The Mount Kenya National Park protects the unique ecosystem that is found on the slopes of Africa’s second highest mountain. Many adventurous travellers come every year to hike up its challenging peaks.
Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa. Due to its unique ecosystems which change the higher you go up the mountain, Mount Kenya has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Many climbers, hikers, trekkers and adventure enthusiasts challenge themselves by ascending the mountain each year.
The Mount Kenya National Park is located about 175km (108 miles) from Nairobi. It covers around 700 square kilometres protecting the mountain between altitudes of 11,000ft and 17,058ft above sea level. There is a good tar road that circles the base of the mountain, connecting the region’s main towns, namely Naro Moru, Nanyuki, Meru and Embu.
Airport – The closest airport to Mount Kenya is at Nanyuki or the Laikipa Airport, though there are several small airports near the private lodges in the area. Most tourists will fly into Nairobi and then get driven to the Mount Kenya National Park by road.
Mount Kenya National Park Highlights & Attractions
- As it is the second highest peak in Africa, Mt Kenya attracts many hikers and climbers every year
- The National Park has many unusual species of plants like something out of science fiction
- While hiking trekkers can take in some of the most beautiful scenery in the region
- Pristine wilderness with lakes, tarns, glaciers and peaks of great beauty
- High altitude adapted plains game
- Perhaps see a rare and beautiful Bongo
What to do in the Mount Kenya National Park – Hiking, Camping, Cave exploration
Most people come to the Mount Kenya National Park to climb the Mountain. There are seven routes up the mountain, which has three peaks. Most tourists climb to Point Lenana which at 4985m is the third highest peak. Only climbers with advanced technical climbing ability are allowed to attempt the other two peaks.
You will pass through several different eco-systems on your ascent from tropical forest which is home to Buffalo and Elephant to the Bamboo forest, then the upland heath which is home to many strange plants such as the Giant Lobelia and Rosette plants. This then gives way to a barren land of rock, ice and snow.
It is recommended that you spend a minimum of three nights while ascending the mountain – this allows your body to acclimatise so that you do not suffer from altitude sickness. The best time of year to attempt the climb is from the middle of January till the end of February and between August and the end of September. These are the two dry seasons, as during the short and the long wet season it is always overcast and visibility is poor.
Mount Kenya National Park Accommodation
Serena Mountain Lodge – Serena Mountain Lodge is situated on the lower slopes of the mountain. It is raised on stilts above the forest canopy. It has many viewing decks which overlook a waterhole and salt-lick, which is frequented by a wide variety of animals. Accommodation is in suites which resemble mountain cabins. Activities offered include guided hikes in the forest, trout fishing and mountain treks.
The climate in the park varies dramatically as you ascend the mountain. There can be vast changes in temperature between the day and night, with temperatures dropping to about 4 °C. Mount Kenya is generally very wet and is a watershed that provides water for large parts of Kenya. Like the rest of the country, as it is situated within the tropics, it receives two wet seasons and two dry seasons.
Most of the precipitation occurs as frost or snow, which feeds the 11 remaining glaciers on the mountain. The south eastern slopes of the mountain receive the most rainfall as the warm moist air comes off the Indian Ocean.