The Responsible
Adventure Travel Company

Overview

The beautiful, snow capped peak of Mount Kenya is the second highest point in Africa at 5199m. It is a challenging and popular destination for trekkers and climbers. The main summit is called Batian and the second summit Nelion (5188m), both of which are technical climbs; but a third peak, Lenana, at 4985m is more accessible and a very feasible goal for fit people.

Adventure Alternative runs treks and climbs of Mt Kenya all year round and we have a very good rate for summitting. We run our own company in the country called Adventure Alternative Kenya and we never outsource our clients. Our dedicated team provide an excellent service and we pay our porters and guides the highest wages of all operators on the mountain.

Whether your interest is in climbing the technical peaks or trekking to Point Lenana Mt Kenya represents a great challenge for the adventure traveller and aspirant mountaineer. It is a perennial favourite, not to be underestimated, but entirely feasible for the hillwalker looking to combine a high mountain adventure with going to Africa.

Our UK trained and proven team, itinerary and experience will ensure you have a wonderful time on this fantastic mountain.

More Information

Mt Kenya is its own National Park which is a simply stunning landscape with interesting and often endemic flora and flora as well as its soaring jagged summit peaks and glaciers. It offers a more gentle approach to trekking/climbing than Kilimanjaro and differs in that there is a great deal more wildlife to be spotted!

From a distance, the jagged volcanic peaks stand at the centre of an eroded volcanic dome cut by radial valleys and ridges and standing proudly over the plains and savannah below. Elephant, black Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Colobus monkey, antelope and Giant Forest Hog can be seen in the foothills of the 228 sq. mile national park. From the lower forests of bamboo, the landscape develops to unusual high-altitude equatorial vegetation on the shoulder of the mountain with giant heather, lobelia and groundsels giving the slopes an alpine desert appearance and a striking feel, almost as if it is from another world.

We offer private climbs at no extra cost and will work with groups or individuals to create the perfect tailormade holiday.

Staff

We pride ourselves on having excellent staff and team leaders, who have worked with us for many years – that’s why our trips are so popular! In Kenya we have a comprehensive set-up of suitably qualified and experienced people who have proven their skills and ability in the field over many years.

Cyrus Maina is our main Guide on Mount Kenya and he has been leading our climbs for well over a decade now, all the staff we use are from the Tigithi/Naro Moru region of Mount Kenya and we have built up a reliable and strong team of porters, cooks and assistant guides over the years.

We give our staff in excess of the recommended wage and also have proven policies for payment and tipping. This means that you are not hassled by people looking for handouts at the end of the trip, and the staff themselves are happier. We also provide a development programme for the guides and cooks, including first aid training and regular visits from International Mountain Leaders to help improve service and mountain management.

Testimonials
We all had a fantastic time and everyone made it to the top thanks to Cyrus!! I think we were completely blessed with the weather as we missed most of the rain and had a really clear day at the top! Mount Kenya is truly stunning. I want to say a big thank you to you, Kelly, Cyrus and the wider team. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful. We have been really impressed, and so much so that we are planning to do it all over again next year!

Leanne K

Sep 2013

Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you for helping to organise a fantastic trip to Mount Kenya! It really was an unforgettable trip and we all hugely enjoyed it! The organisation of the whole trip was faultless and I was so impressed with everyone I have met here from AA. Kelly is a fantastic guy and he looked after us all so well. He is such a wonderful asset to the organisation. His ability to remain positive and smiley even at the bleakest moments was impressive!! Cyrus was also fantastic and we couldn't have asked for a better guide, along with the brilliant team of porters, not forgetting the fantastic cook. He fed us very very well! So thank you very much to everyone who helped make the trip so successful and enjoyable. I know Kevin is already planning a trip for next year!!

