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Mt Kenya National Park – Kenya

Mt Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain and Kenya’s highest mountain. Mount Kenya is not just a single peak but is a massif with lots of peaks, ridges and cliffs. It is a huge extinct volcano which used to be even higher and is older than Kilimanjaro.

Mt Kenya NP offers world-class hiking opportunities and a chance to experience snow and ice in Africa. Even though Mt Kenya sits on the equator, it is high enough to support several glaciers.

The three highest points in Mt Kenya NP are closely located together, but even though Point Lenana (4985m / 16,355ft) can be reached by hikers, Batian (5199m / 17,057ft) and Nelion (5188m / 17,021ft) can only be summited with technical climbing.

The hike to the peak is more beautiful than the trek up to Mt Kilimanjaro and offers spectacular views throughout the hike and an insight into the amazing African alpine flora and fauna.

Fishing enthusiasts should also add Mt Kenya to their bucket list as the trout fishing is excellent.

Main Attractions

Mt Kenya National Park is a stunning area with lots of possible attractions and activities. The main attractions are:

  • Standing on Point Lenana and enjoying the views
  • Superb climbing options
  • Spectacular African Alpine scenery
  • Walking without the crowds of Kilimanjaro
  • Trout fishing in the clear mountains streams




Hiking Mt Kenya to Point Lenana

The views from Point Lenana are spectacular. On a clear day, you can see all the mountains and valleys around you as well as Batian, the highest point of the mountain, tantalisingly close, across the glacier from Point Lenana. On a really clear day, you can even see Kilimanjaro, 320km to the south.

Challenging technical climbing on Mt Kenya

Not many are able to scale the top peaks of Mt Kenya (Batian 5199m / 17,057ft and Nelion 5188m / 17,021ft) as this requires around 20 pitches of ropes assisted climbing in cold and tough conditions. But many reach its third highest peak called Point Lenana, at4985m / 16,355ft still a very significant hike and not one to be taken lightly.

African Alpine scenery

Most people just want to reach the summit of Point Lenana, but it is well worth to spend a little more time on the mountain and explore its many beautiful hiking trails. One option is to do a full traverse of the highest peaks. Add at least a full day to your itinerary to complete this loop or camp somewhere along the route at the designated campsites.

Hiking in Mt Kenya NP doesn’t have to mean you go to Point Lenana. There are plenty of other options and the African alpine scenery is worth it alone.

Hiking without the crowds

When hiking in Mt Kenya NP you won’t see many others on the trails. You might see people at the huts or campgrounds and possible on Point Lenana early in the morning. But your time on the trails will not be crowded. A huge contrast with the popular times on Kilimanjaro where the mountain can sometimes feel rather busy.

Trout fishing on Mt Kenya

There is more to do than hiking on Mt Kenya. Lovers of fly-fishing should definintely make their way to this stunning alpine location. The fly-fishing is superb here, so come and try out some trout fishing and see why royalty come here too.

How to get there

Fly to Mt Kenya NP

To start exploring the Mt Kenya NP you can fly to Nanyuki and organise road transport from there. Hikers will always have to use a car for the last stretch to the gate where they want to start. These last stretches to each trailhead are on dirt roads and can require a 4WD, especially in wet weather.

Book your cheap flight to Mt Kenya NP with Tripindigo today and go hiking on the tallest mountain of Kenya.

Drive to Mt Kenya NP

It is possible to drive from Nairobi to one of the several gates of the Mt Kenya NP to start your hike.

Drop off and pick up to the start of your Mt Kenya hike

There are several routes leading to the top of Mt Kenya, some of the most popular is the Naro Moru route and the Sirimon route. From Nairobi it will take approximately 4-6 hours to get to the start of your hike, depending which route you start with.

You will need to organise a pick up at your designated exit point at the end of your walk.

Best time to visit

It is best to avoid the two rainy seasons of Kenya, although it is possible to hike Mt Kenya year-round. Kenya’s dry season is from June to October, it has a wet season called ‘short rains’ in November and December, another dry spell in January and February, followed by the ‘long rains’ in March, April and May.

Temperatures vary greatly and the higher you go, the more the temperature will drop. Especially at night, the temperatures drop and at the summit they are well below freezing at night.

Come prepared for mud on the trails, and any type of weather. Hiking boots and gaiters are an excellent way to be able to walk through most of the mud. Rain jackets, rain trousers, gloves and a woollen hat are also essential items on the mountain.

Mt Kenya is an important water tower for most Kenyans and it is important to keep its environment clean. Use the toilets at the huts where possible and bury any human waste well away from campsites, lakes, and waterways. Do not leave your toilet paper on the mountain as it degrades very, very slowly and will be there for many years. Carry out what you carry in, including all rubbish.

High season

January and February, as well as August and September, are most reliable for good weather.

Low season

During the rainy season the chance of getting wet and cold in Mt Kenya NP are high. This is the low season as most people prefer not to hike in the rain as visibility can also be reduced. It is worth noting that rain can happen any time of year on Mt Kenya and you always need to be prepared for it.

Best time to climb Batian, the highest peak of Mt Kenya

To climb the highest peak of Mt Kenya, a technical climb involving multiple pitches, you need to ascend the North Face. This is usually done in June, July, or August. You can also still consider September and October. During these months the sun will be hitting the north face, making it warmer and easier as there will be less ice and snow on the climb.

Best time to climb Nelio, the second highest peak of Mt Kenya

Climbing Nelion, the second highest peak of Mt Kenya, is usually done in January or February. This allows access to the peak via the South East Face where the sun hits during this time of the year. The sun exposure means less ice and snow on the climbing route and will also keep you warmer. Late December or early March can also be considered.


  • Other hikes not going to the highest peaks of Mt Kenya are also possible, but much less used. Make sure you take a knowledgeable guide who knows his or her way around if you want to explore different areas of the national park as good maps are hard to find.
  • Unlike Mt Kilimanjaro, it is possible to hike Mt Kenya without a guide. You need to have at least 2 people in your hiking party and be able to proof you are totally self-sufficient. However, it is strongly recommended to hire a guide as they can create a richer experience with their knowledge of the flora and fauna, as well as the local culture. Hiking without porters is definitely possible if you come prepared with all the camping, and cooking equipment as well as your own food. There are some huts on the mountain, but not all are open to the general public. There are no options to buy any food and lighting fires is strictly prohibited due to the fragile environment and slow-growing African alpine fauna.
  • From June to October the south face of Mt Kenya offers the chance to do ice climbing.

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