Come and watch the sun rise from the top of Africa’s highest mountains, the magical Kilimanjaro or trek amid solid rocks and explore Mt Kenya’s rugged beauty.
Climbing Mount Kenya takes you through varied ecosystems and awe-inspiring scenery. With its volcanic ridges and glacial valleys radiating across the land like spokes from a wheel, the massive bulk of Mount Kenya straddles the Equator yet is permanently crowned with snow. The 588 square-kilometre National Park, surrounded by 2000 square kilometres of Forest Reserve, is dominated by the twin summits of Batian (5,199 m) and Nelion (5,188 m) whose jagged snow-capped peaks are all that remain of a gigantic volcanic lava plug that once thrust another 300 meters into the sky. The 2000-square-kilometre Mount Kenya Forest Reserve, meanwhile, is the largest forest reserve and water-catchment area in Kenya and features magnificent stands of buttressed and lichen-draped juniper, podocarpus and African olive trees whose dense canopy provides the ideal habitat for vast herds of buffalo and elephant as well as a bright kaleidoscope of birds and other wildlife including elephant, buffalo and monkeys with even the moor lands offering a long list of mammals including the rock hyrax, the nearest living relative of the elephant. Of the three main peaks only point Lenana can be reached by trekkers and the other two being only for technical climbers.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest walkable mountain. You go through 5 different climatic zones to reach the summit. It is the world’s highest free-standing mountain and towers majestically over vast open plains with a permanently snow-covered peak which, on a clear day, can be seen from over 150kms away.
With its gleaming glaciers providing a stunning back-drop for safaris in the surrounding area, Mount Kilimanjaro is comprised of three extinct volcanoes: Kibo 5895m (19340ft), Mawenzi 5149m (16896ft) and Shira 3962m (13000ft). Its imposing bulk looms 4800m over the surrounding region that averages 1000m above sea level.
The Marangu and Rongai routes are wildly tipped as the “easiest” trails, and the Machame route is particularly renowned for its stunning scenery. Routes from Umbwe, Lemosho and Shira offer more challenging options. However, it is the duration of a climb that is as important as the ease of the route.
Other mountains that can be climbed in East Africa include Mount Meru (Tanzania), Mount Ruwenzori (Uganda) and Mount Elgon (Kenya).
- What to bring: Tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag, emergency foil blanket, big rucksack and day pack, torch, sunglasses, trekking poles, headlamp/flashlight, spare bulbs and batteries.
- Clothing: Jacket(s), outer shell/waterproof jacket and pants, shirts, trousers, shorts, sun hat, woolen hat and gloves.
- Footwear: Walking boots, training shoes, sandals, socks and gaiters.
Mount Kenya Climb, Chogoria Route
This is by far the most scenic and interesting route. It takes in both tropical forests and moor land.
Day 1: Nairobi/Chogoria
Pick up from your Nairobi Hotel at 8am and drive north to Chogoria town for lunch and afternoon leisure walk in the town to acclimatize. Dinner and overnight at Chogoria Transit Motel, 2000m.
Day 2:Chogoria/Mount Meru Bandas – 4hrs, 16km walk, 950m ascent
After breakfast, take a 4x4WD vehicle to the forest clearance, 16km from where the walk starts. You will walk for 16km through the forest along the dirt and sometimes very muddy road for 4hrs to reach Mount Meru Bandas at 2950m for lunch and afternoon walks. Dinner and overnight at Mt. Meru Bandas.
Day 3:Mount Meru Bandas – Road Head Camp, 3hrs, 9km, 350m ascent
After breakfast follow the track through giant heather and forest up to Chogoria road head from where the path drops to cross a stream then follows the broad ridge to the east of the gorges valley to reach Road Head Camp taking approximately 3-4hrs. Overnight at Road Head Camp at 3300m.
Day 4:Road Head/Mintos Hut – 4 hrs, 12km
After breakfast follow the track through giant heather and forest up to Chogoria road head from where the path drops to cross a stream then follows the broad ridge to the east of the gorges valley to reach Mintos Hut, 4200m. Dinner and overnight at Mintos Hut.
Day 5:Mintos/Point Lenana/Met Station – 11-12 hrs, 29km, 785m ascent/1985m descent
Leave shortly after midnight at 2am towards the main peaks and divide after an hour, above a flat green area at the head of the valley known as temple fields, arriving at point Lenana at 6:30am. After taking photographs, descend to Mackinders for breakfast and continue down to Met Station at 3000m for dinner and overnight rest.
Day 6:Met Station/Naromoru/Nairobi – 3hrs, 9km, 400m descent
After breakfast, descend through the rainforest which is 9km to Naromoru Park Gate at 2,600m where you will connect with your transport back to Nairobi, arriving at approximately 3pm.