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Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain, and the highest in Kenya. Awesome with its white glacier peaks, the highest point is 5199m (17,058 ft) high.

In effect there are three peaks of which only the third highest peak, Point Lenana (known as the “Trekkers Summit” at 4,985m) is the most easily accessible and non-technical. There are three main eco-zones that make up this mysterious but beautiful mountain: the rocky and glacial peak area, actually an eroded volcanic plug, with its mantle of glaciers and snowfields; the alpine zone with its distinctive giant vegetation; and the vast gentle lower slopes drenched in mountain forest and bamboo jungle. The various wildlife including sunbirds, hyrax and soaring eagles make the walk around the peaks one of the most beautiful expeditions in the East African mountains. Due to the high altitude it is wise not to rush to the summit areas but to allow adequate acclimatisation. To combine this ascent with a circumnavigation of the main peaks requires at least an extra day.

Only highly experienced trekkers have ever made it to the very top of this imposing and difficult needle sharp peak. Magnificent cliffs and glaciers protect the highest peaks of Nelion (5188m) and Batian (5199m).

Mount Kenya is considered sacred by the Kikuyu people, as it is said to be the home of Ng’ai (God). Traditionally, all Kikuyu home were built to face this sacred peak. They call it Kirinyaga, or place of light.

Common species found on the hills are giant forest hog, tree hyrax, white-tailed mongoose, elephant, buffalo, suni, duiker, leopard, black rhino, bushbuck, bongo and a type of ‘golden cat’. Mountain buzzards, tinker birds and various louries are also found here. For those who do not want to climb the mountain, its highlands are a lovely place to explore.

The best months are January and February and late August through September. Serious climbers may seek advice from the Mountain Club of Kenya. For those who wish to savour the mountain air, the glorious views and the peace and tranquillity which emanate from the mountain, there are many hotels around the foothills among them the famed Mount Kenya Safari Club.

The mountain is located 180 kilometers north of Nairobi and it can often be seen from high-rise buildings in Nairobi and from the town of Thika. Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano, which formed a couple of million years ago.

Why trek with Aim4Africa?
  • Firsthand experience of the mountain and surroundings
  • Private, bespoke expeditions with full local experienced mountain crew
  • Flexible dates, proceed at your own pace
  • High quality, safe, successful and enjoyable experience
  • Responsible tourism, ethical treks, support local community
  • The “in” people to trek with

The mountain is located in the Mount Kenya National Park , which is a designated protected area. The mountain is an important water catchment area and many rivers such as the Naro Moru emerge from the melting glaciers.

It is no wonder that this remote majestic wonderland was considered as God's domain by awed farmers at its foothills. Many rivers flow from the perpetual snows, among them the mighty Tana , Kenya 's largest and longest river and source of much of Kenya 's electricity supply. Most visitors are content to marvel at the mountain's beauty but some will want to attempt to reach the peaks; a feat requiring considerable rock climbing skill. But the mountain's lesser peaks and glaciers can be scaled and walked by the fit and the adventurous.

For the true trekking experience up Mount Kenya , the Chogoria Route is the way to go. Though other routes get you up the mountain faster, they also increase your chance of suffering altitude sickness. Besides, who's in a hurry? Rush and you'll miss the amazing, strange, and wonderful landscape that surrounds you. Volcanic and glacial activity have combined to create huge crags. Diverse ecosystems ranging from rain forest to moors to barren alpine uplands provide habitat for a wide range of wildlife
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.

Sample Itinery: 6 day trek of Mount Kenya - Chogoria Route:

Mount Kenya
This creative climb joins two of the most famous routes up Mt. Kenya , Sirimon and Chogoria, producing a remarkably diverse and spectacular trek. Sirimon coming off the west passes through the dry side of the mountain with its giant trees and rocky terrain, and the descent onto the Chogoria path is exactly different with its lush bamboo and highland forests.

The final night time ascent of Lenana can be as difficult as any ascent in East Africa , but the rest of the trek is generally considered easier than either Kili or the Ruwenzoris, and this is the most likely climb for actually seeing big game.

1 NANYUKI - After breakfast, you begin the 5-hour drive to the Mt. Kenya Safari Club near the town of Nanyuki . An interesting stop can be made on the way at Kenya ’s largest open-air market, Karatina, as well at the benevolent womens’ organization, the Nanyuki Weavers. Arrive the Safari Club for lunch, and a free afternoon to help acclimatize. A wide variety of activities are available at this famous resort.
2 OLD MOSES CAMP - The day’s hike from the Sirimon Gate is a short 9km and ends at Old Moses Camp (3300m). This is lovely walk through lush highland rainforest, featuring the magnificent giant cedar and podocarpus trees. Large mammals can be seen on any day, but this is the most likely, with elephant and buffalo generally encountered by about half the climbers .
3 SHIPTON’S CAMP - Considerable altitude is gained today, and most trekkers can do it in 5-6 hours. Part of this is up a steep ridge before descending into the Mackinders valley.
There are some beautiful views as you leave the vegetation zone and enter tundra, with many lobelias. Overnight at Shipton’s Camp (4200m).
4 SHIPTON’S CAMP - An important day of acclimatization, today, with a sojourn to the spectacular Kami Hut at 4350m, with many lovely alpine lakes and pools, and jutting rock formations. Return to Shipton’s Camp for overnight. (4200m).
5 SUMMIT AT POINT LENANA - A middle-of-the-night ascent to arrive at Point Lenana (4985m) before sunrise. Most climbers make the summit just before sunrise at 6:30a following a three-hour ascent.
On a clear day, one can see Mt. Kilimanjaro to the south, Mt. Elgon to the west and the Indian Ocean to the East. Before the wind begins shortly after sunrise, the descent begins to Minos Hut for breakfast, and then to the Chogoria Bandas for dinner and overnight.
6 NAIROBI - The morning’s 16km trek to the park gate is through a marvelous, thick and towering bamboo forest. Meet your vehicle in time for lunch in time, before an afternoon return to Nairobi .