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Mt.Kenya

MOUNT KENYA

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Mount Kenya Natural History

Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain at 5,199m (17,058 feet) and the highest of all Kenya Mountains. Mount Kenya is roughly circular, about 60km across at the 200mm contour, where the steep font hills rise out of the gentler slopes of the centered highlands. At the center of the massif, the main peaks rise sharply from around 4,500m to the main summit of Batian 5,199m, Nelion 5,188m and point Lenana 4,985m. Other major summits on the mountain include Point Piggott 4,957m, Point Dutton 4,885 and Point John 4,883m. Of the three main peaks (Batian, Lenana and Nelion), only point Lenana can be reached by trekkers and the other two being only for technical climbers.  Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in Africa and stands somewhat unjustly in the shadow of it's taller neighbour Kilimanjaro, which lies some 320km away in the south and is visible on a clear day. Kili may see much more traffic - due to the possibility of summit via several non-technical trekking routes and due to the sometimes dubious honour of being one of the Seven Summits - but Mount Kenya offers a wealth of excellent and diverse climbing possibilities on rock, snow and ice.

The rock on Mount Kenya can be of variable quality but is at it's best high on the mountain where the syenite rock is similar to granite - rough, hard and well endowed with features.

Apart from the superb climbing potential on Mount Kenya, its tarns and alpine meadows; exotic, equatorial, high-altitude vegetation; sunbirds, hyrax and soaring eagles make the walk around the peaks one of the most beautiful expeditions in the East African mountains.

After the cultivated farmlands on the lower slopes the trails pass through the rain forest, rich in trees of many species but noticeably camphors, then onto a bamboo zone growing to heights of more than 12m or more up through open moor land before reaching the moonscape of higher slopes. The forests are rich in wildlife including elephant, buffalo and monkeys with even the moor lands offering a long list of mammals including the rock hyrax, the nearest living relative of the elephant.

Mt. Kenya is an ancient volcanic mountain much older than Mt. Kilimanjaro. It’s believed to have once reached well above 600m. What is left today is volcanic plug which erosion has fashioned into the complex jagged outline of the central peaks.

Getting to Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya is approximately 200km north of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and is comfortably accessible by road using a variety of transport options - buses, mini buses, taxi cab or a car hire will get you close to the mountain on the tarred roads to the nearest town: Naromoru town for Naro Moru route, Nanyuki town for Sirimon route and Chogoria town for Chogoria route. Mt Kenya Hiking, Mount Kenya Climbing, Mount Kenya Trekking, Climbing Africa Mountains, Climbing Mt Kenya, Walking on Mount Kenya, Mount Kenya Trekking Route, Naro Moru Route, Nanyuki, Sirimon Route on Mount Kenya, Shiptons Camp,

The last stretch from the nearest town to the various trailheads (typically +/- 25km) will be on dirt roads and these can be in poor condition (especially in wet weather) and require a 4WD, or an approach on foot.  

When to Trek Mount Kenya
Although, Mount Kenya can be climbed all year round, the highest rainfall occurs between late March and the middle of May, and slightly less between late October and mid December. Maximum rainfall occurs in the forest belt and on the south-east side of the mountain where it reaches 2500mm. per year at 3000m. Rain and, higher up, snow can however be encountered at any time of year - even in the driest periods (January and February). Normally the drier seasons are associated with clear, dry weather which can last for many days on end. The best weather is generally in the mornings, and convectional rainfall, if any, tends to come in the mid-afternoon.

Temperatures vary considerably with height and with time of day. At 3000m. frosts can be encountered at night while day temperatures range from 5 to 15°C. Night time temperatures on the summit are well below freezing. The south-facing side of Mount Kenya receives more sunshine in the December to March period. During this time rock climbs are "in-condition" and snow and ice climbs gradually deteriorate. In the June to October period the north-facing rock climbs and south-facing ice climbs are best. It's safest to climb Mt. Kenya during the dry seasons: January - February and August to September off the most reliably fine weather. The main routes are likely to be more crowded at this time of the year. If you favor complete solitude over the sunny skies, try going slightly off the peak season. It’s best to avoid the two rainy seasons from mid March until June and from late October to the end of December.

