MT KENYA, KENYA

Australian Geographic Outdoor - - World’s Greatest Walks -

SIT­TING IN THE SHADOW of Mt Kil­i­man­jaro, Mt Kenya is Africa’s sec­ond high­est moun­tain, but to view the week-long jour­ney up to its peak as “sec­ond-best” would be do­ing it a huge dis­ser­vice. Put sim­ply, it is a crack­ing mul­ti­day trekking ad­ven­ture, with a mix of route op­tions to the top of the trekking sum­mit of Point Le­nana, along which you will en­counter some se­ri­ously dra­matic land­scape and plenty of wildlife. Plus, there are far fewer trekkers here com­pared to Kili…

Mt Kenya is best tack­led in a guided group (such as World Ex­pe­di­tions) as this takes away all the has­sles of lo­gis­tics and per­mits. The ad­ven­ture starts well be­fore the walk; you will be trans­ported via 4WD along a rough, slip­pery, bumpy track for a few hours be­fore you start the track and walk to the

cot­tages near the Chogo­ria gate en­trance to Mt Kenya Na­tional Park.

The first day is through for­est be­fore mov­ing higher and into an alpine moor­land re­gion. Keep an eye out for wildlife rang­ing from ele­phant and buf­falo to an­te­lope and mon­keys along the way to camp at Lake El­lis. This is a beau­ti­ful first camp, but is trumped by the bril­liant camp­site at Lake Michael­son on the sec­ond night of the trek. Af­ter climb­ing high up to 4000m, you sud­denly drop down 200m into the fa­mous Gorges Val­ley, a part of which en­com­passes the camp­site it­self.

The land­scape changes again the fol­low­ing day as you trek even higher; moor­land grasses drop away as you en­ter the high alpine zone and are re­placed by rock and scree, with the jagged spires of the nearby peaks adding to the lu­nar-es­que ter­rain. From high camp at Simba Tarn (at a lofty 4560m) the fi­nal push – via an early 3.30am start – will take you to the sum­mit of Point Le­nana (at 4985m and the trekkers’ sum­mit), with the most amaz­ing 360-de­gree views of the plains be­low and, amaz­ingly, the dome-shaped sil­hou­ette of Mt Kil­i­man­jaro, roughly 340km in the dis­tance.

The re­turn from the sum­mit is long but down­hill to Moses Camp for a well-earned rest be­fore the last de­scent down the Si­r­i­mon Val­ley to the na­tional park gate. For a five-day trek, Mt Kenya packs in every­thing you could wish for: wildlife, amaz­ing scenery, great guides and porters, and what AGO ed­i­tor Justin Walker rates as one of the world’s most amaz­ing sun­rises.

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