Mount Kenya trek
Mount Kenya trek
Sirimon and Naro Moru route
The beautiful, snow capped peak of Mount Kenya is the second highest point in Africa at 5199m. It is a challenging and popular destination for trekkers and climbers. The main summit is called Batian and the second summit Nelion (5188m), both of which are technical climbs; but a third peak, Lenana, at 4985m is more accessible and a very feasible goal for fit people.
Whether your interest is in climbing the technical peaks or trekking to Point Lenana, the Mount Kenya trek represents a lovely and special challenge for the adventurer and hiker. It is a perennial favourite, entirely feasible for the hill walker looking to combine a high mountain adventure with going to Africa.
Mt Kenya is its own National Park which is a simply stunning landscape with interesting and often endemic flora and flora as well as its soaring jagged summit peaks and glaciers. It offers a more gentle approach to trekking/climbing than Kilimanjaro and differs in that there is a great deal more wildlife to be spotted!
From a distance, the jagged volcanic peaks stand at the centre of an eroded volcanic dome cut by radial valleys and ridges and standing proudly over the plains and savannah below. Elephant, black Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Colobus monkey, antelope and Giant Forest Hog can be seen in the foothills of the 228 sq. mile national 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 giving the slopes an alpine desert appearance and a striking feel, almost as if it is from another world.
We offer private climbs at no extra cost and will work with groups or individuals to create the perfect tailormade holiday.
Mount Kenya trek itinerary
|1||Arrive in Nairobi and drive to Naro Moru town|
|2||Rest, briefings and preparation in Naro Moru|
|3||Drive to Sirimon Gate. Trek to Old Moses Camp|
|4||Trek: Old Moses Camp to Shipton's Camp|
|5||Trek: Shiptons to Hausberg Col & back to Shiptons|
|6||Trek: Shiptons to Point Lenana. Descend to MacKinders Hut then Met Station|
|7||Trek: Met Station to Naro Moru gate. Drive: Gate to hotel in Naro Moru|
|8||Drive: Naro Moru to Nairobi to depart or for onward travel|
|1||SL:1680m||3 hrs||Arrive in Kenya (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport) where you will be met by some of our staff and transfered by road to Naro Moru town on the slopes of Mt Kenya (3hrs). Here we use the cosy and friendly Blue Line hotel which has chalet style accommodation and great meals.|
|2||SL:2035m||n/a||We relax today and will go on some lovely local walks when you can also visit some of the projects undertaken by our charity Moving Mountains. You will also meet your mountains guides and have a briefing. A great day to relax after the flights and stretch out your legs.|
|3||ST:2440m SL:3300m||4 hours, 9kms||After a leisurely start and brunch we proceed to Sirimon Gate by road. From the gate we follow the track as it winds uphill though the forest which becomes heathland after about 3 hours. About 4 hours from the gate the track veers right to Old Moses Camp (also known as Judmier Camp).|
|4||ST:3300m SL:4200m||8 hours, 14 kms||After about one hour from Old Moses Camp cross the Ontulili River, contouring through moorland and resting at Liki North (4000m) for lunch. Continue uphill to Mackinders Valley from where there are panoramic views all 3 main peaks. Overnight at Shipton Camp.|
|5||ST:4200m HP:4590m SL4200m||4 hours, 4 kms||Acclimatisation/rest day - possible walk to Kami Hut and down to Hauseberg Lakes (Hauseberg Tarn and Nanyuki Tarn) and back to Shiptons Camp.|
|6||ST:4200m HP:4985m SL:3050m||12 hours, 19kms||Early start (1am) to summit Point Lenana (4985m) for sunrise, with possible views of Kilimanjaro in the distance, dropping back down to Mackinderâ€™s Camp for breakfast and a shorrt R&R before continuing down Teleki Valley and the infamous 'Vertical Bog' to reach Met Station mid-afternoon.|
|7||ST:3050m SL:2035m||3 hours, 9 kms||Final trek through the Bamboo forest to reach the Naro Moru Park Gate (2600m) and transfer back to the Blueline Hotel.|
|8||SL:1680m||Either return to Nairobi to depart Kenya or continue your visit with our 5 day 4 night safari experience which takes in Sweetwaters, Nakuru National Park, Naivasha and Hells Gate.|
The best months to climb Mount Kenya are traditionally January to March and June to October, and these are popular times to climb with temperatures in Naro Moru averaging 25 degrees C and summit temperatures around - 5 degrees C.
The rains are in April, May and November but nowadays climate change has changed this pattern greatly. December is now often warmer and drier with clear skies.
We run scheduled open dates but with our own staff, vehicles and equipment in Kenya we are able to cater for bespoke dates for groups, couples or individuals. We can also extend and alter the general itineraries to include extra days or visiting extra parts of the mountain. Please do get in contact with us to discuss options.
