MT. KENYA NATIONAL PARK
From Tropical Forests to Alpine Glaciers
Lions? Leopards? And Chimps
Unlike any other reserve in Kenya, Mt. Kenya National Park is home to a 5199m (17, 058 ft) mountain, the second-highest in Africa. Truly a vertical park, the excellent climbing here begins in a tropical bamboo forest, ascending to wooded terrain, and alpine moorland, finally capping out on a moonscape of glaciers, rock, and snow.
Along your route look for elephants, buffalos, monkeys, and antelope in the lowlands, then giant forest hogs as you ascend through the dense woods. Entering glacier country, you’ll pass mountain lakes and alpine vegetation as you summit toward one of Mt. Kenya’s three famous peaks.
A Most Unusual Park
Mt. Kenya Park defies expectations – situated near the equator this extinct volcano nevertheless is home to 12 high elevation glaciers. Perhaps the most beautiful mountain on the continent it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Popular with climbers throughout the world, this towering massif offers vertical safari-goers a choice of seven routes to its summits. Of its three peaks, only Point Lenana 4985 m (16,354 ft) is accessible to novice climbers.
Start Your Climb
You’ll start your adventure amongst tropical bamboo, awash with the park’s colorful avian life such as sunbirds and eagles. But don’t be fooled by the serene forest before you – you will quickly climb to higher alpine meadows. It is recommended to spend several nights on the mountain to acclimate to its challenging elevation.
Reaching the icy fields of rock and snow you’ll push to the pinnacle and be rewarded with commanding vistas of the Kenya landscape below. And, of course, exclusive bragging rights that you conquered one of the world’s highest peaks.
Sharing this land flocked with distinctive acacia trees are the Maasai people, nomadic herders from whom the park takes its name. They construct traditional villages surrounding the reserve and live as they have for eons, herding their cattle and pushing back at an ever-encroaching modern world.
Known for their brightly colored shukas and deft beadwork, the Maasai are a living link to a past that stretches back beyond colonial Africa, to an era when the entire continent was wild and untouched.
The Climb – Some climbers return to Mt. Kenya every year to challenge themselves and perhaps try a different peak. The two higher summits of Nelion 5188 m (17,021 ft) and Batian 5199 m (17,057 ft) require technical climbing skills. But novice climbers and trekkers can climb to Point Lenana 4985 m (16,354 ft) once acclimated to the high elevation.
Alpine camping – A high-altitude respite called Shipton’s Camp welcomes climbers just beneath the summit. You can rent a bunk in this alpine hut before attempting to bag your peak the next day.
Caving – Close to Shipton’s Camp, safari-goers will discover Shipton’s Caves – trying high-altitude caving to add still more excitement to your climb.
Highland Castle – This lava formation got its name for its castle-like appearance. You’ll find it on the Burguret Route at around 3700 m (12,139 ft). Scramble to the top of the Castle and catch the awesome views of Nelion and Batian peaks.
These reserve-based projects help the livelihoods of the nearby rural communities.
- Education for local students, including computer skills training
- Healthcare – providing medical supplies to the local health centers and mobile clinic
- Energy – providing hundreds of local families with energy-efficient stoves – reducing the need for firewood.
Ol Pejeta Eco-Facts
- Sanctuaries to protect endangered chimpanzees, oryx, hartebeest, Grevy’s zebra, and bat-eared fox
- Home to the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos
- The largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa – the rhino population has increased by over 100 in the last 25 years.
Survey: Mt. Kenya National Park
The park encompasses Mt. Kenya in an area of 700 sq. km (270 sq mi). Unlike other reserves, this mountain park has vertical borders which start at 3200 m (11,000 ft) and extend to the highest of the three peaks at 5199m (17,057 ft).
Location: Mt. Kenya borders the equator and is 175 km (108 mi) from Nairobi.
Climate: This is a mountain park so the higher you climb, the cooler it gets. Night brings cooler temperatures at around 40C (390F). Also, rain is not unusual.
Best time to visit: The best climbing is when the trails are dry – January/February and August/September.
Getting there: You can Book a tour with Africa Kenya Safaris. And you’ll go in style – a specially outfitted 4 x 4 safari Jeep.
This is Mt. Kenya Park
Trekking this vertical park is like three safaris in one, as you ascend from tropics to alpine meadows to an icy moonscape. Along the way, you’ll discover natural wildlife and vegetation at each level to mark your increasing elevation above the world.
Let’s Get Started