Mount Kenya One-Day Trip

A Guide to Climbing Mount Kenya

Climbing Mount Kenya

Old Moses Camp. Image Courtesy of Trip Advisor
Old Moses Camp. Image Courtesy of Trip Advisor

Mount Kenya One-Day Trips

For mountain, forest and nature-lovers a day out on Mount Kenya is the next best thing to heaven provided the weather is good. An early morning start from Nairobi could bring you to Meru, Timau or Nanyuki in time for breakfast. Then suitably fortified with a robust car you can reach Old Moses Camp (from Meru or Nanyuki) or the Meteorological Station (from Naro Moru), having checked through the gates. From Naro Moru, a well signposted mostly paved road leads 17 kms to the Park entrance at 2400 ms. If driving from Nairobi one can also follow the signposts for Naro Moru gate around 10 km before Naro Moru Town, following a good paved road which then joins up with the road from Naro Moru Town itself. Past the entrance a paved road leads to the Met Station trailhead at 3050 ms where cars can be parked. Along Sirimon Route 28 kms from Nanyuki, a paved road from the gate leads to Old Moses Hut and Judmaier Camp at the roadhead at 3350 ms. The track climbs 300 ms up the hill behind the hut to a communications station. Just beyond this point the track splits with the left hand route proceeding to the Mackinder Valley direct, and the right hand route going via the Liki North Hut. These are normally the terminus and travellers can enjoy strolling along the paths and trails. Only fit persons should try walk further up the mountain – but the views, one you have negotiated on foot the vertical bog and reached Teleki Valley, are well worth the effort. With not too much effort, using either Naro Moru or Sirimon Gates, you can reach the edge of the glacier before returning home. Prior arrangements must be made with the Mountain Club of Kenya if you want to stay in a hut on the mountain but there are do-it-yourself bandas at Met Station and the Sirimon Gate. Otherwise Naro Moru, Nanyuki, and Meru Towns have plenty of accommodation options.

Mount Kenya from a distance. Image courtesy of Adventure Trails
Mount Kenya from a distance. Image courtesy of Adventure Trails

Best Vehicle Trail to Mount Kenya

The best vehicle trail penetrating the whole of the forested belt is the Sirimon track, which leaves the A1 Nanyuki-Timau road, 10 kms north-east of Nanyuki, and runs up a ridge to the ends on the moorland at an altitude just short of 13,000 feet. The most direct climbing trail which accesses the higher parts of Mount Kenya is along the Naro Moru trail, which follows the Naro Moru river and ends in a clearing at 10,000 feet. A well marked path continues up the mountain, following the Teleki valley and reaching Top Hut at 15,700 feet. Although the highest levels on the mountain to which a vehicle can penetrate are reached on the Sirimon track, it is the Naro Mora track which provides the most direct access to the peaks; the distance from the end of this track to Top Hut is 11 kms. The Kamweti trail on the south side of the mountain reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet, with a link road that joins the trail to to Castle Forest Station. The Irangi trail on the south-east sector leads upwards from Irangi Forest Station in Embu and ends at 7,600 feet. Chogoria trail (or Carr’s route) is a pleasant, dry path through cedar forest up a ridge south of the Ontulili river. It gives access to the head of the Mackinder valley, and is a good but long route for pack animals. The Chogoria trail leaves the Mutindua village above Chogoria to the east of the area and follows a ridge north of the Nithi river to the Urumandi Hut (10,100 ft.) at the forest edge. It continues as a well-marked path via the north ridge of the Gorges valley to Hall Tarns and then to Top Hut.

Ready to Climb Mount Kenya

In retrospect, it seems perfectly natural that anyone in good shape can conquer Mount Kenya – with its vast carpets of flawlessly layered snow spread across its peaks. If unrehearsed, however, when the climb to Mount Kenya commences, things look a little different and most people oft-times underestimate the task at hand. Which is why it is aptly advisable to attempt at least five smaller hikes before taking on Mount Kenya. Traditionally, most people take on Kijabe Hill, Elephant Hill, Mount Kipiriri, Satima Peak and Rurimueria Hill – all near or on the Aberdare Mountain Range – as a precursor. The latter in particular helps hikers and walkers to judge the stresses of climbing up Mount Kenya and their physical limits. Having thus attempted to prepare for climbing Mount Kenya by way of hiking smaller trails, you can get in touch with Mountain Club of Kenya who organize expeditions up the mountains. There are also a few private outfits (Hikemaniak & Tipwa Tipwa) that organize group hikes to climb Mount Kenya.

Mount Kenya: What to Pack in Your Porter Bag

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