Mount Kenya National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Park
Mount Kenya National Park is located in the centre of Kenya and covers an area of about 715 square kilometres. It is named after the highest mountain in the country, Mount Kenya, which, at 5,199 metres, is the second highest mountain in Africa. The national park was founded in 1949 and has been part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage since 1997.
The park is characterized by an impressive diversity of landscapes, ranging from glaciers and snow-capped peaks to alpine moors, mountain forests and dry savanna's. This diversity provides habitats for a large number of animal and plant species.
In Mount Kenya National Park, there are some rules and regulations that visitors must follow in order to protect the environment. These include, for example, observing litter rules and respecting wildlife and plants.
Overall, Mount Kenya National Park offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of the Kenyan landscape and discover the diversity of wildlife and plants in the region. It is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventurers who want to experience nature in its untouched splendor.
How to get there
By Car: Leave Nairobi in a north-easterly direction and follow the A2 road towards Nanyuki.
The distance between Nairobi and Nanyuki is about 195 kilometres and the journey time is usually about 3-4 hours, depending on traffic conditions. Arrive in Nanyuki, the nearest town to Mount Kenya National Park.
Nanyuki provides a good base for excursions into the National Park and is a popular place to do last minute errands before continuing on to the mountain.
From Nanyuki, the main road leads north-east to Mount Kenya National Park.
Follow the signs to the national park and stay on the main road.
Mount Kenya National Park has various entrances and gates, depending on the route and trail chosen.
The two most popular gates are Sirimon Gate and Naro Moru Gate, each providing access to different routes and trails.
Depending on which entrance you choose, you should research the exact location and instructions for that particular entrance.
By Plane: There are several domestic airlines offering flights from Nairobi Willson Airstrip to Nanyuki.
The flight time from Nairobi to Nanyuki is about 45 minutes.
Nanyuki Airstrip is located about 6 kilometres southwest of Nanyuki Town.
On arrival at Nanyuki airport, you can arrange a transfer into town or your accommodation may be able to provide a pick-up service.
What to see and do
In terms of wildlife, Mount Kenya National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffaloes, leopards, monkeys, antelopes and numerous bird species. It is also one of the few places in Kenya where you can encounter the endangered bongo, a rare species of antelope.
The park offers a wide range of activities for visitors. Mountaineers can try their hand at the challenge of scaling the summit of Mount Kenya, with various routes available at different levels of difficulty. However, it is important to note that the summit is demanding and requires a good physical condition and experience in mountaineering.
For less experienced climbers and hikers, there are also many other hiking routes and trails in the park that offer breathtaking views and an abundance of natural beauty. Guided walks are recommended to safely explore the area and learn more about the flora and fauna of the park.
Mount Kenya National Park also offers accommodation options for visitors, including campsites and lodges. It is advisable to book in advance, especially during peak travel periods, to ensure that you have accommodation.
Temperatures: In the lower regions of the park, such as the forest areas, the average daytime temperature is around 20-25°C.
However, at higher altitudes and especially on the summit of Mount Kenya, temperatures can drop below freezing.
Rainy season: Mount Kenya National Park has two rainy seasons - a short rainy season from March to May and a longer rainy season from October to December.
During these periods, heavy rains can occur, which can make hiking and other activities difficult.
Dry season: The driest time in Mount Kenya National Park is usually from January to February and from June to September.
During these months, the weather is generally sunny and rainfall is lower.
The dry season is often the preferred time for mountaineers and hikers as conditions are more favorable.
Snowfall: Due to the altitude of Mount Kenya, snowfall may occur at higher altitudes, especially on the summit.
The exact amount of snowfall varies from year to year, and snow is usually more common during the rainy season and colder months.
It is important to note that the climate in mountainous areas such as Mount Kenya National Park can be very unpredictable.