International Mountain Day 2023: Observing #ClimateCrisis & benefits of hiking
International Mountain Day is observed on December 11 every year to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development, and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world.
The day serves as a platform to raise global awareness about the challenges faced by mountain communities, including issues like climate change and environmental degradation.
The theme of International Mountain Day 2023 is “Restoring mountain ecosystems.” This theme was selected to fully include mountains in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN and the UN Environment Programme.
The first International Mountain Day was then observed on December 11, 2003.
Mountains play an important role in the earth’s environment and economic process. The use of mountains for forestry, horticulture, mineral extraction, animal husbandry, tourism, and recreation is of great economic importance.
In the mountains, the effects of drought, floods, and landslides are greater. Climate change due to the increase in temperature and change in rainfall patterns has affected the plants and animals in mountainous areas, forcing the inhabitants of these ecosystems to adapt or migrate.
A LOOK AT THE TOP MOUNTAINS IN AFRICA:
Kilimanjaro means ‘shining mountain’ in Swahili and is the tallest free-standing mountain rise in the world, rising 4600 meters from the base, and is the highest peak in Africa at 5,895 meters. Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano located in Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira.
Mount Kenya is an extinct stratovolcano in Kenya and is the second-highest peak in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian (5,199 meters or 17,057 feet), Nelion (5,188 m or 17,021 ft), and Point Lenana (4,985 m or 16,355 ft). Mount Kenya is located in the former Eastern and Central provinces of Kenya. International researchers have described a new species of forest toad from Mount Kenya.
On International Mountain Day some people:
- Arrange hiking trips or outdoor activities in mountainous areas.
- Coordinate clean-up campaigns in mountainous regions to address issues of environmental degradation.
- Join the conversation on social media using the #MountainsMatter hashtag. Pass on some of this year’s key messages or take a photo of your favourite mountain and share it on social media.
Benefits Of Hiking For Health And Well-Being
Hiking is great for cardiovascular health. Even light hiking can raise the heart rate to a moderate level which helps improve aerobic fitness and endurance. Over time, your body adjusts to new fitness levels and you can hike longer, faster, and harder without feeling as fatigued or out of breath.
“Hiking is not only for fitness, it’s great therapy and good for the soul, not only is it good, It helps you sense the many wonders of nature. It can guide you into discovering your soul’s real purpose of being able to connect with something far more significant than itself.” said Evey Mwatse
“Personally its great therapy and I struggle with depression and anxiety. It also requires me to be less accessible and I love it.” she added (@shonahiker IG)
For those who have arthritis, especially in their knees or hips, you may have pain when you try to exercise. But hiking is an easy way to get your heart rate up without putting too much stress on your joints.
Explore Africa’s wild and rugged wilderness by foot on one of these formidable multi-day hikes. Africa is the world’s second-largest continent, but it is indisputably the best trekking destination in the world! Comprised of plateaus, mountains, ridges, and basins, Africa is abundant with an unrivaled diversity of flora and fauna that characterize the wild character of the land. Explore equatorial forests, savanna grasslands, highlands, tropical deserts, idyllic lakes, rapid waterways, and much, much more.
The topographic range and variety of wildlife provide unmatched hiking conditions. From the Great Escarpment in South Africa, the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Namibia’s Fish River Canyon, and Tanzania’s famed Mount Kilimanjaro, below you will find a variety of amazing adventures that will beckon you to set out exploring. In no particular order, we have compiled a list of the 10 greatest treks on the continent in the hopes that one of these routes will inspire you to book your next holiday!
1. Mount Kilimanjaro
This famed mountain trek is at the top of many bucket lists. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak on the continent, and the climb up into the clouds is not without its challenges. This incredible hike passes through 5 climate zones to the snow-capped volcanic summit, including forests, moorlands, and alpine deserts. Ironically, half the hassle of Mount Kilimanjaro is deciding which of the 7 routes to take up to the summit.
While the terrain is not especially technical, the consistent climb and elevation gain is laborious. That being said, considerable planning is required, including conditioning and altitude training. Check out our preparation guide for trekking Mount Kilimanjaro for an exhaustive training and planning checklist. Note that it is not possible to hike without a guide, so it is recommended to book a Kilimanjaro tour, which includes knowledgeable local guides, camping equipment, and more.
Distance: Distances vary depending on the route you chose, check out our guide to trekking Mount Kilimanjaro for detailed trail info.
Days Recommended: 5-10 days
When to do: January-March