It’s time for our final installment of the best hikes in the world. We have covered the Best Hiking in Asia, the Best Hikes in Europe and the Best Hiking Trails in the Americas. Now we have The Best Hikes in Australia, New Zealand and Africa as chosen by our fellow world travelers and nature lovers.
Best Hikes in Africa
Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
The Simien Mountains in Ethiopia are one of the best-hiking destinations in the world. This area offers jaw-dropping views of a wild landscape and unique wildlife encounters, including the Gelada Baboon. The Simien Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s rugged and remote chain of mountains stretch across northern Ethiopia with the tallest peak climbing above 4,500m making a dramatic backdrop throughout the whole area. Hiking in the Simien Mountains National Park cannot be done independently and you must be accompanied by a guide and gunman at all times.
This is not a location for the inexperienced hiker. The rocky hillside paths take you up towering peaks and down into deep valleys. It is a challenging area to hike in and it is very important that you hike within your level of fitness, we ran across many hikers that bit off more than they could chew.
Hikes in the Simien Mountains range from two to seven days depending on your skill level and the time of year. Our hike was two days with camping in the Snakaber Camp and the facilities are rustic. Depending on your skill level you can also pick different start points making your hiking days range from four to eight hours.
Hiking in the Simien Mountains is one of the Top 100 Travel Adventures in the World due to its remoteness, lack of tourism and inspiring natural landscape.
Read more from Lina & David at Divergent Travelers
Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi-Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
A good hike is often a reward in and of itself, but gorilla trekking in Uganda‘s aptly named Bwindi-Impenetrable National Park is an unforgettable hike that just so happens to be capped off with a once-in-a-lifetime hour of communion with the famous mountain gorillas who call the heavily forested mountains home.
My experience gorilla trekking in Uganda was at once both my most grueling hike to date and one of my most treasured travel memories. What begins as a relatively tame stroll through the park’s well-maintained lower reaches soon devolves into a tough uphill slog that sees you slipping and sliding in muddy undergrowth as your machine gun toting guides hack away at the tenacious underbrush with machetes. It’s one hell of an experience.
There were quite a few moments during the ascent that I began to question not only the sanity of my decision to join the hike, but my very ability to survive it. My calves screamed with every step, my lungs burned, and my head was a dizzy mess anytime I was given a moment to pause and suck in great, desperate gasps of air.
Your reward for surviving the hike makes every moment of self-doubt and agony worth it. The mountain gorillas are at once eerily familiar and distinctly alien, and your hour with them is worth every drop of sweat.
Read more from Chris at Aussie On The Road
Mount Toubkal in Morocco
Just an hour from the bustling city of Marrakech lies the summit of North Africa’s highest peak, Mount Toubkal at 4,167 meters (13,671 feet). In the winter the snow capped peak doubles as a ski hill. Thankfully this summit is not as treacherous as some mountain climbs but is serious business nonetheless. Most treks leave from the village of Imlil.
The mountain can be summited in two days if you’re in a hurry but slower if you’d rather take in the surroundings. It’s advisable to do the climb slowly as the air thins out and your body acclimates. There are several routes up depending on your hiking level. It is always advisable to hire a guide to go with to ensure you are safe. While you can summit year-round, winter summits are much more difficult due to the snow pack and best for advanced hikers.
Read more from Amanda at Marocmama
Andringitra National Park, Madagascar
Did you know there were mountains in Madagascar? I didn’t, so when we found out about the existence of Andringitra National Park we decided that we had to visit. Andringitra is sometimes called ‘Madagascar’s Yosemite’, because of the granite peaks similar to those of the great American park. Out of all the hikes that can be done in Andringitra, we opted for a 3 day hike that included climbing Pic Boby, the highest peak in Madagascar.
Pic Boby also must be the only mountain in the world to be named after a dog, who was the first one to reach the summit. Locally, it’s also known as Pic Imarivolanitra, meaning ‘close to the sky’. The 3 day hike was wonderful and it included several cool landscapes, including the ‘valley of the moon’ with weird rock formations and a place where palm trees grow at 2000 meters above sea level. Only in Madagascar!
Read more from Margherita at the Crowded Planet
Usambara Mountains, Tanzania
Tanzania is most famous for safaris and Zanzibar. But those who want to explore more a bit off the beaten track should check out Usambara region as it is a perfect destination for outdoor lovers and hiking enthusiasts.
Most of the hikes are easy walking, never too steep, and will take you through rural villages above Lushoto at 1600 m above sea level. You will be rewarded with vast panoramic views of the massive Usambara mountain range and even Kilimanjaro on a clear summer day!
This area is also home to the protected tropical Magamba rainforest that is known for rare and shy Black and White Colobus monkeys, beautiful waterfalls and cute chameleons! Hikes can be done in a day, but if you take time to visit this region, go for at least three days if possible.
Read more from Nina at Safari Junkies
Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda
My favorite hike ever was trekking mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Mountain gorillas can be found in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo but Rwanda is the most accessible and offers the best views of the gorillas.
