Hiking Up Kirinyaga! [Jan – Feb]

Mount Kenya, with its snow‑capped peaks 5,199 m. high, is Kenya’s highest mountain and certainly one of the most beautiful mountains anywhere.

Its slopes are covered with rich deciduous and bamboo forests and open high altitude moorland just below the glaciers and snowfields. 

Wildlife resident within the forest includes elephant, buffalo and even lion, with several species of antelope and other smaller animals. 

Mount Kenya rises to the twin snow-covered peaks of Batian (5199 meters or 17058 feet) and Nelion (5188 meters or 17022 feet), the second and third highest peaks in Africa (topped only by Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru peak in Tanzania, which rises to 5895 meters or 19340 feet).

Both of Mount Kenya’s peaks are named after Maasai laibon (ritual leaders) of the nineteenth century. According to legends of the Kikuyu people, Ngai (the creator of all things) dwelt on the summit of Kirinyaga. “Kirinyaga” means “mountain of brightness” in Kikuyu.

There are a number of itineraries to meet a variety of demands from all types of individuals. The hikes are made for the nature admirer who simply wants to have a leisurely day around the lodge or a day hike to explore this unique forest of the lower slopes of the mountain hoping to have that glimpse of the summits; to the more ambitious technical climber who wishes to have a go at the twin summits of Batian and Nelion. 

Ol Donyo El Satima in Maasai means, “The Mountains of the Satima Tribe”.  The Satima tribe frequented this area for ceremonial purposes.  Ol Donyo El Satima is the highest point in the Aberdares and is situated at the north most end of this folded and uplifted range.

Although there is no permanent snow or ice, former glaciation is responsible for the formation of large U shaped valleys.  The Aberdares lie along the edge of the Rift Valley and on clear days magnificent views of the Rift Valley are to be seen to the west and views of Mt Kenya to the east.

The hike starts from the lodge at 0800hrs.  The drive to the Aberdares passes through interesting Savannah country, full of plains and species of fauna and flora, then through farmlands on the lower slopes and finally into the lush Aberdare National Park which is famous for it abundance of wildlife.  At about 0930hrs, arrive at road head (11,000fts) where our trek begins.  

The trek across this lovely afro-alpine moorland is like nothing else available in Kenya.  

The rolling open terrain is extremely attractive for walking and the possibility of seeing a number of animals including leopard, against a background of fantastic vegetation makes this trek very enticing. The picnic lunch is eaten a top the El Satima after about 3 or four hour walk. Return into vehicles and drive back to the lodge (1800/1900 hrs).

Please note that the Aberdares is in the high rainfall zone, subject to sudden storms and the roads are often closed at short notice.

Please be advised that the following items could be useful to you: water bottle, rain parka, light wool sweater for camera and other gear.

Designed for those with a minimum amount of time and who want to reach the third Highest Peak of Mt Kenya Pt.Lenana.  This challenging, nontecnical ascent can be made by any normal, healthy person.

Day 1 – Morning spend sorting and organizing personal equipment for the mountain trek, lunch at the lodge.  In the afternoon, drive to the road ahead of the Naro Moru track, to the Met Station.  The night is spend the night in the comfortable log cabins. There is  a short afternoon walk which together plus the night spent at this altitude is  good for acclimatization (10,000ft).

Day 2 – Hike up into the Teleki valley to our Mackinder Camp where there is a spectacular view of the main peaks, walking time approximately 4-6 hours.  Overnight at Teleki Valley (14,000ft)

Day 3 – A pre-dawn start is made to ensure a successful summit bid and in time for a clear view of the majestic summit scenery.

After climbing Peak Lenana return to base camp and then proceed down the mountain to the Lodge.

For those mountaineers who have and adventurous spirit and want to climb Mt. Kenya (Pk Lenana 16,355ft) in leisurely fashion from a non-tourist route.  This climb is also recommended because the climber has a better chance of acclimatizing and getting fit for the climb to Peak Lenana.

Day 1 – Morning spent sorting and organizing personal equipment for the trek, lunch at the lodge.  In the afternoon drive to the road head of the Naro Moru track to the Met station where night is spend in the comfortable log cabins.  A good day for acclimatization as night will be spends at an attitude of 10,000ft.  A light hike is taken in the afternoon to also help acclimatisation.

