Mount Kenya – Africa’s second highest mountain – offers a choice of exciting treks and climbs through its varied scenery of volcanic ridges, deep valleys and rugged landscape. To climb Mount Kenya is an experience of a lifetime, highly recommended to the adventurous traveller willing to forego some of life’s luxuries for a few days.
Point Lenana (4985m) can be achieved by any physically fit person and no climbing experience is necessary.
Mount Kenya Treks & Climbing Routes
There are three main approaches to the summit of Mount Kenya and ideally you walk up one route and come down another to experience the very different views. The best choice of routes depends on a number of factors from the time of year to the nature of the terrain.
Access to the eastern side of the mountain and the Chogoria route is only possible from December to March and August to mid October, although this may change as the road is currently being improved.
The Naro Moru route, on the west of the mountain, is a popular choice. However, there is a section known as the Vertical Bog which consists of clumps of tussock grass interspersed with deep and muddy gullies. If taken slowly, this section of the route is challenging but manageable on the way up, but it is trickier to negotiate walking down and we do not recommend it as a descent route.
- The Sirimon route is the most gradual ascent and there are excellent views of the peaks from this combination of routes.
- The Sirimon route, approaching from the north west, is easily accessible from Nanyuki and Naro Moru and will always be included in a high altitude trek, either up or down.
- The Summit Circuit is a ten kilometre trail around the base of the peaks up and down over several passes with spectacular views of the peaks up close.
- For an off the beaten track wilderness experience you can camp on the Chogoria side at Lake Ellis and Lake Michaelson where – apart from your mountain team – you may not see other people until you reach Shipton’s Camp at 4,200 metres.
Our example itineraries / prices show the Sirimon-Naro Moru route and Sirimon-Chogoria route but we can help you sift through the options to tailor a climb to your exact requirements accounting for your levels of fitness and budget.
How long does it take to climb Mount Kenya?
There are many tour routes, each with different scenery and varying degrees of exertion required. However, it is the duration of a climb that is as important as the ease of the route.
On climbs to the summit it is advisable to join a trek of at least 6 days in order to acclimatise your body to the increasing altitude as you pass through different climatic zones. Gamewatchers treks have been carefully devised at around this duration to give you the best chance of success. Longer durations can be arranged for those that would prefer a slower pace.
At the start we recommend staying overnight near the mountain to acclimatise. A mid-range hotel used by many trekkers is the Kongoni Camp, where you can relax after travelling from Nairobi before starting your trek on the following day.
After your mountain trek, you could spend some time on safari at the exclusive camps and lodges in nearby Laikipia, Meru or Shaba. A perfect addition is Porini Rhino Camp.