Felicity P

Sep 2013

Just wanted to email to say thank you to AA for a fantastic trip up Mount Kenya. Rob and I felt very well taken care of by all the Kenya staff from the moment we arrived. The mountain was a real experience and Cyrus and our porters were simply marvellous. The summit was unbelievable, absolutely stunning views. A particular mention for Kamau who drove us everywhere: he was a great driver and such a lovely guy. We spent our last meal at carnivore which was an experience and asked Kelly and Kamau to join us and couldn't have ended our trip in a nicer way. Kelly's life story was simply an inspiration!

Rob and I are already discussing our next trip...trekking somewhere..already checked out your Nepal trips!!

Take care and thanks once again.
Best wishes
Maddie

Madeleine W

Aug 2013

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Dates and Itinerary

Route: There are a number of routes on Mt Kenya. The dates shown are going up Sirmon and down Naro Moru. However we offer a whole range of itineraries and programmes so do see our other trip pages and get in contact to discuss options and the difference between them.

When to Climb – The best months to climb Mount Kenya are traditionally January to March and June to October, and these are popular times to climb with temperatures in Naro Moru averaging 25 degrees C and summit temperatures around - 5 degrees C. The rains are in April, May and November but nowadays climate change has changed this pattern greatly. December is getting warmer again with clear skies. Do check the page on weather and also full moons to decide on your preferred time to visit.

Scheduled dates are shown below but you can create your own private trip very easily, and personalise it in your Booking Page with an add-on trip, for example one of our popular safaris to Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and Hell's Gate. The Booking Page also allows you to add your flights and personal arrangements, such as hiring equipment or airport transfers.

Groups, such as charities or clubs, can easily create their own trip in the Booking Section and personalise any details according to their preference. The Booking Page becomes a live trip summary for any number of people in a group, and it allows our staff in Kenya to monitor the arrangements.

In the itinerary below, under elevation ST = Starting altitude, HP = High Point for the day and SL = Sleep Level

2014
18th October - 25th October
15th November - 22nd November
27th December - 3rd January
Detailed Itinerary
Day Elevation Travel Time Info
1 SL:1680m 3 hrs Arrive in Kenya (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport) where you will be met by some of our staff and transfered by road to Naro Moru town on the slopes of Mt Kenya (3hrs). Here we use the cosy and friendly Blue Line hotel which has chalet style accommodation and great meals.
2 SL:2035m n/a We relax today and will go on some lovely local walks when you can also visit some of the projects undertaken by our charity Moving Mountains. You will also meet your mountains guides and have a briefing. A great day to relax after the flights and stretch out your legs.
3 ST:2440m SL:3300m 4 hours, 9kms After a leisurely start and brunch we proceed to Sirimon Gate by road. From the gate we follow the track as it winds uphill though the forest which becomes heathland after about 3 hours. About 4 hours from the gate the track veers right to Old Moses Camp (also known as Judmier Camp).
4 ST:3300m SL:4200m 8 hours, 14 kms After about one hour from Old Moses Camp cross the Ontulili River, contouring through moorland and resting at Liki North (4000m) for lunch. Continue uphill to Mackinders Valley from where there are panoramic views all 3 main peaks. Overnight at Shipton Camp.
5 ST:4200m HP:4590m SL4200m 4 hours, 4 kms Acclimatisation/rest day - possible walk to Kami Hut and down to Hauseberg Lakes (Hauseberg Tarn and Nanyuki Tarn) and back to Shiptons Camp.
6 ST:4200m HP:4985m SL:3050m 12 hours, 19kms Early start (1am) to summit Point Lenana (4985m) for sunrise, with possible views of Kilimanjaro in the distance, dropping back down to Mackinder’s Camp for breakfast and a shorrt R&R before continuing down Teleki Valley and the infamous 'Vertical Bog' to reach Met Station mid-afternoon.
7 ST:3050m SL:2035m 3 hours, 9 kms Final trek through the Bamboo forest to reach the Naro Moru Park Gate (2600m) and transfer back to the Blueline Hotel.
8 SL:1680m Either return to Nairobi to depart Kenya or continue your visit with our 5 day 4 night safari experience which takes in Sweetwaters, Nakuru National Park, Naivasha and Hells Gate.

