A 7 day Mount Kenya trek along a little used wilderness trail through the bush wild camping along the way.
Private Trek Adventure 1 week
…We were really happy with the service we got from Tourdust which can be best described as friendly, efficient and expert.....
Matthew McSweeney. See all Reviews
The undoubted highlight of any trek on Mount Kenya is reaching Point Lenana, at 4,985m the highest point accessible to non technical climbers. Most trekkers aim to get to Point Lenanna for sunset, and watching the sun rise over the misty African plains below is an awe inspiring moment. Made only better by the fact that you have just scrambled up steep scree and rocks for 3 hours in pitch dark.
The sense of discovery you get on climbing up Burguret route is palpable, buffalo and elephant are common in the bush around the camp sites. Your guide will often be hacking a clear trail as you pass.
The descent is along the dramatic Chogoria route, which although not the fastest, offers the most striking views with terrifying gorges, waterfalls and beautiful tarns on offer.
Route duration: 6 days on the mountain
Total hiking distance: Approximately 76 Kms.
Day 1: MOUNTAIN ROCK LODGE - 1950m
AM. Nairobi (1,650) – Mountain Rock lodge (2,000m) by car (200kms /3.5hrs).
PM. Acclimatisation nature hike.
Span, 12kms /3hrs.
Day 1 details: Depart after breakfast and journey north past divergent agricultural lands and landscapes to the slopes of Mount Kenya. After lunch at the base lodge you take part in some easy walks around this predominantly Kikuyu area, exploring local farms and villages and perhaps local schools. We can gain a privileged insight into the lives of the people who live on the slopes of Mt Kenya and know that our visit is contributing towards their local economy. Meals and overnight at the lodge. (L,D)
Day 2: GIANT BAMBOO CAMP – 2,600m.
AM. Base lodge – Gathiuru Forest by car (15kms / 1h).
P.M Trek, Gathiuru Forest – Giant Bamboo camp (2,600m - 3,600m).
Span, 10kms / 4h.
Ascent: +740m. Habitat: Montane Forest / Bamboo / Hagenia zones.
Day 2 Details: After breakfast we get a full briefing, equipment check and meet the crew - each one gets a personal porter and there are extra porters for camping equipment and food. Shortly afterwards is the drive to Gathiuru forest station via the renowned Mau Mau caves then a 4 hour ascent through dense stands of towering bamboo to our own Giant Bamboo camp at 2600m. Elephant and buffalo are common here. (B,L,D)
Day 3: HIGHLAND CASTLE – 3,700m.
Trek, Giant Bamboo camp - Highland Castle (2,600m - 3,700m).
Span, approx.10kms / 5-6h).
Habitat: Montane Forest / Bamboo / Hagenia / Moorland zones.
Day 3 Details: The luxuriant bamboo yields to enormous podocarpus and pencil cedar forest before we climb to the hagenia rosewood zone at the edge of the moorlands. This marks our lunch spot before heading up through the extraordinary giant lobelia and groundsels. We spend the night close to the sheer lava cliffs of the “Highland Castle” at 3,700m. Todays hike takes 5-6 hours with an ascent of 1,100m. (B,L,D)
Day 4: SHIPTON’S CAMP – 4,236m.
Trek, Highland Castle via Hausberg col – Shipton’s Camp (3,700m - 4,600m - 4,236m).
Span, approx.10kms / 5-6h.
Ascent: +900m. to Hausberg col. then descend -365m to Shipton’s camp.
Habitat: Moorland / Alpine desert.
Day 4 Details: Spectacular scenery as the jagged volcanic peaks and shimmering glaciers tower above our trek around the summit circuit. Turquoise tarns nestle in the valleys, eagles and buzzards soar overhead. We might, for the first time, meet other trekkers here as we hike for 5-6 hours to overnight at Shipton’s Hut at 4,236m. (B,L,D)
DAY 5: NITHI CAMP - 3,300m.
(Summit attempt) Shipton’s camp – Pt. Lenana – Nithi Camp (4236m - 4,985m - 3,300m).
Span - approx. To Pt. Lenana (3kms / 4h). To Nithi Camp (14 kms / 6h)
Ascent: 749m to the summit / Descent: -1,685m to Nithi Camp.
