Reasons You Should Climb Mount Kenya
Mount Kilimanjaro stands at an impressive 5,895 meters. It is Africa’s tallest mountain. There’s great infrastructure, multi-lingual guides, and that impressive view. It’s no wonder why it’s such a popular climb. But it’s not the only mountain in Africa worth visiting. Mount Kenya is also a great climb. Located about 200 kilometers northeast of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. While slightly shorter than Kilimanjaro (5,199 meters), it offers a wide variety of benefits that make it a perfect choice for hikers and travelers to visit. Here are 10 reasons why you should climb Mount Kenya.
Obviously, you can’t climb Mount Kenya in just one day. Mount Kenya has many basic lodges on many of its routes located at overnight campsites. You’ll find long dining tables to enjoy your meals on. There are also rows of bunk beds. While they offer little in the way of privacy, the structures will block the wind and the cold. The communal design is the perfect opportunity to swap stories with other travelers.
Sure, if you want to see a ton of wildlife, you’re better off going on a safari. But you’ll still see a lot more wildlife when you climb Mount Kenya than you will when hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.
That’s because Mount Kenya’s summit is surrounded by a national park. That park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since it’s part of a national park, that means there’s a strict ban on hunting, logging, and even building property. It also means you’ll find a wide variety of amazing wildlife.
On your trip, you might see giant forest hogs, elephants, the white-tailed mongoose, black rhinos, zebras, and even leopards. But it doesn’t end there, you’ll also see an impressive amount of birdlife like the green ibis and Ayres hawk eagle, and if you’re lucky, the near-endemic alpine swift.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the most popular mountain, which also means more people. If you come to climb Mount Kenya, you’ll find fewer trekkers. That means less noise, litter, and competition for bunks at the camps. This is perfect for people looking to enjoy the scenery without all the crowds. If you’re really looking to get away from the crowds, it’s best to come during the out of season months. Those months are from March to June and from October to December. During those times it’s possible to feel as though you’re the only person around. It’s the perfect spot for those who appreciate the bliss of solitude.
When on Safari, saving money is always a priority, especially if you won’t lose out on anything else by choosing to climb Mount Kenya. Most guided treks up Mount Kilimanjaro cost about $1,000 USD. It’s about half that to climb Mount Kenya. It’s cheaper because of park fees, currency exchange rates, and local salaries. Also, the fact that it’s as popular as Kilimanjaro keeps costs down.
You also won’t be forced to hire a guide or porter as you would climbing Kilimanjaro. You’re more than welcome to enter Mount Kenya at your own risk for free. There’s an added risk, but you will save hundreds of dollars. Lastly, if you plan to only spend your time in Kenya, you’ll save extra money by not having to pay for additional visa costs.
Mount Kenya is a volcanic mountain. It rises from the savannah and was carved by glaciers over thousands of years. From the twin peaks of Batian and Nelion, you’ll be able to view the U-shaped valleys below. On the mountain, you’ll see the remaining glaciers along with a wide variety of habitats. Enjoy crappy volcanic boulders and crystal clear lakes. If that’s not enough, you’ll also see dense bamboo and tropical rainforests to heather-coated slopes along the way.
Don’t forget about the stunning indigenous flora you’ll find along the way like giant Lobelias and terrestrial orchids.
Technical Climbing Opportunities
Making the climb up Mount Kenya is not for the faint-hearted. It’s also not recommended for beginners. That’s because Batian is the true summit of Mount Kenya. It stands at 5,199 meters and with its rock and ice climbing, it offers even experienced hikers a challenge. To get to Batian, you must reach Nelion peak first. To stand on that peak requires great skill and effort.
It’s on the Equator
Yes, the equator is an imaginary line but it’s still amazing to be able to climb Mount Kenya and stand at a point where two hemispheres are divided. Many of the routes cross the Equator. There are small signs and rock cairns that mark Latitude Zero along the way. If you choose to use a guide, they’ll be sure to point it out to you. There’s even a famous sign marking the Equator. It’s located on the highway just south of the town of Nanyuki, located in the foothills of the mountain. Locals love to demonstrate how the water swirls differently as tourists stand with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one foot in the southern hemisphere.
Guides to Help You Climb Mount Kenya
Visiting the second highest peak has its perks. Because it’s less popular than Kilimanjaro, the guides and tour companies have worked hard to provide an excellent level of service and hospitality. It’s even common for guides to take guests out for dinner and beer the night before the hike. Little things like creek-side tea breaks and an unparalleled knowledge of the surrounding area make this climb one you’ll never forget.
It’s a Quicker Climb
One downside to climbing is the altitude. The higher you go, the more problems can occur. Since Mount Kenya doesn’t stand as tall, that means a shorter hike and fewer acclimatization issues. The entire trip actually ends up being anywhere from one to two full days shorter than the climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.
Easier to Access
If you want to climb Mount Kenya you’ll fly into Nairobi. With Kenya’s straightforward visa criteria, most citizens from afar experience few problems trying to visit Kenya.
After that, it’s just a short 125 miles (200 km) drive down paved highways. By staying in Kenya you’ll eliminate a lot of the stress, delays, and expense that crossing the border to Tanzania would bring. Also, many Kenyans speak fluent English.
Book Your Trip Now
Don’t wait for “someday” to book your trip to hike Mount Kenya. There are so many things to do and see in Kenya. It’s a holiday that you won’t ever forget. To learn more about safaris, hikes, and trips to Africa, contact us.