Mount Kenya trek cost from £995.00 per person
Full ground price for the Sirimon/Naro Moru route based on minimum of 4 people (please ask for rates for smaller groups)
- Accommodation in Naro Moru for 3 nights in the Blueline Hotel (twin, full board)
- Transport to and from Naro Moru
- Jeep or shuttle transport to the mountain gates from and to the Blueline Hotel
- Park fees, camping fees and park rescue fees
- Park certified guides (ratio of 1:4) and assistant guides/company reps
- Porters and cooks, plus equipment for them
- All group camping equipment including sleeping tents
- Meals on the mountain - fresh food, 3 meals per day
- Bottled water when not on the mountain (water on the mountain is provided at each camp)
- International airfare to Nairobi Airport
- Kenyan Visa, purchased on arrival (~£30)
- Vaccinations and malaria tablets (~£50-£75)
- Personal expenses
- Travel insurance (~ £60)
- Upgrade to Mountain Hut accommodation (see options below)
- Tips (~£30) paid in local currency only to main guide for distribution at the Blueline Hotel
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 reduce to around 50% 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 hotel just outside Naro Moru 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 member of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO).
We advise you to take out your insurance as soon as possible to cover potential events that might cause you to cancel your trip.
You need to ensure that you have a policy which covers trekking to 4985m, but it does not need to cover technical climbing. You should bring with you a copy of your policy and ensure your tent mate knows where you keep it. Please see our specific Insurance Advice page for more information.
Mount Kenya trek fitness
To climb to Point Lenana on Mount Kenya you don't need to be a super-fit athlete nor an 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 on the legs.
Terrain on the Mount Kenya trek
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 descent ridge from Point Lenana towards Austrian Hut which although not by any means necessary, is available for additional support.
The descents from the Hausberg Col 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.
Mount Kenya trek kit list
The basic idea of your kit is to keep you warm, dry, protected and comfortable from the sun and rain. The main principles are:-
- BAGS - A duffle type bag for general use and leaving gear in Naro Moru, A Rucksack for a porter to carry your kit on the mountain and a small pack for carrying items with you during the day.
- 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)
- 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.
Distance covered on the Mount Kenya trek
The entire climb and descent covers a minimum of 55km and the routes traverse the mountain. If you choose to ascend or descend using Chogoria then expect to add a further 5 km on to the distance covered.
Height gained during Mount Kenya trek
Day Start Level Daily High Point Sleep Level
Day One 2440m 3300m 3300m
Day Two 3300m 4200m 4200m
Day Three 4200m 4590m 4200m
Day Four 4200m 4985m 3050m
Day Five 3050m 3050m 2035m
Camps used on the Mount Kenya trek
Old Moses (also known as Judmier Camp) is very lucky to be standing after a devastating forest fire recently came close to engulfing Old Moses. Fortunately that didn't happen and the forest is starting to recover but do not expect to see the wildlife that is described in many guide books, you will however get a glimpse of the summit of Batian Peak on a clear evening. There is some mobile coverage here and it is quite easy to descend back to the gate if necessary. The camping ground is on grass next to the stone dorm style buildings and ranger station though don't expect much from the long drop toilets.
Shiptons Camp is located in a more barren landscape with a few giant groundsels dotted around and rock hyrax scavanging for dropped food. The camp has incredible views of all 3 peaks and reasonably good long drop toilets. There is very limited mobile coverage at Shiptons and similarly to Old Moses, the camping ground is next to the stone dorm style buildings and ranger station.
Met Station is located in the bamboo forest on the Naro Moru route, with a grass clearing used for camping. Although there are no views of the summit at Met it makes up for this by having an abundance of wildlife in and around the camp. At night it is not unusual for the campsite to be over-run with herds of buffalo grazing on the open grass and there are plenty of monkey's, birdlife and other wildlife in the bamboo forest that surrounds the camp. There is some mobile coverage and it is easy to descend to the park gate from here if necessary.
Staffing on the Mount Kenya trek
We pride ourselves on having excellent staff and team leaders, who have worked with us for many years – that’s why our trips are so popular! In Kenya we have a comprehensive set-up of suitably qualified and experienced people who have proven their skills and ability in the field over many years.
Cyrus Maina is our main Guide on Mount Kenya and he has been leading our climbs for well over a decade now, all the staff we use are from the Tigithi/Naro Moru region of Mount Kenya and we have built up a reliable and strong team of porters, cooks and assistant guides over the years.
We give our staff in excess of the recommended wage and also have proven policies for payment and tipping. This means that you are not hassled by people looking for handouts at the end of the trip, and the staff themselves are happier. We also provide a development programme for the guides and cooks, including first aid training and regular visits from International Mountain Leaders to help improve service and mountain management.
Mount Kenya Summit Circuit
Mount Kenya Traverse
Mt Kilimanjaro Machame Route
- Duration 8 days
- Numbers 4 - 15
- Altitude 4985m
- Distance 55 kms
- Challenge Moderate
- Comfort Camping or Huts