Africa has it all, from the sweeping Sahara Desert to the mighty Victoria Falls which sits between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Small wonder it has attracted curious outsiders for so many years.

The continent is also home to several tall mountains. You can climb them with good training and the aid of an experienced guide. If that isn’t your thing, you can take some spectacular photographs.

Here’s a quick overview of the five tallest peaks on The Motherland.

Mount Kilimanjaro – Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro with Acacia - Mountains of Africa
Photo Credit: 1001slide

Kilimanjaro is an African behemoth, and it’s 19,341 feet above sea level. Reaching the summit here can take from 6 days to 11, depending on the route you choose.

It’s not only the tallest mountain in Africa, but the tallest, free-standing mountain in the world. The mountain is in Tanzania, but it can be seen from parts of Kenya.

Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya at TwoTarns
Photo Credit: Sanjiv Soni

This extinct volcano is part of Kenya National Park. Some of those who have climbed it, say it’s harder to scale than Kilimanjaro. It can take anywhere from 4 to 6 days, depending on pace and how well-acclimated climbers are to altitude changes. As with any other mountain of great height, you should be prepared for sudden weather changes.

Mount Kenya has a bit of a dark side, though. According to Al Jazeera, “It has brought adventure to some and death to others,” namely, due to altitude sickness and even suicide.

The publication adds, “Altitude sickness, caused by caused by low oxygen levels, can kick in at around 1,500 meters, well below the mountain’s 5,199-meter summit.”

Mount Stanley – Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mount Stanley from Bamwanjara pass
Photo Credit: Michele D’Amico supersky77

This mountain is 16,671 feet above sea level, and it’s part of the Rwenzori Mountains range. It’s shared by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

Aside from the expected challenges that come with mountain climbing, expect to encounter ice and snow. As for the question of altitude, the chances of getting altitude sickness are lower than in Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. Brilliant Uganda explains, “The trekking routes are longer, giving you more time to acclimatize.”

Mount Meru – Tanzania

Landscape view of Mount Meru from Arusha, Tanzania
Photo Credit: Emad aljumah

In order to prepare for Kilimanjaro, some people train on Mount Meru. It’s 14,980 feet and is part of Arusha National Park.

There’s a good chance you’ll see some wildlife here, like grazing buffalo and warthogs. Expect to spend about 4-5 days here in order to reach the summit.

Mount Ras Dashen – Ethiopia

Simien Mountains National Park, Ras Dashen, Ethiopia
Photo Credit: Florian Bachmeier

Rounding out our list is Ras Dashen, the tallest peak in Ethiopia. It measures approximately 14, 905 feet, and it’s part of the Simien Mountains, located in the Ethiopian Highlands. Depending on a few variables, you’ll only need a few days and nights to finish this one.

Brilliant Ethiopia explains, “Most travelers who are trekking in the Simien Mountains stick to the primary escarpment, and spend 2-3 nights in the mountains. If you want to summit Ras Dashen, you’ll need at least 2 extra days, sometimes longer depending on your fitness and the route you choose.”