Climbing Mount Kenya is one of the top activities for adventure seekers in Kenya. Reaching the peak may be a challenge but the views make it well worth the effort.
Mount Kenya is the second-highest peak in Africa, the tallest being Kilimanjaro. Many visitors opt for Mount Kenya instead of its higher neighbor as there are fewer crowds and often better accommodation options available.
There are certain factors to take into consideration when planning such an activity including the possible routes and other practical considerations.
This article provides a complete guide to visiting one of the most important national parks in Kenya, including how to get there, possible hiking routes, and how many days it takes to climb Mount Kenya.
How to Get to Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya is 200 km northeast of Nairobi. Travelers arriving from overseas can fly into Jomo Kenyatta International airport. International visitors are reminded that they need to obtain the correct visa for Kenya, citizens of most countries can apply for a Kenya eVisa.
The Kenya eVisa is valid for stays of up to 30 days, and can be extended to up to 6 months, allowing tourists to incorporate a trip to Mount Kenya into a longer trip.
To travel to Mount Kenya from the airport it’s possible to take either a bus or private transport to the trail start point. Visitors who have arranged a guided tour may be met at the airport by their expert guide. This is the recommended option for beginners who want to get the most out of the experience.
How long does it take to get to Mount Kenya from Nairobi?
To drive from Nairobi city center to Mount Kenya National Park takes under 2 hours.
Road conditions are generally good, travelers who wish to reach Mt. Kenya from the city center of Nairobi can hire a car, a car with a driver, or use a minibus service.
Mount Kenya Has 3 Main Peaks
Mount Kenya can be tackled by climbers with different levels of experience. There are 3 principal peaks, how difficult the ascent is depends on which one is selected.
- Elevation: 17,057 feet (5,199 m), the highest peak
- Difficulty: suitable for advanced climbers and mountaineers
- Elevation: 17,021 feet (5,188 m)
- Difficulty: slightly less challenging than Batian but still requires experience
- Elevation: 16,354 feet (4,985 m)
- Difficulty: the easiest option, physical fitness required but no special climbing skills
Rock climbing equipment is required to ascend the Nelion and Batian peaks which should only be attempted by experienced climbers.
Around 15,000 people visit Mount Kenya National Park each year, the vast majority climb Point Lenana.
Routes to Climb Mount Kenya
As the lowest and least challenging of the 3 peaks, most tourists opt to climb Point Lenana. There are several different trails, many visitors combine 2 different paths so that they can enjoy different routes on ascent and descent.
Sirimon route: the easiest way to climb Mount Kenya
This is the least physically demanding option and one one the most popular ways to trek Mount Kenya. Taking at least 2 days to reach the top, although most hikers take an extra day in order to enjoy a steadier ascent.
Climbers can spend their first night at Old Moses Camp which is situated at an altitude of 10,800 feet, and Shipton’s camp on the second night at 13,800 feet.
Naro Moru Route: the most direct route to the top of Mount Kenya
Naro Moru is the shortest trail to Point Lenana’s peak. Being the most direct route, it includes some steep climbs and is, therefore, most popular for making the descent.
Naro Moru is a great option for hikers interested in seeing a wide range of vegetation, it is more scenic than Sirimon Route.
Although the route can be completed in a day, it’’s recommendable to spread the trail across 2 days, spending the night at Met Station (10,006 feet) or Mackinder’s Camp (13,779 feet).
Climbers should be aware that part of the route, known as the vertical bog, can become waterlogged in the rainy season. Start early to avoid the afternoon rainfall.
Burguret: the wilderness path in Mount Kenya
The Burguret route is used much less than the Sirimon or Naro Moru routes. Just a few companies offer Burguret tours making it the ideal option for hikers who want to enjoy the wilderness.
As there is less footfall along this track, it is more challenging in parts and often overgrown with vegetation. It takes at least 3 days to complete, the nights will be spent in a hut.
Other ways to climb Mount Kenya
- Chogoria route
- Timau route
- Batian and Nelion technical climbs
How Much Does it Cost to Hike Mount Kenya?
How much it costs to climb Mount Kenya depends on the length of the climb. Current Mount Kenya conservation fees are as follows:
- Day trip: $30 USD
- 3-day package: $85
- 4-day package: $110
- 5-day package: $140
Children can enter the national park at a reduced cost, visiting the park is a suitable activity for family holidays in Kenya. Climbers using a guide need to add on this cost which will depend on the route and the duration of the stay.