Travel to Mount Kenya – High Peak & National Park
Mt Kenya, Africa’s second highest peak is regarded as the realm of Ngai, god of the local Kikuyu people. Traditionally, all Kikuyu home were built to face this sacred peak. They call it Kirinyaga, or place of light.
The mountain is an awe-inspiring sight. Its ragged series of peaks are crowned with snow, and its slopes are thick with forest. The mountain is best seen at dawn, when the days early light silhouettes its impressive summit high over the surrounding plains.
While the 5,199 metre summit is a difficult technical climb, the lesser peak of Point Lenana (4,985m) can be easily reached by any fit trekker. This trek takes between 3 and 5 days, through a fascinating world of forests, wildlife, unique montane vegetation including podocarpus and grounsel, and finally one of the worlds rarest sights, equatorial snow.
For those who don’t want to climb the mountain the cool highlands that surround its base are well worth a visit. The forests are ideal for game viewing, and there are crystal clear mountain streams that abound with trout.
The forests around the base of Mt Kenya are very rich in big game. Buffalo and elephant are often seen on the lower slopes and in the forests near Naro Moru, as well as plenty of smaller game and chameleons. The area is also known for sightings of Black Panthers (melanisitic leopards). On the higher slopes, there are hyraxes, and plenty of birds of prey. For more information on this area, see the forests section.
Mt Kenya and its surrounding forests are good birding country. Notable species recorded here include the Lesser Kestrel, Jackson’s Widowbird, Abbots Starling, Jackson’s Francolin, Hunter’s Cisticola, the Crowned Eagle, African Grass Owl and Cape Eagle Owl.
Trekking is Mt Kenya’s main attraction, and anybody of reasonable fitness can attempt Point Lenana (4,985m). Trekkers should be adequately prepared. Despite its equatorial location the mountain can be bitterly cold, and it often rains or snows. All trekkers should have plenty of warm clothing, and sturdy footwear. Remember that Lenana is the same altitude or higher than many Himalayan passes, and that altitude sickness can be a problem. Even on the shortest route to Lenana, trekkers should allow 3 days at the very least to allow for acclimatization on the way up. This will let you enjoy the trek even more, and improve your chances of success.
For experienced rock climbers reaching Batian (5,199m) the summit of Mt Kenya, is a very challenging technical climb. A daunting rock face is made even more hazardous by snow and ice. There are around 30 seperate technical routes of varying degrees of difficulty. All of these routes require skill and specialized technical equipment.
In the foothills of Mount Kenya it is possible to fish and horse ride. Nanyuki and Naro Moru in the foothills both have a range of accommodation to suit all budgets, from basic campsites to upmarket lodges.
Main road access to Mt Kenya is via Nanyuki or Naro Moru, both easily accessed from Nairobi by private transport. Some trekkers and climbers access the Mountain from the small village of Chogoria.
- Enjoy an exhilarating trek up or around the foothills of Mount Kenya.
- Explore the surrounding forests, rich in game.
- Excellent bird watching on the lower slopes.