Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya National Park. The park is popular for having the second-highest mountain in Africa, historically known for being a place of the Kikuyu supreme god Ngai and rare honor of being both Unesco World Heritage site and a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. Mt. Kenya highest peak, Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5188m) can technically be reached by skilled mountain climbers while the Point Lenana (4985m) can be reached easily even by trekkers being the goal of most people since it offers a fantastic experience of enjoying superb views over the surrounding country.
SAFETY: Most people do ascend much too quickly and end up suffering from altitude sickness hence one is encouraged to spend at least three nights with proper clothing wear and equipment. Moreover, there is unpredictable, harsh, cold, wet, and windy weather. Trekking using Point Lenana is not easy and most people do die therefore trekking is majorly advised to be carried out in mid-January to late February or from late August to September.
Equipment hire: well-maintained hire gear is available at the Naro Moru River Lodge which is relatively expensive and even most guiding companies do have cheaper equipment for hire.
Guide, cooks, and porters: KWS now do issue vouchers to the porters and guides and given identity cards for the park entrance.
Costs: If one ascends the mountain along one route and descends along a different route will be responsible for the arrangement and payments to transport guides and porters back to the starting point. Porters will carry up to 16kg for longer trips and up to 18kg for three-day trips excluding their own food and equipment. So when a visitor wants the porters to carry more kgs they have to negotiate and added cost. The journey is paid per day.
Organized treks: All-inclusive packages which include the park entry, camping fees, food, huts, a guide, cook and porters, transfer to and from the mountain –can be a good deal particularly to the guest with no equipment. Such good companies to provide the packages include:
- MountainRock Safari Resort and trekking services: A real specialist for Mount. Kenya climbs and runs the Mountain Rock Lodge near Naro Moru. Their rates involve per person, per day for five or more people. Naro Moru River Lodge is quite expensive but only offers beds in Met Station Hut and Mackinder’s camp.
NARO MORU ROUTE:
It’s the most straightforward, a popular route where one would experience a spectacular and very enjoyable trail even if it’s the least scenic. Guides, porters, and cooked can be booked through Mt Kenya guides and porters Safari club.
Starting in Naro Moru town the route goes through the gravel road for about 13km to the start of the forest. Another 5km to the park entry gate and to the Met Station Hut where the visitors would spend the night.
The second day starts off at Teleki valley to the edge of the forest for about 3200m and it is where the route divides into two where one could take the higher path but it’s usually wet or the lower which crosses Naro Moru River and continues to Mackinder’s camp.
On the third, a visitor can stay at the Mackinder’s camp aiming towards Point Lenana that takes about 4-5 hours hence better to leave around 2 am to arrive at the summit in time for sunrise. Austrian Hut is 3-4 hours from Mackinder’s camp and about one hour below the summit of Lenana thus a good place to rest before the final push. The section of trek along Austrian Hut up to Lenana takes a climber up a rocky path that traverses the southwest ridge parallel to the Lewis Glacier.
From Point Lenana most climbers would return along the same route when they summit early they would arrive in Met Station the same day. Alternatively, visitors can return to the Austrian Hut the take the summit around the base of the main peaks to reach the top with one of the other main routes before descending.
This route has the most scenery, great flexibility, and a gentler rate of ascent. The route is worth considering joining with the Chogoria route for a 6-7 day traverse to bring out the best of Mt Kenya experience. In Nanyuki guides operating out of Mt Kenya, Mountaineering Information Office are quite reliable while Mountain Rock Lodge do also provides hire services of the guides and the porters per day.
From Nanyuki to Sirimon Gate is about 15 km and from the gate, it’s about 9km through the forest to Old Moses hut where the visitors could spend the night.
On the second day, one could head straight through the moorland for Ship ton’s camp but it’s more worth to for via Liki North Hut offering a good campsite.
On the third day head up the straight to the western side of Liki North Valley and over the ridge of Mackinder’s Valley to join the direct route. After crossing the river follow the path for another 30 minutes to reach Bunkhouse at Shipton’s camp located right below the Batian and Nelion within sight of two glaciers. From Shipton’s camp, one can go straight to Point Lenana a tough3-4 hours slog via Harris Tarn, or take the summit circuit in either direction to reach Austrian Hut.
From Austrian Hut take the southwest traverse up to Point Lenana and if spending the night the visitors would experience the view as up to Batian and down the Lewis Glacier into Teleki Valley as well as the spectacular ice cave by the curling pond.
The route is famous since it covers a variety of spectacular scenery of Mt Kenya. It is often combined with the Sirimon route. The best place to organize the guides and porters is at the Mt Kenya Chogoria Guides and Porters Association.
The main reason the route is famous is the 29km bottom stage creating a memorable trekking experience through the farmlands, rainforest, and bamboo zones. Camping is possible at the Forest station but still has the 23km walk, but transport is available from, the village. Camping is also available at the gate at Meru Mt Kenya Lodge with shopping facilities on the road.
On the second day, one can head up through the forest to the trailhead where it will cover about 7km to Hall Trans area and Minto’s Hut. From here one can follow the trail up Gorges Valley a very adventurous route through the steep ridges to reach the summit circuit where one can choose to either go north face or southwest ridge of Point Lenana stopping at Austrian Hut or detour to Shipton’s camp.
This is a village on the western side of the mountain and it’s the best popular route to Mt. Kenya with a variety of midrange hotels and markets.
- Kenya hostels and campsite-its about8.5km from the town and 7.5 km from the park. Offers simple accommodation, a large campsite, kitchen facilities, a restaurant, and a bar. Hires limited mountain gear and does arrange Mt. Kenya treks when a visitor requires.
- Mountain View Hotel-it’s the best option in town with red cement floors with large single beds with bathrooms having hot showers. Treks can arrange and equipment can be hired in this hotel.
- Blueline hotel-It is 3km from the town and 1.5 km from the Mt. Kenya Guides, and porters Safari Club office but 13km from the park gate. The hotel is generally pleasant and quiet with a bar and a
- Kenya Guides and Porters Safari Club offers camping services and does provide tent hire services.
- MIDRANGE AND TOP END:
- Naro Moru River Lodge-Is about 5 km in front of the town and is located at the sloping banks of the Naro Moru River with a very beautiful landscapes garden. Has a well-equipped camping site with a dormitory block with a restaurant and a bar that the campers are free to use.
- Mountain Rock Lodge is 6 km north of Naro Moru located more in the woods area less than1km from Nanyuki It is a friendly and spacious dining room with two bars and a lounge.
The Top End does offer camping services.