Glaciers in Africa

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Glaciers in Africa: Even with the equatorial climate, Africa has glaciers on her highest peaks on Mount Kilimanjaro, mountain Rwenzori’s and Mount Kenya. These glaciers offer amazing encounters on your Africa hiking safaris.These safaris take you to the summit where the glaciers are found. However, glaciers are not the only attractions on these mountains. The vegetation that grows on the mountain side is home to a variety of bird species, primates and elephants. Unfortunately, the glaciers in Africa are melting at a terrible pace and they are expected to disappear within the coming decades.

Trips to Inspire

7 Days Rwenzori Hike

10 Days Rwenzori peaks

7 Days Kilimanjaro Hike

What is the biggest Glacier in Africa?

Credner and Furtwangler glaciers are the biggest glaciers in Africa. Credner glacier is the biggest glacier in Africa is a remnant of an icecap and is located on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The Cerdner glacier is situated at an elevation of between 5,800-5,500m (19,000-18,000ft). Due to the effects of global warming, the glacier is gradually disappearing. Some reports indicate that the glacier will no longer exist by 2030. The Furtangler glacier, named after Walter Furtwangler who ascended Kilimanjaro in 1912, is located on Mount Kilimanjaro near the summit. The glacier has lost 85% of its ice in the last century.

Why are there Glaciers in Africa?

Glaciers exist in Africa because Africa has some of the highest mountains in the world. Mountains such as Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania Mountain Rwenzori in Uganda and Mount Kenya are some of the highest mountains in the world. At altitudes of over 5000m, the temperature drops, and the water cools down to form ice. Glaciers exist in Africa because Africa has some of the highest mountains in the world. Due to climate change, wildfires have ranged on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2022. Since 1912, 85% of the ice has disappeared due to climate change.


Frequently Asked Questions About Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro

How Many Glaciers in Africa?

Africa has only three glaciers Located in Kenya Uganda and Tanzania.  These glaciers are located only on the highest mountains in the above countries for example Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro and mountain Rwenzori’s.

By 1906 Uganda had 46 glacias on Mountain Rwenzori  By 2005 only three glaciers  were  left something that’s worrying.  See them before they disappear

Mount Baker

Mountain Rwenzori - Uganda

  • Speke Glacier
  • Elena
  • Stanley
  • Baker

The Rwenzori Mountain ranges are higher compared to the Alps and they have glaciers which are one of the sources of the longest river on earth, the River Nile. Margherita Peak is the highest peak on the ranges making it the 3rd highest peak in Africa together with its twin peak, Mount Stanley, which is within the park. The 4th and 5th highest peaks, Mount Speke and Mount Baker, are also within the park. The mountain ranges were first brought to the worlds notice in CE 150 by Alexandrian geographical researcher and photographer, Pletomy, when he described a stunning mountain which he christened “mountain of the moon.” Later in 1899, English explorer, Henry Morton Stanley, was as spell bound as Pletomy when he beheld the ranges and christened them the “Cloud Mountains.”


The Rwenzori Mountain national park, which is the conservation area for the mountain, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the mountains in Uganda and covers almost 1000 sq. km and strides across the districts of Kabarole, Kasese and Bundibudyo. It includes most of the center and the eastern half of the mountain and is known for its beautiful plant life coupled with waterfalls, glaciers and a lot of other unique mountainous vegetation. The park has glaciers, snowfields, waterfalls and has been portrayed as one of the mainly attractive Alpine areas around the world and you must not miss this on your Uganda safari holidays

You might be interested in how much an African safari cost

Mountains in Uganda
Kilimanjaro Hike-Marangu Route

Mountain Kilimanjaro - Tanzania

Kilimanjaro  Mountain is the  highest in Africa with (5,895 m). Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, not like other Tanzanian National Parks, does not have visitor for the wildlife but for the chance to stand at the highest point in Africa with snow-capped mountain. Mountain Kilimanjaro can be hiked at any time of the year, abut the best time is from late June to October, during the country’s dry season.

Kilimanjaro mountain is a UNESCO Site, was formed over 1 million years ago by volcanic Plate movement  along the Rift Valley. Three volcanic cones – Shira, Kibo, and Mawenzi – came to be about 750,000 years ago. The highest point is Uhuru Peak on Kibo mount, which is one of the Seven Summits of the world.

The mountain starts from farmlands on its base level to rainforest and alpine meadow and then barren lunar landscape at the peaks. The slopes of mountain are home to wildlife such as buffaloes, leopards, monkeys, giraffes etc. The alpine zone is where bird lovers will find an abundance of birds of prey.

In the year of 1973, the mountain and its six surrounding forest corridors were gazzeted as a protected Kilimanjaro National Park in order to protect its unique environment.

Mountain Kilimanjaro Elevation / Mountain Kilimanjaro Height

Mountain Kilimajaro elevation is  5,895 metres (19,341 feet) above sea level and around 4,900 metres (16,100 feet) above its plateau base. It is Africa’s and the Eastern Hemisphere’s highest volcano. Mount Kilimanjaro is home to all Tanzanian glaciers. There were 16 named glaciers and three icefields on the mountain in the middle of the 20th century, but by the 1990s four glaciers had disappeared and the rest had receded.

What are the Optimal Months for Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro?

Glaciers on Mt Kilimanjaro

    • Arrow Glacier (a remnant of the formerly named Little Barranco Glacier)
    • Balletto Glacier
    • Barranco Glacier 
    • Credner Glacier
    • Decken Glacier
    • Gold Glacier
    • Drygalski Glacier (vanished)
    • Eastern Ice Field (Mount Kilimanjaro)
    • Furtwängler Glacier
    • Great Barranco Glacier (now known as Barranco Glacier)
    • Great Penck Glacier (vanished)
    • Heim Glacier
    • Kersten Glacier
    • Little Barranco Glacier (vanished, small remnant later named Arrow Glacier)
    • Little Penck Glacier
    • Northern Ice Field (Mount Kilimanjaro)
    • Ratzel Glacier
    • Rebmann Glacier
    • Southern Ice Field (Mount Kilimanjaro)
    • Uhlig Glacier (vanished

Glaciers on Mt Kenya

  • Ali Cesar Glacier
  • Diamond Glacier
  • Darwin Glacier (Kenya)
  • Forel Glacier
  • Gregory Glacier
  • Heim Glacier
  • Josef Glacier
  • Kraph Glacier
  • Lewis Glacier
  • Northey Glacier
  • Tyndall Glacier

Top 5 Facts about Glaciers in Africa and the World

1) Glaciers in Africa are huge ice that moves down the mountains really slow but gradually and might disappear by 2040

2) The largest Glaciers form the largest stockpile of fresh water on the African continent and probably the all world. It is estimated that glaciers have storage of up to 75% of all fresh water in the world.

3)  Glaciers have significantly reduced from the 32% cover during the ice age to now 10%

4) Glaciers are categorized into 2 types; Continental glaciers and Alpine glaciers. Continental glaciers can only be found in extreme polar regions such as Antarctica and Greenland. When climate conditions in a region cool for extended periods of time, continent-wide glaciers can form and expand. In regions that do not experience seasonal temperature increase, snow can accumulate over time. If it does so in great amounts, it can compact under its own weight to form ice.

5) On Mount Kilimanjaro’s slopes are the greatest glaciers in Africa. Among the largest are Credner Glacier and Furtwängler Glacier. Due to its extensive exposure to sunlight on the northwestern face of Mount Kilimanjaro, Credner Glacier is fast disappearing.

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