Mount Kenya National park is the country’s highest mountain. Straddling the equator, the icy summit reaches to 5,199 m above sea level. The Mount Kenya National Park consists of all areas above 3,200 m. The mountain actually consists of three distinct zones: the volcanic peak zone, with its endless glaciers and snowfields; the alpine zone, with its distinctive giant vegetation such as groundsels; and the lower slopes, with their thick forest and bamboo vegetation.
With a peak of 5,199 meters above sea level, it’s no surprise that Mount Kenya is home to unique animals like Columbus Monkeys, Sykes Monkeys, Cape Buffalos and a rare type of forest antelope called bongos and Elephants.
Described as one of the most outstanding landscapes in the Eastern Africa region, the Mt Kenya National Park is definitely an ideal place to visit. It was established in 1949 as a forest reserve to protect the forested area around Mount Kenya. This park is renowned for its rich and diverse wildlife. It offers breathtaking scenery that stretches miles. Guests enjoy a variety of attractions while visiting the park from a wilderness, to lakes and glacier peaks. There are over 130 species of birds to watch, endangered species of animals and up to 11 species of rare plants. Batian peak, the highest Mount Kenya peak rises to 5199 meter above sea level. The mountain is a dormant volcano and the landscape varies a lot. There is always snow on the peaks and there are glaciers too, despite it being so close to the equator. Bamboo shoots lie under the glaciers and even further down one can find pine trees and dense rain forest. The Park allows visitors to enjoy nature’s splendor to its best, close to the mountain and in the midst of wildlife
The key highlight of mount Kenya national park include, Pristine wilderness, lakes, tarns, glaciers and peaks of great beauty, geological variety, forest, mineral springs, rare and endangered species of animals, High altitude adapted plains game, Unique montane and alpine vegetation with 11 species of endemic plants. For those looking for trekking, climbing and hiking opportunity in Kenya then Mount Kenya is the perfect place. The mountain offers mountain climbing, Rock climbing and trekking opportunities for people of all levels of expertise.
Mount Kenya National Park has three major access routes;
NaroMoru climbing Route, Chogoria route, and the Sirimon climbing route
NaroMoru route is accessed from the western slopes of the mountain, beginning in the small town of NaroMoru on the A2 Nairobi – Nanyuki road. This route is very steep, and porters can be arranged at NaroMoru or the surrounding areas. Naromoru route is the shortest and the most difficult since is trailing the mountain head on. It’s also very steep and boggy. For those with limited time and are physically fit, this is their route.
Chogoria route begins near the small town of Chogoria, 2 kms to the west of the Embu – Meru road. From Chogoria town, you must travel 6 kms to the forest gate and from the forest gate, a further 23 kms to the Mount Kenya National Park gate. The thick forest on the route to the Park gate is home to antelope and elephants, making this approach to the Park interesting for game enthusiasts. Porters are arranged at Chogoria town. Chogoria route is the most scenic route both in vegetation and sceneries. Highlights include the Nithi Fall and the Mau Mau caves near road head, Lake Michaelson among others.
Sirimon route begins near the small town of Timau on Nanyuki – Isiolo road north of the mountain. The road to the Park gate leaves the main road 1 km from (before) the bridge over the Sirimon River. This is the most popular access point to the park because of the easy of the terrain. Porters can be arranged from Nanyuki or at the village after the main turnoff from Nanyuki Isiolo road. Sirimon route is the second best route and the mostly often used. It’s a fairly gentle route with no major steep climb. Though it’s a fairly long route, it’s the easiest. Feature to see while on this route include the Terere and Sendeyo peaks, the Makinders and Houseberg Valley, the Likii north and south river.
The topography of Mount Kenya National Park is such that it requires a 4WD vehicle to make it to road head in all the major climbing route from the base hotels and more so from the National park gates. Prior arrangement of porter and guides who provide both information and a helping hand to mountain expeditions is advised.
How to Get to Mount Kenya National Park
By road: Mount Kenya National Park is 175km from Nairobi, accessible through Nanyuki-Isiolo road. There is also another entrance 150km north of Nairobi through Embu-Meru road.
By Air: The closest airstrip is at Nanyuki
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