Mount Kenya

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Established in 1949, the park covers an area of about 715 square kilometers and stands over just 5000m. Initially a forest reserve, the park currently is encircled by the forest reserve and was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in April 1978 and later a World Heritage Site in 1997 when the park and reserve were combined to protect Mount Kenya, its flora and fauna as well as other ecosystems which keep life in it thriving. It is the highest mountain in Kenya and second in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro. This stunning mountain is a dormant volcano and the major water source to about 50% of the population, also contributing about 65% of Kenya’s hydroelectric power.

Mountain Kenya served as a throne on earth for Ngai, the god of the Kikuyu people who live on the Southern and Western sides of the mountain.

Mount Kenya has three main peaks; Batian, Nelion, and Lenana. The former being the highest and highly technical which makes them rarely climbed compared to Point Lenana which is a trekking point.  Other peaks on the jagged landscape include Coryndon, Piggot, Dutton, and John presenting interesting rock climbs.

Statistics show that about 15,000 people climb Mount Kenya yearly and the biggest percentage of this goes to Lenana peak at 4,985 meters because of the ease of reach. The two other higher peaks attract only a few hundred climbers.

The three main routes used to climb are Naro Moru to the West, Sirimon on the North West, and Chogoria on the South catering for 90% of all trekkers visiting this stunning snow-capped landform.

Major attractions at Mount Kenya National Park

  • Nithi Waterfall
  • Mugi hills
  • Lake Alice, Lake Ellis and Lake Michaelson
  • Moutain Peaks
  • Glacier and tarns

  • Wildlife: Include Elephants, tree hyrax, white tailed mongoose, suni, black fronted duiker, mole rat, bushbucks, water buck and Elands. Animals rarely seen include leopard, bongo, giant forest hog .
  • Birdlife: The park is a refuge for over 130 species of birds. Due to its montane avifauna, most of these are forest birds. Some of these include bronze-naped pigeon, Ayres hawk-eagle, red-headed parrot, mountain Buzzard, Jackson’s Francolin, slender-billed starling, black-headed waxbill.
  • Vegetation: The vegetation zones on Mount Kenya are more or less distinct. The relatively flat land surrounding the mountain are too dry for forest, and were once savanna grasslands, now often converted to agriculture or are used for grazing with more of the native flora intact. The lower slopes are covered in montane forest, which has also been largely cleared for cultivation, being more intact along the Chogoria Track to the southeast. Above this forest are large tracts of bamboo, especially in the east and south-east. The upper montane forest is dominated by Podocarpus trees. Above this is the timberline forest, characterized by Hagenia (rosewood). Directly above the treeline are heathland (on the wetter aspect) and subalpine chaparral (on the drier aspects). Higher up the mountain the vegetation becomes more specially adapted to the cold in the Afro-alpine zone, and the largely unvegetated area that has until recently been glaciated is known as the nival zone

How to Get to Mount Kenya National Park

Roads: Mount Kenya National Park is 110 miles from Nairobi, an approximate four-hour drive along can be reached via the Nyeri-Nanyuki road near Naro Moru or via Chongoria using the Embu-Meru road. There are six entry gates into Mount Kenya National Park, namely Naro Moru, Kihari, Mawingu, Sirimon, Kamweti and Chogoria Gates.

Air: A flight from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to Nanyuki Airstrip takes approximately one hour. The drive to the Sirimon Gate of Mount Kenya National Park is a 20-mile drive.

Where to stay in Mount Kenya National Park

Mount Kenya national park offers accommodation options that suit both your tastes, travel style, and budget. Luxury options include Serena Mountain Lodge, Fair Mount Kenya Safari Club. Other lodges where you can book from Mt Kenya Anabbas, Kinondoni, Batian guest house, Sirimon Cottage, Silva mountana suites.

Other Park Details

Climate:The current climate on Mount Kenya is wet, but drier than it has been in the past. The temperatures span a wide range, which diminishes with altitude. In the lower alpine zone they usually don’t go below 12 °C (54 °F). Snow and rain are common from March to December, but especially in the two wet seasons.

Park Entry Fees: Check KWS Website for updated prices.

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June 4, 2023


Sirimon, Mount Kenya National Park, Kenya