MT KENYA, KENYA
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.