Mount Kenya National Park allows you to experience a different, more sublime side of Kenya, and it is ideally located between the impressive parks of Aberdare and Mara. Nestled at the foot of Mount Kenya, the second largest mountain in Africa, the scenery is just spectacular. The rugged snow clad summits and forested slopes makes Mount Kenya a landscape that stands out.
Dominating the skyline at a giddy 5199 meters, it is little wonder that Mount Kenya is considered the throne of the supreme god Ngai to the Kikuyu people. What you are witnessing is the dramatic remnants of an ancient volcano, once crowning the sky at 6 500 meters 3.5 million years ago. Erosion has sheared the tops of the twelve peaks down to its current still impressive size.
Diverse scenery is one of the main aspects of the park. Stunning lakes, sheer peaks, mineral springs and diverse flora all adds to the park’s unique appeal. The vegetation changes depending on the altitude. You can expect dry forest and grassy low-lands around the lower slopes, changing into cedar forest, dense bamboo and an upper forest covered in altitude moss as you ascend. Past the forests, you will find yourself in open moorland, where the zebras and antelope play.
Safari tours of course play a major part in the activities of the park, but it is not for the staunch die-hard safari enthusiast. The park provides the setting for a more traditional, laid back safari experience. The scene is almost typical; flat grasslands with a herd of animals nonchalantly grazing against the snow-capped mountain backdrop. This is the place to kick back and relax. And if you feel up for the adventure, to tame the mountain, so to speak. The trails offer easy to challenging ascends of unsurpassed scenic beauty.
Speaking in general, it is not necessary to be a slave to a murderous fitness routine to be able to climb the mountain. Ironically though, the problem inMount Kenya’s ascend lies in it accessibility. You run the risk gaining altitude much too quickly. It is entirely possible to reach the summit within a day’s climb, but you will find yourself suffering from severe altitude sickness. Do not flirt with death by trying to go at it without a guide, or at least an experienced companion. The trick is to take your time, allowing yourself a few days to reach the apex, assuming you even want to go that far. Without the time constraints, you will be able to truly appreciate the panoramic views of the plains below you. The forests growing in rich volcanic soil provide a complete ecosystem of insects, butterflies, and bird and wildlife. The rich scent of moss and the deep shades of the forests is truly a soul-satisfying experience. If you are at all walking fit, a moderate track up the mountainside is highly recommended.
The park itself offers various accommodation options, typically catering for the mountaineering community. Base and tented camps are modest, but comfortable. However, if you want to spend lazy afternoons in style, you’ll be sure to find a luxury lodge to your liking. Mount Kenya Safari Club with its immaculate manicured grounds has become a prominent place to stay for the rich and famous from across the globe.
Climbing aside, other activities in the park include guided hikes and walks, trout fishing and birding. The birdlife is prolific around the lodges, with owls and eagles usually keeping to higher regions. The rest of time can be spent just being at peace in the tranquil surroundings.
Unlike many safari hot spots deeper in Africa, Mt Kenya is easily accessible by a tar road which is in a fairly good condition. Transfers can be arranged in advance viaNairobi. The trip toMount Kenyais a 3 hour exploration in itself, travelling through towns of Naro Moru and Embu.