mountains (South Central of Tanzania), and Monduli Mountains in the Northern part of Tanzania.
Here are the 7 best mountains in Tanzania.
1. Kilimanjaro Mountain: The Best Mountain in Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro has 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) of height above sea level; it is the highest mountain in Africa and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. Although Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world, it has been signified that it is relatively easy to ascent from this mountain.
This mountain attracts many visitors, and it has become a significant destination for mountaineers and trekkers from all over the world. Mountain Kilimanjaro has three summits, and these are Shira, Kibo, and Mawenzi. Shira and Mawenzi have both suffered from significant erosion, and currently, they have jagged peaks. Kibo, which is the central and the highest peak among the three summits, has survived the environmental changes, and its rise has almost a perfect cone.
Mount Kilimanjaro is located in the Northern part of Tanzania and lies in Tanzania and Kenya, just south of the Equator. To the west, the mountain lies on the Great African Rift Valley created by tremendous tectonic forces, which also gave birth to a string of other volcanoes.
Accessible within Two (2) hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha Town consecutively and 7 to 8 hours drive from Dar es Salaam. Forty-five minutes flight from Dar es salaam International Airport to Kilimanjaro International Airport.
2. Mount Meru: The Second Highest Mountain in Tanzania
Mount Meru is one of Africa’s most beautiful volcanic mountains, it is the second-highest mountain in Tanzania, and it stands at 4,566m of height above sea level. This mountain has been classified as an active volcanic mountain, and its last eruption was in 1910. Dr. Fritz Jaeger was the first person to ascend Mountain Meru in 1904.
Mountain Meru attracts worldwide mountain climbers and visitors for its fabulous four days climb to the top. Mountain Meru is located in the Northern part of Tanzania and within the Arusha National Park. The area can be accessed by bus just 40 minutes from Kilimanjaro International Airport and also from Arusha town using the same time.
This mountain is surrounded by mountain forests that have inherited many interesting blue and acrobatic black-and-white Colobus Monkeys, which can easily be seen during hiking. Amid the park’s forest stands a spectacular Ngurdoto Crater, whose steep, rocky cliffs accommodate vast herds of buffalo and warthog.
The Momela lakes (about seven lakes) attract different birds like flamingos, a rich selection of waterfowl, and waterbucks. Giraffes and Zebra herds are also seen near the mountain in the national park’s grassy hills. Elephants are common in this park; Lions are absent, but Leopards and Hyenas are rarely seen around the park in the early morning and late afternoon.
This is the grazing area for buffalos, where numbers of buffalos are concentrated, and most visitors can see them while trekking mount Meru.
3. Ol’donyo Lengai: The Living Volcanic Mountain in Africa
Ol’donyo Lengai mountain rises about 2,100 meters above the East African Rift Valley floor to approximately 2,880 m. Ol’doinyo Lenkai means the “Mountain of God” originates from the Maasai’s tribal language, and they are living in the Ngorongoro area. The Maasai people conduct prayers to God “Engai,” whom the Maasai believe is the Creator of all things around this active volcanic mountain.
Ol’donyo Lengai is the only active volcanic mountain that produces dark brown lava during its eruption. This phenomenon attracts many geologists from all over the world who come for research activities. Oldonyo Lengai Mountain lies in the north of Tanzania, to the south of Lake Natron.
From Kilimanjaro International Airport you need about 1 hour to the town of Arusha. Take the road to the west, and after 116 km, you will reach Mto-Wa-Mbu (meaning the River of Mosquito). After that, drive only a 4×4 vehicle and take the dusty road to the northern side leading to Lake Natron (not during the wet season), and after 6 hours, you will arrive at Oldoinyo Base Camp. From there, it’s only half an hour to the trailhead at the slopes of Oldonyo Lengai.
You can climb the Oldonyo Lengai Mountain the whole year round, only in the wet seasons (March to May, October to December). It is not advised to visit for climbing this mountain because the roads are flooded with rainwater.
4. Usambara Mountains
The Usambara Mountains are approximately 70 miles (110 km) long and. These Mountains rise to 8,000 ft (2,440 m) high. The Usambara Mountains are part of the Eastern Arc Mountain, which stretches from Kenya through Tanzania and is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The Usambara Mountains are commonly split into two sub-ranges, the Western and Eastern Usambaras. The Eastern Usambara is closer to the coast, and it receives more rainfall and is significantly smaller than the Western Usambara.
