Mount Kenya is Africa’s second-highest mountain, but whilst Kilimanjaro beats it on altitude Mount Kenya is unarguably the more enjoyable mountain to climb, with stunning views, glacial features and varied flora. There are half a dozen alternative routes on the mountain, each joining at the trekkers’ peak at Point Lenana (4985m). The Sirimon – Chogoria route may not be the fastest way up and down the mountain but it undoubtedly offers up the mountain’s best features. Sirimon is the most popular ascent with fantastic glacial scenery and a nice steady rate of ascent. Chogoria is the favoured descent for those who can afford the extra time on the mountain, with dramatic gorges, waterfalls and mountain tarns. Due to the prevalence of altitude sickness on the mountain, we include an extra day’s acclimatisation the day before summiting.
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Route duration: 6 days on the mountain
Total hiking distance: Approximately 77 Kms.
DAY 1: MOUNTAIN ROCK LODGE -1950m.
AM. Nairobi – Mountain Rock lodge by car (200kms /3.5hrs).
PM. Acclimatisation nature hike. (12kms /3hrs).
Habitat: Montane Forest / farmlands
Depart after breakfast and journey north past diverse agricultural lands and landscapes to the slopes of Mount Kenya. After lunch at the base lodge, you take part in some easy walks around this predominantly Kikuyu area, exploring local farms and villages and perhaps local schools. We can gain a privileged insight into the lives of the people who live on the slopes of Mt. Kenya and know that our visit is contributing to their local economy. An extended evening walk through the forest, where a local natural history expert will reveal the medicinal plants, birds and animals found here. We’ll also get to meet and spend some time with our mountain guides. (B,L,D)
DAY 2: OLDMOSES MOUNTAIN HUT / CAMP – 3340m.
AM. Base lodge – Sirimon Gate (2,600m) by car (45kms / 1.5hrs).
PM. Trek, Sirimon gate (2,600m) – Oldmoses (3,340m) (Span, 10kms/2.5hrs).
Habitat: Montane Forest / Bamboo / Hagenia zones.
Breakfast is followed by a full briefing and equipment check before we begin the trek – we’ll meet the full crew at this point. Each person has a personal porter and there are extra porters for camping equipment and food. Then a short vehicle transfer past the equator to Sirimon park gate. Our ascent of Mt Kenya, following the Sirimon route, this is one of the longest and gentlest on the mountain. It is also one of the most spectacular. We walk up to our first hut at 3,340m, a total ascent of 740m in just 2-3 hours. On this route, we will pass through zones of dense forest, bamboo, giant heather and out onto high open moorland. 3-4 hours. (B,L,D)
DAY 3: SHIPTON’S HUT – 4236m.
Trek, Oldmoses – Shipton’s Camp (3340m – 4236m).
Span, approx.14Kms. / 7-8hrs.
Habitat: Moorland zone.
Today’s trek takes us up the surreal Mackinder Valley with its strange vegetation of giant lobelia and groundsel, unique to equatorial African mountains. Here we stay at Shipton’s Camp (4236m), just below the glaciers and jagged peaks of bare rock that surround the main summits. 7-8 hours, 896m of ascent. (B,L,D)
DAY 4: SHIPTON’S MOUNTAIN HUT / CAMP – 4236m.
Acclimatisation to Hausberg Col. (4,600m).
Span, approx. 7Kms. / 4-5h.
Ascent 364m then descent back 364m.
Habitat: Alpine desert
We stay at Shipton’s for two nights and have a rest day. This is invaluable for acclimatisation and will make the summit day more enjoyable. Highly recommended is a short walk on the summit circuit trail up to the Hausberg col (4,6OOm) OR go farther, passing between Oblong and Hausberg Tarns to Nanyuki and Two Tarns to enjoy panoramic views of peaks Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5188m). Having reached a high altitude of over 4600m the true acclimatisation benefit of this day becomes clear, Climbing high and sleeping low is excellent for acclimatisation (B, L, D)
DAY 5: NITHI CAMP – 3,300m.
(Summit attempt) Shipton’s camp – Pt. Lenana (4,985m) – Nithi Camp (4236m – 3,300m).
Span, approx. 3kms / 4h to Pt. Lenana and 14 km / 6h to Nithi Camp.
Ascent: 749m to the summit / Descent: -1,685m to Nithi Camp.
Habitat: Scree / Rocky summit / Moorland
After the rest day comes the highlight of the Mount Kenya trek: the stiff, but exhilarating, scramble by starlight up to Point Lenana, the “trekkers’ summit”, in time to see the African dawn from a vantage point of nearly 5,000m. We leave at 4 am and climb the 800m to the peak in 3-4 hours. A further 3 hours down to a late breakfast by Hall Tarns in the magnificent Gorges Valley. Then in the afternoon another 3 hours down past spectacular chasms, waterfalls and weirdly eroded lava flow to camp by the track-head in the giant heather zone. (B,L,D)
DAY 6: MERU BANDAS – 3,000m.
Trek Nithi Camp – Meru Bandas (3,300m – 3,000m).
Span, approx. 7Kms / 2-3h.
Habitats: Moorland / Giant heather/ Hagenia zones
Short descent through the forest zone to the mountain cabins and afternoon relaxing. Log fires, hot showers, beers, and real beds for overnight. Wildlife viewing in the evening – often from your cabin window as the elephant and buffalo graze outside! (B,L,D)
DAY 7: NAIROBI (1965m.)
AM. Hike, Meru Banda’s – Pick up point (3,000m – 2600m).
Span, approx.10kms / 2h.
Habitats: Bamboo / Montane Forest zones
P.M. Pick up point – Nairobi by car. (230kms / 4-5hrs).
Walk down through the giant bamboo forest to meet our vehicles for the return journey to Nairobi, arriving in the late afternoon. Drop off within the city or at the airport.
This price includes:
All National Park fees.
Camping & mountain Huts fees where applicable.
Camping equipment EXCEPT for sleeping bags, mattresses.
English speaking guide(s).
Porters & Cook(s).
Meals while on the mountain (breakfast, lunch, dinner).
Transfers from and back to base hotel.
Complimentary Nature hike included on the first day when accommodated at the Mountain Rock Lodge.
Meals/drinks not mentioned as included
Any increase in National Park fees or other fees/taxes charged by National Park and/or other government authorities.
Sleeping bag/mattress and other personal equipment (a limited selection of hire equipment is available – please pre-order).