Exploring the ‘White’ Mountain of God
Perhaps it’s her splendor of color when the sun drops behind her peaks as dusk knocks. Maybe it’s her mystic foggy forests or the giant crystal pools that anoint her slopes. Or it’s because she is a sanctuary to over 2500 elephants, the vanishing Bongo, and the splendid Mount Kenya mouse shrew. Whatever the reason, Mount Kenya is a magical wild destination.
Exploring Mount Kenya
Once the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano formed some 3 million years ago. The park is marked as a UNESCO national wild heritage site and a wildlife asylum. With glaciers dotting her peaks, her triplet towers of Batain (5,199m), Nelion (5,199m), and Lenana ( 4, 985 m) are crowned with Ice. The mountain slopes are magically adorned with a unique mosaic of rock, alpine flora, and fauna further, enchanting her serenity.
Mount Kenya Cultural Heritage
Mount Kenya is reputed among the Agikuyu community as the mountain of God. The community refers to it as the “Kirinyaga”, which loosely translates to the ‘White Mountain’ drawn from the white-snow peaks. According to their traditional myths and fables, ‘Murungu’ (God) resides among the mountain peaks, watching and protecting his children. As such, they build their houses with doors facing the mountain so God can have a closer watch on them.
Mount Kenya National Park makes one of the most challenging but rewarding mountain climbing and trekking tours in Kenya. Based on your fitness level, you can climb the mountain in less than three days or take up to 5 days. Regardless of how much time you take, the variety of views, sceneries, and wildlife will deliver you one of the most stunning climbs in the world.
Mount Kenya has three ice-crowned towers: Lenana (4,985m), Nelion (5,199m), and Batain (5, 199m). The peaks are accessible from different routes including:
An ascent from Sirimon and descent via the Chogoria route make the most breathtaking sceneries of game and nature. The Sirimon route has the best acclimatization and altitude gains. This allows your body to ease up to the lowering levels of oxygen as you move higher grounds. The path starts from the northwest section of Mt.Kenya, cutting through Liki North, Old Moses Camp, and Shipton’s Camp and finally gifting you the Lenana point. It also cuts across the Mackinders and Sirimon valleys which make the climb both challenging and exciting. Additionally, this route gives you a chance to visit the hauseberg tarns, further adding to your tour’s highlights. Some say it feels like a journey made for man to find himself!
Splendidly, a descending through the Chogoria route charms your way through the Gorges Valley, down towards the crystal Lakes of Michaelson, Ellis, and Nithi Falls. You can then stop at the Mount Meru Bandas hotel for a rejuvenating hot shower and comfortable night’s rest, before proceeding further to the foot.
Wildlife at Mount Kenya National Park
While game drive safaris are not allowed inside the park, visitors can enjoy game and nature walk at the foothills of the mountain. As one of the highest national parks in the world, Mount Kenya National Park offers a native breathtaking scenery rich with biodiversity. With the help of your ShanJoy guide, you can trace the well-traveled elephants’ migration paths and spot herds of buffalo or Zebra on the trails. The forest is a sanctuary to some of the world’s exotic species including bongo, Suni, and giant forest hog.
Excursions at the Park
Besides climbing, this extinct volcano mountain park is rich with biodiversity and offers the most spectacular natural walk experience at the foothills. When here, be sure to enjoy horseback riding, canoeing, and a visit to the William Holden Animal Orphanage.
The Mount Kenya National Park has an abundance of birds with over 130 species recorded. These include cinnamon-chested bee-eater, hunter’s cisticola, and Jackson’s francolin among others.
For adventurous souls, the experiences at mount Kenya are simply unparalleled!
Climate: At points above 4,000m, Mount Kenya is usually misty, windy, and freezing cold. During the day, the temperatures may rise to over 15^ C (above 4,000m) and drop to nearly -10^ C at night.
Vegetation: Alpine flora with bamboo and montane forest, moorland, and tundra.
Wildlife: Unique and exclusive animals include; the serval cat, mount Kenya mouse shrew, white-tailed mongoose, giant forest hog, bongo, elephants, buffalos tree hyrax, black rhino, leopard, suni, and the black-fronted duiker among others.
Birds: Over 130 species recorded.
Accessibility: The park is accessible by road or air from Nairobi. Nanyuki metropolitan offers the closest airstrip. Airport and road transfers are readily available with Shanjoy Tours.
Accommodation: Choices range from Kenya Wildlife campsites, and self-catering lodges, to five-star hotels located inside the park and its suburbs.