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.
Safari Sense Team
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.