Climbing Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya is the highest mountain within Kenya and the second highest in Africa, just marginally eclipsed by Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The highest peaks are Batian (5,199 metres or 17,057 feet), Nelion (5,189 metres or 17,021 feet) and the most popular Point Lenana (4,985 metres or 16,354 feet) above sea level. One of the interesting facts about Mount Kenya is that despite being located along the equator, it is one of the few snow capped mountains in Africa ( the Equator is considered the warmest part of the globe).

Another interesting fact about Mt Kenya is that the name of the Republic of Kenya has its origins in the name of the mountain, as the latter was worshipped in ancient times in the traditional Gikuyu religion as the abode of God.

One of the main base stations for climbing Mount Kenya, i.e Naro Moru, is about 100 miles north of Nairobi on a tarred highway so easily accesible via a 2 to 3 hour drive. Some of the necessary gears includes backpack, clothing and kit, helmet, rope, mountaineering boots and gloves, sunglasses and sunblock,water bottles and water purification tablets, camping gear, ice axes, harness, crampons, carabiners, belay devive, camera equipments and other stuff such as personal toiletries.

Which Mountain to Climb in Kenya ?

Mount Kenya is for sure the most popular mountain to climb in Kenya for both expert and amatuer moutaineers as well as for school and college groups. This is because the climb at Mount Kenya is considered a challenge be it to Lenana, which requires no technical mountain climbing, to Batian peak which is a technical climb with multi-pitch rock climbing, mountaineering and a limited amount of ice climbing. Below are the three mountains that are popular for climbing and which offer a varying degree of difficulty.

Mount Kenya

Situated just along the Equator, the snow capped Mount Kenya with its highest peak Batian (5,199 metres or 17,057 feet), followed by Nelion (5,189 metres or 17,021 feet) and Lenana (4,985 metres or 16,354 feet) provides a variety of challenges depending on how skilled you are at climbing a mountain. Amatuers can attempt Lenana albeit with some basic training. A 4 day climbing package is typical and there are 3 main routes namely Naro Moru, Sirimon, Chogoria and Buruget. The scenery is breath taking, arguably more so than Kilimanjaro is almost a dome shaped mountain with a flat table peak, since Mount Kenya is multi peak, multi valley moutain structure with a variety of routes, lakes 11 glaciers, rivers and valleys. The mountain also has multiple vegetation zones some of them similar to alpine vegetation bands. The central part of the mountain has been designated a National park and UNESCO world heritage site, receiving about 16,500 visitors per year. Click here to read more about Mount Kenya National Park.

Mount Elgon

Mount Elgon is a massive solitary mountain, on the border of Uganda and Kenya, with the largest surface area in the world being 50 by 80 kilometres and an enormous crater covering 40 kilometres at the top of the mountain. Elgon is the fourth highest mountain in Africa. The mountain's peak, "Wagagai" is lies inside Uganda. The other major mountain peaks are Sudek (4,303 metres) (14,118 ft) on the Kenya - Uganda border and Koitobos (4,221 metres) (13,851 ft), a basalt column in Kenya. There are 3 common routes up this moutain with the Kimilili route being the preferred option from Kenya. Mount Elgon is relatively far from Nairobi, close to 450 kilometers ( 8.5 hour drive). We suggest flying to Eldoret (1 hour) followed by a 3 hour road trip to the base of the mountain.

Mount Longonot, Naivasha

Mount Longonot is an inactive volcano overlooking the Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley. It's name is derived from the Maasai word Oloonong'ot, meaning "mountains of many spurs" or "steep ridges". A trek up the crater rim on Mount Longonot is a popular day trip from Nairobi, since the mountain is less than a 2 hour drive from Nairobi on a tarred highway. The mountain is located inside Mount Longonot National Park and the entry fee is US$ 26 per adult per 24 hours. A 3.1 km trail runs from the park entrance up to the crater rim, and continues in a 7.2 km loop encircling the crater. The whole tour (gate-around the rim-gate) is 13.5 km takes about 4–5 hours.