This is the mountain that gives the name to a nation. This is the king of Kenya itself. Mount Kenya, a place to remember, a place to protect. But it took almost one century to decide to do that. It was thanks to the United Nations Heritage Funds that, in 1978, this wild region beame protected, in order to save nature from man’s action. In 1997 both the reserve and its forests, with the mountain itself, became part of the World Heritage. So in 2000 the Kenyan government started the work to turn it into a national park, which happened only in 2008. A safari here means to explore not only nature, but also the roots of a nation.
When to go to Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya National Park is a very high reserve, set between 2500 and 3000 metres asl. So the climate here is not as hot as any other part of Africa. It is also very rainy, especially from April to June and from October to December. So if you are planning to visit this park, book your journey for the winter months – January to March.
About the Park
Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa, and the highest in Kenya. It consists of a group of mountains of volcanic origin, whose three main peaks are: Mount Batian (5199 m), Mount Nelion (5188 m) and Mount Lenana (4985 m). The territory of the mountain consists of forests, at its foot, mountain forests, then bamboo forests, moorelands and rocky desert on top. There is also a perennial glacier. Mount Kenya National Park covers 1420 sq km of surface, including low altitude forests and the peaks.
As long as you can see the forest you know you will meet, through the high trees, the most charming wild animals of Africa. Monkeys, baboons, antelopes have their habitat on the highest part of the mountain. While down in the low forests live elephants, black buffalos, leopards, colobus, servals. Some say you can also find the rare local Bongo as well, but not so many people can swear to have ever seen it here. Of course many species of birds (over 130) also live in this environment, especially beautiful birds of prey fly above the Park.
What to do at Mount Kenya
Safari on the mountain gives a different emotion, a beautiful moment to live. You certainly should try it, as you mix a mountain hiking and animal watching. It is possible to experience the stunning emotion of admiring a glacier in the heart of Africa, or enter incredible volcanic grottos. Tourists could do birdwatching, take photos of stunning aerial views and you can even camp inside the Park. Tourist lodges, cottage campings but also mountain huts are there for you.
In order to enter the Park you shall pay 30 US Dollars (20 for kids) for a daily visit, or 85 Dollars (55 for kids) for a 3-day stay. Make sure you always have a guide, or hire a local guide, before you enter the Park. The board must be sure you are safe and aware of the territory all the time.
How to get there
The best way to reach Mount Kenya National Park is by airplane, landing at Nanyuki air field. The park is 175 km away from Nairobi and connected to it by Nanyuki-Isiolo-Sirimon road or by the Meru itinerary, Nyeri-Nanyuki-Meru road. A short – but worse condition – street is Embu-Chogoria road, 150 km away from Nairobi. “Gates” to the climb trails are: Kamweti, Marania, Burguret, Themwe.