MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK

MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK

Located in the heart of Kenya, Mount Kenya National Park is 150 km Northeast of Nairobi capital. The park was founded in 1949 and its creation was primarily to protect wildlife, Mount Kenya and surrounding areas.

Mount Kenya National Park features diversity of habitats and has breathtaking landscape. Its main habitats include the alpine moorland, glaciers, and bamboo forests. Kenya National Park expands covering the land area of about 700 sq.km, inhabiting diverse animal species and birds.

Mount Kenya National Park is also listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites considering its unmatched natural beauty, and cultural importance. The park takes its name from Mount Kenya, also named after the Kikuyu go –Ngai. The present Mt. Kenya NP was inhabited by the Kikuyu people, especially the adjacent areas. Today, this park is one of the amazing destinations worth visiting on Kenya safaris.

It prides itself as a home to diverse wildlife, especially unique and endangered species such as bongo antelopes, giant forest hogs, black and white colobus monkeys. There are also some black rhinos, the endangered mammal species in this park.

Aside from wildlife, Mount Kenya National Park is home to iconic Mt. Kenya (5199m). Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano, also believed to have experienced its last eruption about three million years back. It is Africa’s 2nd highest peak, and comes after Mt. Kilimanjaro. The main experience or activity to engage in while in Mount Kenya is mountaineering and the interesting bit about it is that hikers have many hiking opportunities catering for all categories of trekkers.

On a hike to the summits of Mount Kenya, expect to enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes, especially the rift valley and African savanna. The trek combines camping and hiking adventure plus game viewing.

Wildlife in Mt. Kenya NP

The diverse wildlife species that survive within Mount Kenya National Park include white-tailed mongoose, bushbucks, tree hyrax, elands and elephants, rhinos, giant forest hogs, 130 bird species; hyenas, buffaloes, elephants, and more.

Bird species

The birds that make Mount Kenya NP a valuable birding destination include Ayres hawk-eagle, scaly francolins, red-headed parrot, bronze napped pigeon, Abyssinian ground thrush, hartlaub’s turacos, Meyer’s parrots, mountain buzzard, olive pigeon, moorland chat, scarlet-tufted malachite, violet-backed starling, slender-billed starling, Eastern double-collared sunbird, moorland francolin, Waller’s starling, black-headed waxbill, hunter’s cisticolas, ken rick’s starling, African crowned eagle, sharpe’s long claw, purple-throated cuckoo shrike, olive ibis, lesser kestrel, Jackson’s widowbird, and others.

Tourism Activities to do in Mount Kenya National Park (MKNP)

Mountain climbing

Mountaineering/trekking/hiking is amazingly the most famous experience that is carried out on Kenya safaris in Mount Kenya National Park. Hikes are done on Mount Kenya through the different routes leading to its summits, with the least hiked trail being the Sirimon route. The Sirimon path leads trekkers via the bamboo and heather forests.

There is also the Chogoria route, an exceptional path worth hiking by hikers who are interested in the most scenic treks or to enjoy the panoramic views of the park’s breathtaking landscapes. The Naro Moru path is the most famous hiking route to the summits of Mount Kenya. While on a hike, you will also come across some floral and faunal species –the floral species like alpine flowers, giant lobelias.

The three peaks to conquer on mountaineering adventure on Mt. Kenya include Batian peak 5199m, Point Lenana 4985m and Nelion 5188m. The trek requires some energy levels and a complete hiking tour takes at least 3-4 nights or more.

Cave tour

Mount Kenya N. Park has many caves worth visiting on caving tour. These include Shipton’s caves, and Mau-Mau caves, etc. The Mau-Mau cave is a popular site, believed to have been used by the Mau Mau warriors. The cave trail also leads visitors to some of the scenic sites including rivers and waterfalls.

Game viewing

Mount Kenya NP also offers memorable wildlife/game viewing experiences to visitors on Kenya safari. The park contains diversity of unique animals such as hyenas, leopards, elephants, antelopes, buffaloes, rhinos, and plenty of birds.

Birding

About 130 bird species have been confirmed in Mount Kenya NP. On birding tour, the expected birds to identify include ken rick’s starlings, moorland francolins, scarlet-tufted malachite, red-headed parrot, scaly francolins, Ayres hawk-eagles, Eastern double-collared sunbird, purple-throated cuckoos, lesser kestrel, African crowned eagle, waller’s starling, mountain buzzard, violet-backed starling and more.

When to visit Mount Kenya N/P

The best months to visit Mount Kenya NP are around December, January, February to March- the sunniest months of the year. The rainy months run from October to early December or late March to May –the months that come with challenges for hiking/climbing the summits of Mount Kenya.

How to get to Mount Kenya National Park in Kenya

Mount Kenya National Park is reachable by road or air: By road, visitors can drive for 175km from Nairobi city center via the Nanuki-Isiolo route to Sirimon track. The other alternative route is the Nyeri-Nanyuki route near Naro Moru or drive via Chogoria-Embu-Meru route, about 150km North of Nairobi city. By air, fly from Nairobi to Nanyuki airstrip.

The gates offering access to Mount Kenya National Park include Narumoru gate, Kamweti, Chogoria, Mawingu gate, Kihari gate and Sirimon gate.

Accommodation facilities

Budget accommodation to stay on Kenya tour includes Starbucks Katarina, Batian Guesthouse, and Bantu Mountain Lodge. Midrange lodges/camps include Penguin House, Soames Hotel and Jacks Bar, Le Rustique while Luxury lodges include Castle Forest Lodge, Hotel Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Serena Mountain Lodge, Whispers Luxury Guest Rooms and others.