Climb Mount Kenya

Summit an extinct volcano and take on Kenya’s tallest mountain

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Towering at 5,199m, climbing Mount Kenya’s slopes takes you on a tour of it’s near 20 million-year history.

Lying south of the African equator, this stratovolcano may not have erupted for three million years, but its volcanic landscape retains its might. Roaming through the 715 square kilometres of Mount Kenya National Park, established in 1997, you can explore lush forests, trace burbling streams and discover glassy mountain lakes.

Ascending the mountain, there are 11 glaciers that carve a frozen path through the upper slopes - a reminder of the ice cap that once covered it - as well as the rocky remains of lava flows as you near Point Lenana (4,985m).

Trekking Mount Kenya is possible year-round, but January and February are the driest months, making for better visibility and climbing conditions. Several routes navigate the mountain, each taking four days or more with steep sections that you could be tackling in sub-zero temperatures and snow. The trek to Point Lenana is relatively accesible, but to reach the higher peaks of Batian and Nelion you’ll need technical climbing experience.

Enlist the help of a local guide and choose from one of our handpicked itineraries to choose the best route for you.

Sirimon Route

This trail approaches Point Lenana, the highest trekkable point on Mount Kenya, from north to east and takes four days to complete. Don’t be tempted to rush along the path, which offers a comparatively even ascent, in order to reduce the risk of altitude sickness.

The route begins at Sirimon Park gate, covering 9km to Old Moses Camp, where you can rest and refuel before crossing the Liki North River and trekking 14km to Shipton Camp the next day. Some prefer to add an acclimatisation day here, where the mountain’s impressive volcanic peaks hem the camp in.

The last three-hour leg climbing the mountain navigates a rocky trail and the summit is often at its busiest at sunrise, when the landscape and view of Mount Kili are bathed in an enchanting glow. After ascending up Sirimon, ask your guide to descend on the Chogoria Route to enjoy two hikes in one.

Chogoria Route

The Chogoria route is one of the driest in comparison to the other trails and traverses the mountain from east to north. If you’re looking for wilderness when climbing Mount Kenya, this trail is a great choice because you’ll hike through broadleaf forest, cross the Nithi River and explore moorlands before the final push to the summit, but with a better-maintained trail than the wild Burguret Route.

Your guide can help identify wildlife, like buffalo, along the way, and tell you the names of the stunning natural features you’ll see, which include Lake Michaelson and Gorges Valley. The regular campsites mean you won’t hike for more than nine hours most days, although your summit attempt and descent to Judmiere Camp (3,300m) will take closer to 12.

Naro Moru Route

Arguably the most popular route for climbing Mount Kenya is the Naro Moru route, primarily because it is the shortest. You’ll start from Naro Moru gate and finish at Sirimon gate, staying the night in mountain huts on the four-day hike.

Your ascent will take you through montane forests, challenging vertical bog and the grassy tunnel of the Teleki Valley, before scrambling over scree slopes and hiking to Point Lenana. After a tough climb, your aching limbs will welcome the gentler descent through Mackinder’s Valley. Keep your eyes peeled as you pass giant lobelia plants for groups of rock hyrax, or rock badger, that may be feeding nearby.

You’ll hike more than 45km over the four days, ascending almost 2,500m, so come fit and ready to be on your feet for a significant part of each day.

Burguret Route

One of the longest and most remote of all Mount Kenya treks, the six-day Burguret trail allows you to escape the crowds and experience the volcanic peaks at their wildest. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a group and their guide to cross paths with roaming wildlife, rather than fellow hikers.

Best suited to those who relish a challenge, you’ll be trekking up to 17km each day on previously abandoned paths and will appreciate a sturdy pair of boots. The terrain can be uneven and overgrown, adding to the difficulty of the ascent, but the reward for taking on this more taxing trail is the scenery. From giant bamboo to cedar forest, foaming streams to turquoise lakes and lava cliffs to high-altitude glaciers, you’ll grow to understand Mount Kenya’s impressive geological make-up with every step.