Mount Kenya trek to Point Lenana
Mount Kenya Trek
The Mount Kenya trek is a challenging and enjoyable journey to Mount Kenya's highest trekking peak (Point Lenana) at 4985 metres. From the summit there is a beautiful view of the dramatic volcanic massif and the two main peaks of Batian and Nelion, as well as panoramic views over the central plains of Kenya. It has long been a popular and very attractive hike through an ancient landscape dotted with glaciers, rock spires, high tarns and some beautiful and unique flora and fauna like the giant groundsels and the odd looking rock hyrax which has evolved from the elephant.
There are two popular trekking routes on the western side of the mountain called Naro Moru and Sirimon. For both the starting point is the small town of Naro Moru which is just over 3 hours drive from Nairobi. Our charity Moving Mountains has done a lot of work in this area and you can visit some of the schools we have built. In Naro Moru we recommend staying at a local hotel called the Blue Line which we have helped to develop over many years, or the more salubrious Naro Moru River Lodge.
We would recommend doing the trek by ascending and descending each of the routes to give some variety, and you can either camp or stay in huts along the way. Our guides are well trained with extensive experience on all routes, and they have international first aid certificates. We provide the equipment for camping and cooking, plus the porters who will carry a rucksack up to 15 kgs.
The itinerary starts in Naro Moru but we can provide all the optional extras if needed, including private transport from Nairobi, accommodation in Nairobi, Naro Moru or Embu (for anyone using the Chogoria route for their ascent or descent), upgrades to hut accommodation on the mountain and safaris or visits to our Moving Mountains projects.
Testimonial: "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. Cyrus was 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! "
Video of summit from Mackinders Camp on the Naro Moru Route
Video is from a joint Moving Mountains / Finding Life charity expedition
The following is a basic itinerary for good acclimatisation to summit safely. It uses the Sirimon route for the ascent and the Naro Moru route for the descent but either works and ascending the Naro Moru route will give you the chance to summit via the Austrian Hut on what is currently the highest via ferrata route in the world.
|1||Transfer from Naro Moru to the Mount Kenya National Park gate Gate. Trek to Old Moses Camp|
|2||Trek from Old Moses Camp to Shipton's Camp|
|3||Acclimatisation Day: Trek from Shipton's to Hausberg Col and return to Shipton's|
|4||Trek from Shiptons to Point Lenana and descend to Met Station Camp via Mackinder's Camp|
|5||Trek from Met Station to the Naro Moru gate and transfer to Naro Moru|
Mount Kenya Route Map
Sirimon and Naro Moru routes begin on the western side of the mountain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a climb on Mount Kenya similar to Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kenya is its own National Park with a stunning landscape of interesting endemic flora and flora as well as jagged summit peaks and glaciers. It differs from Kilimanjaro in that there is a great deal more wildlife to be spotted, as well as numerous high tarns and traditional higher peaks! For many it is a much more scenic and peaceful experience with much fewer numbers and smaller teams ascending the mountain, many have been up and down without meeting anyone other than the Kenya Wildlife Service staff at the Park Gates and the camps.
From a distance, the jagged volcanic peaks are the remains which emerge from the centre of an eroded volcanic dome cut by radial valleys and ridges, standing proudly over the plains and savannah below. Elephant, buffalo, Colobus monkey, bushbuck and giant forest hog can be seen in the foothills of the 228 sq. mile 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. 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.
Mackinders Camp on the Naro Moru route with the dramatic peaks of Batian and Nelion being the highest, and Point John on the right. Point Lenana is to the right of Point John slightly set back.
When is the best time to climb Mount Kenya?
The best months to climb Mount Kenya are traditionally December to March and May to October but it can be climbed all year round. The rainy seasons tend to be in April, May and November but nowadays climate change has made it more difficult to predict.
What kit is needed on Mount Kenya?
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'. A couple of basic maps which show the routes on Mount Kenya can be found in the Mount Kenya Maps and Books more information page.
Testimonial: "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!
Mount Kenya trek (Sirimon/Naro Moru route) itinerary
The itinerary below is an ascent of the Sirimon route and descent of the Naro Moru route, the other option would be an ascent of the Naro Moru route and descent of the Sirimon route. In our experience there tends to be a better chance of spotting wildlife around the Naro Moru park gate and during the trek to Met Station at 3,050m on day 1, it's also better to ascend the vertical bog of the Naro Moru route on the morning of the 2nd day rather than tackling it in the afternoon of day 4 on a Sirimon ascent / Naro Moru descent, much less chance of rain in the morning on this section. The views from picnic rocks on day 2 of a Naro Moru ascent towards the summit peaks and the trek to Mackinders Camp along the side of the Teleki Valley also give a strong case for tackling the slightly more challenging Naro Moru route on the ascent.
