Mt Kenya Overview

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the foothills of Mt. Kenya became inhabited by various Bantu tribes including the Kikuyu, the Meru and the Embu, where the fertile soils and high rainfall suited their practice of intensive agriculture. By the 18th century the Kikuyu were the dominant tribe.

Mt. Kenya was considered sacred to these tribes. To the Kikuyu, who called the mountain, Kirinyaga (meaning White Mountain), it was the home of their god, Ngai. Only tribal elders were allowed onto the mountain and the dead were buried facing the summit. The Kamba called the mountain Kee Nyaa (meaning Place of the Ostrich), from which the English name of the mountain (and the country) were probably derived. It was also sacred to the Maasai because they believe this is where the first Maasai couple descended with their cattle.

The first sighting of the mountain by a European was in 1849 by the German missionary, Ludwig Krapf, but his description of snow-capped peaks on the equator was largely dismissed until in 1883 the Scottish explorer, Joseph Thomson, confirmed Krapf’s story. A few years later, Count Samuel Teleki cut his way through the forest and reached a point above the moorland on the south-west side of the mountain.

Mt. Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian at 5,199 metres (17,057 ft), Nelion at 5,188 metres (17,021 ft) and Point Lenana at 4,985 metres (16,355 ft). Mt. Kenya is located in central Kenya, just south of the equator and 150 kilometres from Nairobi.

Batian was climbed in 1899 by the British mountaineer, Halford Mackinder, the first man known to have been there. Mackinder named the three peaks after Maasai leaders. Nelion, the second highest peak but a much harder climb, was not ascended until 1929 by Eric Shipton.

The glistening peaks, stunning scenery, and cheerful superhuman porters, the sweat and tears that go into a successful trek to the summit is part of the extraordinary and outstanding sense of achievement one experiences from standing on the summit and watching the sun rise over Africa.

Our formula for success is the use of professional guides, well paid porters and crew, going slower, giving enough rest between stages and acclimatization time which also plays a crucial role in mountain climbing overall success. What you eat and where you sleep is also very important. This is well taken care of by Amazing Usambara Trekking.

We provide you with some thrilling opportunities to experience the best of African adventure within a challenging but safe environment. We are professionals in assessing risk and implementing systems to reduce any recognized danger to a minimum.

You can discover a great deal about yourself through this adventure, but only if the experience is of extremely high quality and professionally organized. As such we do what we know we are good at, the results superb. You don’t need to be super human. Average fitness and determination is all it takes.

There are several routes up Mt. Kenya. A team of guides, porters and cooks will make the ascent up Mount Kiliminjaro with you, allowing you to enjoy the experience free from the burden of carrying heavy gear, gathering water, finding your way up the mountain and making meals.

Itineraries can be tailored to suit ones requirements starting from a short 5 days 4 nights trekking to the summits with camping or banda accommodation options.

Mt Kenya Itineraries

Hortensia Adventures is happy and willing to customize an itinerary to fit your schedule and desires. As a starting point, here are some of the best choices for many people.

5 Days IN: Sirimon Route / OUT: Siriman Route

5 Days IN: Sirimon Route / OUT: Siriman Route

Mt Kenya Treks - Amazing Usambara TrekkingDay 1
Day 1: Nairobi to Old Moses

Leave Nairobi at 8am and drive through the Central Highlands to arrive at Nanyuki by 11am. Have lunch and proceed to Sirimon Gate. Check in and start hiking through the rain forest to Old Moses Camp at 3300m. The distance is 9kms and it takes 3hrs.

Day 2: Old Moses to Shipton’s Camp

Breakfast is served at 7am. Hike through the Likii and Mackinder’s Valleys to Shipton’s Camp at 4200m. Lunch is served en route. The distance to Shipton’s Camp from old Moses camp is 17kms it takes 6-7 hours, Dinner overnight at the camp.

