Having fallen into a dormant slumber since its birth as strato-volcano millennia ago, Mount Kenya is now swathed in glaciers and forested valleys. The ethnic groups who live on the mountain’s lower slopes have long regarded its peaks to be the home of their gods. The mountain’s significance to Kenyans is apparent to this day, as a large population relies on the sylvan vales of the mountain for fresh water.
The cultivated farmlands at its base, which eventually feed into sloping woodlands and valleys contrasted with the rocky outcrops of Mount Kenya’s peaks, promise an awe-inspiring experience from start to finish. Early-morning starts will treat climbers to glimpses of the frosted glaciers between the craggy peaks of Africa’s second-highest mountain before mist and cloud layers descend. Peak Lenana can be reached by trekking alone, thus making it an extremely popular route for the amateur hiker. The two higher peaks, Batian and Nelion, are reserved for experienced climbers.
Although climbers can ascend the mountain throughout the year, the drier summer months offer clearer skies, comfortable climbing conditions, and spectacular vistas. The five main routes used to ascend Mount Kenya range from the relatively easy-going pace of the well-maintained Sirimon Route to the deserted open spaces of the scarcely used Timau Route.
- Amateur and professional hiking options available for climbers
- The second-highest peak in Africa—an ancient extinct volcano
- Mount Kenya’s diverse afro-alpine flora make for striking vistas
- Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Keep an eye out for porcupines, elephants, hyena, buffalo, and the occasional lion in the lower forests; the hyrax, duiker and odd leopard have been spotted higher up
- Mount Kenya straddles the equator about 193km north-east of Nairobi and about 480km from the Kenyan coast