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Cost

Mount Kenya: Sirimon-Naro Moru Traverse cost: £995.00

Includes
  • Full ground price for the Sirimon/Naro Moru route based on min 4 people (please ask for rates for smaller groups)
  • Accommodation in Naro Moru for 3 nights in the Blueline Hotel (twin, full board)
  • Airport transfers and transport to and from Naro Moru
  • Jeep or shuttle transport to the mountain gates from and to the Blueline Hotel
  • Park fees, camping fees and park rescue fees
  • Park certified guides (ratio of 1:4) and assistant guides/company reps
  • Porters and cooks, plus equipment for them
  • All group camping equipment including sleeping tents
  • Meals on the mountain - fresh food, 3 meals per day
  • Bottled water when not on the mountain (water on the mountain is provided at each camp)
  • Adventure Alternative Kenya administration costs
  • UK administration and organisation of your trip
Excludes
  • International airfare to Nairobi Airport (~£500-£700)
  • Kenyan Visa, purchased on arrival (~£30)
  • Vaccinations and malaria tablets (~£25-£75)
  • Personal expenses (~£varies)
  • Travel insurance (~£30-£60)
  • Upgrade to Mountain Hut accommodation (see options below)
  • Tips (~£30) paid in local currency only to main guide for distribution at the Blueline Hotel
Cost of Add-Ons and Some Optional Extras
  • Alternative Route - Sirimon/Chogoria: £100.00
    This is a five day camping climb which requires 4x4's to collect you from the Chogoria Park Gate. Chogoria is on the opposite side of the mountain to Naro Moru and we ascend via the Sirimon route and descend Chogoria. As a result you sleep in Embu town after coming off the mountain rather than Naro Moru.
  • Alternative Route - Chogoria/Naro Moru: £100.00
    This is a five day camping climb using the Chogoria and Naro Moru routes which traditionally have much less traffic than the popular Sirimon route. Chogoria is on the opposite side of the mountain to Naro Moru and we ascend via the Chogoria route and descend Naro Moru. As a result you approach the mountain from Embu via Chogoria town with a 4x4 vehicle.
  • Upgrade to Mountain Huts: £120.00
    There are huts available to stay in if you prefer not to camp on Mt Kenya, they can be busy during high season and the mattresses haven't been changed for a while but they are reasonably clean with dorm like rooms housing bunk beds.
  • 5 Day Safari: £695.00
    This is a fantastic short safari taking in a range of different habitats and National Parks in Kenya's famous Great Rift Valley region. It includes traditional game drives, boat tour, cycling and walking safaris in more than 6 locations.
Not all about money

Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and an ethical stance on tourism in a developing country. We don’t want to be so expensive to run fewer trips and have our staff idle, but on the other hand we believe that running  cheap trips that promote the practise of skimming budgets would result in the porters getting next to nothing, which is something we cannot consider.

Additionally we will only run a minimum of 5 day climbs, since any less is dangerous for a peak just short of 5000 metres. Reducing the number of days may make the price cheaper but the chances of summiting reduce to around 50% and it is potentially dangerous.

We include one support staff to each member plus one guide for every four members. We do not operate kitties and we use a very secure hotel just outside Naro Moru with which we have built up a strong relationship for the past fifteen years.

We have our own license to operate tours in Kenya and are a member of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO).

Insurance

We advise you to take out your insurance as soon as possible to cover potential events that might cause you to cancel your trip.

You need to ensure that you have a policy which covers trekking to 4985m, but it does not need to cover technical climbing. You should bring with you a copy of your policy and ensure your tent mate knows where you keep it. Please see our specific Insurance Advice page for more information.

Adventure Alternative is a mamber of AiTO (Association of Independant Tour Operators), which ensures complete protection for your money.

