Mount Kenya, is an extinct volcano often referred to as the place of light. It has trio of summits. The highest Batian at 17,057ft (5199m), making it the tallest peak in Kenya and the second highest across the entire African continent. The mountains other two summits are Nelion and Lenana stand at 17021ft (5188m) and 16355ft (4985m) respectively
At Mount Kenya, the sun sets and rises at the same time every day, with both the day and night lasting 12 hours. Sunrise is usually about 5:30 in the morning and sunset is about 5:30 in the evening. In fact, there is only 1-minute difference between the shortest and longest days in the year. This is due to it being situated so close the equator.
Once inside the park, lakes, glaciers, peaks, mineral springs and forests abound. Naturally, walking and hiking are popular ways to explore this diverse and rugged landscape. Whilst only experienced climbers with equipment can reach the peaks of Batian and Nelion, Lenana is accessible by non-climbers on foot. Roughly 15,000 visitors scale Point Lelana annually, whilst only 200 reach Nelion and Batian.
There are a number of walking routes culminating at Point Lenana. The view from this lookout point is considered among the best views in Kenya and is not to be missed. Unique spires, ridges and cliffs border a handful of trails, captivating hikers with their scale and beauty
The most frequented routes are Chogoria, Naro Moru and Sirimon, which all feature staffed gates. The Chogoria route is considered the most striking. It takes walkers from the small town of Chogoria to the Peaks Circuit Path and on to Point Lenana. Passing through areas of forest and moorland, the route takes in stunning views across the Giant’s Billiards Table region
The Naro Moru route is the quickest way to reach Point Lenana. This rapid ascent, though not particularly picturesque, ensures that those unable to linger in the park at least get to visit its most popular lookout point
The Sirimon route is popular due to the steady rate of ascent. In fact, many climbers choose to ascend using the Sirimon route, and then descend using either the Naro Moru or Chorogia routes
Mount Kenya also boasts several ice routes, with the Diamond Couloir and Ice Window routes especially well known. The Diamond Couloir, which was once available year round, is now only climbable during hard winters. It goes without saying that ice routes should only be attempted by practised climbers.
When is the best time to visit Mount Kenya?
Mount Kenya National Park is open all year round, so it’s possible to organize a trip for any month of the year. However, hiking Mount Kenya is certainly more difficult in the rainy seasons of March to June and October to December. As such, the best times to visit and hike Mount Kenya are the dry seasons between January and February, and July – September.
Given its equatorial location, Kenya is generally quite hot. However, due to its elevation, Mount Kenya has permanent snow at its summit, and so is cold all throughout the year. Indeed, temperatures in the night can reach lows of 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius). Typically, early mornings on the mountain bring sunny, dry weather, with clouds often forming by noon.
There is a range of accommodation options available inside Mount Kenya National Park. From luxurious lodges to tumbledown huts, all budgets and tastes are catered for. Costlier hotels are located on the mountain’s lower slopes. Most offer a range of events and activities that can be booked upon arrival.
Camping is another option that is permitted throughout the park, though the use of huts is encouraged in order to conserve the environment. Huts can be reserved at any of the park’s 3 main entrances. For those who do choose to camp, hut facilities, such as kitchens and bathrooms are available at no extra cost
Vegetation and Wildlife
Mount Kenya has different fauna from Elephants, Bongo Antelope, Cape buffalo to rock Hyrax and a variety of birds. About 340 species of birds can be seen here. The floral is also very wide from the mountain forest, bamboo, heather to tussock grass and the everlasting flowers. In addition to that, any tree that is above seventeen thousand feet on this mountain is filled by moss.