Mount Kenya traverse via the Naro Moru and Chogoria routes
Mount Kenya is a spectacular mountain with a series of peaks, valleys, ridges and tarns. In this complete West to East traverse we see the mountain from many angles and take in the routes best known for their abundance of wildlife and epic mountain scenery. The Naro Moru ascent and Chogoria descent is our most popular option for these reasons.
The itinerary is based on starting the journey from Naro Moru town and finishing in Embu town but all our Mount Kenya climbs have lots of optional extras if needed, including private transport from Nairobi, accommodation arranged in Nairobi, Naro Moru or Embu, extra nights on the mountain, tailor made safari's or visits to our Moving Mountains projects on the lower slopes of Mount Kenya or even the opportunity to sponsor a Moving Mountains Kenya beneficiary to join you on the climb.
Traditionally teams on Mount Kenya are small and the advertised price is based on a minimum of 2 pax. Where we have individuals looking to join a climb we'll do our best to team you up with like-minded people but the ideal option is to join as a pair or more, this ensures that we can run the climb at the advertised prices on either the advertised dates or a custom date that suits.
Ascending from the west of the mountain on the Naro Moru route we pass through distinct bands of flora and habitat with our increasing altitude. From the plains, we move through cultivated land and small villages and rural farms, through ancient Podo and Hygenia hardwood forest and giant Bamboo forest up to the giant heaths of the alpine zone and the unique giant Lobelia and Groundsel. Above this the tussock grass thins and we enter the realm of dusty volcanic rocks, permanent glaciers and finally the jagged, lofty volcanic spires of the main peaks.
Descending back to the East we pass high glacial tarns and the plummeting cliffs of the upper Gorges valley where an enormous amphitheatre of cliffs called The Temple hosts the beautiful Lake Michaelson. We then move on down to camp next to the less visited Lake Ellis from which we can climb to local high points to see back to the peaks and also across to strange volcanic formations such as the giant's billiard table. Dropping once more to the forest where we'll hopefully see some wildlife before getting our 4x4 back to Chogoria and on to Embu town, read more about the type of terrain you'll encounter on a Mount Kenya trek and the level of fitness required in the 'More Information' section under 'Mount Kenya advice'.
Mount Kenya also has very important cultural importance to the local tribes 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. 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 via the 'More Information' menu under 'Mount Kenya trek kit list'.
Want to explore more of Kenya? Consider a few extra days in the Mount Kenya area to explore nearby safari parks and relax.
"My dad and I decided to take this trip together, we chose Adventure Alternative for a multitude of reasons, firstly they were very flexible with transfers (no charge... bonus), we could change set dates and add days accordingly, it basically had all the features of a tailor made holiday at a very reasonable price.
The guides, and porters were incredible, nothing was a problem and they made the effort to make us feel very welcome. We were amazed at the level of thought that the head guides gave the porters, they were only to carry back packs and wore quality kit, this is not always the case on other trips. Team was the word and worked very well for our group of 6 that had a wide range of experience and age.
Food was great considering the conditions... they even cooked my dad a separate meal upon hearing he disliked coriander (totally blown away by that gesture).
We all made it to the summit, even when there was altitude sickness and fatigue amongst some of the group. Overall the mountain is stunning, although challenging well worth a trip if you want to escape the crowds on other options such as Kilimanjaro.
Start to finish was top notch service and advise"
The following is our preferred itinerary to give a good overview of the Naro Moru / Chogoria traverse and also to promote good acclimitisation to give you an excellent chance of summiting safely. This itinerary is what the quoted price is based on and is our shortest itinerary to successfully summit Point Lenana on Mount Kenya using the Naro Moru route for the ascent and the Chogoria route for the descent, there are lots of other options to tweak the itinerary and offer more days on Mount Kenya (a popular option is to add a final night at Meru Banda's on the descent where you can enjoy an open fire, cold beer, hot shower and some game viewing from the comfort of your veranda).
