Hiking Mount Kenya / Chogoria – Sirimon Route
Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya. It straddles the equator and the entire mountain contour forms the Mt. Kenya National Park. Hiking mount Kenya is for those who are not content to simply enjoy the view of the mountain from the foothills it’s rather meant for the strong and those willing to take the challenge of climbing the mountain to the top while enjoying various breathtaking vistas.
Scaling the mountain’s heights is a feat that takes plenty of perseverance and it’s important to under go acclimatization before climbing the mountain to reduce the risk of altitude sickness.
We hike on the chogoria route while ascending and sirimon route as we descend. Our climbing expedition can be under taken privately accompanied by the mountain guide and porters or in group subject to availability.
We will spend the nights in mountain huts. We buy fresh produce and other food locally, and to ensure high standards of hygiene the food is prepared by our own staff. We can cater for special dietary requirements with advance notice at no extra charge.
You only require bottled water on the first and last day. The other days we will boil water or add purifying tablets then filter using MSR water filtering pump before refilling in your water bottles in the morning.
Hiking Mount Kenya Itinerary
Nairobi – Chogoria
A representative from goshawk tours will meet you at your hotel or pick you up from the airport and he or she will introduce you to mountain guide. The guide will brief you on what to expect on hiking mount Kenya.
Depart Nairobi and travel to Chogoria town through the Great North road passing the central province of Kenya arriving in time for lunch. Dinner and over night at a budget hotel in Chogoria town.
Chogoria – Mount Kenya Bandas
After breakfast your mountain guide will introduced You to the porters and the cook and together drive from chogoria village using a 4×4 land cruiser to where the forest clears. Begin your days hike from this point, the track can some time be very muddy as you make your way to Mount Meru Bandas; you will encounter breadth taking views over areas such as Ithanguni and the Giant’s Billiards Table arrivin in good time for lunch.
A great variety of wild life may be seen in the vicinity of the bandas especially in the early morning or evening; game to encounter include buffaloes, bucks, antelopes and monkeys. Dinner and over night at Mount Meru Bandas [2950m].
[Time: 3 hours] Covering eight kilometres.
Mount Kenya Bandas – Lake Ellis Camp
After breakfast begin the day’s hike to Lake Ellis following the track as it leads up through glades of montaine forest. The views of Mugi, Ithanguni and the Giants Billiards Table are very scenic arriving the campsite in time for lunch.
The camp is set on the shores of Lake Ellis [3400m]. In the afternoon we will acclimatize by climbing ugi Hill [3500m] then descend to the camp for dinner and over night.
[Time: 3 to 4 hours] Covering nine kilometres.
Lake Ellis Camp – Mintos Hut
After breakfast start hiking in the open moorland where you will find different and interesting kind of flora like the giant lobelia, Giant Senacio and Gladiolas; hot lunch en route. Gorges Valley is a major feature on the Chogoria Route.
We will arrive Mintos Hut [4200m] in the afternoon and after resting a bit we will visit the temple view point which is a large hanging buttress over looking Lake Michaelson, close to Hall Tarns. Dinner and over night at Mintos hut.
[Time: 4 to 5 hours] Covering thirteen kilometres.
Mintos Hut – Point Lenana – Old Moses Camp
Today you will face the most demanding stretch of the trek. Wake up very early at 2:30am and have a light breakfast; coffee or tea with some biscuits, depart camp and start ascending towards Point Lenana [4985m] through a steep stony quarry that cuts through a cliff clearing visible part towards lower Hall Tarns arriving point lenana by sun rise. Mt. Kilimanjaro Kibo and Mawenzi peaks are visible as the day gets clear from this point.
The ascend takes about three hours; after enjoying the view and taking some photos of your victory of summiting Mount Kenya begin descending to shimpton camp [4200m] where your full breakfast will be served.
After wards descend further down to Old Moses [3300m] for much needed rest, dinner and over night. The descent walk takes about six hours.
[Time: 9 to 10 hours] Covering twenty one kilometres.
Old Moses Camp – Nairobi
The home stretch is here, after breakfast descend down through the rainforest to sirimon park gate [2650m] where you will sign out.
Transfer to Nanyuki town for lunch and later travel back to Nairobi arriving late afternoon. Drop off at a hotel in Nairobi or the airport to board a flight to your next destination.
[Time: 2 to 3 hours] Covering nine kilometres.
- Transport to and from the base of the mountain.
- Park entrance fees.
- Accommodation in mountain huts.
- Meals as described in the itinerary.
- Services of a mountain guide, porters & a cook.
- Rescue fee.
- H.F Radio communication for backup in case of an emergency.
- All government taxes.
- International airfares.
- Climbing equipments.
- All expenditure of personal nature such as telephone calls, hard drinks, soft drinks and laundry.
- Travel Insurance.
Hiking Mount Kenya Accommodation
Chogoria bandas are located on Mount Kenya at an elevation of 3000m. The accommodation is basic with dormitory-style huts. Each hut (banda) provides beds with clean sheets, blankets and towels.
Most climbers spend the first night at chogoria bandas while hiking on the Chogoria route.
Minto’s hut is located at an altitude of 4200m on Mt Kenya. Accommodation is in form of dormitory style with basic cooking facilities. Other facilities include a long drop toilet. There is the option of camping on the ground.
Judmaier Camp which is also known as Old Moses Camp is built at an altitude of 3300 meters on Mount Kenya. At the Old Moses you have the option of sleeping in dormitory like bunkers or camping in the spacious grounds surrounding it.
