It may not be the tallest Mountain in Africa but Mt Kenya is definitely a favorite for many Mountain climbers. Apart from the fact that Mt Kenya presents a real but welcome challenge, the journey through the forest and moorland is for many the highlight of the expedition. Here you will be intrigued by the exotic equatorial flora and transition zones from wetland to heather and alpine zones.
Located in central Kenya, just south of the equator, around 150 km (95 miles) north-northeast of Nairobi, Mt Kenya is an extinct volcano with jagged peaks rising to 5,199m. It has three main peaks; Batian, Nelion, and Lenana Peak. Batian and Nelion are permanently iced with snow and small glaciers, and Lenana Peak is a straight forward trekking route.
Serena Mountain Lodge offers technical guided ascents to the Lenana peak standing at 4, 985m, a trek that takes a total of 6 days.
With the very capable guidance from our veteran guide Benson Maina, the climb from the Lodge starts with a 3 hour drive to the Sirimoin gate which stands at 2600 meters. Once you arrive at the gate, you will embark on a three and half hour climb that will take your through the Mt Kenya National forest park and the Bamboo zone as you heap up to the heather Zone where you will arrive at Ol Moses camp at 3300m.
Day two of the climb starts at 0800hrs and should take you through the moorland and lobelia zones to Shiptons Camp which stands at 4200m. During the trek look out for the unique Lobelia vegetation and take in the views of the largest U-shaped valley on Mt Kenya known as the Mackinder Valley.
The third day starts bright and early at 0530hrs to do the summiting as you aim for point Lenana. The climb at this stage involves trekking through the snow at a steep gradient as you make your way to the Lenana Summit at 4985m above sea level. Having had an early start, you should arrive at the summit at 0945hrs which will give you ample time to enjoy the gorgeous views from the mountain.
After having your fill of the views, you will start your return journey heading back to Shiptons camp for breakfast, lunch and overnight stay.
The descent as you make your way back to the Lodge starts as early as 0700hrs on Day 4 moving from Shapton’s camp to Mackinder’s Camp. Along the way look out for the beautiful two tarns, Authors chair as well as the Hauseberg col as you head down to Mackinder’s camp for lunch, and overnight stay. At Mackinders camp enjoy rock hyraxes in their numbers.
Day five will see you descend to Met Station through the beautiful Teleki valley enjoying the beautiful lobelias, through the moorland, Heather zone to the timberline and finally arriving at the Met Station located in the thick bamboo forest for overnight stay at 3, 048m.
Here the guests can look to be entertained by Skye monkeys which can sometimes be cheeky trying to grab anything edible, so watch out. From the Met station, relax into an easy walk through the Bamboo forest to the gallery rain forest where you will emerge at the Narumoru main gate to connect with the vehicle back to the lodge.
After the climb, naturally when asked our guide Benson which of the two African mountains, Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya makes for a more interesting climb.
“Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro each offer beautiful treks and chances for adventure. Trekkers will always be drawn to Kilimanjaro simply because it is the highest mountain on the continent. However, for its many advantages, Mount Kenya may be the perfect choice for a traveler that seeks a wild East African experience with less cost, time, and hassle. Standing on the continent’s highest peak is an experience unique to Kilimanjaro, but the overall experience of trekking Mount Kenya is, in many ways, far greater”, says Benson.