Africa’s second highest mountain, Mount Kenya delivers highs a plenty. From its wooded foothills to its icy summits, it offers the intrepid trekker never-to-be-forgotten sights and experiences on heart-pounding adventure holidays to Kenya. Starting with invigorating hill walks through upland forests rich with wildlife and moving on to challenging hikes through bamboo forests then upwards and onwards to the boulders of Point Lenana you’re rewarded with world class views all the way.
To tackle the assault of granite cliff and volcanic rock towers up to Batian, the highest glacier peak, you’ll need technical experience and good climbing skills. But if you don’t relish the climb you can just visit one of the famous hotels at the mountain base and take in the views, enjoying the fresh air and peaceful ambience of the Kenyan hills.
Highlights of Mount Kenya
Take a mountain safari holiday
Find zebras on the northern slopes, and, deep in the forests, spot monkeys playing in the trees, grazing antelopes (including the rare bono), herds of elephants and buffalo as well as hyenas, servals, leopards and the occasional lion. Give your feet a rest and watch the wildlife passing by from the safety of the Mountain Lodge, just inside the forest on the south side of the mountain and take in the sight of the rolling plains of the Kenyan Highlands below.
The mountain landscape and climate changes dramatically as you ascend. The mix of rainforest, bamboo, open woodland, scrub and moorland is home to a myriad of birdlife including soaring eagles, the Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Green-backed Heron and the Lammergeier. If you can get up early enough you can also catch the spectacle of lots of Red-fronted Parrots migrating from the trees to their daily feeding grounds.
The plant life here encompasses the weird and the wonderful in all the colours of the rainbow, with the highlight being the giant vegetation; 3m tall giant lobelia, giant thistle and giant groundsels with leaves up to 10m long.
Lesser peaks and glaciers up to Point Lenana can be scaled and walked by anyone who is fit and adventurous. To scale the highest peaks of Nelion and Batian you need considerable technical skills, this is one challenging peak to bag.
Tales of Mt Kenya
Snow at the Equator – “I don’t believe it”
In 1849, missionary Johann Krapf was the first European to report a sighting of Mount Kenya but his reports of there being snow at the equator were dismissed and ridiculed by the scientific community.
The Greatest Escape
In 1943, three Italian prisoners of war escaped from their prison camp in Nanyuki and climbed the mountain, planting an Italian Flag at Point Lenana before returning to the camp and ‘escaping’ back in. Read all about there amazing escapade in “No Picnic on Mount Kenya” written by one of the prisoners, Felice Benuzzi.
And a warning
As the glaciers on Mt Kenya continue to retreat, it is predicted that in less than 30 years time there’ll be no more ice on Mt Kenya. The time for an adventure holiday here, is now.
Wanderlust Magazine - Sarah Baxter writes about Africa's Other Roof; Mount Kenya (13 February 2009).