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Kenya Trekking

Mount Kenya Trekking

The sacred mountain of the Gikuyu people where their legendary God "Ngai" lived, is a giant extinct volcano whose rims have been worn down leaving only the central peaks sticking out on top of the mountain mass. It is the second highest mountain in Africa and the only spot in the world where snow is found on the Equator. The area covered is 715sq.kms In December 1949, the Mountain was made a National Park whose boundaries cover nearly all the area above the 11,000 ft. contour line plus two lower salients at Sirimon and Naro Moru. The park thus protects and preserves large sections of the mountain forests and bamboo thickets with their varied wildlife, the alpine moorlands, glaciers, tarns and glacial moraines.


Ascending the mountain

To climb to the highest peaks-Batian and Nelion, one requires ropes, ice-axes and other specialized climbing gear. The two peaks can be attempted by experienced climbers. Non-experienced climbers have managed to reach point Lenana 4,970 meters ( 16,300ft) commonly called the "Tourist Peak".

Climbing Routes - Naro Moru Route

This is the most popular route although not the most scenic. It is also the fastest route to point Lenana.

Distance: 38 km
Duration: 3 days
High Point: 4985m at Lenana Point
Altitude Gain: 2985m

Day 1

Naro Moru Park Gate - Met Station. 10 km, 3-4 hours, 1000m ascent. The trail ascends from Naro Moru gate to Met Station at 3,050m, possible sidetracks through the Teleki valley.

Day 2

Met Station - Mackinders Camp. 10 km 5-6 hours, 1150 m ascent. Continue to climb past the vertical bog up to Mackinders Camp at 4,210m.

Day 3

Mackinder's Camp - Point Lenana, then descent to Met Station 4 km, 3.5 hours, 785 m ascent. 14 km, 5-6 hours, 1935 m descent. At about 3.00am star the final push to the summit. This early start will allow you to enjoy the sunrise over the mountains at Point Lenana. Descend to Met Station for overnight.
Summary
Easiest route to the top with bunkhouses and good access. The quick ascent can lead to altitude sickness

Sirimon - Chogoria Route

Description of the route

Sirimon Route

Much more scenic than Naro Moru and it is on the dry side of the mountain, which offers some of the finest walking.

Day 1

Climb to Old Moses Hut before setting out for Liki North Valley. Overnight at Old Moses Hut.

Chogoria Route

This is by far the most scenic and interesting route. It takes in both tropical forests and moorland.

Day 1

Ascend to Minto’s Hut at 4,300m which is situated on a plateau overlooking Lake Michaelson 300m below. There are spectacular views of the summits from here.

Day 2

The trail continues to Austrian Hut via Tooth Col which is situated between several rock towers. Overnight at Austrian Hut.

Day 3

An early morning start to attempt the summit of Point Lenana, which is only about one hour from Austria Hut. Descend to Chogoria Park Gate for the night.

Chogoria - Naru Moru with Summit Peak Circuit

Combine the very scenic Chogoria route with the popular Naru Moru together with the Circuit of the Peaks.

Day 1

Transfer to Naro Moru resting here overnight for acclimatisation.

Day 2

Ascend to Met Station at 3,0550m.

Day 3

The trail leads on the Mackinders Camp overnight here.

Day 4

Now on the summit circuit route we pass Two Tarn Hut, Oblong and Hausberg Tarns before reaching Shipton’s Camp at 4,210m. Overnight at the camp.

Day 5

Day 5 An early start (2.00am) to attempt the final push to the summit at Point Lenana and views of the sunrise. Descend via Square Tarn to Minto’s Hut for breakfast before overnighting at Chogoria Park Gate.

Sirimon - Naru Moru with Peak Circuit Route

A six-day safari taking in both Sirimon and Naru Moru routes with the popular summit circuit path.

Day 1

As Sirimon Route

Day 2

After climbing through the rain forest to 3,993m overnight at Liki North Camp.

Day 3

Trail proceeds to Shipton’s Camp, acclimatise overnight.

Day 4

From Shipton’s Camp the trail leads to Kami Hut below the north face of Batian. Continuing west-southwest the trail climbs up switchbacks in the fine snow before reaching Hausberg Col at 4,590m. Descend into the Upper Hausberg Valley and rest at the aptly named Oblong and Hausberg Tarns. Ascending to the crest of a ridge known as Arthur’s Seat the trail winds along a beautiful series of rock ledges. Descend to Shipton’s Camp for the night.

Day 5

Day 5 A early 2.00am start for the attempt to reach Point Lenana before descending to Mackinders Camp for breakfast then on to Met Station to overnight.

