Top 5 Hiking Hot Spots
By Martha Hales
All over the world there are countless trails for walkers - some as old as humanity, some only recently inaugurated. We’ve picked five hiking routes of exciting diversity to whet your ambling appetite and inspire you to hit the trail.
Mount Kenya Trek, Kenya
Standing at a lung-busting 5,199 metres, Mount Kenya is quite a mountain. In fact, it's the second highest in Africa after Kilimanjaro, though gets a fraction of the exposure and visitors. This is the ideal playground for dedicated trekkers who will appreciate the range of challenges on offer - not to mention the scenery from the top, which includes (on clear days) Kilimanjaro over 300 kilometres away. Some of the routes on this dormant volcano are very technical, but for those without all the requisite equipment, aim for the Point Lenana hike - it rises to almost 5,000 metres but doesn’t require mountaineering experience. The summit is tough and only experienced climbers should attempt it. Allow 4-6 days depending on route, fitness and conditions.
Fitz Roy trek, Argentina
Patagonia is a thrilling and superlative destination, and bearing in mind that context, the trek to Mount Fitz Roy is one of the best in the region. The trail up to the 3,360 metre peak of Mount Fitz Roy affords mesmerising views across this famous landscape, including glaciers, lakes and mountain peaks aplenty. It takes around four days to reach the summit and trekkers are usually based out of El Chalten, where there are many places to stay and a good tourist infrastructure. Make sure you have checked the weather as it is very changeable in this ‘end of the world’ region.
The Otter Trail, South Africa
The Otter Trail is popular because it is ever-changing. The diversity of landscape and ecosystem along the way make it a really exciting route with something different to see every day, including - you guessed it - otters. The trail hugs the wild and rock-strewn east coast, meandering along the foot of the Tsitsikamma Mountains, above the sea on high bluffs and dips down to wild and lovely beaches. There are jungly stretches too, where you can expect to see some wildlife, and if you are lucky you might catch sight of some whales along this shore. Book in advance to avoid disappointment as this is a hut-to-hut trail with limited spaces. Allow four or five days to cover the 42 kilometres of hilly terrain.
Desert trek to Petra, Jordan
The most impressive approach to Petra is the trek from Dana biosphere reserve. It's not a short hop by any means - the trail is almost 90 kilometres long - but the scenery and cultural immersion throughout the week or so you will need to complete it are well worth the effort. The route funnels you through the Wadi Araba Desert and some wild and beautiful crags - where the Bedouin people still eke out a living - before the grand finale arrives as you walk into Petra like the desert caravans would have done when the city was still thriving. The sight of the spellbinding ancient relics such as the treasury and the monastery will be an epic finale to an epic trek.
La Ciudad Perdida trek, Colombia
An off the radar alternative to the well trodden Inca trail, this is an adventurous trek that goes deep into the dense jungle of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It's 44 kilometres of tricky and wild trail which takes in some exciting obstacles. You certainly earn your arrival at the ‘lost city’; an overgrown ruined town dripping with greenery and steeped in eeriness. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the city was rediscovered, and although it is not a secret destination, it’s a far cry from the hordes that make their way to Machu Picchu.
Pack your best boots for the hike of a lifetime. There are so many to choose from across all the TravelLocal destinations and our expert local teams know exactly how to get the most out of your trek. If you would like to find out more about the destinations mentioned, click on the country names above. Alternatively, for more general enquiries or to get travel advice, call our office on 0117 325 7898.