Day 3: Peak Circuit, Acclimatization day

After breakfast start the peak circuit, ascending to a steep ridge through Kami Hut, Hausberg Tarn and Two Tarns. This will take 4 hours. Return to Shipton’s Camp and relax after lunch. Later, take dinner overnight at the camp in preparation for the summit day.

Day 4: Point Lenana

Wake at 2.30am for tea and biscuits and proceed to Point Lenana at 4985m. This takes 3 hours, arriving in time for sunrise. Afterwards descend to Shipton’s Camp for full breakfast. Leave at 10am for Old Moses for dinner and overnight.

Day 5: Old Moses to Nairobi

After breakfast leave camp for park gate, then drive to Nanyuki for lunch afterwards drive back to Nairobi arriving in the late afternoon.

5 Days IN: Sirimon Route / OUT: Naru Moru Route

5 Days IN: Sirimon Route / OUT: Naru Moru Route

Mt Kenya Treks - Amazing Usambara Trekking

Day 1: Nairobi to Nanyuki (Acclimatization day)

Leave Nairobi in the morning, crossing the equator and arriving at Nanyuki in the early afternoon. After lunch proceed to the forest for a nature walk and then return to hotel for dinner and overnight. This place is good for acclimatization.

Day 2: Nanyuki to Old Moses

Proceed for one hour drive to Sirimon Gate 2460m. Check in here and start walking for 9km to Judmaier Camp at 3350m. This is a 3hrs walk, Dinner overnight at the Old Moses bandas.

Day 3: Judmaier to Shipton’s Camp

After breakfast proceed across Ontulilli river straight to Liki North river, to the top ridge and down to Mackinder’s Valley and Shipton’s Camp at 4200m. This is a 17kms walk which takes 6-7 hrs, picnic lunch is served on the way, Dinner overnight at Shipton’s.

Day 4: Point Lenana

Wake at 2.30am. Have tea and biscuits and start ascending at 3am. This is a 755m ascent towards a steep ridge of screen passing the Square Tarn until you reach Point Lenana at 4985m. You get here at around 6.30am for the sunrise. If weather is clear, Mount Kilimanjaro Kibo and Mawenzi peaks are visible. After sunrise and photo session, proceed down to Mackinder’s Camp for breakfast and then 14kms to Met Station for dinner overnight.

Day 5: Met Station to Nairobi

Depart at 7.30am and walk for 9km through the rain forest to the park gate and take transport back to Nairobi.

6 Days: IN:Sirimon Route / OUT: Chogoria Route.

6 Days: IN:Sirimon Route / OUT: Chogoria Route.

Mt Kenya Treks - Amazing Usambara Trekking

Day 1: Nairobi to Sirimon

Leave Nairobi at 9am. Arrive at a Nanyuki hotel and later after lunch, proceed to Mau Mau caves for a 10km nature walk. Dinner overnight at a hotel

Day 2: Sirimon Gate to Old Moses

After breakfast leave at 8.30am for a one hour drive to Sirimon Gate. Follow the track as it winds uphill through the forest and then across a small stream. This is a 9kms, 3.5 hrs walk to Judmaier Camp at 3340m, Dinner overnight at the camp bandas.

Day 3: Old Moses to Shipton’s Camp

Judmaier Camp to Shipton’s Camp is a 15km walk taking 6-7 hours, an ascent of 890m. After breakfast leave at 7.30am going uphill for one hour to the junction of Likii North, crossing Ontulilli river and go to the top ridge overlooking Mackinder’s Valley. After mid-day picnic lunch, proceed to Shipton’s Camp at 4200m for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Point Lenana

Wake at 2.30am. Have tea and biscuits and start ascending at 3am. Ascend 755m towards a steep ridge of scree passing the Square Tarn until you reach Point Lenana at 4985m. You get here at around 6.30am in time for the sunrise. If weather is clear, Mount Kilimanjaro Kibo and Mawenzi peaks are visible. Descend down to Mintos Hut at 4200m for full breakfast. Thereafter proceed to the Gorges Valley, after lunch visit the Temples and Vivian falls, Dinner and overnight by Lake Michaelson.

