Mt. Kenya is the second highest mountain peak in Africa. It is commonly regarded as the of “Ngai”, Agikuyu people god. In the past, every kikuyu home was built facing this sacred mountain. They had named it Kirinyaga to mean a place of light. The mountain is mesmerizing to view, the beautiful scenery is completed by ragged series snow crown at the peak. The slopes of Mt. Kenya are filled with lushest and thick forest. The best time to enjoy the beautiful view of the mountain is at dawn, when the early light of the day gives silhouettes of its impressive summit over the plains that surrounds it.
The summit is at 5,199 meters, this poses a really challenging climb. But the other side, Lenana peak Point at 4,985 is easier to access by any avid trekker. To complete this hike, it will take about 3 and 5 days to reach the peak. Let that not discourage because during tis 3 das you will be passing through an amazing world of beautiful flora and fauna. There is vegetation that is unique to the mountain like the groundsel and pod carpus, different types of forest, and wildlife. To reward your hard labors and struggles to reach the top, there at the top lies the world rarest sights, an equatorial snow.
Mount Kenya is celebrated as the iconic landmark in Kenya. It has a national park known as Mount Kenya National Park, and the park offers a unique highlands safari in central part of Kenya to the discerning Kenyan visitor. In does not matter if you are travelling alone or with that significant someone, or group or even your beloved family, the park’s fascinating features which are glorious and majestic are there waiting for you.
The park is 276 square miles (715 sq.km), with immense size the park is also part of a bigger wilderness that covers up to 854 square miles (2124 sq.km). inside the frontiers is a striking variety of ecosystems that starts at the lesser foothills and encompasses to the peak which is found at 5199 meters. Right at the base of the mountain there are plains which are semi-arid and as you gradually go up it transitions gently to mountain forests, then the moorlands then eventually glacier fields.
Mt Kenya is known worldwide for its unique features it has as an equatorial mountain. Its enduring ice at the crown is what has made the mountain a world wonder. The remaining glaciers are 11 in number, Lewis Glacier is the largest, unfortunately it also diminishing at a high rate. It is found between Teleki Valley and Lenana Point.
Beyond the value Mount Kenya gives to the global environment, it is has been passed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been set primarily to conserve and protect escape forest and the lowlands wild animals and a much-needed challenge for the hikers and climbers, who are attracted by the great terrain of rocks that are vertical and the summit glaciers.
The diversity of wildlife is beyond the wildest imaginations and this is one of the most striking features that will be in your forest tour at Mount Kenya National Park. Visitors get to experience the sub alpine and alpine vegetation that dots the landscapes. The mountain which is the main feature of the park and also its backdrop, the bamboo forest, grasses and tundra that goes as far as the snow. The variety of plants and trees supports the species that changes as you go higher.
For those who don’t want to embark on the mountain climbing, there is fun thing to do. You can learn about the exercises for climbers for the expedition. The highlands that are lush green and cool that surrounds its base are all worth a visit. The surrounding forest is best for game viewing, and there are streams from the mountains that are crystal clear that have trout abundance.
How to get there
The access to Mt. Kenya there is a main road that passes Naro Moru or Nanyuki. These roads can be easily accessed from Nairobi by matatu or bus, and private means. Some hikers and climbers access the mountain from the side of Chogoria. Also, there is an airstrip that can be accessed with both charter flights and scheduled flights that are available. Many touring and hiking companies always organize transfers from Nairobi to Mount Kenya.
The best season for Mount Kenya Trek
Mount Kenya can be accessed all year round. Nevertheless, if you want the perfect weather then you should schedule travelling plans to January to March and June to October. Having done this, you will be avoiding the rainy period and get the one of the best weathers for great views of the mountain and its ecosystem. But in general, the mountain weather is hard to predict many times, and all seasons can happen any time of the day. If you stick with the perfect seasons then you will get great value for your money.
Huts on the Mount Kenya
Because of the different routes that are available, there are also a lot of huts that are there along the route. Some of these huts are.
Austrian Hut/Top Hut located at 15,715 ft (4,790 meters
This is the highest hut on Mount Kenya. Austrian Hut offers a good base for the ascent of Lenana, and for exploring its surrounding area. The peaks that can be also climbed using Austrian as start camp include Point John, Point Thompson, and Point Melhuish. It is also base point for those who want to access the Nelion, and also other routes that leads up to the summits. The reason it is called Austrian Hut, is because the hut was built with funding from Austrian government, following the rescue of Gerd Judmeier who had been stranded in the mountain with his colleague in 2016.