Habitat: Scree / rocky summit / Moorland
Day 5 Details: After the the wilderness experience comes the highlight of the Mount Kenya trek: the stiff, but exhilarating, scramble by starlight up to Point Lenana, the "trekkers’ summit", in time to see the African dawn from a vantage point of nearly 5,000m. We leave at 4am and climb the 800m to the peak in 3-4 hours. A further 3 hours down to a late breakfast by Hall Tarns in the magnificent Gorges Valley. Then in the afternoon another 3 hours down past spectacular chasms, waterfalls and weirdly eroded lava flows to camp by the track-head in the giant heather zone. (B,L,D)
DAY 6: MERU BANDAS – 3300m.
Trek, Nithi Camp - Meru Bandas (3,300m - 3,000m).
Span, approx. 7Kms / 2-3h.
Habitats: Moorland / Giant heather/ Hagenia zones
Day 6 Details: Short descent through the forest zone to the mountain cabins and afternoon relaxing. Log fires, hot showers, beers, and beds for overnight. Wildlife viewing in evening - often from your cabin window as the elephant and buffalo graze outside! (B,L,D)
DAY 7: NAIROBI - 1650m.
AM. Hike, Meru Banda’s – Pick up point (3,000m - 2600m).
Span, approx.10kms / 2h.
Habitats: Bamboo / Montane Forest zones.
P.M. Pick up point – Nairobi by car. (230kms / 4-5hrs).
Day 7 Details: Descent on a broad track for about 10 kms through bamboo and virgin rain forest to meet vehicles for the return to Nairobi - usually arriving mid to late afternoon. (B,L)
BLD indicates those meals included. i.e. B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner
Getting to Kenya: Kenya has international airports in Nairobi (Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta NBO) and Mombassa (Mombasa Moi International MBA) which are around 8 hours flying time from the UK. Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Air Kenya fly regular direct services to Nairobi. Return tickets usually range from £450 to £750 depending on when you are travelling. If you are willing to put up with the inconvenience then cheaper tickets can usually be purchased with a stop from Qatar Airways, Ethiopian and Emirates.
Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta airport is a ½ hr 16km drive from Nairobi City Centre, but traffic can be bad.
This trek includes pick up and drop off in Nairobi by minibus or 4wd Landcruiser.
This price includes:
All National Park fees.
Camping & mountain Huts fees where applicable.
Camping equipment EXCEPT sleeping bags, mattresses.
English speaking guide(s).
Porters & Cook(s).
Meals while on the mountain (breakfast, lunch, dinner).
Transfers from and back to base hotel.
Complimentary Nature hike included on first day when accommodated at the Mountain Rock Lodge.
Meals/drinks not mentioned as included
Any increase in National Park fees or other fees/taxes charged by National Park and/or other government authorities.
Sleeping bag / mattress and other personal equipment (a limited selection of hire equipment is available - please pre-order).
Persons attempting the climb must be physically very fit and in very good general health
Clients climb at their own risk
Transfers might be shared with other guests
Campsites and toilet facilities on the mountain are very basic
Water for personal hygiene on the mountain is limited
Hut accommodation is dormitory style with bunk beds
It is at the guide's decision to break off a climb in case weather conditions or clients health dictate it for safety reasons.
No refunds are given in case of a break off of the climb / early exit
As a general rule you can trek up Mount Kenya at any time of year, but the paths will be better and you will stay drier outside the rainy seasons (particularly the long rains in April and May). The best time to trek is early in the year (January and February) before the long rains and in the summer months of July, August and September.
Whilst this is an incredible trek, you do need to come prepared for a tough time. The trail is rough and during the rains, very muddy. You will also be camping out at night in the bush most nights. Other than that the same health warnings apply as with any other Mount Kenya trek, you need to have a good level of trekking fitness but a pre trek fitness regime is not strictly necessary. Altitude sickness can be a real problem but the ascent is steady and provided you take your guides advice and keep to a nice and easy pace and drink plenty of water you should be ok.
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware
We both suffered but enjoyed it immensely. Just how it should be!!!!
Our route up the mountain, the Burguret trail is very arduous and certainly should not be used for people who are not very fit and experienced trekkers. It mainly followers animal trails through the forests and bog lands around the mountain. The Chogoria route down was great. The guide and porters were great. Wild camping means just that, really just what I wanted, but I have lived in Kenya.