Day 5: Michaelson to Chogoria Bandas

After breakfast, descend to Chogoria bandas as you see Lake Ellis, Mugi Hills, Vivien Falls and the Giant Billiards Table at a distance. Have picnic lunch at the road head and arrive at the bandas in early evening for a long deserved hot shower, dinner overnight.

Day 6: Chogoria to Nairobi

After breakfast, descend for a 10kms walk through the bamboo forest, you are picked up by 4×4 vehicle to Chogoria town and later transferred to Nairobi.

7 Days: IN: Chogoria Route/ OUT: Naro Moru Route

7 Days: IN: Chogoria Route/ OUT: Naro Moru Route

Mt Kenya Treks - Amazing Usambara Trekking

Day 1: Nairobi – Chogoria

After breakfast leave Nairobi for Chogoria town arriving in time for lunch at the Transit Hotel. The journey takes 3.5 to 4 hours. Afternoon will be spent walking around the town for acclimatization, Dinner overnight at the Transit Hotel.

Day 2: Chogoria – Meru Mount Kenya Lodge (Bandas)

After breakfast, take a 4×4 vehicle to the edge of the bamboo forest and start trekking through the dense forest for 10 km up to the bandas for lunch. The afternoon will be spent by within the lodge where beautiful sceneries can be enjoyed, Dinner overnight at the bandas.

Day 3: Meru Mount Kenya Lodge (Bandas) to Lake Ellis

After breakfast, leave the lodge for Lake Ellis via the road head, a distance of 12 km. Picnic lunch is served en-route, dinner overnight at Lake Ellis campsite.

Day 4: Lake Ellis to Mintos Hut

After breakfast, do steady climb to Mintos Hut. You will enjoy spectacular views of the Gorges Valley, Macmillan Peaks, the majestic Nelion, 5188m and Batian, 5199mtrs peaks the two Mt. Kenya main peaks, Dinner overnight at the Mintos Hut.

Day 5: Mintos Hut to Austrian Hut

After breakfast ascends to Hall Tarn the path aims westwards towards the main peaks. Keep to the left of Harris Tarn, where the path contours around the head of the Hobley Valley and rises slightly to reach the Austrian Hut. Dinner a overnight at the Austrian Hut.

Day 6: Austrian Hut-Point Lenana – Mackinders Camp to Met Station

After a pre-dawn breakfast, leave at 5.45am for the summit arriving at 6.30 am for the sunrise. Mt. Kilimanjaro and the coast line may be viewed if weather is clear. After 15 minutes of photography, descend via Austrian Hut to Mackinders camp for full breakfast. Thereafter, descend to Met Station arriving in time for lunch. Dinner overnight at the Met Station Lodge.

Day 7: Met Station – Gate – Nairobi

After breakfast leave Met Station and descend to the Naro Moru Park Gate a distance of 10 km to connect for transport back to Nairobi and arriving in the afternoon.

8 Days: TECHNICAL CLIMB (SUMMIT ATTEMPT)

8 Days: TECHNICAL CLIMB (SUMMIT ATTEMPT)

Mt Kenya Treks - Amazing Usambara Trekking

Batian, Mount Kenya, North Face Standard Route
This itinerary is suitable for the summer to fall climbing season when the North Face of the peak is relatively snow-free and climbing conditions are best.

Day 1: Nairobi, Nanyuki Town, Sirimon Gate Old Moses Camp

Leave Nairobi for a 3.5 hour trip to Nanyuki where lunch is had. Meet our staff and make final preparations and continue the journey to the mountain. With porter support, trek to Old Moses Camp at 3300m (This involves about a 1 to 2 hour drive and a walk of about 3.5 hours.

Day 2: Old Moses to Shipton’s Camp

Trek to Shipton’s Camp 4236m. You have the option of staying in the hut, or sleep in your own tents. The tents offer a bit of privacy and quiet from the often busy hut. Either way, our cook will use the hut’s facilities and we will take our meals at tables and benches inside the hut.

