Mount Kenya| Kenya’s Highest MountainMount Kenya
Three peaks separate you and the title of the most adventurous person in your mountain climbing party.
Mount Kenya – A Snow-capped Mountain Right at the Equator
Mount Kenya is situated north-east of Nairobi, and its peaks are visible from Nairobi and Thika’s skyscrapers. The highest in Kenya and second highest in Africa, it is among the African few spots close to the equator having glaciers.
The mountain’s northern edges traverse the equator. Its highest peaks are Batian, at 5,199 metres, Nelion, at 5,188 metres, and Lenana, at 4,985 metres. An extinct volcano, the mountain was formed many years ago.
Kenya has an equatorial climate with mean yearly temperatures of approximately 26 degrees Celsius. The mountain region has two rainy seasons running from October-December and April-June. The Mount Kenya National Park, covering 700 km2, a designated protected zone, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounds the mountain. The park has three peaks comprised of all zones above 3,200m with 2 exceptions extending below 3,200m along the Naro Moru and Sirimon tracks.
Eight different vegetation bands are found from the base to the peak of the mountain, with the lower slopes having different forest types. The vegetation, sequentially from the base to the top, includes forest, bamboo, scrubland, and moorland. Ice, snow and rocks then follow. Habitats on the mountain include higher woods, bamboo, alpine, moorlands, glaciers, tarns, plus glacial moraines. Numerous animal species are characteristic or endemic to Mount Kenya including the senecios, the rock hyrax and lobelias.
The mountain draws many international and local climbers and has many climbs, huts and walking routes. The huts include Liki North Hut, Mackinders Hut, Austrian Hut, Shiptons Hut and Judmare Hut. Although the 5,199m peak is a hard technical climb, the smaller 4,985m Point Lenana peak can easily be arrived at by fit trekkers. Such treks lasts three to five days and takes one through a charming world of wildlife, forests, exclusive montane vegetation (groundsel and podocarpus), and ultimately, one among the world’s most unusual spectacles – equatorial snow. It is a breathtaking sight, with its thickly forested slopes and ragged sequence of summits covered with snow. Mount Kenya is best viewed at daybreak, a time when the day’s early glow silhouettes its imposing summit high above adjoining plains.
Well-known hotels like Oustpan, Mount Kenya Safari Club, Naro Moru River Lodge, Serena Mountain Lodge, Ol Pajeta, Rutundu Fishes Lodge, Treetops, and Bantu Lodge are found around and at the base of this mountain. Visitors not climbing the mountain call in at these hotels to enjoy the scenery, fresh air and tranquil atmosphere. Sightseers may also visit the surrounding cool highlands whose forests are perfect for viewing game. Mountain streams with clear waters with abundant trout. Several bandas are also available for use by visitors including Batian Guest House and Sirimon Bandas.
The key attractions on Mount Kenya include unspoiled wilderness, tarns, lakes, glaciers, very beautiful peaks, geological variety, mineral springs, forest, endangered and rare animal species, high-altitude adapted plains wildlife, unique alpine and montane vegetation with eleven endemic plants species.
Major road routes to this great wonder are the Naro Moru (Nyeri-Nanyuki) or Nanyuki-Isiolo routes, which are accessible from Nairobi by private or public transport. Climbers and trekkers may also get to Mount Kenya via Chogoria on the Embu-Meru route.
The commercial airstrip nearest to the mountain is located at Nanyuki. Numerous trekking firms may arrange for transport from Nairobi to the mountain. Naro Moru and Nanyuki hotels can arrange for transport to Mt. Kenya National Park gates.
Next time you are in Kenya, insist on visiting this magnificent mountain.