Mount Kenya Burguret and Chogoria route
'No Picnic on Mount Kenya' Burguret route
Climb Mount Kenya by the route made famous in the book 'No Picnic on Mount Kenya'. ascending the wilder and less travelled Burguret route to Point Lenana and then descending via the Chogoria Route. This is a more challenging wild ascent and a camping route. The Burguret route begins on the west side of the mountain near the Mountain Rock Lodge and the whole route takes six days over about 76 kilometres. You can read about this and other routes on the mountain in order to make a good choice for your adventure on Mount Kenya.
The itinerary is based on starting and finishing in the nearby market town of Naro Moru but we can accommodate any travel preferences including private transport from Nairobi, accommodation off the mountain, extra nights on the mountain, safaris or a visit to our Moving Mountains projects.
Burguret and Chogoria route in summary - see the itinerary tab for more detail and pictures.
Arrive Mountain Rock Lodge, 1950m. Aclimatise and nature walks
Mountain Rock to Giant Bamboo, 2600m. Drive for 1 hour. Trek for 10kms, 4 hours.
Giant Bamboo to Highland Castle, 3700m, 5 hours, 8 kms.
Highland Castle to Shiptons Camp, 4235m, 6 hours, 10 kms.
Point Lenana, 4985m, 4 hours, 6 kms.
Meru Bandas, 3000m, 2 hours, 7 kms.
Mount Kenya route map showing Burguret on the left (west) side of the mountain and Highland Castle and Shiptons Camp, and the descent down the Chogoria route on the south east side.
When to climb Mount Kenya
You can climb any time of the year in theory but best to avoid the long rains in April and May when there will be afternoon rain and potentially a lot of snow on the high slopes. A really good time would be January and February and then in the months from July to September, before the short rains in October. November can still be a bit wet and December is once again good weather.
As on any trek up this mountain it is advisable to be physically fit and able to hike long hours and on quite mixed terrain. Even though there are paths, the route is hilly and rocky and there are plenty of areas of open moorland which can get boggy. The Burguret route however is particularly wild and rough, far fewer people do it compared to the Sirimon or Naro Moru route. The paths will be less frequented, the campsite facilities at Giant Bamboo and Highland Castle are basic and this route is camping. The height gain to Highland Castle is quite a lot which is why we recommend a night at Mountain Rock before the trek starts. The summit night is not easy, in the early hours on quite often slippery scree slopes and then on snow and ice with a bit of a scramble to Point Lenana itself.
After the summit there is a big drop down to Hall Tarn and then Nithi Camp, which is quite hard on the knees. Poles are a really good idea, and some of the trail near the top is scrambly with loose rock and still snow or ice. It will be important to be clear headed to be aware of the path ahead.
The descent on the Chogoria is spectacular but it is also longer than the other routes. It's a steady descent and the path becomes much easier as you get lower. Nithi Camp - and Shiptons Camp - are both lovely places to stay and they have facilities like toilets and a hut.
Back at Meru Bandas at Chogoria Gate, the facilities are excellent.
A bit of information about Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya is a huge extinct volcano in the Kenyan highlands, formed by the tectonic disturbance of the Great Rift Valley fault. Over millions of years the volcano was eroded and denuded by glaciers, ice caps and weather. It now has a very broad dome, cut through by valleys and ridges and capped by spectacular rock spires at its summit. At over 5000m, the peaks still support eleven permanent glaciers and an environment and eco-system of strange and unique giant flora for which it is famous. You can read more about the type of terrain you'll encounter on a Mount Kenya trek and the level of fitness required under 'Mount Kenya advice'.
Mount Kenya also has very important cultural importance to the local Kikuyu tribe who traditionally viewed it as the meeting place and throne of their gods. For the country at large, it is actually the mountain that gave the nation of Kenya its name and it holds a significant place in Kenyan identity.
What to wear on the trek
To successfully summit Mount Kenya you'll need kit which keeps you warm, dry, protected from the sun/rain and comfortable in the various environments that you'll find yourself in on the way to the summit. There is a detailed list on the 'Mount Kenya trek kit list' page.
We provide all group equipment such as tents and bed mats, plus all the cooking equipment for providing your meals. Our porters will carry about 15kgs each.
Additions to your holiday and options to add on to your Mount Kenya trek.
Why choose us for organising your trek to Mount Kenya?