Day 3: Shiptons Camp to Mackinder’s Camp 4300mtrs (Peak Circuit)

Begin a trekking circumnavigation of the peak. This two-day trek reveals all sides of this complex peak, crossing several high passes. It also gives th body a chance to acclimatize in preparation for the actual ascent. Going counterclockwise, cross the Hausberg Col at 4591m, then pass between Oblong and Hausberg Tarns. Then it is up to Nanyuki and Two Tarn before descending to Mackinder’s Camp on the SW side of the peak, at about 4200m.

Day4: Mackinders Camp, Point Lenana 4895mtrs- Shiptons camp (peaks Circuit)

Rise up early and continue trekking up to Top Hut (Austrian Hut), 4800m. Proceed to make a final short ascent of Point Lenana, 4985m, and then go straight down the northwest side back to Shipton’s Camp by passing Harris Tarn. Point Lenana is the common trekker’s Mount Kenya “summit”. Our trekking crew will go around Point Lenana on its east side while we climb.

Day 5: Point Peter or Dutton or Rest

You have the option of either resting for one day or climbing a short route on either Point Peter or Point Dutton. In either case, you also prepare for the climb of Batian the following morning.

Day 6: Summit Attempt

Ascent of Batian by the North Face Standard Route. Starting before dawn, usually between 4 and 5 am, you may climb the first couple of pitches by headlamp. The route initially follows a wide contour which you ascend for some 7 pitches, never harder than 5.7. A bit of easy scrambling brings you to the Amphitheater, a small basin of easy rock part way up the route. Ideally you arrive here by about 7.30am and enjoying a late “breakfast” and a short break. Above this is the crux of the route, Firmin’s Tower. There are about 3 difficult pitches, all fairly short, but all in the 5.8 to 5.9 range. Above this, easier terrain leads to a few more pitches and finally, the west ridge. From this point, we continue on easy, but still exposed, rock to Shipton’s Notch, a prominent gash in the summit ridge. Another pitch, then mixed 4th and easy 5th class rock leads to the airy summit of Batian. Descent is by the same route, with a few minor variations. If we are quick we can arrive back in Shipton’s Camp before evening dusk.

Day 7: Extra Day, Just in Case of Bad weather

To be sure we get the conditions we need; we have added an additional day into this itinerary.

Day 8: Shiptons Camp to Chogoria bandas

Use the Chogoria route because we believe it is the most spectacular on the peak. The trek out begins with a climb up to Simba Col (where porters once swore they saw a lion, hence the name) then a quick descent to the Hall Tarns. From here we follow the backbone of a ridge, overlooking the beautiful Gorges Valley. Loosing elevation we leave the high moorlands and enter into the forest belt which surrounds Mount Kenya. As we approach the rustic cabins of Meru Mount Kenya Lodge (our destination for the night) we are likely to see Cape buffalo, as well as Bush Buck or Water Buck, and tracks of other wild animals. The Bandas, as the cabins are called, are a welcome luxury after our stay on the mountain. With hot showers (after the water is wood-fire heated) and a fine evening fire, we enjoy dinner and the thick, fragrant air of the jungly lower elevations. In the evening we can make a short hike with our Kenyan guide, looking for additional wildlife and exploring the immediate area around our cabins.

Day 9: Chogoria bandas to Nairobi

There is a rough 4 wheel drive road which leads up to the Lodge. We may choose to hike the first hour or so, enjoying the thick bamboo forest. We often see elephant tracks, and signs of many other wild animals. After a bit of time, our Land Rover catches up to us, and we pile in and continue the drive to Chogoria town on the east side of Mount Kenya. Once on the main road, we switch to a more comfortable vehicle, for the additional 4 hours drive to Nairobi. Back to a Nairobi hotel we enjoy the comforts of civilization and a fine dinner.