Mount Kenya trek is a challenging and enjoyable hike to Mount Kenya's highest trekking peak (Point Lenana) at 4985 metres. From the summit there is a beautiful views across the various tarn lakes

Exquisite Mount Kenya

What Kilimanjaro offers in altitude, Mount Kenya excels in beauty and ruggedness. Like Kilimanjaro, Mt Kenya is a volcano which reaches a height of 5,199m. The mountain is rugged with many glaciated valleys, carved out sheer cliffs and a number of tarns and hanging lakes. 

Like Kilimanjaro the vegetation is striking with a number of different zones and it is also equatorial. Mt Kenya is Africa's second highest volcano. Mount Kenya is composed of three high peaks, namely Batian (5199m or 17,058 ft), Nelion (5188m or 17,023 ft) and Point Lenana (4985m or 16,355 ft). 

The first two are clad in glacial ice and only accessible to technical climbers, but Point Lenana is easily reached by any fit trekker. Ten glaciers cover the peaks of the volcano, and the original crater on Mt. Kenya was over 20,000 ft (6100 m) high, having been eroded over time. The trek takes 3 to 6 days, starting low on the lush forest floor and heading up through scrubland with giant groundsels, podocarpus and a range of animal life. It is said by the local Kikuyu people, that Mt Kenya belongs to Ngai, their local god, and traditionally, all Kikuyu homes were built to face this sacred peak. Like Kilimanjaro, Mt Kenya was formed during the Pleistocene era and her northern flanks cross the Equator.  

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best time to climb

Being equatorial,  Tanzania has two wet seasons.

The first is the long rains from March to May, and then a short rainy season in November. The daytime temperatures tend to range around 32 to 38 degrees C in the forest, to anything from -2 to 6 degrees at the summit. Nights tend to range from 10 degrees down to well below freezing. Summit temperatures can drop below -20C. 

The warmest months with the clearest trekking days on Kilimanjaro,  are from mid to late December, January, February, September and October. The rains often come in April and the start of May with the possibility of some snow.  June through to August are superb trekking months, though evening temperatures tend to be colder. The wettest months on Mt Kenya are November and early December, where snowfalls are likely. Note, that as this is a mountain it is not impossible to get sporadic snow or rainfall at odd times throughout the year, although the snow normally only falls above 4400m.


Because Mount Kenya has so many different routes, there a lot of huts to be found on the mountain. 

Austrian Hut/Top Hut (4,790 metres (15,715 ft) is the highest hut on Mount Kenya, with the exception of Howell Hut on Nelion. It is a good base for the ascent of Lenana.

Mt Kenya Lodge (3,017 metres Meru Bandas (9,898 ft)  are privately owned on the edge of the national park.. The lodge is about 500 m from the park gate, and consists of several log cabins, each with a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living area with log fireplace. There is hot running water in the cabins, which sleep 3–4 people. The campsite is located at the park gate, and has running water. 

Sirimon Bandas (2,650 metres (8,694 ft)  are located at Sirimon Gate, just inside Mt Kenya National Park. The bandas each have two bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a bathroom and a veranda. There is hot running water. 

Old Moses Camp (3,400 metres (11,155 ft)  has dormitories and a large campsite, as well as accommodation for guides and porters.

Liki North Hut (3,993 metres (13,100 ft) is not really a hut any longer but has a camp area. There are no ablutions

Shipton's Camp (4,236 metres (13,898 ft) is home to many rock hyrax, as well as striped mice, many types of sunbirds and Alpine Chats.  

travel insurance

The cost of a medical evacuation from the mountain is expensive, which is why adequate travel insurance  is required on all climbs booked through us. Adequate, means you must be covered for 1) Trekking or hiking – this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion. 
2) Altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard cover and often limit it to 3500m or less. 
3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy – yes, many insurers exclude this; though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for. 
4) Personal accident – this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients – “if anything happens to me, just leave me there.” It is not that simple. 

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Mount Kenya Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mt Kenya a technical climb?

Mt Kenya comprises three peaks, two of which are technical climbs and one which is a  trekking peak. The two major technical rock and ice climbing peaks are called Nelion and  Batian. The third peak is known as Point Lenana and is a trekking peak, easily achieved  via hiking or walking. Our  Mt Kenya treks all go to Lenana, so our tours are to the  trekking peak where no technical expertise is needed.

How long does it take to climb Mt Kenya?

The shortest number of days required to climb to Lenana on Mt Kenya is three days. The longest trek is around 6 days. It all depends on which route you choose.  As a general rule of thumb, any trek where the ascent is very quick makes the overall success rate, lower, so it is better to add on extra days to increase your chances of success.

How fit must I be?

Although Mount Kenya is classified as a ' trek,' it has a very fast altitude gain.  It requires physical fitness and stamina and most importantly, mental fitness. Your legs will get you up the first days but for your summit night, it is often mental  strength that will get you to the top - (assuming of course that you are not affected by altitude, sickness or pure fatigue). A good exercise and training program is essential. The climb should not be undertaken lightly, after all, why spend the money if you are not willing to prepare yourself physically as well?