Day 6

Descend to Park Gate

Timau Route

Little used route on northern side of Mount Kenya. It follows a good dirt road on the lower slopes then degenerates into a path half way up the mountain and even this disappears higher up leaving you to walk overopen country. There are no facilities, though there are several good places to camp. This route would suit experienced, self-sufficient trekkers who can read a compass.

Kamweti Route

If you are keen to try an unusual approach to mt kenya, the seldon used Kamweri route begins at roadhead, eight steps kilometres north of Castle forest. The managers at the houses should be able to advise on guide and porters, though you will most likely have to arrive fully equipped.

The Huts

There are the small, bare huts built by mount club of Kenya, which normaly have four walls, a roof, bunks and nohing else (free;the wardens at the gates used to collect fees but recentlywashed their hands of the affair given the deplorable state of huts-details are given under the relevant routes). These are located near the peaks, thus making it possible to spend a day or two around the high turns and graciers before returning to the base of Mackinder's Camp(warmer and more oxygen). The huts have no facilities or staff-you must entirely self-sufficient.Their foam mattresses disappeared long ago(presumably burned to warm the frost-bitten nights), and a close-cellbedroll is essential.

Cherangani Hills

Located about 70 km north of Kitale, the Cherangani Hills offer some of the best hiking in Kenya. Rising to 3,581 m the hills form the western escarpment of the Rift Valley and act as a barrier between the lush highlands around Kitale and the desert of the north. Driving through the northern gorges of the hills via the Marich Pass is a spectacular journey, with amazing views over the plains.

The lush highlands can be explored on foot and the Marich Pass Field Studies centre is a good base.
A few kms from the Field Studies Centre is Mount Sekerr which at 3,326 m is an easy two day trek and offers great views. Other good hiking areas include the Elgeyo Escarpment which is about one and a half hours from the Study Centre and looks out over the Kerio Valley. Tourism is undeveloped in the area and walking is unrestricted and, with no park fees to pay, the area is becoming more popular with adventurous hikers. The hills are also one of the few habitats for the shy bongo.

Mount Elgon

Mount Elgon is located on the Ugandan border and the highest peak, Wagagai, rises to 4,321 m and is the second highest mountain in Kenya. Although it is easier to ascend the mountain from the Ugandan side, treks can be organised in Kenya. It is advisable to check security in the region before climbing the mountain.There are very few options for organised treks and walking is prohibited in the park and to reach the peak you have to cross into Uganda. Despite these problems determined hikers do make the ascent.

The starting point for the trek is from Kilimili, 45 km from Kitale, and to climb to the highest peak on the Kenyan side of the border at Little Elgon is a three day round trip. From Kilimili take a matatu to Kaberwa then follow signs to Chepkitale Forest Station on the trail up to Austrian Hut. This is a 28 km trek through forest, bamboo and moorland and the first seven km in particular are quite rough. Little Elgon peak is a further three hour trek from Austrian Hut and although other treks can be made from the hut they will involve illegal crossings into Uganda.The long rains in April and May make trekking on Mount Elgon at this time of year extremely inadvisable

Special Hazards

Other than the normal mountain walking and climbing hazards the following should be taken note of on Mt. Kenya.

Wildlife
The forest zone contains large numbers of buffalo and elephant. These animals can be very dangerous, avoid walking at night through this zone and avoid straying off the main tracks.

Exposure
A warm day can rapidly turn very cold as the clouds build up and rain or snow start to tall. Exhaustion and damp, sweaty clothes can cause a rapid body cooling and finally hypothermia. Have warm clothes handy and eat energy snacks regularly.

Dehydration Fluid
loss occurs rapidly at high altitudes accentuating altitude sickness. Drink copious amounts of fluids.

Accidents
In the event of an accident help can be summoned at the permanently manned Ranger Post in Teleki Valley, at the Met. Station and at any of the three main Park Gates; all of these locations are in radio contact with each other and with Park Headquarters where the Rescue Team is based.

Porters and Guides

Guides are recommended and may be hired at:

  • Mutindwa or Chogoria for the Chogoria Route,
  • 5km. from Naro Moru (towards the park gate) and Naro Moru River Lodge for the Naro Moru Route,
  • Bantu Lodge for Sirimon Route. It is best to maker arrangements one day before or in the early morning of the day of planned departure. Porters, if required, are chosen by the guide. Guides and porters are self-sufficient; wages are low compared to park fees but a reasonable tip should be given for good service. Expect to end up paying about $6 per day for a porter and $8 per day for a guide. Porters carry 18kg. of clients' equipment and rarely provide their own rucksacks.
Last Updated on Wednesday 25th November 2009

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