Two Tarn Hut located at 14,731 ft, (4,490 meters)
It is situated beside a lake on Two Tarn Col. Two Tarn Hut is mainly used as base when ascending Batian from western and southern routes. Before the local Kami Tarn became too polluted, Kami Hut which was found at 4,439 (14,564), which was built in 1963 was used by hikers and climbers of the northern side of Batian.
Kami Hut located at 14,564 ft, (4,439 meters)
This hut was built in 1963 and was climbers favourite base camp of the climbers that used northern side of Batian. This was until the local Kami Tarnt was polluted too much to be used by the climbers.
Huts that are located on Chogoria Route Meru
Mount Kenya Lodge located at 9,898 ft, (3,017 meters)
It is found at the edge of the Mount Kenya National Park, and it is privately owned. To access the lodge, visitors have to pay the park entrance fees. The lodge is situated about 500 m from the park’s entrance. The structures found there are a number of log cabins each equipped with kitchen, bathroom, living room and spacious bedroom. The log cabins are also equipped with log fireplace. The cabins are serviced with hot running water, and each cabin can accommodate up to 4 people. The campsite location is at the entrance, and it is serviced with running water.
Urumandi Hut located at 10,049 ft, (3,063 meters)
It was constructed in 1923. Urumandi Hut is no longer in used, although can be accessed only during emergency.
Minto’s Hut which is porters only hut is located at 14,075 ft (4,290 meters)
It accommodates 8 porters. Minto’s Hut is located near Hall Tarns, which has a campsite nearby. The water used in the hut is directly drawn from the tarns. The water in the tarns have no outlets, so they stagnant in a way and needs to put under filtration or boiled before use.
Huts Located on Naro Moru Route
The Warden’s Cottage located at 7,874 ft (2,400 meters)
This was where the park’s senior wardens resided, that was until 1998. The cottage has a bathroom, a spacious kitchen, two bedrooms, and a living room that is connected to verandah and log fire. The cottage is also serviced with hot running water. The location of the cottage is deep inside the Mount Kenya National Park, so park entrance fee must be paid.
Meteorological Station located at 10,00 ft (3,050 meters)
This Meteorological Station is governed by Naro Moru Lodge. This station has a number of bunkhouses and also a campsite. The campsite is Mackinder’s camp which is located at 13,780 ft, (4,200 meters). Naro Moru Lodge also governs Mackinder’s Camp. The camp has a huge bunkhouse which has a lot of space that is suitable for camping.
Sirimon Banda located at 8,694 ft, (2,650 meters)
It is situated at Sirimon Gate, right inside Mount Kenya National Park. In Sirimon Bandas, each bandas is equipped with a fully functioning kitchen, a dining room, a bathroom, two bedrooms, and a veranda. It has also hot running water. Its surrounding is pleasant to view, because it consists of plenty beautiful wildlife. This wildlife includes hyaena, a number of antelopes, zebra, baboon and a wide variety of birds. Although the bandas are located outside the national park, park fees have to be paid nevertheless. Right next to the bandas is a campsite which has long drops and running water.
Old Moses Camp located at 11,166 ft, (3,400 meters)
This camp is administered is administered by Bantu Utamaduni Lodge. Old Moses Camp has huge dormitories and a big campsite as well. The camp offers accommodation for guides and porters also.
Liki North Hut located at 13,100 ft (3,993 meters)
Initially Liki North Hut was constructed to be more of a shed to keep the weather off than a real accommodation. It lost its roof recently, so its main purpose is lost as it does not provide shelter any more. But there is a space for camping that has a basic toilet and water from a river nearby. It is on hardly used trail between Shipton’s Camps and Old Moses. This camp can be used as base for climbing Sendeyo and Terere or a resting point when heading to Shipton’s Camp.
Shipton’s Camp located at 13,898 ft (4,236 meters)
This camp is governed by Bantu Utamaduni Lodge. Shipton’s Camp is home to a number of hyraxes that lives in rocks, also the striped mice, a number of species of birds including sunbirds, and Alpine Chats. As you walk around the camp, Mountain Buzzards keep flying overhead. The giant groundsel dominates the vegetation, but a number of lobelia and flowers are found there as well. Over the skyline, there is a great view of Points Peters, Point Lenana been on the other side opposite the Gregory Glacier. In its face is the Krapf Rognon, with Krapf Glacier as backdrop.