Jonathan Bailey reviewing Mount Kenya: Burguret Chogoria Traverse on 24 September 2018
We had an excellent trip, thanks!
The guide was very knowledgeable and flexible with breaks, timings, etc. He kept phone contact with the main office to ensure all connections/vehicles were in the proper place at the right time. The lodging was acceptable for a trek. Nothing great, mostly hard huts or tented camps, but nice to have a warm shower on days between our tenting nights. The one night we were supposed to be in The Pelican Lodge, we were changed to Lake Nakuru Lodge, which was fantastic!
During the trek, the cook made wonderful breakfasts and dinners. There was a decent variety of soups, vegtable and meat dishes. Lunch was a basic 'box lunch' with a sandwich, chicken, boiled egg and fruit. Lunch was acceptable and fueled us for the journey, it just got a little redundant by the end of the trek.
All pre-trip literature was informative and sufficient.
I have already and will continue to recommend this trip to others. For the trek: the days are long and tiring, but it was very worth the effort, and the sense of accomplishment is immeasurable. The safari itself was also great. The amount of time spent driving between the trek end to Nakuru and Nakuru to Masai Mari got old... however, this is unavoidable when trying to do it all.
Thanks again for aranging a very enjoyable trip!
Alan Bardsley reviewing Mount Kenya: Burguret Chogoria Traverse on 11 January 2013
Speke's camp was absolutely ideal - small and personal, with great hosts. We'd definitely recommend the "tented safari" experience to others. The kid's didn't miss having a pool (too interested in Safari). Speke's camp give you your own landrover and driver/guide, which gave us great flexibility (much better I suspect than what is offered by some of the larger camps). Our guide was brilliant. See below for the review we just posted on rip Advisor.
I think the only negative of the trip was getting through Nairobi airport (multiple security checks, and they ask you to "board" two hours in advance, which in fact means going into crowded transit lounge with no facilities), but there's not anything anyone can do about that
It's also worth saying that Peponi really is a unique experience. It's a proper East African institution, with all the locals dropping into the bar. It's the perfect antidote to anyone wanting to get away from the soulless all inclusive resorts which could be absolutely anywhere in the world (which seem to be a bit of a feature of Zanzibar). Lamu is still amazingly undeveloped.
We stayed at Speke's camp for 4 nights in August 2018 - a family of two adults and two children. For us it was the perfect location to experience the Mara. The camp is only a short drive outside the main Mara reserve and is in an amazingly picturesque location, set by a small river in the shade of trees. Wildlife roams near (and sometimes through!) the camp. You get to feel very close to nature when you have a buffalo rooting up grass just outside your tent in the middle of the night!
The camp itself is small and has a very personal feel to it. There are only eight or so guest tents, so you get to meet everyone passing through. One of the great pleasures was getting to chat to other guests over the evening meal or round the camp fire, swapping stories of the day's sightings. If you do want a little more privacy, then it's absolutely fine to eat in your own group.
Whilst you do sleep and eat under canvas, it is an extremely civilised experience: the beds are comfy (with hot water bottles provided to ward off the chill of the evenings); there are bucket showers which sound much more primitive than they really are; the communal area is very elegantly laid out; tea is brought to the tent before setting out on early morning game drives, and the food was fantastic.
What really makes the experience however are the wonderful hosts. Both Adrian and Veronique made a real effort to get to know us and ensure we were well looked after; and it's certainly worth picking Adrian's brains on the history of the region (it's not called Speke's camp for nothing)
The final word must go to our wonderful guide/driver Ambrose and our Masai spotter Marco. It was a real privilege to have our own land-rover and to be shown the reserve by such knowledgeable and charming individuals. Ambrose is a proper naturalist, can identify a lilac breasted roller at 200 yards, and knows where to see the best wildlife without simply following other trucks. On our final afternoon, with 30 minutes before we had to leave the Mara Triangle, we had seen every animal and bird that was on our wish list (including a live Cheetah kill), but had not seen a rhino. Marco saw a speck on the horizon, Ambrose drove like the clappers and as a parting gift we were able to see this most elusive animal up close. Notwithstanding all the awe-inspiring nature, I think my wife's personal highlight was driving the land rover back to amp along the dirt track through herds of zebra and ambling giraffe. A truly amazing experience all round.
Jonathan Ibbott reviewing Laikipia & Masai Mara Safari on 24 August 2018
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