Mount Kenya Vegetation

Mount Kenya is home to some fascinating high-altitude alpine vegetation including giant groundsels and lobelias.
In the lower-altitude forest zone trekkers may come across some rather large and uncompromising African wildlife such as elephants and buffalo - fortunately these are mostly active only at night. Lions, leopard, rock hyrax, various antelope species and a wide range of other creatures large and small occur in the park.

 

 

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Mt Kenya Naro Moru Route 4 days

Mount Kenya Climbing NaroMoru Route Distance: 40 km | Difficulty: Demanding  | Start/Finish: Nairobi   Summary The most popular route although not the most scenic. It is also the fastest route to point Lenana. Take this classic route up Mount Kenya though the notoriously treacherous vertical bog and into the wide Teleki Valley beneath the Tryndall, The Lewis Glacier. Though the summit can be reached in 4 days as per the below itinerary, we strongly recommend an overnight acclimatization at the base, Naromoru River Lodge. This can be arranged for at an extra fee.

Day 1: Nairobi/Meteorological Station 3-4 hrs, 10km, 400m ascent Transfer to Naromoru Park Gate for registration and where the hike starts, 2600m From the gate, keep to the park track, which follows the crest of a board ridge between the Northern and Southern Naromoru valleys. The going is easy and it’s a pleasant walking through the forest. About two thirds of the way up after the bridge there are good views to the left north down into the Northern Naromoru valley. The trek ends at Met station 3,000m where dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Met Station/Mackinders Camp 5-6 hrs, 10km, 1200m ascent Head uphill on the track to pass the radio must on your right after about half an hour. The trek runs into a path and after another 30 minutes, you will reach the end of the forest belt and enter the moorland. This is the vertical bog conditions range from damp to glutinous depending on when it last rained. Continue through until the going improves and you reach a fork overlooking Teleki Valley to reach Mackinders Camp, 4,200m. Dinner and overnight at Mackinders Camp.
 
Day 3: Mackinders Camp/Point Lenana/Met Station 8-10 hrs, 11km, 785m ascent The normal approach is to start at 2 am in order to reach point Lenana taking about 4 hr walk by sunrise at 6:30am. After sunrise, descend down to Mackinders Camp for breakfast, 2hrs and walk further 4hrs, way back to Met Station for dinner and overnight.
 
Day 4: Met Station/Naromoru/Nairobi 3hrs, 9km, 400m After breakfast, descend through the rainforest which is 9km to Naromoru Park Gate at 2,600m where you will connect with your transport back to Nairobi.


Picture Sirimon Route - Mount Kenya Climbing & hiking 4 Days Mount Kenya Climb - Sirimon Route Distance: 53 km | Difficulty: Moderate  | Start/Finish: Nairobi   Summary Much more scenic than Naromoru and it is on the drier side of the mountain which offers some of the finest walking. Climb up through forest into a wide ridge approach to the summit area. The route starts on the northwest side of the mountain near Nanyuki. Access is adequate and the bunk house facilities are the best on this side of the mountain. Though Mount Kenya summit can be reached in 4 days as per the below itinerary, we strongly recommend an overnight acclimatization at the base in Nanyuki town. This can be arranged for at an extra fee.
 
