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A gentle well paced 7 day trek on the classic Mount Kenya route; up Sirimon and down Chogoria route.
Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain, but whilst Kilimanjaro beats it on altitude Mount Kenya is unarguably the more enjoyable mountain to climb, with stunning views, glacial features and varied flora. There are half a dozen alternative routes on the mountain, each joining at the trekkers peak at Point Lennana (4985m). The Sirimon – Chogoria route may not be the fastest way up and down the mountain but it undoubtedly offers up the mountain’s best features. Sirimon is the most popular ascent with fantastic glacial scenery and a nice steady rate of ascent. Chogoria is the favoured descent for those who can afford the extra time on the mountain, with dramatic gorges, waterfalls and mountain tarns. Due to the prevalence of altitude sickness on the mountain we include an extra day’s acclimatisation the day before summiting.
Whilst the undoubted highlight of this trek is summiting dramatic Point Lennana just in time for sun-rise, both the ascent and descent offer fantastic trekking and scenery. Mackinder’s Valley on the ascent is a striking U-shaped valley that gently snakes up to the craggy peak and is covered in bizarre giant plants unique to this Afro Alpine environment. Shipton’s Camp nestled under the twin peaks has an incredible location and the extra day spent here for acclimatisation offers the opportunity to hike part of the summit circuit up to the Hausberg Col and two tarns. On the descent, the trail passes along the ridge of the incredible dramatic Gorges Valley. The last night is spent in mountain cabins deep in the forest with elephant and buffalo often spotted roaming through the camp.
There is no doubt that climbing to 5,000m on Mount Kenya is a serious undertaking, but don’t let that put you off. Mount Kenya is accessible to anyone with a decent level of trekking fitness.
The main priority is avoiding altitude sickness. This itinerary has been designed to help trekkers fresh to the high altitudes acclimatise at a gentle rate. You will need to listen to the advice of your guide who will encourage you to take a very gentle pace and drink plenty of water.
You should have a decent level of trekking fitness, but as long as you lead a reasonably active lifestyle and are comfortable walking for 6-8 hours a day then a gruelling pre trek fitness regime is not really necessary. Age is not really a limiting factor, children as young as 10 and adults as old as 80 have climbed Mount Kenya.
As with most treks, the huts and facilities are basic. In all likelihood you won’t be showering for 4 or 5 days and you’ll be sleeping on a well worn mattress. If you come prepared with the right kit and right attitude this shouldn’t be a problem. Bringing your own 4 season sleeping bag is a very good idea as are baby wipes for washing with.
Route duration: 6 days on the mountain
Total hiking distance: Approximately 77 Kms.
Day 1: Nairobi - Mountain Rock Lodge
Day 2: Trek to Old Moses Hut (3340m)
Day 3: Old Moses - Shipton's (4236m)
Day 4: Shipton's Acclimatisation (4236m)
Day 5: Summit (4985m) and Nithi Camp (3300m)
Day 6: Meru Bandas (3000m)
Day 7: Nairobi
A big thank you to the team at Tourdust for our fantastic trek to Mount Kenya.
We made it. It was a tough climb and not for those who are afraid of heights. I learnt loads about the flora and fauna of Africa from our expert guide Francis and we enjoyed great food prepared by Ngari.
Full write-up and pictures of my trip are here
Kathryn Bullock reviewing Mount Kenya: Sirimon - Chogoria Trek