|1||Transfer from Naro Moru to the Mount Kenya National Park gate Gate. Trek to Met Station Camp|
|2||Trek from Met Station Camp to MacKinder's Camp|
|3||Acclimatisation day: Trek from MacKinder's to Hut Tarn &/or Tyndall Glacier and return to Mackinder's|
|4||Trek from MacKinders to Point Lenana and descend to Lake Ellis or Nithi Falls via Hall Tarns|
|5||Trek from Lake Ellis or Nithi Falls via Meru Banda's and transfer to Chogoria town and back to Embu|
You are welcome to adjust the itinerary and add nights in Nairobi, Naro Moru or in Embu, please do talk to us directly to discuss options. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is very close to Naro Moru (or a reasonably short drive from Embu) and is a great location for an optional add-on safari, both for day trips and over-nights. It is probably the only place in Kenya (aside from Masai Mara) where you have a chance of seeing the 'Big 5' in one day. It is also the only place in East Africa where you can see chimpanzee and the only place to see the remaining 'northern white rhino', there are only 3 left on the planet... all in Ol Pejeta. We can of course arrange tailor made safari's across East Africa and we're more than happy to build an itinerary to suit your budget and preferences.
Our itinerary is for the climb only, optional extras include airport transfers and accommodation in Nairobi, transfers from Nairobi, extra days accommodation before and after the climb in Embu or Naro Moru, where you can visit some of our Moving Mountains projects and enjoy some of the sights that both locations offer, tailor-made safari's or even the opportunity to sponsor a former street child of beneficiary of Moving Mountains to join you on the climb.
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. This arrangement offers job security and good benefits to the staff and gives them very strong loyalty to the company. Our team of Guides and Porters have all worked with us on numerous ascents using all the routes and 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, including Primary and Secondary Schools on the lower slopes of Mt Kenya near Naro Moru, the Solio Community Development for internally displaced people on the open plains of the western side of Mt Kenya, the rural Gatwe Primary on the lower slopes of the eastern side, County Primary and Urban Primary School in Embu town, which provide quality education for most of the children in Embu's slum communities, the Embu Rescue Centre for Street Children and our very own 'Black Cats' football club for the street kids of Embu town. Full details on the work of Moving Mountains in Kenya can be found here.
- We offer small scale, 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 traverse itinerary
|175km 3-4hrs||Nairobi to Naro Moru town for an overnight in a local hotel. Do contact us for options which we can assist you with.|
|1||2000-2500-3050m||10km 3-4hrs||Today all the guides and porters will meet us in Naro Moru and we will load up the vehicle(s) for the short 15km drive up to the Naro Moru gate of Mount Kenya National Park. There are often baboons and bushbuck wandering around the area as we sign in and then we head off along the vehicle track through the forests of bamboo and hardwood trees. We will stop for a picnic lunch at a convenient spot before continuing on up to our first camp at Met Station, located close to the edge of the forest where buffalo often come out overnight to graze.|
|2||3050-4200m||10km 5hrs||From Met Station we follow the vehicle track a bit further before turning off on a footpath through the Hygenia forest and then out onto the more open heathland. From here you get a fantastic view back over the treetops and down to the plains beyond. The heath and moorland continues and also sports Giant Cabbage Groundsel and Giant Lobelia Deckenii as we make our way up past the over-dramatically named 'Vertical Bog' to the outcrop known as picnic rocks, for lunch. From lunch we continue on the moorland for a bit longer before joining the edge of the Teleki Valley and winding between Giant Tree Groundsel and Ostrich Plume Lobelia and then onto grasses in the valley floor as we cross a river and follow it on a gentle approach to our next camp at MacKinders Hut, on an outcrop of moraine.|
