At just over 5,100m (17,058 ft.), Mt. Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest in Africa after Mt. Kilimanjaro. Since time immemorial, the Kikuyu have revered Kirinyaga – meaning White Mountain – as the home of their god Ngai/ It is a giant extinct volcano whose ridges have been worn down, leaving only the central peaks.
The park was listed as part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves under the UNESCO-MAB programme in 1978 as a place which seeks to reconcile economic development, social development, and environmental protection, through partnerships between people and nature, and able to demonstrate approaches to sustainable development at a regional scale.
Dense forests and bamboo shelter elephants, buffaloes and black rhinos; larger herbivores such as plains zebras and common elands graze as high as the alpine meadows; bushbucks and waterbucks are common, with the occasional melanistic serval and leopard sighting.
What To See:
Black-and-white colobus leaps into the overgrown ravines when spotted, Sykes’ monkeys feed along the roads. Elephants and buffaloes appear suddenly from the bush (up until 4,000m in the Teleki Valley), and black-fronted duikers, sunis, and giant forest hogs live in the under story. Tree hyraxes screech after sunset and white-tailed mongooses dart across the roads. Once a stronghold of black rhinos, about 6 families are believed to still remain at the forests, with other rarities including the golden cats.
Hartlaub’s turacos, white-headed wood-hoopoes, and red-fronted parrots; pairs of Hunter’s cisticolas, silvery-cheeked hornbills sun themselves on the topmost branches. Parties of white-headed wood-hoopoes probe cracks; and Cinnamon-chested bee-eaters snap prey from exposed branches. The mighty lammergeier cruises the greatest heights, with Verreaux’s eagles and mountain buzzards constantly on patrol.