- All our staff in East Africa and the UK have been climbing Mt Kenya for more than 20 years so we know the mountain and its communities extremely well, we're happy to discuss options on the phone and offer honest advice on what to expect
- We employ trusted full time staff who are very experienced and knowledgeable. Our Head Guide, Cyrus Maina, has built up a solid team for the mountain and is a trusted upstanding member of his local community, where he sits on the Board at Tigithi Primary School, a rural school on the lower slopes of Mount Kenya that has been developed and renovated by our charity, Moving Mountains.
- On Mount Kenya our charity has developed numerous sustainable projects which anyone is more than welcome to visit. Full details on the work of Moving Mountains in Kenya can be found here.
- We offer high standard authentic adventures on Mount Kenya with a personal service and lots of experience to offer.
- We have our own license to operate tours in Kenya and are a fully bonded, insured and registered tour operator
- Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and an ethical stance on tourism in a developing country.
Mount Kenya Burguret route
Transfer from Nairobi or your starting point to Mountain Rock Lodge at 1950m. Rest and acclimatise in afternoon. There are plenty of local walks and you can also visit one of the Moving Mountains schools nearby. Today you can also get your park permit from Naor Moru park gate, because the Burguret does not have an official park gate.
Drive 15 kms to the Gathiuri Forest in one hour and start the trek to Giant Bamboo Camp at 2600m (10 kms, about 4 hours) through montane forest, hagenia and giant bamboo. Elephant and buffalo are prevalent here.
Giant Bamboo to Highland Castle camp at 3700m, a hike of about 5 hours through montane and onto moorland. The bamboo forest gives way to pencil cedar forest and podocarpus, ascending through a hagenia rosewood zone at the edge of the high moorlands which are much more open and exposed. After lunch the route continues past the famous giant lobelia and groundsels to the campsite which is close to the lava cliffs of the “Highland Castle”
Highland Castle to Shiptons Camp at 4235m, a hike of about 6 hours over 10 kilometres and passing over the 4600 metre Hausberg Col through moorland and high alpine desert with marvellous scenery of volcanic peaks, beautiful tarns and high glaciers around. Shiptons Camp can be busy with other trekkers, but it is in a very scenic spot.
Ascent of Point Lenana at 4985m and down to Nithi Camp at 3300m, a total hike of about 10 hours with an initial height gain of 750 metres to the summit and then a big drop of 1685 metres. From Shiptons Camp the ascent starts early at 4am and allows a dawn summit and then a drop to Hall Tarn in the Gorges Valley for a breakfast, followed by a further three hours to the track head through a landscape of chasms, waterfalls and lava flows.
It is possible on this day to descend all the way to Meru Bandas, a further 7 kms in 2 hours. It is also possible to get picked up at the track head in a 4x4 and get to Meru Bandas but this pick up needs to be organised in advance, it cannot be called on the day.
From Nithi Camp to Meru Bandas at 3000m is a short hike of a few hours back into moorland and giant heather. The cabins here have showers and facilities and you can see plenty of wildlife nearby. It is possible to either spend a night here or get a 4x4 straight to Chogoria town (10kms) and onward transport to Embu for example, or even Nairobi.
We can also add on a safari to your trekking trip. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is very close to Naro Moru on the south east side of the mountain and is a great location for day trips and over-nights. You can also visit some of our Moving Mountains projects and perhaps even sponsor a former street child of beneficiary of Moving Mountains to join you on the climb!
Mount Kenya Burguret cost - £1395.00
- Return private transport from Naro Moru and Embu
- Return 4x4 transport from Chogoria to the park gate
- Park fees, camping fees and park rescue fees
- Accommodation at Meru Bandas
- Accommodation at Austrian Hut (if required)
- Park certified guides (ratio of 1:4 minimum)
- Porters and cooks
- All group equipment including mountain sleeping tents
- Meals on the mountain
- Guide and porter transport
- International airfare
- Kenyan Visa
- Vaccinations and malaria tablets required
- Personal expenses and travel insurance
- Airport transfers and / or transfers to and from Embu and any accommodation needed in Nairobi or Embu
- Mountain Staff Tips paid in local currency to main guide for distribution in Chogoria after the climb
Water: We discourage the use of throwaway plastic bottles on all of our treks and climbs. We advocate boiling water and/or using Aquaprove.
You can book your Adventure Alternative holiday for as little as £100.00 and pay the balance in as many instalments as you like. Choose a scheduled date or contact us for private dates, a bespoke itinerary or more trip details.
- Duration 6 days
- Numbers 2-10
- Altitude 4985m
- Distance 76km
- Challenge Moderate
- Comfort Camping & Lodges