Mount Kenya - Routes and Trekking Information for Mount Kenya

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    Mount Kenya Overview

    The view of the summit at Point Lenana (4985), Mount Kenya
    ••• The view of the summit at Point Lenana (4985), Mount Kenya. © Ben Colclough

    Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain, and despite peaking at over 5,000m it still seems to sit well and truly in Mount Kilimanjaro’s shadow, across the border in Tanzania. What it lacks in height however it more than makes up for in beauty. Jagged snow-capped peaks, sweeping glacial valleys and diverse vegetation make climbing Mount Kenya a strong contender for Africa’s greatest trek. One of the many highlights is its unique Afro-Alpine zone with its Dr Seuss-like landscape of Giant Lobelias and Senecios.

    About Mount Kenya
    Mount Kenya is an impressive volcano that sits very close to the equator. It is Kenya's highest mountain, with three peaks hovering around the 5,000m mark - Batian (5,199 metres (17,057 ft)), Nelion (5,188 metres (17,021 ft)) and Point Lenana (4,985 metres (16,355 ft). Mount Kenya is protected by a national park of the same name. The mountain is an incredibly important watershed, providing water for about 50% of Kenya’s population and producing 70% of...MORE Kenya’s hydroelectric power.

    Mount Kenya's Highest Peak
    The technical peak of Mount Kenya is at Batian (5199m) but unless you are a technical climber it is going to be out of reach as it sits atop a series of chimneys, pitches and gullies. Trekkers aim instead for Point Lenana (at 4985m just 15m shy of breaking through the 5000m barrier). The ascent is in no way diminished, as Point Lenana still sits proudly and independently of the twin peaks of Batian and Nelion with sweeping 360 degree views. It is a challenging peak in of itself with the altitude and relatively steep approach to Point Lenana to contend with. From the summit, the views stretch over the African plains, the nearby Aberdares and onto Kilimanjaro in the far distance.

    Mount Kenya's Flora and Fauna
    Apart from the stunning mountain scenery, one of the highlights of Mount Kenya is the extraordinarily diverse wildlife and flora. The lower slopes of Mount Kenya are thickly forested and plays host to elephant, buffalo and eland. The upper slopes have a rare Afro Alpine habitat with heath land, glacial valleys and some unusually large plant life playing host to birds, mice and rock hyrax.

    Trekking Mount Kenya
    There is a choice of trekking routes on the mountain varying from 4 days to 7 days. (If you wish to attempt the technical climb to Mount Kenya's highest peaks, see the Cosley and Houston web site for more information). The nearest town and starting point is Nanyuki, from where it is relatively easy to organise a trek with a local company if you have time on your hands. Most organised treks include transport to and from Kenya's capital city - Nairobi (3-4 hour drive).

    Trekkers can choose to either camp (at designated sites) or stay in the mountain huts. All food needs to be brought into the mountain with you and most trekkers choose to climb with a guide, cook and porters.

    Mount Kenya's Trekking Routes and Best Time to Go
    Mount Kenya Accommodations and Organized Treks

    Thanks to Ben Colclough with Tourdust for the photos and information about Mount Kenya trekking.

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Mount Kenya's Routes and Best Time to Trek

    Mount Kenya summit from Shiptons Camp
    ••• The summit of Mount Kenya with the twin peaks of Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5,188m) visible through the cloud and Point Lenana (4975m) the trekker's summit to the left. © Ben Colclough
    Best Time to Trek Mount Kenya
    Mount Kenya has several small glaciers (although fast disappearing), so it's cold year round. At night at the higher elevations the temperature can drop as low as 14 Fahrenheit (-10 Celsius). Typically the early mornings on the mountain are sunny and dry, and clouds often form by noon. It is possible to hike Mount Kenya throughout the year but it gets more difficult during the rainy seasons from mid-March to mid-June and October to mid-December.

    Mount Kenya's Routes
    Most trekking routes take 3-7 days to complete. It is highly recommended that you go on an organized trek, or at the very least contact the Mountain Club of Kenya, before you trek.

    The Sirimon - Chogoria Route
    The Sirimon Chogoria traverse is arguably the definitive Mount Kenya trek. Mount Kenya reaches an altitude of 5,199m, but the trekker’s peak at Point Lenana is at 4,985m. This traverse enters at the Sirimon Gate ascends up towards Point Lenana and then down the Chogoria route to the...MORE Chogoria Gate.

    The Sirimon - Chogoria traverse usually takes 6 or 7 days in total. The ascent is up the scenic and relatively easy Sirimon route – the most popular route up the mountain. The descent goes down Chogoria which is unarguably the most striking on the mountain, featuring incredible sheer sided gullies, tarns and waterfalls. The route is 60km in length and includes an ascent (and descent) of 2,400m.

