Mount Kenya National Park

Mount Kenya National Park is a scenic Kenya safari destination situated in the eastern side of the Great Rift Valley approximately 175 kilometers North-East of Nairobi the capital of Nairobi, the park is encompassed Mount Kenya the tallest mountain in Kenya and the second tallest mountain on the African continent standing at the altitude of 5,199 meters. 

Mount Kenya is a stratovolcano mountain created approximately 3 million years ago during the formation of the East African rift, Mount Kenya consists of three summits that are 

  • Batian – the highest peak of mount Kenya standing at the altitude of 5,199 meters
  • Nelion –  standing at the altitude of 5,188 meters 
  • Point Lenana – the lowest summit of Mount Kenya rising up to 4,985 meters.

Mount Kenya creates a beautiful scenery and it is regarded among the most fascinating and breathtaking landscapes in the East African region, the mountain is consist of jagged glacier –lad peaks (Batin and Nelion), lakes, mineral springs, moorland rock and ice, mountain rivers, tarns, afro-alpine moorlands and a variety of forests. Mount Kenya is a significant water source in Kenya providing water to approximately 50% of Kenya’s population and produces 70% of the hydroelectric power in Kenya. 

Mt. Kenya national park is a breathtaking pristine wilderness consisting of beautiful glacier peaks, lakes, forest, tarns, mineral springs, geological variety, montane and alpine vegetation, endangered wildlife species and birdlife. Mount Kenya national park is inhabits a variety of animals such as elephants, elands, tree hyrax, bushbucks, white tailed mongoose, waterbuck, Suni, mole rat, black fronted duiker, rhinos, leopards, giant forest hogs, bongo, mole Shrew, skinks (lizards),  Owls, Bush pig among others.

Mt. Kenya national park is a rewarding Kenya birding safari inhabiting more than 130 bird species recorded to be living in the various forest zones, birds population found in the park include 6 of 8 of Kenya Mountains Endemic Bird Area, 54 of the 70 Afro tropical Highlands biome species  occurring in Kenya and globally and threatened birds. Birds in Mount Kenya national park include Abbott’s Starling, Lesser Kestrel Jackson’s widowbird  , Sharpe’s Longclaw, Olive Ibis, Lammergeier, Ayres’s hawk-eagle, African Crowned Eagle, African Grass Owl, Cape Eagle-Owl, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed Widowbird, Abyssinian Owl (very rare and poorly researched), Scarlet-tufted Sunbird, Kenrick’s Starling among others. 

History of Mount Kenya National Park 

Mt. Kenya national park was first established as a forest reserve and in 1978 it was declared as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, in 1997 it was joined with a forest reserve to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mount Kenya national park was established as a national park to conserve the ecology, preserve a water catchment area to the surrounding and to benefit both local and national economy through tourism. 

Mt. Kenya national park is a significant place for the local people as it was originally the sacred home of the local god Ngai, Ngai is one of the gods to the kikuyu local people and these people visit the mountain to worship their god.   

What to do in Mt. Kenya national park


Mt. Kenya national park is the best destination in Kenya for mountaineering and listed among the best on the African continent, Mount Kenya is the second tallest mountain on the African continent coming second to Mount Kilimanjaro. Climbing Mount Kenya takes a minimum of 5 days to reach highest point of the mountain, various hiking routes/circuits are used during mount Kenya climbing safari and they include Summit circuit, Nelion normal route, Burget route and Timau Track. These routes lead to the highest peaks of the mountain that are Batian peak at 5,199 meters, Nelion at 5,188 meters and Point Lenana at 4,985 meters. 

Routes used for climbing Mount Kenya are categorized depending on type of the hikers that is senior hikers and junior hikers,

  • Senior hikers use Summit circuit, Nelion normal route, Burget route and Timau Track
  • Junior hikers use Chogoria, Moru, Naro and Siromon routes.

Climbing Mount Kenya is quite challenging and adventurous offering an opportunity for hikers to enjoy impressive scenery.

Wildlife viewing 

Wildlife viewing is another exciting safari activity, the park has gradually become a very thrilling Kenya wildlife safari destination offering an opportunity to spot a great diversity of wildlife such as black fronted duikers, elands, waterbucks, black rhinos, buffaloes, tree hyrax, elephants, leopards, white tailed mongoose among others. 

Bird watching 

Mt. Kenya national park is an excellent Kenya birding safari destination, the park is a home to over 130 bird species including Mountain Endemic species, Afro tropical Highlands’ biome, globally and threatened birds. Bird watching in Mount Kenya national park is done following various forest trails offering you a mind blowing experience, motane forests, montane savanna, bamboo and moorland. Some of the birds spotted in Mount Kenya national park include lesser Kestrel, Abbott’s Starling, Jackson’s Widowbird and Sharpe’s Long claw. Other birds species include Brown-Hooded Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Grey-olive Greenbul, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Black-Throated Wattle-eye, Brown-backed Scrub-Robin, Zanzibar Sombre Greenbul, Singing, Red faced, Winding, Rattling, Croaking Cisiticolas, Mountain Yellow Warbler, Broad-tailed Warbler, African-moustached Warbler, Yellow-crowned Bishop, African Golden Weaver, Yellow-bellied Waxbill, African Fire finch, and Abyssinian Crimson wing among others. 

When to visit Mount Kenya National Park

Mt. Kenya national park experiences strong rains from mid-march to mid-June and from September to October short rains are received, visiting Mount Kenya National Park can be done throughout the year however you are advised to avoid visiting the park in the periods of strong long rains (mid- march to mid-June). In the long strong rains, routes through the park become muddy and navigating them becomes more challenging and close to impossible. 

Accommodation in Mt. Kenya national park

Accommodation in Mt. Kenya national park is got from a number of safari lodges and hotels categorized as luxury, midrange and budget. Safari lodges in Mt. Kenya national park include Serena Mountain Lodge, Fairmount Mount Kenya Safari club, Castle Forest lodge, Rutundu lodge, shiptons camp, Buffalo Bay Resort, Laragai House, Oldmoses camp among others. 

How to get to Mount Kenya national park  

Getting to Mount Kenya National Park is done using air and road means of transport, 

By road 

By road, the park is in a 4 hours drive from Nairobi the capital city of Kenya, roads leading to the park are tarmacked expect routes entering the park’s gate. While getting to Mount Kenya national park using road means, it is advisable to use a 4X4 wheel vehicle. 

By air

By air mean of transport, Mt. Kenya national park is served by an airstrip in Naro-Moru town which is closet to Mount Kenya. This airstrip accommodates scheduled domestic flights from Nairobi’s Wilson airstrip.

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