Overview

Mount Kenya Naro Moru Chogoria route

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.

Ascending from the West 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 areas of maize and coffee, 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, permenant glaciers and final 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 called The Temple of cliffs 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, we spend a night in the comfy cabins at the edge of the forest and watch buffalo, monkeys and bushbucks wander through the camp.

Mount Kenya is a symbol of a nation in a most literal sense. The peak was know simply as 'Kenya' before independence and the establishment of the country of Kenya its self. The traditions of local tribes all make reference to the mountain with its strange white markings, with some tribes referring to it as their god's seat on earth. The peak is tied up in the cultural fabric of Kenya which brings added dimensions to its already fascinating physical and natural aspect.

Itinerary

Mount Kenya Naro Moru Chogoria route itinerary

BROAD ITINERARY

Day   Summary
1 Arrive in Nairobi and drive to Naro Moru town
2 Rest, briefings and preparation in Naro Moru
3 Drive to Naro Moru Gate. Trek to Met Station Camp
4 Trek: Met Station Camp to MacKinder's Camp
5 Trek: MacKinder's to Hut Tarn &/or Tyndall Glacier. Return to MacKinders
6 Trek: MacKinders to Point Lenana. Descend to Hall Tarns then Lake Ellis
7 Trek: Lake Ellis to Meru Bandas via Nithi Falls
8 Trek: Meru Bandas into the forest. Drive to Embu town
9 Drive Embu Town to Nairobi


DETAILED ITINERARY

DayElevationTravel TimeInfo
1   175km 3-4hrs We will meet you either at the airport if you are flying in today or at your accommodation if you have arrive previously. We will then take the drive North up towards Mount Kenya. We will stay in the town of Naro Moru on the West side of the mountain where we will settle in to our accommodation.
2 2000m 0 Today we will have a fairly relaxed day to rest and prepare for the climb. The guides will meet you at the accommodation and talk through the route, equipment, clothing etc and answer and last minute questions. There will also be the opportunity to visit local villages where the guides and porters live, and to see some of the development projects that we have been involved with along with the Moving Mountains Trust.
3 2000-2500-3050m 10km 3-4hrs Today all the guides and porters will meet us at our accommodation and we will load up the vehicle(s) for the short 15km drive up to the Naro Moru gate of the National Park. There are often baboons and bushbuck wandering around the area as we sign in and then 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.
4 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 approach our next camp at MacKinders Hut, on an outcrop of morraine.
5 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 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 night-start to Point Lenana.
6 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 nececssary, 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.
7 3500-3017m 8km 3hrs 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 down to the forest boundary. Here we have the option of heading straight down to the bandas (cabins) or taking a diversion around to the Nithi Falls. Back at the bandas we can settle in and relax for our last night on the mountain. It is common to see wildlife around the bandas including monkeys, buffalo, bushbuck and even elephant.
8 3017-1400m Varies This morning we leave the bandas and have the option to walk as far as we want down the 4x4 trail through the forest before we are picked up for the drive back down to Chogoria. From Chogoria we will drive down to the town of Embu where we settle in to our Guest House for a well earned shower and change of clothes. There will also be the opportunity to visit some of the development projects that we are involved with in Embu in partnership with the Moving Mountains Trust.
9 1400m 125km 2.5-3hrs After breakfast at the hotel we will load up the vehicle and take the drive back down to Nairobi. We can either drop you at the airport for a flight out today or we can take you to your accommodation if you are staying for additional time in Kenya. We can help organize safaris if you are interested, please feel free to ask for details.

Cost

Mount Kenya Naro Moru Chogoria route cost from £1245.00

INCLUDES

  • Full ground price for the traverse route based on min group size of 2 people (please ask for single supplement rates)
  • Airport pick-up & drop off in Nairobi
  • Transport from Nairobi to Naro Moru
  • Transport from Embu to Nairobi
  • Accommodation in Naro Moru for 2 nights (twin, full board)
  • Accomodation in Embu for 1 night (twin, full board)
  • Jeep or shuttle transport to & from the trek start
  • Park fees, camping fees and park rescue fees
  • Adventure Alternative staff throughout
  • Park certified guides (ratio of 1:4)
  • Porters and cooks, plus equipment for them
  • All group camping equipment including tents
  • All meals on the mountain - fresh food, 3 meals per day with hot drinks
  • Bottled water when not on the mountain (we use mountain water during the trek)

EXCLUDES

  • International airfare to Nairobi
  • Kenyan Visa
  • Vaccinations and malaria tablets
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Upgrade to Mountain Hut accommodation
  • Upgrade to Isaak Walton Hotel in Embu
  • Tips paid in local currency only to main guide for distribution in Chogoria or Embu

Payments

A deposit of £250 is required on booking to secure your place and we ask that the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 4 weeks prior to your departure. When you book with us you're given your own secure online account which you can access 24/7. Through this account you can edit your booking, add flight, health, insurance and dietary details and also make interim payments. We make payments as flexible as possible and you can choose, if you wish, to pay a bit off your trip fee whenever it suits you.

