Mount Kenya advice
How much will you carry?
We run trips of different types on Mount Kenya. The general format is one where you carry virtually all of your own equipment in a true expedition style. In this situation we will take only a handful of porters who will be available to carry items in an emergency and to act as additional support to the mountain guides. In this format you will be carrying tents, sleeping bags & mats, food and personal clothing. This may add up to 10-15kg at first until you have eaten some of the food. Carrying all your own gear can be a tiring experience but it can greatly enhance the experience and the sense of achievement. We will keep the ammount of equipment that we carry to an absolute (safe) minimum, we will arrange for secure storage of all other travel baggage in Naro Moru ready for your return.
In a second trip format we can arrange to use porters to carry more of the gear. When using porters they will carry the bags and the gear and the food, but you will be expected to carry a day sack with some of your own personal equipment which you need for the day such as water, spare clothes, camera and waterproofs. This is normally about 5 or 6 kilogrammes. Every person will have their own porter carrying their bag so nothing ever gets lost. We do not allow porters to carry more than 20kgs so please do not overfill your bags. They often carry bags on their heads, even rucksacks. We will also put your bags into waterproof sacks in case of rain.
If you have any concerns regarding the ammount that you are able to carry please do speak to us. On any trip we are able to arrange for additional porters to cater for personal requirements or preferences. The use of additional porters will incur a small supplemental fee.
Keeping in touch with home
Your mobile phone may work on parts of the mountain with a good line of sight to the towns below (slightly dependant on which network you are using) as long as you have roaming access. Please note you cannot charge batteries anywhere on the mountain. You may need to walk a little distance to find a spot with a signal. Also, do not expect to get 3G connection, mostly you will find it is text only.
Keeping dry and warm
There is little doubt that you will have some rain, and it is likely to be in the lower regions around the montane or forest level. Waterproofs are necessary; remember that on the equator the rainy season is traditionally April and September/October.
Expect short term extreme conditions, i.e. sharp showers of rain, hot sun, gusts of wind, snow and low night temperatures. Clear nights will be colder but more beautiful, and generally the cloud builds up mid morning, only to dissipate again with the setting sun.
Up higher it will be colder and windier so the shell jacket is really vital; temperatures can drop dramatically, and there may be snow. Summit morning can be icy underfoot, and very cold (minus 10°C) so good boots with hats and gloves are important.
Work on a ‘wet and dry’ system so that if your T-shirt gets wet during the day, you always have a dry T-shirt and warm top to change into the moment you get to camp. This is really important for morale if nothing else. Don't let people keep wet clothes on. It's such an obvious point but commonly ignored.
Generally breakfast is between 7.30am and 8.00am, and departure from camp is at 9.00am. There is a lunch at midday, tea and biscuits around 4pm and dinner at 7pm. Summit morning is different; tea and biscuits at 11.30pm and start hiking at midnight or sometimes 1am.
The pace is slow and not forced at all. There is a rest at least once every hour and plenty of time to take photos, enjoy the view and chat. When you arrive at the huts you will find your bags ready to collect. In the morning please have your bags packed before breakfast.
Adventure Alternative is proud to pay excellent salaries. We are members of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, the Ethical Tour Operators Group and the AITO Sustainable Tourism Committee. We also fulfil and exceed the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG) guidelines on porter safety
Tips have become mandatory in Kenya because of exploitation by less ethical companies who rely on them to replace a salary. We are in the position of wanting to encourage a bonus to the staff who do an amazing job, but at the same time wanting the tip to be given for a good job done, not because it is expected (or worse, demanded). The normal amount is £25 per Westerner and we would ask that you follow our advice on tips please.
* Please prepare your tips before going on the mountain by changing any money into local currency and into small denominational Kenyan Shilling notes.
* Please give your tips as a group only to Cyrus (or your group leader) on the last day at the gate. Do not give the tip to the guides or the porters directly.
* Please do not give an individual tip to a specific porter or guide. This breeds suspicion and encourages them to pester tourists for more money. We try to maintain consistency and fairness at all times. If there is someone who the group feels deserves special mention then tell Cyrus and by all means add a small amount extra, but make sure that it is given in front of everybody and recognised as a reward for service beyond the usual call of duty. Please also remember that money is not the only way of showing your gratitude, a genuine thank you in front of all the other staff goes a long way to making someone happy.
UK travellers will benefit from the introduction of a new e-visa service from 2nd July 2015, as confirmed by the Government of Kenya. As of 2nd July 2015, UK travellers may apply for their visas in advance of arrival in Kenya via the e-visa portal, www.ecitizen.go.ke.
There will be a two month transitionary period until the end of August 2015 where visitors have the option to purchase their visa on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, in person at the Kenya High Commission in London or via the online portal.
The e-visa process will become compulsory from 1st September 2015 and visitors are advised to register their application well in advance of travel as approvals may take up to seven days to process.