Mount Kenya is the highest peak in Kenya and second highest in Africa after Kilimanjaro in neighboring Tanzania. Reaching heights of 17,057 ft (5198 metres) it has three peaks, Batian, Nelion and Point Lenana, which are the remnants of an ancient volcano and take their names from the paramount Maasai chiefs.
Reaching the highest of the three peaks on Mount Kenya requires a lot of technical expertise, but the third highest peak Point Lenana, offers arguably the finest five or six day trek on the continent. Trek through dense rainforest on the lower slopes where you may encounter elephant, or even leopard, before traversing vast moorlands and past deep rocky gorges. From the summit of Lenana you will be rewarded with views across East Africa, the experience heightened by the fact that there are few other trekkers to share the mountain with – Mt Kenya has +/- 4000 trekkers per year, vs. Mt Kilimanjaro which has 50,000+ per year.
The summits of Batian and Nelion are surrounded by glaciers and often covered in snow where the night time temperature can drop to below -10 degrees Celsius. At any time of the year harsh, cold, wet and windy weather can come from anywhere so it’s essential to be prepared.
You will stay in a combination of campsites and park bandas – both are simple but comfortable and your climb crew are there to ensure every need is catered for, including a cook to prepare fresh meals throughout your climb. All tents and camping equipment is carried up the mountain by the porters and we use high quality Mountain Hardware tents which we consider to be the best. The tents themselves are officially 2-man tents.
The campsites themselves are some of the most impressive in Kenya – next to lakes and gorges, mountain streams and glacial moraines
This is a fully serviced trek – so your tents are set up by the team, all meals are cooked, and your overnight gear is carried by porters – so all you need to do is carry your day pack.
The trek to Pt Lenana can climbed at any time of the year – the optimum months are Jan, Feb to mid March, July, August, September, October & December; November, April, May and June can be wet – as can any time of year
Length: 4km Time: 2-3 hours Ascent: 300m Accommodation: Chogoria Bandas (3000m)
Meet guides and porters at a little local hotel at around midday, enjoying a picnic lunch in the forest while the crew load up the landrover (a slightly weathered vehicle but serves the purpose of getting you to the trailhead). We have a 22 km drive up a rough and muddy track through the bamboo zone to our overnight destination on the boundary of the park, walking the last 5-8 kms to the bandas to start to acclimatize. We overnight at the Chogoria Bandas (a small bunkhouse) set near the edge of the forest line and if time allows we will do a late afternoon stroll from the bandas once we are set up.
Length: 7km Time: 5 hours Ascent: 600m Accommodation: Lake Ellis camp (3400m)
After breakfast, we will follow the track as it leads up through glades of montane forest, with plenty of wildlife around, to our camp on the shores of Lake Ellis. We will arrive at our camp after about three hours walk in time for lunch. After a short rest period in the late afternoon we will hike to the top of nearby Mugi hill (250 m) for spectacular views and a picnic lunch, before returning to camp at dusk.
Length: 12km Time: 7 hours Ascent: 800m Accommodation: Lake Michaelson Camp (4000m)
In the early morning we set off, climbing away from Lake Ellis on its west side, across moorland to a ridge which eventually joins the main Chogoria trail. We have views of Vivienne Falls and the Gorges Valley as we descend to the most picturesque campsite in the range, at Lake Michaelson. Above the camp are the impressive cliffs of the “Temple” – a scenic highlight of the mountain. Exotic bird species, including the Tacazze sunbird, can be seen close to the camp amongst the bizarre giant plants – principally groundsel and lobelia. Lake Michaelson is the most impressive campsite on the mountain with the Nithi gorge plunging nearly 400m into the lake.
Length: 7km Time: 4-5 hours Ascent: 600m Accommodation: Simba Tarn Camp (4600m)
Climbing away from the beautiful Lake Michaelson we ascend into the alpine zone – a world of rock an ice as we ascend towards the main peaks, leaving behind the bizarre giant lobelias and groundsels and onto glacial moraine. A last short sharp scree slope takes us to Simba Tarn. (4620m) where we overnight. If the group is moving at a decent pace, and weather conditions are favourable, it is also possible to ascend Pt Lenana this afternoon, making the final day an easier one. This is decided on the day with the group and guide.
Length: 16km Time: 9 hours Ascent: 385m Descent: 985m Accommodation: Liki North Camp (4000m)
An early start (at around 5 a.m.) for a cup of tea and a relatively easy 2-hour climb up to Point Lenana the trekking summit (4,985m). As dawn breaks over Africa, we are treated to a remarkable spectacle – the nearby peaks of Nelion and Batian glinting in the morning sun. In the far distance, if clear, it is possible to see the summit of Kilimanjaro 350kms away.
After spending some time basking in the morning sunlight absorbing the panorama, we return to Simba Tarn campsite for a celebratory cooked breakfast. Descend down the pleasant Mackinder Valley in the shadow of the true summit of Batian, and near the end of the day’s trek we fork right from the main trail and drop into the Liki North valley(4000m) and our camp near the little hut there. The descent takes about 4- 5 hours. Alternatively, depending on the group we overnight tonight at Old Moses or Road Head which is closer to the park gate and offers climbers a much shorter walk on the final day and means they can be at their safari camp nearby, or next location by lunchtime.
Length: 9km Time: 4-6 hours Descent: 2000m
Descending off the mountain is around 2-3 hours walking which can be boggy underfoot to Old Moses camp at the treeline and the roadhead. It is a further 2-3 hours walk down the road in podo and cedar forest. We arrive at the park gate arriving around lunchtime where we meet our awaiting vehicles and bid goodbye to our guides and porters