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YOUR ONE STOP TRAVEL SHOP FOR KENYA AND TANZANIA

TENTED AND LODGE SAFARIS IN KENYA AND TANZANIA- MT KENYA AND KILIMANJARO TREKS

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MOUNT KENYA

MT KENYA, (KIRINYAGA - CRADLE OF THE GODS)

Mt Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest in Africa after Kilimanjaro. Mt Kenya is a broad volcanic cone whose base is around 120km in diameter. The mountain was formed by volcanic eruption during the creation of the Great Rift Valley and geologists believe that it was over 1500m higher than its present height of 5199m (17,057ft). At this stage it would have had a summit crater, however intensive erosion has worn away the original upper parts of the cone leaving arêtes, pyramidal peaks, U-shaped valleys and rock basins containing glacial lakes. The peaks of Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5188m) are the remains of a huge volcanic plug that has slowly eroded to create the distinctive silhouette.

Only 16kms south of the Equator, the peaks are permanently iced with snow and glaciers, although this may end in the very near future. In the last 20 years, the glaciers have been retreating at an alarming rate and it is estimated that if the present trend continues there will be no permanent ice left on the mountain. Since records were established in 1893, eight of the eighteen glaciers then recorded have disappeared.

On the lower slopes below 4000m, trekkers encounter a variety of alpine vegetation ranging from rain forest, bamboo, hagena and hypericum woodland, giant heather, tussock, and the fascinating giant lobelia. The forests are rich in wildlife and elephant, buffalo, zebra, antelope and monkeys are often seen. Bird life everywhere is plentiful and varied.

Mt Kenya (or Kirinyaga) was revered by the Kikuyu who settled in the Central Highlands and believed their god, Ngai, lived on top of the mountain. The first European to lay eyes on the mountain was a Swiss missionary named Ludwig Krapf in 1849, but his stories of snow on the Equator were ridiculed by the Geographic Society in England. It was only in 1883 when a Scottish explorer, Joseph Thomson, confirmed its existence that Krapf’s findings were accepted. Other explorers followed and several attempts to scale the mountain were made. In 1899, Halford MacKinder and two Alpine guides made the first successful ascent of the mountain and named the two highest peaks after Maasai leaders.

Mt Kenya is unexpectedly different, attracting trekkers and mountaineers from all over the world. The mountains unique landscape and vegetation have been declared as International Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Its range of walking and climbing routes offers something for everyone and, unless your time is limited, is too good to miss.

CLIMBING MT KENYA
The mountain can be climbed all year round but for a more comfortable trek it is best to avoid the rainy seasons. The best times for reasonable weather are January – February and August – October. It should be noted that the weather patterns on Mt Kenya are notoriously unpredictable, and even during ‘dry’ seasons rain can fall and the weather can be unpleasant for two or three days at a time. The highest peaks, Bation and Nelion, can only be reached by fully equipped mountaineers with technical skills. The goal for most trekkers is to reach Pt. Lenana (4985m), the third highest peak on the mountain, where superb views of the surrounding countryside are possible.

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Mt Kenya has somehow acquired the reputation of being an easy climb… it’s not! People who under-estimate this mountain and set off unprepared for the conditions usually have a miserable time due to the cold and altitude. Trekkers who do not spend enough time acclimatizing will often suffer from some form of altitude sickness, and this is one of the main reasons why over 25% of attempts fail. By allowing an extra day on the mountain you will stand a better chance of reaching Pt Lenana, and have a more enjoyable climb. Hiring a porter to help carry some of the heavy gear will also improve your chances of getting to the top. The other consideration is that you are not permitted to trek alone and hiring a porter will overcome the regulation of having a minimum group size of two.

There are three main routes up to the peaks area – Naro Moru, Sirimon, and Chogoria.

NARO MORU ROUTE
The most popular and fastest route to Pt Lenana. It is the least scenic of the main routes but has easy access from the main road and reasonable facilities in the form of bunkhouses and camping. Being the most direct route it is easy to follow but can be steep and boggy in places.

SIRIMON ROUTE
The least used of the main routes of ascent. Because it is on the drier side of the mountain, this route offers superb forest walking, open scenery with wonderful alpine vegetation, and the chance of spotting wildlife on the lower slopes.

CHOGORIA ROUTE
This route is the longest but also the most beautiful and spectacular way by which to ascend the mountain. Wonderful views for most of the climb, particularly in the upper sections with its glacial lakes, giant groundsel, lobelia and weird volcanic formations inhabited by rock hyrax.

These routes can be combined to traverse the mountain by going up one side and down the other, the most popular being the Sirimon – Chogoria route.
For most routes, a minimum 3-4 days should be allowed from the road heads or 5-6 days if departing from Nairobi. If you plan on trekking around the peaks, allow an extra 1 or 2 days to really enjoy the mountain.

SAMPLE ITINERARY

5 DAYS SIRIMON - CHOGORIA ROUTE

Day 1 Nairobi – Nanyuki – Old Moses Camp (3300m)
Depart Nairobi in the morning by public transport to the Equator town of Nanyuki, 200kms to the north at the base of Mt Kenya. After lunch, drive to the Sirimon Park Gate where fees are paid and trekkers are registered. Accompanied by a guide and porters, trek 3-4 hours through equatorial forest and heathland to Old Moses Camp. Dinner and overnight in the bunkhouse.

Day 2 Old Moses Camp – Shipton’s Camp (4240m)
After breakfast, trek for 6-7 hours through undulating moorland and alpine vegetation to reach Shipton’s Camp at the head of the Mac kinder Valley. Lunch is taken enroute and the night is spent in the Camp bunkhouse.

Day 3 Shipton’s Camp – Austrian Hut (4790m)
The climb to Austrian Hut takes you around the eastern side of the mountain via Simba Col. The path climbs and descends over rocky scree slopes but offers excellent views to the south and south-east. Trekking time is 4-5 hours, overnight at Austrian Hut.

Day 4 Austrian Hut – Point Lenana (4985m) – Minto’s Hut (4300m)
An early start for the final climb to Pt Lenana, arriving in time for sunrise. On a clear day the views from here are superb and quite often Kilimanjaro can be seen in the distance.
Descend to Minto’s Hut for breakfast, followed by further descent through the beautiful Georges Valley to the Meru Mt Kenya Bandas for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 5 Chogoria – Nairobi
After breakfast, a leisurely descent through tropical forest and bamboo to Chogoria township and your transfer to Nairobi, arriving late afternoon.

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Please contact us for special group rates or details of other routes. If you are alone, we can arrange to fit you into a group or give you a special price for 1.

Included:
Return transport from Nairobi, Park entry fees, Camping/Hut fees, Meals, Guide/Porters

Not Included:
Personal climbing gear, items of a personal nature, tips.

 



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