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Fitness

Type of Terrain

The terrain on Mt Kenya varies throughout which leads to an interesting and ever changing environment. In a period of five days you will go from cultivated farmland through equatorial forest and alpine heath, across a lunar-like rocky landscape up to a glaciated summit. Mt Kenya’s unique position just above the equator offers an opportunity to experience so much in one expedition.

Climbing Mount Kenya is not a technical climb and there are no precipitous drops along the way, no rock climbing or specialist equipment needed. The paths are in good condition and well trodden; some are steeper than others and it is much quieter than 'Big Brother' Kilimanjaro, you could spend five days on Mount Kenya and only meet the Park Rangers positioned at each camp. On summit day the path is mostly scree, which can be loose and unrelenting, especially on the descent when your knees will probably suffer.

Distance Covered

The entire climb and descent covers a minimum of 55km and the routes traverse the mountain..  If you choose to ascend or descend using Chogoria then expect to add a further 5 km on to the distance covered.

Height Gained

Day           Start Level    Daily High Point    Sleep Level
Day One      2440m            3300m              3300m
Day Two       3300m            4200m              4200m
Day Three    4200m            4590m              4200m
Day Four      4200m            4985m              3050m
Day Five       3050m            3050m              2035m

Camps Used

Old Moses (also known as Judmier Camp) is very lucky to be standing after a devastating forest fire recently came close to engulfing Old Moses. Fortunately that didn't happen and the forest is starting to recover but do not expect to see the wildlife that is described in many guide books, you will however get a glimpse of the summit of Batian Peak on a clear evening. There is some mobile coverage here and it is quite easy to descend back to the gate if necessary. The camping ground is on grass next to the stone dorm style buildings and ranger station though don't expect much from the long drop toilets.

Shiptons Camp is located in a more barren landscape with a few giant groundsels dotted around and rock hyrax scavanging for dropped food. The camp has incredible views of all 3 peaks and reasonably good long drop toilets. There is very limited mobile coverage at Shiptons and similarly to Old Moses, the camping ground is next to the stone dorm style buildings and ranger station.

Met Station is located in the bamboo forest on the Naro Moru route, with a grass clearing used for camping. Although there are no views of the summit at Met it makes up for this by having an abundance of wildlife in and around the camp. At night it is not unusual for the campsite to be over-run with herds of buffalo grazing on the open grass and there are plenty of monkey's, birdlife and other wildlife in the bamboo forest that surrounds the camp.  There is some mobile coverage and it is easy to descend to the park gate from here if necessary.

Experience Needed

Climbing Mount Kenya is a non-technical trek but it does offer a full mountaineering experience. Experience in hill walking is a benefit but not absolutely necessary, since this is a supported climb. You will be outdoors constantly and living in tents so any sort of experience with camping will be useful.

It is not necessary to have any experience of high altitude to climb Mt Kenya, and there is nowhere in the United Kingdom or Ireland to possibly train for it. The important factor will be to go slowly and allow your metabolism to adapt to the lower air pressure and the thinner air.

Adventure Alternative Support

The staff will carry your main bag up to a maximum weight of 15 kgs plus all the tents, kitchen equipment, food and fuel. They will cater for all the group needs, providing excellent meals and putting up the tents. The guides will also brief you daily on the climb.

Kelly Kioko is our operations manager in Nairobi and Director of Adventure Alternative Kenya. He organises all the staff, equipment, permits and hotel arrangements. You will have his telephone number and can call him at any point during the trip. He is organiser, translator, problem-solver, advisor and the main link between you and the UK office. He talks to the guides every day on the mountain and can make arrangements while you are up high.

You also have continued support from the main office in Northern Ireland. Should a problem arise of significant proportion then you only need to call us.

