Mount Kenya rises from the African plain to a height of over 5,000m. Originally formed from a volcano, it has been shaped over the years by weathering and glaciation into a dramatic mountain with some fantastic trekking routes. The undoubted highlight of any trek on Mount Kenya is reaching Point Lenana, at 4,985m the highest point accessible to non technical climbers. Most trekkers aim to get to Point Lenana for sunset, and watching the sun rise over the misty African plains below is an awe inspiring moment. Made only better by the fact that you have just scrambled up steep scree and rocks for 3 hours in pitch dark.
The sense of discovery you get on climbing up Burguret route is palpable, buffalo and elephant are common in the bush around the camp sites. Your guide will often be hacking a clear trail as you pass.
The descent is along the dramatic Chogoria route, which although not the fastest, offers the most striking views with terrifying gorges, waterfalls and beautiful tarns on offer.
AM. Nairobi (1,650) – Mountain Rock lodge (2,000m) by car (200kms /3.5hrs).
PM. Acclimatisation nature hike.
Span, 12kms /3hrs.
Day 1 details: Depart after breakfast and journey north past divergent agricultural lands and landscapes to the slopes of Mount Kenya. After lunch at the base lodge you take part in some easy walks around this predominantly Kikuyu area, exploring local farms and villages and perhaps local schools. We can gain a privileged insight into the lives of the people who live on the slopes of Mt Kenya and know that our visit is contributing towards their local economy. Meals and overnight at the lodge. (L,D)
AM. Base lodge – Gathiuru Forest by car (15kms / 1h).
P.M Trek, Gathiuru Forest – Giant Bamboo camp (2,600m – 3,600m).
Span, 10kms / 4h.
Ascent: +740m. Habitat: Montane Forest / Bamboo / Hagenia zones.
Day 2 Details: After breakfast we get a full briefing, equipment check and meet the crew – each one gets a personal porter and there are extra porters for camping equipment and food. Shortly afterwards is the drive to Gathiuru forest station via the renowned Mau Mau caves then a 4 hour ascent through dense stands of towering bamboo to our own Giant Bamboo camp at 2600m. Elephant and buffalo are common here. (B,L,D)
Trek, Giant Bamboo camp – Highland Castle (2,600m – 3,700m).
Span, approx.10kms / 5-6h).
Habitat: Montane Forest / Bamboo / Hagenia / Moorland zones.
Day 3 Details: The luxuriant bamboo yields to enormous podocarpus and pencil cedar forest before we climb to the hagenia rosewood zone at the edge of the moorlands. This marks our lunch spot before heading up through the extraordinary giant lobelia and groundsels. We spend the night close to the sheer lava cliffs of the “Highland Castle” at 3,700m. Todays hike takes 5-6 hours with an ascent of 1,100m. (B,L,D)
Trek, Highland Castle via Hausberg col – Shipton’s Camp (3,700m – 4,600m – 4,236m).
Span, approx.10kms / 5-6h.
Ascent: +900m. to Hausberg col. then descend -365m to Shipton’s camp.
Habitat: Moorland / Alpine desert.
Day 4 Details: Spectacular scenery as the jagged volcanic peaks and shimmering glaciers tower above our trek around the summit circuit. Turquoise tarns nestle in the valleys, eagles and buzzards soar overhead. We might, for the first time, meet other trekkers here as we hike for 5-6 hours to overnight at Shipton’s Hut at 4,236m. (B,L,D)
(Summit attempt) Shipton’s camp – Pt. Lenana – Nithi Camp (4236m – 4,985m – 3,300m).
Span – approx. To Pt. Lenana (3kms / 4h). To Nithi Camp (14 kms / 6h)
Ascent: 749m to the summit / Descent: -1,685m to Nithi Camp.
Habitat: Scree / rocky summit / Moorland
Day 5 Details: After the the wilderness experience comes the highlight of the Mount Kenya trek: the stiff, but exhilarating, scramble by starlight up to Point Lenana, the “trekkers’ summit”, in time to see the African dawn from a vantage point of nearly 5,000m. We leave at 4am and climb the 800m to the peak in 3-4 hours. A further 3 hours down to a late breakfast by Hall Tarns in the magnificent Gorges Valley. Then in the afternoon another 3 hours down past spectacular chasms, waterfalls and weirdly eroded lava flows to camp by the track-head in the giant heather zone. (B,L,D)
Trek, Nithi Camp – Meru Bandas (3,300m – 3,000m).
Span, approx. 7Kms / 2-3h.
Habitats: Moorland / Giant heather/ Hagenia zones
Day 6 Details: Short descent through the forest zone to the mountain cabins and afternoon relaxing. Log fires, hot showers, beers, and beds for overnight. Wildlife viewing in evening – often from your cabin window as the elephant and buffalo graze outside! (B,L,D)
AM. Hike, Meru Banda’s – Pick up point (3,000m – 2600m).
Span, approx.10kms / 2h.
Habitats: Bamboo / Montane Forest zones.
P.M. Pick up point – Nairobi by car. (230kms / 4-5hrs).
Day 7 Details: Descent on a broad track for about 10 kms through bamboo and virgin rain forest to meet vehicles for the return to Nairobi – usually arriving mid to late afternoon. (B,L)
BLD indicates those meals included. i.e. B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner
– Extras –tips, drinks, telephone, laundry or any other personal expenses