Day 1: Nairobi/Sirimon/Judmier Camp (Old Moses Camp) 3-4 hrs, 9km, 860m ascent Leave Nairobi at 8 am to Nanyuki town for lunch, taking about 4 hours. Proceed to Sirimon Gate, 1 hr, 2440m. From the gate follow the track as it winds uphill though the forest which becomes heath land after about 3 hrs. About 3½ hours from the gate the track veers right to Judmier Camp, 3300m for dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Judmier Camp/Shipton Camp 6-7hrs, 14km, 900m ascent After breakfast, follow the track uphill, forking left at the junction. After one hour from Old Moses Camp, the track crosses Ontulili River. Go right contouring through the Moorland and crossing Liki North and continue uphill to Mackinders Valley from where there are panoramic views up the valley towards the main peaks. Dinner and overnight at Shipton Camp, 4200m.

Day 3: Shipton Camp/Point Lenana/Judmaier Camp (Old Moses Camp) 9-10hrs, 21km Leave at 3am up a steep stony quarry that cuts through a cliff clearing visible part towards lower Hall Tarns arriving point Lenana at 6:30am, taking about 3hrs. After the sunrise, descend down to Shipton Camp, 2hrs, for breakfast and further, 4hrs, down to Old Moses Camp for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Judmaier Camp/Sirimon/Nairobi 2-3hrs, 9km After breakfast, walk down through the rainforest for 2 hours to connect with your transport vehicle back to Nairobi.


Picture 5 Days Sirimon Route Down Chogoria Distance: 80 km | Difficulty: Moderate  | Start/Finish: Nairobi  
Summary Much more scenic than Naromoru and it is on the dry side of mountain which offers some of the finest walking. Climb up through forest into a wide ridge approach to the summit area. The route starts on the northwest side of the mountain near Nanyuki. Access is adequate and the bunk house facilities are the best on this side of the mountain 

Day 1: Nairobi/Sirimon/Judmaier Camp (Old Moses Camp) 3-4 hrs, 9km, 860m ascent Leave Nairobi at 7.30am to Nanyuki town for lunch, taking about 4 hours. Proceed to Sirimon Gate, 1 hr, 2440m. From the gate follow the track as it winds uphill though the forest which becomes heath land after about 3 hrs. About 3½ hours from the gate the track veers right to Judmaier Camp, 3300m for dinner and overnight.
 
Day 2: Judmier Camp/Shipton Camp 6-7hrs, 17km, 900m ascent After breakfast, follow the track uphill, forking left at the junction. After one hour from Old Moses Camp, the track crosses Ontulili River. Go right contouring through the Moorland and crossing Liki North and continue uphill to Mackinders Valley from where there are panoramic views up the valley towards the main peaks. Dinner and overnight at Shipton Camp, 4200m.

Day 3: Shipton Camp Spend the day acclimatizing. Walk to Kami Hut down to Hauseberg Lakes (Hauseberg Tarn and Nanyuki Tarn). Walk back to Shipton for dinner and overnight. 

Day 4: Shiptons/Point Lenana/Mount Meru Bandas (Chogoria Gate) 11-12hrs, 32km, 785m ascent Leave at 3am up a steep stony quarry that cuts through a cliff clearing visible part towards lower Hall Tarns arriving Mount Kenya point Lenana (6km from Shipton Camp) at 6:30am, taking about 3hrs. After the sunrise, descend down to Mintos hut (6km), 2hrs, for breakfast and 20km, 4-5hrs further down to Mount Meru Bandas, 2950m, for dinner and overnight on Mount Kenya.

Day 5: Chogoria Bandas/Chogoria/Nairobi Descend 2hr, 15km to forest clearance to catch a 4x4 transfer vehicle to Chogoria Village where you will connect with your transfer vehicle back to Nairobi.

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KENYA SAFARIS  - Mount Kenya Climbing Safaris

5 Days Chogoria Route Down Naro Moru route Distance: 75 km | Difficulty: Demanding  | Start/Finish: Nairobi   Summary Pack camping gear and supplies to strike out west up this long but spectacular approach through the deep chasm of gorge valley.