The Usambara Mountains are located in the north-east of Tanzania in Tanga region and Dar es Salaam to Arusha highway. Usambara Mountain ranges are accessible from the towns of Lushoto in the West, and Amani town in the East by a drive (bus or car) from Arusha, Moshi, or Dar es Salaam.
5. Udzungwa Mountains
The Udzungwa Mountains is one of Tanzania’s most unique paradise and uniquely exciting wilderness mountains, forested with the most incredible altitudinal range of forest ranging between 250m and 2,576m above sea levels.
Udzungwa Mountains is a part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, which is a series of mountains ranging from Taita Hills in Southern Kenya to Makambako in Southcentral of Tanzania. The Udzungwa Mountains are located in South-central Tanzania, between Iringa and Morogoro regions, within the Eastern Arc Mountains. Udzungwa is about 10km southwest of Mikumi National park. Udzungwa Mountain is accessible by road from Dar es Salaam or Arusha. It’s about a 5-hour drive from Dar es Salaam, 12 hours from Arusha, and 2 hours from Mikumi national park.
About four types of peculiar species of birds. These include; a “Forest Partridge” bird that was first discovered in 1991 and was more closely related to an “Asian Genus” than any other African fowl. Other unique birds at the park are the “Iringa Red Colobus” and the “Sanje Crested Mangabey.
This cave in Udzungwa Mountains has unique cultural values to local people around this area because of traditional taboos and beliefs. This is an attractive site for visitors.
The area can be visited any time in the year, although it can be slippery during the rainy season. The dry season is between June to October.
6. Mahale Mountains: The Pride of Kigoma
On Lake Tanganyika’s borders lies a large park dominated by the Mahale Mountains chain and Tanzania’s most special chimpanzee populations. The park is located on a jutting peninsula of Lake Tanganyika, offering stunning mountains’ views, just being the country’s most beautiful lake’s sandy beaches. The Mahale Mountains are a photographer’s dream, with six prominent peaks forming the skyline. The largest at 8,069 feet is Nkungwe.
The park’s main attraction is its population of about 800 of the region’s last wild chimpanzees. A small group of them (approximately 60) have been habituated to humans since the 1960s. Specific rules for interacting with the chimpanzees are enforced in the park. Other wildlife to be seen includes red colobus and blue monkeys, and an excellent variety of birdlife.
The local people inhabiting the region, the Tongue people, have a fascinating historical relationship with the park region. Cultural tours and hearing the stories of the group is an engaging way to explore the area.
Mahale Mountains National Park can be reached from Kigoma by chartered private or national park motorboat. The ride takes three to four hours, depending on the weather. Charter flights from Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Kigoma are also available. A slightly-off-the-beaten track option is to take the once-a-week steamboat from Kigoma, which takes seven hours.
Chimp tracking is the park’s most popular activity. Allow at least two days as the chimps are unpredictable and move around often. Hiking and camping safaris are also available. Swimming, snorkeling, and fishing in Lake Tanganyika are an excellent way to enjoy the privacy of one of Tanzania’s least-visited parks.
The dry season and the beginning of the wet season (May – November, with light rains beginning in October) are the best time for mountain hiking and forest walks.
7. Rungwe Mountain
Rungwe Mountain is the second-highest mountain in Mbeya region, and it dominates the skyline for several kilometers around. It is composed of 10 or more dormant volcanic craters and domes. This mountain rises above the small town of Tukuyu, at 2,960m above sea level. Rungwe Mountain is southern Tanzania’s second-highest peak , and it is surrounded by a catchments forest reserve which was established in 1949, and it incorporates mountainous forest. This mountain has special spiritual significance to the local people, the Wanyakyusa and Wasafwa tribes. They usually use this mountain for traditional medicine and prayers.
Ngozi Crater Lake at the center was originated from the volcanic nature of the mountain. It is fascinating to climb to the top of this mountain when passing through the dense bamboo forest and tropical vegetation. In the Kiwira valley found a famous local attraction, the Bridge of God (Daraja la Mungu), a natural bridge that crosses the river.
Lake Masoko is located within this area. It is a beautiful small lake in the perfect place to swim, picnic, or even camp. Kyejo mountain is among the prominent peaks of Rungwe area. It is attractive and challenging when hiking upwards on this 2,152m high active volcano along the lava pathways. From the slopes of Kyejo Mountain, you will have great views of the surrounding tea-growing villages.