|3||4200-4500-4200m||2-5km 2-3hrs||Today we will take a day-walk from MacKinders Hut to aid our acclimitisation. There are a few possibilities and we are most likely to walk up to a pair of small lakes called Hut Tarn and Nanyuki Tarn and collectively known as two-tarn! From here we get a great view straight across at the south west face of the main summits and the glaciers that hang from it. It is also possible to walk up to the foot of two of these glaciers, the Darwin and the Tyndall, but it is a slightly more difficult route. We will be back at MacKinders for lunch and for an afternoon of relaxing and final preparations for our early morning start to summit Point Lenana for sunrise.|
|4||4200-4985-3500m||8+10km 7.5+4hrs||Today we will be up soon after midnight to start our ascent to Point Lenana. After a short flat section we are onto the frozen screes by torchlight and climbing up and up to reach Austrian Hut at 4790m. At the hut we will take a break, the duration of which will be decided by our speed so far, the idea being that we arrive at Point Lenana just before sunrise and don't have to wait in the cold. From here we follow a ridge all the way to the summit. The ridge is initially quite broad but it does get narrower and we will take our time over the short sections that need hands as well as feet. there are steel cables on the upper two thirds of the route and though they are not really necessary, they can be reassuring. The sun will rise around 6am and we will drink in its warmth as well as the spectacular view before dropping down by either re-tracing our ascent route or alternatively traversing right over and down the north side before turning to the east and down to Hall Tarns for breakfast. After enjoying the amazing views of the cliffs of the Temple and Lake Michaelson we will set off further down the mountain to camp at Lake Ellis.|
|5||3500-1800m||8km(3-4hrs) +70km(1.5hrs)||This morning we set off again downhill. The path can be quite indistinct at first on this less-used trail but we generally follow the line of a watercourse until we hit the 4x4 track that takes us down to the forest boundary. Here we have the option of heading straight down to Meru bandas (cabins) or a diversion around to the beautiful Nithi Falls. Back at the bandas, or just a little after them we'll meet up with our 4x4's for the drive back down through the forest to Chogoria town before continuing on to the town of Embu where you'll meet up with any kit that you didn't take on the mountain with you (we'll have transferred it around the mountain and it will be in a secure room in our Embu Guest House). It is possible to get back to Nairobi on this date, however if you have time then a couple of days in Embu is well worth it. Aside from our own Moving Mountains projects, Embu offers a safe and lively nightlife, a number of outdoor swimming pools and some great walks and other activities in the surrounding hills .|
|Other options include tailor made safari's, climbs on Kilimanjaro, visits to other Moving Mountains projects and Game Reserves around Mount Kenya or transfers back to Nairobi for city tours.|
Mount Kenya Traverse cost - £1095.00
The is a per person cost based on a minimum group of 2 people starting at Naro Moru town and finishing at Embu town.
Contact us for extras such as airport transfers, single person supplement, additional nights on the mountain, some nights in the hut on the mountain and safari options. Full details can be found under 'Mount Kenya optional extra costs'. For the best chance of seeing wildlife we would advise adding a day on to the end of the itinerary at Meru Bandas where a variety of monkey, bushbuck, buffalo and even elephant are known to come out of the forest to graze at dusk and dawn.
- Private transport from Naro Moru town to the trek start point (Mt Kenya National Park gate)
- Park fees, camping fees and park rescue fees
- Park certified guides (ratio of 1:4)
- Porters and cooks
- All group camping equipment
- All meals on the mountain
- Bottled water when not on the mountain (we use mountain water during the trek)
- 4x4 transport from Meru Bandas to Chogoria town
- Private transfer from Chogoria town to Embu town
- Kit transfer from Naro Moru to Embu (for any kit that you don't take on the mountain with you)
- Guide and porter transport from Embu back to Naro Moru after the climb
- 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
Choose a scheduled date or contact us to set up private dates or a bespoke itinerary. The minimum deposit is £100.00 and the balance is due six weeks before travel.
- Duration 5 days
- Numbers 2-16
- Altitude 4985m
- Distance 50km
- Challenge Moderate
- Comfort Camping