Day 1: Chogoria/Mount Meru Bandas - 4hrs, 16km walk, 950m ascent
Pick up from your hotel in Nairobi at 7am to Chogoria town for an early lunch. After lunch, take a 4x4WD vehicle to the forest clearance, 16km from where the walk starts. You will walk for 16km through the forest along the dirt and sometimes very muddy road for 4hrs to reach Mount Meru Bandas at 2950m. Dinner and overnight at Mt. Meru Bandas.

Day 2: Mount Meru Bandas - Road Head Camp, 3hrs, 9km, 350m ascent
After breakfast follow the track through giant heather and forest up to Chogoria road head from where the path drops to cross a stream then follows the broad ridge to the east of the gorges valley to reach Road Head Camp taking approximately 3-4hrs. Overnight at Road Head Camp at 3300m.

Day 3: Road Head/Mintos Hut - 4 hrs, 12km
After breakfast follow the track through giant heather and forest up to Chogoria road head from where the path drops to cross a stream then follows the broad ridge to the east of the gorges valley to reach Mintos Hut, 4200m. Dinner and overnight at Mintos Hut.

Day 4: Mintos/Point Lenana/Met Station - 11-12 hrs, 29km, 785m ascent/1985m descent

Leave shortly after midnight at 2am towards the main peaks and divide after an hour, above a flat green area at the head of the valley known as temple fields, arriving at point Lenana at 6:30am. After taking photographs, descend to Mackinders for breakfast and continue down to Met Station at 3000m for dinner and overnight rest.

Day 5: Met Station/Naromoru/Nairobi - 3hrs, 9km, 400m descent

After breakfast, descend through the rainforest which is 9km to Naromoru Park Gate at 2,600m where you will connect with your transport back to Nairobi, arriving at approximately 3pm.
 

KENYA SAFARIS  - Mount Kenya Climbing Safaris

6 Days Chogoria Route Down Naro Moru route Distance: 75 km | Difficulty: Demanding  | Start/Finish: Nairobi Summary This is by far the most scenic and interesting route. It takes in both tropical forests and moor land.   Day 1:  Nairobi/Chogoria
Pick up from your Nairobi Hotel at 8am and drive north to Chogoria town for lunch and afternoon leisure walk in the town to acclimatize. Dinner and overnight at Chogoria Transit Motel, 2000m.

Day 2: Chogoria/Mount Meru Bandas - 4hrs, 16km walk, 950m ascent
After breakfast, take a 4x4WD vehicle to the forest clearance, 16km from where the walk starts. You will walk for 16km through the forest along the dirt and sometimes very muddy road for 4hrs to reach Mount Meru Bandas at 2950m for lunch and afternoon walks. Dinner and overnight at Mt. Meru Bandas.

Day 3: Mount Meru Bandas - Road Head Camp, 3hrs, 9km, 350m ascent
After breakfast follow the track through giant heather and forest up to Chogoria road head from where the path drops to cross a stream then follows the broad ridge to the east of the gorges valley to reach Road Head Camp taking approximately 3-4hrs. Overnight at Road Head Camp at 3300m.

Day 4: Road Head/Mintos Hut - 4 hrs, 12km
After breakfast follow the track through giant heather and forest up to Chogoria road head from where the path drops to cross a stream then follows the broad ridge to the east of the gorges valley to reach Mintos Hut, 4200m. Dinner and overnight at Mintos Hut.

Day 5: Mintos/Point Lenana/Met Station - 11-12 hrs, 29km, 785m ascent/1985m descent

Leave shortly after midnight at 2am towards the main peaks and divide after an hour, above a flat green area at the head of the valley known as temple fields, arriving at point Lenana at 6:30am. After taking photographs, descend to Mackinders for breakfast and continue down to Met Station at 3000m for dinner and overnight rest.

Day 6: Met Station/Naromoru/Nairobi - 3hrs, 9km, 400m descent

After breakfast, descend through the rainforest which is 9km to Naromoru Park Gate at 2,600m where you will connect with your transport back to Nairobi, arriving at approximately 3pm.

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