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 are reduced 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 hotels just outside Naro Moru and in Embu 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 fully bonded, insured and registered tour operator and a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO). In addition, we have been climbing Mount Kenya for more than 20 years and have built up strong and lasting relationships with local communities, porters, guides and guesthouses. We have our own full time staff in Kenya all year round as well as our own vehicles and equipment. We don't outsource our clients and are with you from first enquiry, throughout your climb and home again. All of our UK and Kenyan team have climbed the mountain numerous times and can give you honest, professional advice.

We work closely with the charity Moving Mountains Trust and have won many awards for our stance and projects linking tourism with responsible travel. We have a number of projects close to Mt Kenya which you are welcome to visit.

Fitness

Mount Kenya Naro Moru Chogoria route- fitness and terrain

GENERAL FITNESS REQUIRED

To climb to Point Lenana on Mount Kenya you don't need to be a super-fit athlete nor and experienced mountaineer. The trek is accessible to anyone with good basic fitness and an enthusiasm for the outdoors. It will be an advantage to have good previous hill-walking experience and therefore be familiar with walking in the countryside for many hours at a time.

You will enjoy the trip all the more if you do have good fitness and experience. Therefore we do advise that on the lead up to the trip you do spend time checking and working on the kind of fitness that you need for the trek. The ideal preparation is spending a good number of hours walking on rolling terrain with a small pack of say 5kg on your back. Other forms of cardio-vascular exercise such as running, cycling and swimming will also of course help with the right kinds of fitness, though especially if they focus mainly on the legs.

All of our staff have climbed Mt Kenya many times so if you have any doubts or questions, do give us a call or email to discuss it.

TYPE OF TERRAIN

The paths vary as we ascend but they go from a vehicle track lower down, to a less defined path through tussocks and bog, to a footpath over gravel and mud and then sandy and dusty scree higher up. On summit day there are a couple of sections along the ridge where we use hands aswell as feet but they are very easy and the guides will help you if you need it. There is also a steel cable along most of the final ridge which although not by any means necessary, is available for additional support. The descents from Hut Tarn and Point Lenana are over scree which can be dusty and loose. We will take our time but a trekking pole or two can be invaluable for maintaining your balance. If you have any problems with ankles, knees or hips then poles are strongly recommended as well as a well-fitted support bandage. 

Kit List

Mount Kenya Naro Moru Chogoria route kit list

The main principles for a trek like this are:

  • BAGS - A Big duffle type bag for general use and leaving gear in Naro Moru, A Medium-Large Rucksack for a porter to carry your kit on the mountain and a Small pack for carrying a few items on day trips
  • GENERAL CLOTHING - Clothing and footwear for travel to Kenya and prior to/after the climb
  • SHELL - Waterproof layer to keep off wind/rain. An umbrella can be very useful.
  • INSULATION - Layered system to keep you warm on the mountain- body hands & Head
  • FEET - Sturdy trekking Boots, Flip flops/Sandals
  • SLEEPING - Warm sleeping bag and camping mat to get a good nights sleep
  • EATING/DRINKING - Water bottles and favourite high-energy snacks
  • WASHING & MEDICAL - Suncream, Anti-Malarials and a small 1st aid kit to allow you to wash and maybe stave off a headache or blister (leaders will have a larger group one)

Why Us

  • We offer small scale, authentic adventures, which you can tailor to your personal needs at no extra cost
  • We have been climbing Mt Kenya for more than 20 years so we know the mountain and its communities extremely well
  • All our trips are personally overseen by Gavin Bate, Company Director, Mountaineer and Everest Guide
  • We do not contract out our trips in Kenya, 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.
  • All the staff in our UK office have climbed Mount Kenya many times so you can chat to people who understand what its really like before you go.
  • We are a fully registered operator with AITO and have financial bonding with ABTOT. We have all the relevant company insurances.
  • 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.
  • We are a company founded and run by people who are passionate about trekking, climbing and exploring in the world's most beautiful wildernesses. We are equally passionate about having the opportunity to share these experiences with others.

Photos

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Key Information
  • Duration 9 days
  • Numbers 2-15
  • Altitude 4985m
  • Distance 50km
  • Challenge Moderate
  • Comfort Camping & Lodges
Kenya information
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