    The Sirimon – Naro Moru Route
    The Sirimon - Naro Moru traverse is the most popular route for trekkers on Mount Kenya. It owes its popularity to the steady rate of ascent (up Sirimon) and the quick descent that is possible down Naro Moru route. Whilst it doesn’t cover all the features of this beautiful mountain the route itself is very scenic passing up the sweeping Mackinder’s Valley towards Shipton’s Camp and then descending through the notorious vertical bog and dense rainforest on the Naro Moru route. The route is just under 60km in total and involves an ascent (and descent) of 2,400m.

    The Burguret – Chogoria Route
    The Burguret - Chogoria is an intriguing alternative traverse on Mount Kenya. The Burguret route was recently reclaimed from the forest after years of neglect. As a result it still sees very few trekkers, so this is the route if you are looking for real solitude and wild camping. Having climbed Buruguret to the trekker’s peak at Point Lenana (4,985m), the traverse follows down the most beautiful route on the Mountain, Chogoria.

    The Burguret - Chogoria traverse spans a distance of 61km and going on the Burguret route is particularly tough with rough often overgrown trails.

    The Timau Route
    Timau is little used nowadays, and there are few facilities, little marked paths and sparse tree cover on this side of the mountain, so the ascent is mostly through wide open country.

    Trekking Mount Kenya Overview
    Mount Kenya Accommodations and Organized Treks

    Thanks to Ben Colclough with Tourdust for the photos and information about Mount Kenya trekking.

    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    Mount Kenya Accommodation and Organized Treks

    Mackinders Lodge (Teleki Camp), Mount Kenya hut, (4150 m)
    ••• Mackinders Lodge (Teleki Camp), Mount Kenya hut, (4150 m). © Ben Colclough

    Accommodation on Mount Kenya
    Accommodation on Mount Kenya ranges from very basic to luxurious. The more luxurious lodges are found on the lower slopes, in and around the forest. These lodges have hotel-style accommodation, often with log fires and hot running water. Many offer guided walks and other activities such as fishing and birdwatching.

     

    • Naro Moru River Lodge - Ideally situated on the banks of the Naro Moru River, this lodge is a great base for starting a trek up Mount Kenya. There are plenty of standard and deluxe rooms to choose from, as well as self-catering cottages.
    • Bantu Mountain Lodge (formerly Mountain Rock Lodge) - a lovely lodge, with 28 rooms, set in a beautiful landscaped garden.
    • Serena Mountain Lodge - a luxurious lodge located on the lower slopes of Mount Kenya, with over 40 rooms, all with en suite bathrooms and private balconies overlooking a water hole.

    The huts higher on the mountain are more basic. Most have several bunkrooms with beds, and also offer somewhere...MORE to rest, cook and eat. Some also have running water. A few huts are very basic bothies only offering a space to sleep that is sheltered from the weather. Beds in the huts can be reserved at the park gates.

    • Met Station - The lodge sleeps around thirty people. There are a couple of latrines and water is available from the various taps located besides each Banda. There are about five bandas and a store.
    • Mackinder's Camp (also known as Teleki Valley Camp) - sleeps about forty people. Both water and latrine facilities are available. Most summit attacks are launched from this point, the approximate elevation is 4300m.
    • Shipton's Camp (4200m) and Old Moses Mountain Hut (3300m) (Sirimon Route) - both camps offer basic dorms and bunk beds. You can also pitch a tent here. Running water, bathrooms and a kitchen are available.
    • Teleki Valley Rescue Hut, Black Hole Bivvy, Bailles Bivvy and Howell Hut - all owned and managed by the Mountain Club of Kenya. These huts offer basic accommodation and can be booked by contacting the Mountain Club.
    • Austrian Hut - a popular hut near the Lewis Glacier, used primarily as a base by climbers attempting the twin peaks of Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5,188m). The hut sleeps 30 people, with Top Hut nearby for porters.

    Recommended Mount Kenya Treks
    Below are recommended operators that organize treks up Mount Kenya. Most treks take 3 - 7 days, and will summit at Point Lenana. The average costs obviously varies depending on the route taken, but most hover around the $850 mark per person. If you are based locally in Kenya, or wish to trek up on a whim, head to one of the lodges in the park listed above. They have all the knowledge and equipment needed for a successful ascent. Every trekker must register at the park headquarters, and no one is allowed to attempt the hike alone.

    Trekking Mount Kenya Overview
    Mount Kenya's Trekking Routes and Best Time to Go