Day 2 – Hike up to the Teleki valley to Mackinders camp where there is a spectacular view of the main peaks.  Walking time approximately 4-6hrs.  Overnight Teleki valley (14,000ft)

Day 3 – After an early breakfast, begin the circumnavigation of the main peaks by heading north.  One traverse leads below the south an west faces on our approach to 

Two Hut then cross western terminal into Hausberg Valley and finally over Hausberg Col and into Mackinder Valley.  Walking time approximately 5 hours. The highest point reached this day is 15,000ft. the  camp  in Mackinder valley is at an altitude of 14,200ft.  Night will be spent in high altitude tents.

Day 4 – Alpine ascent of the third highest peak, Pt. Lenana up the north face little used by tourists.  The top should be reached after about four hours of stiff walking.  Altitude of Pt. Lenana is 16,335ft. Descend into Teleki Valley and spend the night at original camp completing a scenic traverse of the Mountain.

Day 5 – Descend the Mountain and return to the Naro Moru River Lodge.

This itinerary offers some of the best views of the main peaks with a gradual climb which can be done leisurely, the mountain is traversed by ascending the Sirimon track, then joining the best of Chogoria and descending the Naro Moru track.

Day 1  – Morning spent sorting and organizing personal equipment for the mountain trek.  Lunch at the lodge.  In the afternoon drive to the Sirimon gate and then to the road head at  11,000ft.  an easy walk in the afternoon to help acclimatization, overnight Judmaier Camp (11,000ft) in the high altitude Mountain tents.

Day 2 – After breakfast trek up the moorland and break away from the Sirimon track at an altitude of 13,000ft.  contouring into the Sirimon valley.  This is a seldom-visited area with a tremendous amount of wildlife.  Overnight in Sirimon Valley, altitude 13,000ft.

Day 3 – An early start out of the Sirimon and into the head of the Hinde Valley.  We then cross the Nithi and Gorges Valleys.  This is undoubtedly one of the most scenic areas of the mountain with its 1,000 – vertical cliffs, its virgin valleys and cascading water fall, one of the most spectacular trekked areas in Kenya.  Night spend at Hall Tarns (14,000ft)

Day 4 – Descend to Lake Michaelson, in the depth of the gorges Valley.  See the incredible cave formation known as the Temple. Walk down the valley to Vivienne falls (named after the famous author of Speak to the Earth).  Return to camp in the afternoon.  Night spend camped at Hall Tarns-(14,000ft). 

Day 5  – Alpine ascent on the third highest peak – Peak Lenana.  On route up north face little used by tourists.   Descend to Teleki Valley and spend the night at our Mackinders Camp (13,900ft)

Day 6 – Descend the mountain via the Naro Moru route completing a fine circuit of Mt Kenya, to Naro Moru river lodge for a well earned rest.

Essential Information...

Despite its size, it is possible to gain altitude rapidly on Mt. Kenya and overzealous climbers run the risk of high altitude sickness. Mt. Kenya is responsible for a large proportion of the world’s high altitude pulmonary oedema cases (a potentially fatal form of High Altitude sickness). This can be prevented (and the experience made more enjoyable) if a sensibly slow approach is made.

Also, because Mount Kenya is so close to the equator, night can descend with surprising rapidity, only about half an hour after the sun has set, which can catch out visitors from further latitudes.

Mount Kenya, like most mountains, can be a very dangerous place. Many people are injured and even killed each year. Do not attempt the mountain if you suffer from any health problems, or if you do not have the appropriate gear. MOUNT KENYA SHOULD ONLY BE ATTEMPTED BY QUALIFIED CLIMBERS ONLY!

With recent warming and recession of the glaciers on Mt. Kenya, the Lewis Glacier now often has a hard snow or ice cover, making walking over it hazardous without the proper equipment (crampons, ice axe). Climbers particularly should take special note of changes to climbing routes due to the shrinking glacier cover.

KWS regulations require all visitors to register upon entrance to the mountain and sign out on departure. Hiking alone is prohibited.

Safari Sense Team

Why you'll enjoy this...

Our guides, chef, and porters went over and beyond to keep us comfortable, calm and educated all through the climb. Best experience ever!
New York, United States

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