Mount Kenya national park
Mount Kenya national park is located in the north eastern park of Nairobi and Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa standing at an elevation of 5,199 meters above the sea level. Mount Kenya acts as a water catchment area that supplies several river systems including Lake Tana and Northern Ewaso Ngiro eco system. Mount Kenya national park covers a total area of 2800 square kilometers, 3000 meters above the contour line and 715 kilometers north east of Nairobi. Mount Kenya national park started as a game reserve in 1978 and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 due to its ecological importance.
Attractions in Mount Kenya national park
Wildlife, Mount Kenya national park is a home of various animals including the African elephants, bush pigs, waterbucks, giant forest hogs, genet cats, leopards, buffaloes, black fronted duikers, black rhinos, suni antelope, bongo antelope, zebra, bat eared fox, eland, wild dogs, warthogs, mongoose, jackal, hyena, impala, primates like the baboons, black and white colobus monkeys among others.
Birds, Mount Kenya national park harbors about 130 bird species including the endemic species, tropical highland biome species among others. Birds in the national park can be viewed during hiking where you will view bird species such as the African crowned eagle, Abyssinian owl, cape eagle owl, kenricks starling, scarlet tufted sunbird among others.
Mount Kenya, this is an imposing extinct volcano that dominates the landscape of Kenya lying within Mount Kenya national park. The mountain has three peaks with two main peaks covered with snow namely Batian which is 5199metres and Nelion which is 5188metres above the sea level and the third peak is point Lenana stands at an elevation of 4895 meters above the sea level.
Top things to do in Mount Kenya national park
Mount Kenya national park offer the most adventurous and exciting activity where visitors engage in climbing mount Kenya which is an imposing extinct volcano and the second highest mountain in Africa after mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. There are easy and challenging ascents offered by Mount Kenya with two snow covered peaks including Batian which stands at 5199metres and Nelion which stands at 5188metres above the sea level. Another peak on Mount Kenya is point Lenana which is the third peak that sits at 4985metres above the sea level and it’s also the main popular route for hikers. Slopes of the mountain are covered in bamboo scrubs, moorland, forests among others. There are several trails or routes that you can take during hiking including
- Sirimon route which offers camps along the way namely Old Moses camp at 3300metres and Shiptons camp at 4200metres. The camps give you an opportunity to recharge as you continue to hike and this route needs a minimum of 2 to 3 days.
- Burget route which is the best route for visitors who want to feel alone on the mountain. This is one of the challenging routes and it’s less used therefore during hiking you will pass through the tropical rainforest which is sometimes muddy. When you use this route, you will spend your night in a wilderness hut and this trail takes a minimum of 3 nights. When descending its ideal to use a different trail.
- Naro Moru route, this is the shortest route or trail and due to that it’s popular and always busy. It’s an easy trail though with some vertical bog which become waterlogged. When using this route, you will have great views of the plant life among others and it takes a minimum of 2 days.
- Chogoria route, the route acts as an option for your descent. Chogoria route takes some time which is worth it due to spectacular scenery, waterfall views, views of the gorge among others and when descending it takes around 3 days.
- Timau route, this is an older trail that is no longer used a lot these days because there are no facilities where hikers can stay along the way.
There are other routes for hikers who want to hike beyond point Lenana and they include the south ridge route which continues to Nelion which is the next highest peak after point Lenana. This route requires experienced hikers and it takes around 8 hours to hike to the summit and 3 hours to descent therefore it takes about 2 days. Another route is the north face route which goes to Batian, this route is more challenging and is recommended for advanced hikers who will take around 12 hours to ascend to the summit and 5 hours to descend the next day.
Mount Kenya park is a home of various animals species which can be viewed during the nature walk, hiking and the animals include the elephants, buffaloes, black fronted duikers, bushbucks, elands, impala, waterbucks, rhinos, mongoose, genet cats, leopards, tree hyrax, hyenas, jackal bat eared fox, warthogs, wild dogs, suni, primates like the baboons, black and white colobus monkeys among others.
Mount Kenya national park is among the listed top birding destinations in Kenya with endemic bird species, forest birds among others, birding in the park is done in the forested areas during the nature walk and birds that can be spotted include white headed barbet, yellow rumped tinkerbird, mountain wagtail, jacksons francolin, African paradise flycatcher, abbotts starling, Abyssinian ground thrush, purple throated cuckoo shrike, wallers starling, eastern bronze naped pigeon, yellow crowned bishop, brown hooded kingfisher, yellow bellied waxbill, black throated wattle eye, African golden weaver, African hill babbler among others.
Where to stay in Mount Kenya national park
There are a number of accommodations where you can stay during your safari in Mount Kenya national park and the lodges range from luxury, midrange, budget and camping including Fairmount Kenya Safari Club, Serena Mountain Lodge, Rutundu Log Cabins, Shiptons Camp Mountain Hut, Castle Forest Lodge, Bantu Mountain Lodge among others. The lodges offer comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms, bush breakfast, board games, library with African books, gift shop, bar, dining room, wake up calls to view the animals on request among others.
Best time to visit Mount Kenya national park
Mount Kenya national park can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best period is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to march. During the dry season there is less rainfall or even no rainfall in the park therefore hiking trails to the summit will be dry hence making hiking successful. There will be short shrubs and bushes in the forest which enables you to clearly view the animals in the park.
How to get to Mount Kenya national park
When getting to Mount Kenya national park you can either use road or air transport means
Road transport, when using road you will fly into Nairobi airport and then connect by road to the national park which takes about 4 hours’ drive.
Air transport, there are domestic flights which operate daily flights from Nairobi airport to Nanyuki town where after you will connect to the park headquarters.
There are also international airlines that operate flights to towns near Mount Kenya park including African Express Airways, Air Canada, Air France, Air India, Air Kenya, Brussels Airlines, Coastal Aviation, Egypt Air, Eagle Air among others.