Do I need to undergo specific medical tests?

This really depends on the operator you travel through. The parks Kilimanjaro Park authorities do not ask for any medical information on the climbers when permits are purchased. Some operators request the clients complete a medical  form, others do not. We require that all of our clients complete a medical form and based on the answers, we may request a letter from your medical practitioner. People suffering with conditions such as severe asthma e.g. should not climb. Regardless, anyone attempting the climb, or any climb for that matter, should ensure that they are medically fit, and convey any medical conditions to the operator they book with.

How will the altitude affect me on Mount Kenya?

This is one of the most often asked questions - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an ' unknown' factor as no-one can predict how your body will cope at altitude. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one climb suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly,  pole pole. Choosing a path where you get to follow the principle of "climb high, sleep low" is also advisable.                    

Is Mt Kenya better than Kilimanjaro?

Mt Kenya is a less popular choice which means less hikers. On some routes you may hardly see other people, especially during the        less-popular wet seasons of March-June and October-December. Less people means less competition for bunks, less noise and less litter. Hikers can also hike at their own slower paces                            

Although both Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya are mountains, Mt Kenya feels more like you are on a mountain. It has a  lot of streams, very craggy volcanic peaks and valleys, more wildlife, clear lakes boulders stunning scenecios.

What gear do I need on Mt Kenya?

There are certain essentials that are needed for most climbs and Kilimanjaro is no different.  The best way to draw up your list is from the base up, i.e. thermal underwear, then hands and feet (gloves, socks etc). Then boots which must be waterproof with good ankle support, trekking pants, trekking tops, short and long sleeve, thermal jacket, outer shell jacket which likewise is windproof and water proof, hat, scarf, beanie, balaclava. Then consider  sleeping, i.e. sleeping bag, mat etc. Most companies supply sleeping mats so check before you buy one. Then, the last items to add are personal items like toiletries, camera, medicines, water bottle, backpack, camera etc.                        

Most companies will supply you with a comprehensive list for your trek, as do we. If you arrive to Kilimanjaro and are missing items, you can normally rent most gear. Do not, however, reply on buying your gear on arrival.                     

What if I have to turn back?

Unfortunately this is something every trekker has to consider.  Anything from a stomach bug to altitude sickness can quickly stop a trekker in their tracks. If you are ill and need to turn back or even too tired to continue,  a porter will walk off the mountain with you and your gear. If you are too sick to walk, then part of your fee includes evacuation by teams already on the mountain and employed by the Parks authorities.                    

Do I need climbing insurance?

Yes you do. We (Nomadic Adventures) do not allow anyone to climb with us unless they have adequate travel insurance. Adequate, means you must be covered for                        

1) trekking or hiking - this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion.                          

2) altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard option and often limit it to 3500m or less.

3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy - yes, many insurers exclude this, though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for.

4) personal accident - this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients - "if anything happens to me, just leave me there." Bodies need to be brought home or laid to rest overseas, and this can run into  thousands of dollars, creating a huge burden on family members.                              

We will assist in helping you provide good cover.   If you need cover or simply a quote, follow the  details herewith:. Once you have done your initial quote, you will need to upgrade your cover to include altitudes up to 6000m.  Towards the bottom of the page you will see a section called, Options: Upgrade your cover.   Click the link called 'View Adventure Sports Benefits'. A blue pop up screen will open. Look for the level of cover required for 'trekking to 6,000 meters' or 'hiking to 6,000 meters'. Depending on your country it is usually a level 1 or 2. Note: we are not insurance experts and it's your responsibility to ensure you have correct and adequate cover. If you live in South Africa, we have other cover options

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What are the routes on Mount Kenya and how do I choose one?

There are 3 principal summit routes (and 4 lesser used routes), namely Sirimon, Chogoria and Naro Moru. These can either stand alone, or together as variations with other routes.

The fastest route and most direct to Point Lenana is the Naro Moru route. Given the short number of days it is often a very popular route with groups. It is also a lot steeper than other routes and also has the famous 'vertical bog,' which is a steep section of mud and best traversed in gum boots. Because of its steepness, it has less acclimatisation chances. The route makes use of Met Station and McKinders Camp.

The most scenic and interesting of the three main routes on Mt Kenya is the Chogoria route. It starts at Meru Bandas at the base of arguably one of the beautiful Lake Michaelson. As it is a slower ascent it offers more prospects for acclimatisation and also time to enjoy the magnificent scenery.

The third main route is Sirimon, which has the most gradual ascent and also ascends on the direst side of the mountain, meaning less chance of rain. It starts in a yellowwood forest, into a shrubland, a forest of Scenecio’s up to Lenana.

These routes can be combined to get the best of various scenes. Likewise Noromoru - Sirimon and Sirimon Chogoria.

What If I Don’t Have Anyone To Climb With Me?

We arrange treks from just 1 person on their own with a guide and porters to large groups. If you climb alone you will still get to meet other people on the mountain if you are sociable.

When is the full moon?

Moon phases (Full Moon) 2022

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