East African mountains

East African mountains

The East African mountains are a mountain region in East Africa, within Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi.


Location and description

The mountains are related to the Great Rift Valley, and are in two chains, the Western Rift includes the Virunga Mountains, Mitumba Mountains, and the Ruwenzori Range, while the mountains to the east include the largest peaks in Africa: the snow-covered Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895m, 19,340 ft), and Mt Kenya (5,199m, 17,058 ft). Other mountains in the Eastern Rift area include Mount Elgon in Kenya and Uganda.

The weather at the highest elevations is often cold and wet.


The mountains are rich in wildlife, including animals who migrate to higher altitudes during the hot season in the surrounding savanna. The mountains are home to a number of endemic bird species such as Hinde's Pied-babbler which lives only on Mount Kenya.

Threats and preservation

The lower elevations of the mountains have been extensively used for forestry and for growing tea and coffee and much of the original forest has been lost, including the cloud forest that once covered much of Kilimanjaro. Climbing these mountains is a major attraction and Kilimanjaro National Park attracts hundreds of visitors each year, many of whom access the mountain from the coffee-growing town of Moshi.


The mountains were discovered by Europeans in order of distance from the coast, which also happens to be in decreasing order of height. They were also explored and climbed in this order.[1]


  1. ^ The Mountain Club of Kenya Guide to Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro, Iain Allan. (1998) Mountain Club of Kenya. ISBN 9966-986-0-3