The hut has a kitchen and dining area plus a clean and well maintained bathroom. Old Moses Mountain Hut is where most hikers spend their first night of the trek.
Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro located 175 km north east of Nairobi in central and eastern province of Kenya. The mountain is surrounded by a forest reserve and together they make up the Mount Kenya National Park which was gazetted in the year 1949 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Mount Kenya is the source of the name of the Republic of Kenya.
Mount Kenya stands at 5199 meters (17,057 ft) and the park covers an area of 750km2. Mount Kenya was once a volcano created 3 million years ago. It is estimated to have been 23,000 ft tall but has since eroded to 17,000 ft. Glaciation has coursed erosion of the slopes creating glaciers (small lakes). The lower slopes of the mountain have been glaciated and are now cultivated or forested, they are distinguished by V shaped valleys.
The higher part of the mountain which is now moorland is distinguished by U shaped valleys. There are about 11 small glacier on the mountain. Mount Kenya has three major peaks namely Batian at 5199 meters, Nelion at 5188 meters and Lenana at 4,985 meters. Batian and Nelion are only 250 meters apart separated by the “Gates of Mist”.
Mount Kenya is one of the five most significant water towers in Kenya that the country depends on for her water supply. It provides water for about 50% of the country’s population and produces 70% of Kenya’s hydroelectric power. There are two major rivers that originate from this water catchment namely Tana River and Ewaso Ng’iro River. Mount Kenya has different zones depending on the altitude.
The base of the mountain is characterized by fertile farmland, followed by montane forest. Above the forest is a belt of bamboo. This zone is almost continuous, but is restricted to small isolated bunches in the north because of low rainfall. Above the bamboo is the timberline forest. The trees here are often smaller than the trees in the forests lower down the mountain. At around 3000m the vegetation turns to heath land and chaparral which paves way for Afro-alpine zone which begins at 3500m, the air here is drier and thinner.
Many of the species here are endemic, with adaptations to the cold and fluctuating temperatures. Typical plants here include giant groundsels (senecios) and giant lobelias. At 4500m we have the nival zone which is characterized by an area that has minimal or no vegetation whatsoever and has been glaciated.
There are eight walking routes up to the main peaks. Starting clockwise from the north these are the: Meru, Chogoria, Kamweti, Naro Moru, Burguret, Sirimon and Timau Routes.Of these Chogoria, Naro Moru and Sirimon and used most frequently and therefore have staffed gates. The other routes require special permission from the Kenya Wildlife Service to use.
MOUNT KENYA ROUTES
The Chogoria route leads from Chogoria town up to the peaks circuit path. It heads through the forest to the south-east of the mountain to the moorland, with views over areas such as Ithanguni and the Giant’s Billiards Table before following the Gorges Valley past the Temple and up to Simba Col below Point Lenana. The Mountain Club of Kenya claims that Ithanguni and the Giant’s Billards Table offer some of the best hillwalking in Kenya.
The Naro Moru route is taken by many of the trekkers who try to reach Point Lenana. It can be ascended in only 3 days and has bunkhouses at each camp. The route starts at Naro Moru town to the west of the mountain and climbs towards Mackinder’s Camp on the Peak Circuit Path. The terrain is usually good, although one section is called the Vertical Bog.
The Sirimon route approaches Mount Kenya from the north-west. The path splits on the moorlands, with the more frequently used fork following the Mackinder Valley and the quieter route traversing into the Liki North Valley. The paths rejoin at Shipton’s Cave just below Shipton’s Camp on the Peak Circuit Path.
Mount Kenya is regarded as a holy mountain by all the communities (Kikuyu and Meru) living adjacent to it. They believe that their traditional God Ngai and his wife Mumbi live on the peak of the mountain and use it for their traditional rituals.
CLIMBING GEAR & EQUIPMENTS
- Walking trousers synthetic material is recommended.
- Long Underwear Tops – Light synthetic.
- Women’s sports bras Synthetic material.
- Light fleece with a warm layer.
- Long sleeve polypropylene shirt.
- Medium weight polypropylene/thermal leggings.
- Wind – waterproof – breathable jacket.
- Gloves- light weight.
- Warm Hat or Balaclava Sun hat – wool or synthetic.
- Face mask or neck gaiter.
- Medium or large duffel bag to pack your town clothes with a lock, this can be left at the hotel or we can store them for you.
- Medium duffel bag to pack your hiking stuff with a lock. [ The porter will carry this bag. ]
- A day pack to store your essentials with a capacity of about 25 to 35 liters is recommended.
- Walking/hiking shoes – comfortable and waterproof.
- Socks – Fitting socks one thick and one thin pair.
- Head lamp with extra batteries & bulbs.
- Adjustable trekking poles.
- Sleeping bag – Rated 3 – season.
- Gaiters – make sure they will fit over boots.
- Purification tablets or filters – water for drinking is fetched from mountain streams.
- Water bottle preferably one litre.
- Female or male hygiene supplies.
- Hand wipes and camp towel.
- Personal toiletry kit.
- Lip balm.
- Sun glasses.
- Camera & extra battries.
- Passport, flight ticket, travel insurance, visa, cash & credit card.
- Basecamp entertainment i.e books, board games, playing cards or ipod.
- Favorite Snacks, candy bars or protein bars.
Kindly don’t forget your patience, have an open mind, positive and relaxed attitude as things in this part of the world may be very different to what you are accustomed to but in the end the experience is price less and will always be memorable.