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Gear

Kit List
  • Strong, waterproof 65-75 litre rucksack for your main gear
  • Waterproof day sack of about 30-40 litres for carrying your daily needs
  • Sleeping bag rated down to -10° Celsius or more if you get cold easily
  • Therm-A-Rest or camping mat
  • Sturdy hiking boots with ankle support, and a sole that does not bend too easily. Gore-Tex lined fabric boots are fine but not quite as warm as leather.
  • Waterproof windbreaker and trousers, preferably breathable, with a hood and big enough to accommodate several layers beneath
  • Down jacket or a heavy duty fleece for warmth especially on summit night
  • Thermal underwear or long johns for summit night
  • Balaclava or insulated warm hat, insulated gloves or mittens and thermal inner gloves
  • Sun hat, sun lotion, SPF lip screen and sunglasses
  • Trekking clothes - trousers and shorts, shirts and T-shirts, jumper or midlayer fleece, underwear and several pairs of hiking socks, trainers or sandals
  • Water bottle and/or camelback (take a protective cover for the mouthpiece) and water purification tablets (optional, iodine-based is fine)
  • Head torch with spare batteries
  • Plate, bowl, mug and cutlery
  • Trekking poles (especially useful for coming down from the summit)
  • Personal wash kit – include a nail brush, moisturising cream, a small towel, tweezers, soap, nail clippers and wet wipes
  • Variety of waterproof bags - for dirty clothes, sleeping bag and things to keep dry
  • Personal first aid – include aspirin, Nurofen, plasters, Germolene, Immodium, strepsils and prescription medicines for possible gastric problems
  • Passport, insurance papers, spending money, air tickets, spare batteries for digital cameras, reading books, diary, pen
Additional Kit Info

Adventure Alternative supply tents and all group cooking equipment.

On the mountain there is no real opportunity to wash clothes at all.

Common first aid complaints are  - headaches, dehydration, stomach bugs, diarrhoea, sunburn and occasional mouth ulcers. These are mostly caused by feeling run down and can be prevented by looking after yourself at all times. A personal first aid kit is useful to cover these minor ailments.

Keep your money somewhere safe in a money bag. Do not bring large wads of notes with you. If you take sterling cash with you make sure they are Bank of England notes.

If you wear contact lenses take plenty of saline and comfort drops- it can get dusty.

For the mountain, work on a layering system which gives you versatility - Tshirt or thermals, shirt or warm top which could be polartec, a good thick fleece and good heavyduty waterproofs. Gloves and hats are vital.

Digital cameras will cope fine with the conditions if you keep them warm on summit morning, otherwise batteries can run down.

Your sleeping bag can be a normal 3 season bag unless you feel you get cold very easily in which case you can add in a fleece sleeping bag liner. Remember that sleeping bags work on trapping layers of air so wearing clothes in your bag doesn't help.

Thermals can just be long-johns, and a skintight warm top with long sleeves. It may not be cold enough to warrant these but they are always useful.

Take rain jackets but try to make sure they are breathable fabrics. A good GoreTex (or similar) jacket is more or less essential.

Rental Items

You can rent equipment in Nairobi directly from Kelly Kioko or in Naro Moru from our guides. We do have some equipment in our Nairobi store, and there are a couple rental shops in Naro Moru town and neighbouring Nanyuki town which can provide you with all the main items needed to climb Mt Kenya. Prices vary, and you can bargain.

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Why Us

  • We offer small scale, authentic adventures, which you can tailor at no extra cost.
  • We have a success rate to the summit which is higher than 95%.
  • All our guides are personally trained by Gavin Bate, Company Director, Mountaineer and Everest Guide
  • We do not contract out our trips, we employ full time staff, offering job security and good benefits, and we are continually improving our quality service year on year.
  • All the staff in our UK office have climbed Mount Kenya so you can chat to people who understand what it’s like to go up for the first time, before you go.
  • We are passionate about responsible tourism and our company supports sustainable development in Kenya in a real way.
  • Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains.
  • Financial security guaranteed as we are AITO bonded.
  • We are members on Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.
  • Our staff only work for Adventure Alternative.

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