The 10 highest mountains in Africa are distributed comparatively clearly across three mountain regions in the eastern half of the continent near the equator. Two of the four highest top peaks in Africa rise to over 5000 meters in the Kilimanjaro Mountains, which are part of the East African state of Tanzania. In Tanzania’s neighboring state Kenya, the Mount Kenya massif, which also belongs to the small group of the African 5000m, with Batian as the highest peak, is impressive. The next largest among the 10 highest mountains in Africa can be found in the Ruwenzori Mountains, which extend in the border area of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (until 1997: Zaire).
Tanzania’s giant mountains in Kilimanjaro
The world-famous Kilimanjaro Mountains, stretching over almost 5000 square kilometers in the north of Tanzania, are one of the most photographed natural beauties on the African continent. The volcanic massif, which enjoys special protection as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is estimated to be 2.5 million years old. The Kilimanjaro massif experienced its last major volcanic eruption about 300,000 years ago. Volcanic forces continue to work in the lava area below the surface.
Since a minor eruption around 1700, the highest peak of Kilimanjaro, the 5895 m towering Kibo (Kiswahili: “The Bright One”) has been considered extinct. The tip of the Kibo, which is crowned by glaciers (still) shining far into the surrounding area, was built in 1962 on the occasion of the declaration of independence Tanzania’s also called “Uhuru Peak” (“Freedom Peak”). Until then, this highest point in Africa was called “Kaiser-Wilhelm-Spitze” as a result of long-gone German colonial rule. Kibo, which is not a great challenge for mountaineers, is about 10 km long saddle ridge with the neighboring summit Mawenzi (“The Dark One”).Like the Kibo in its upper area, the glacier-less Mawenzi is characterized by frost rubble desert geology.
Kenya’s symbol mountain range Mount Kenya with the batian
The Mount Kenya massif (Masai: “Kinyaa” = “black and white mountain”) rises in central Kenya about 150 km northeast of Nairobi in the immediate vicinity of the equator.
Like the Tanzanian Kibo, the extinct volcanic massif of Mount Kenya, from which the state of Kenya took its name, fascinates with its extremely rare glacier zones near the equator between the towering peaks, of which the Batian is the highest. At 5,199 m, the Batian is not only the highest Mount Kenya mountain, but also belongs as the second highest peak in Africa like K 2 and Dufourspitze to the “Seven Second Summits”, the group of the second highest mountains of the seven continents.
In the approximately 100 square kilometer central area of the Mount Kenya massif rise above the tree line at 3200 m with the peaks Nelion (5189 m) and Lengana (4985 m), as well as the Pigott ( 4958 m) three more top ten mountain giants in Africa.
The four Ruwenzori representatives of the 10 highest mountains in Africa
Like Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya, the Congolese-Ugandan border mountains Ruwenzori have become part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their ecological importance. The mountain range is named after the name for “rainmaker” in the language of the Ugandan batoro. Mount Stanley, rising exactly on the border of Uganda and DR Congo, with its twin peaks Margherita Peak (5109 m) and Alexandra Peak (5019 m) is considered the highest mountain in the range and the highest non-volcanic mountain in Africa.
Like Mount Stanley, the next higher Ruwenzori Mountains Mount Speke (4890 m), Mount Baker (4844) (both Uganda) and Mount Emin (4789 m) (DR Congo) are named after European explorers. Mount Emin got its name after the Prussian Africa explorer Eduard Schnitzer (Mehmed Emin Pascha) (1840-1892). All the giant mountains of the Ruwenzori Mountains, rising above the tree line of 4000 m, had large glaciers throughout until the beginning of the 20th century. Its scope has decreased dramatically since then. The glacier of Mount Emin has already completely disappeared, only Mount Stanley still has glacier regions of greater importance.
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