At Mackinders Camp (4,200m) you have a similar acclimatisation day as you have on the Sirimon ascent, we'll climb to one of the high tarns dotted around the summits in the morning of day 3 and get some much needed R&R in the afternoon and evening before making the early start on the morning of day 4 to go for your summit push to Point Lenana (4,985m). The Naro Moru ascent probably has the most exposed path of all the routes as you approach from the Austrian Hut along the summit ridge, however they’ve recently put in fixed lines (making Mount Kenya the highest current via ferrata route in the world) to give people that confidence to reach the summit without any issues.
Speak to us about your preference, if you have an irrational fear of heights then it may be best to avoid the Naro Moru ascent.
If you are flying in to Kenya then we can help with airport transfers to Naro Moru, evening arrivals will mean at least one night in Nairobi before transferring up to Naro Moru on the western side of Mt Kenya. Accommodation is available in a variety of places, but for the purposes of this itinerary we use a local hotel called Blue Line.
Load up the vehicle(s) for the 50 km drive around the west of the mountain and up to the Sirimon gate. After checking into the park we head off along the vehicle track through the forests hardwood forest. After 15 minutes or so we cross the equator, with a big signpost to let you know you are there! We stop for a picnic lunch at a convenient spot before continuing on up to our first camp at Old Moses (also known as Judmier Camp), where you have good views of the peaks ahead.
We set off across the alpine heath and moorland and traverse around and over a couple of streams and ridges before dropping into the MacKinder Valley. We usually have lunch under a cave-like outcrop before continuing up the valley towards the main peaks. There is a short steeper section as we pass Shipton's Cave and then another as we arrive into Shipton's Camp. Here we again set up camp next to the huts and prepare dinner.
Today is a day hike from Shipton's to aid acclimitisation. There are a few options for this but a good one is to climb up the side of the valley to the West and onto the Hausberg Col. The col sits just next to the main peaks and high above the camp and the valley we walked up the day before. It also allows us to see across to Point Lenana and most of our route for the following day. We then return to Shiptons for lunch, rest and final preparations for our early morning ascent to Point Lenana.
This morning we will be up around 2am to prepare for our night-time ascent to Point Lenana, it is an exhilarating feeling stepping out into the cold under the starlight and crunching up the frozen scree. Passing the bowl of Harris Tarn we skirt above it and then cross an area of bare rock and a small scramble. If we are ahead of schedule there is a small niche/cave where we can huddle up for a rest before continuing to the top. The sun will rise around 6am and after enjoying the spectacular view we drop down the ridge of Lenana on the Naro Moru route to Austrian Hut. The ridge is initially quite narrow in sections but it does get broader as you get closer to Austrian Hut 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 ridge and though they are not really necessary, they can be reassuring. From Austrian Hut we continue down to Mackinder's Camp for brunch and R&R before continuing our descent down the Teleki Valley and the infamous 'Vertical Bog' to reach Met Station and our camp mid-afternoon.
Leaving Met station we follow the track back down through the forest and bamboo to the Naro Moru gate. There are a couple of short sections where the track goes up-hill and this may try your patience a bit but soon enough we will be at the gate. We take the short drive back down to Naro Moru.
It is possible to get back to Nairobi on this date, however if you have time then a couple of days in Naro Moru is well worth it. Aside from our own Moving Mountains projects, Naro Moru offers safe and comfortable accommodation at the Blueline Hotel, some great walks and other activities in the surrounding area, including the Mau Mau caves, a number of excellent restaurants and day visits to the curio shops at the Equator.
|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 trek cost from £1,045.00
There are different park fees depending on the time of year, from the start of March to the end of June is low season in Kenya's National Parks so it's a bit cheaper to climb Mt Kenya during these months, peak season is from the start of July to the end of February. The advertised costs are based on camping on the mountain, it is possible to stay in the huts for 4 x nights using these routes (it is currently £20 per person / night to stay in the huts so a total of £80 per person if you were to stay in the huts for all 4 x nights).
It is normally possible to add or amend dates if the advertised ones don't suit, just drop us an email or click on the 'Ask Us A Question...' box on the website and we'll do everything we can to help. The advertised price is based on a minimum group of 2 people on the trek, please contact us for the single person supplement cost or for extra nights, safari options, etc. Details of the extras that we can provide can be found under 'Mount Kenya optional extra costs'.
- Return transport from the Blueline Hotel in Naro Moru to the trek start / from the trek end (Mt Kenya National Park gates)
- National Park fees, camping fees and park rescue fees
- Park certified guides (ratio of 1:4)
- Porters and cooks, plus equipment for them (porters carry your main bag)
- All group camping equipment including tents
- All meals on the mountain - fresh food, 3 meals per day with hot drinks
- International airfare
- Kenyan Visa
- Vaccinations and malaria tablets required
- Personal expenses and travel insurance
- Airport transfers and / or transfers to and from Naro Moru and any accommodation needed in Nairobi or Naro Moru
- Mountain Staff Tips paid in local currency to main guide for distribution in Naro Moru 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 four weeks before travel.
- Duration 5 days
- Numbers 2 - 16
- Altitude 4985m
- Distance 55 kms
- Challenge Moderate
- Comfort Camping