Trekking mountain gorillas is an unforgettable experience for any wildlife and nature enthusiast. Each gorilla trekking experience will vary depending on the day of the trek and the gorilla group you are assigned. Sometimes you will get a short easy trek and some groups require a longer, more difficult trek. The hike starts with an easy 30-minute walk through flat farmlands but once the forest boundary is reached, the actual trek begins.
Depending on fitness level, lucky visitors trek anywhere from one to over five hours for an up-close view of one of the gorilla families, including the Susa group made famous by Dian Fossey. With less than 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world, the entire experience is a privilege.
Read more from the Travel Sisters
Best Hikes in Australia and New Zealand
Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand
One of the most spectacular one-day walks in the world can be done in the Tongariro National Park, on the North Island of New Zealand. This 20 km long trail is known as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which goes through a volcanic landscape that is spectacular on its own. Nevertheless for Lord of the Rings fans (like me), walking this trail actually felt like crossing the land of Mordor, and standing in front of Mount Ruapehu felt as staring at Mount Doom.
The landscape is very varied: the view of sulfuric flames coming out from the Red Crater or the vivid colors of the Emerald Lakes are some of the most memorable points of the walk. Nevertheless, the most amazing moment comes when you climb to the top of the Red Crater and you get a 360 degree view of the whole national park; the peaks around the Central Crater on one side and the majestic peak of Mount Ruapehu on the other. The weather is quite tricky in Tongariro, we read about many hikers who had to turn back due to rough conditions. Nevertheless, we were lucky enough to do the trail in winter, when part of the landscape was covered in snow.
Read more from Gábor at Surfing the Planet
Karijini National Park, Western Australia
Karijini is Western Australias second largest park and has many things to offer to those who love nature. The huge red mountain formations, waterfalls and breathtaking gorges impressed me. Karijini NP in Western Australia is a true hiking paradise with over 15 hikes in 4 classifications to choose from. The hikes vary from a few 100 meters to 9 kilometers. We decided to hike in the Dales Gorge area to admire the sunken gardens, dark blue pools, cascading waterfalls and snakes. Yes, snakes.
We walked the 2 km Dales Gorge hike, a class 4 hike that took us about 3 hours. We kicked off at the Three ways lookout and Circular pool, a natural swimming pool with turquoise water. We descended into the gorges and hiked all the way down to Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool. The colours of the landscape were stunning! And although I am not a huge fan of reptiles, we spotted a snake and lizards. After a steep climb out of the gorges, we did the 2 kilometre Gorge Rim hike back to the Dales Gorge parking area. Coming from a flat country, the views into the gorges positively overwhelmed me.
Another great area in Karijini NP for hiking is Weano Gorge. There is a class 2 hike but the most exciting hikes are the class 4 and 5 hikes that are for experienced bushwalkers and a high level of agility. As I don’t consider myself a veteran hiker, I joined a small group canyoning tour to explore Handrail Pool and Kermits Pool. It was one of those days that I realized how beautiful the world is and how much I love Australia.
Read more from Maartje at Quokka Travel
The Blue Mountains, Australia
If you find yourself with a few spare days in the Sydney area, hire a car and head to the Blue Mountains to explore some of the amazing landscapes of New South Wales. It’s just a couple of hours drive and the park is made up of mountain ranges and eucalyptus forest and features a distinctive blue haze that rises into the distance.
The most famous feature of the national park is the ‘Three Sisters’, a distinctive rock formation with a name inspired by an aboriginal legend of three sisters who were taken captive before being turned to stone for their protection. Various trails allow you to explore the rocky outcrops, and they offer stunning views over the canyon and jungle forest. This is a more popular section of the park, but no less beautiful than more obscure areas.
If you have a day for some more exploring we had a great afternoon on the Grand Canyon Trail Loop, which was recommended to us by a local expert. It’s ideal for those with a moderate fitness level and the loop takes 2-3 hours in our experience. The trail follows the river through the canyon and you’ll get to trek through rainforest as well as rocky canyon paths, giving you a real feel for the diversity of the landscapes in this area of Australia.
Read more from Sarah at Not Another Travel Blog
Flinders Ranges, South Australia
I must admit I am not an avid hiker. However, I am trying to appreciate hiking for all it is worth. Taking in the surroundings, being at one with nature and going with good company have helped me to understand a good hike. I am lucky enough to have a multitude of day hikes in my own backyard, the Flinders Ranges, South Australia.
This picturesque part of the country has one particular hike that I love, Devil’s Peak. Situated just out of Quorn, a small rural town three hours north of Adelaide, I encourage everyone to tackle it one day. However, I should have known that the words devil’s and peak were going to mean an easy hike, right? Apparently, I was wrong, fancy that! Relatively short in length this hike involves a narrow trail climbing over rocks and up steep terrain. For experienced hikers, this is probably a walk in the park, but for an amateur, this was relatively tough. I blame my short legs! Once I made it to the top, I remembered why people hiked. The view was incredible; just take a look at the photo! I feel it speaks for itself!
Read more from Lauren at The Traveller’s Guide by LJOJLO
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Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.