Last weekend I climbed Mount Kenya.
It was 4 days and 3 nights in the National Park on the equator and offered up some pretty phenomenal views. See here
Support the local economy
This is the mindset I try to take when travelling to places where tourism is a significant function of livelihoods in the surrounding area.
It also means that paying for two porters and a chef to accompany us on our trip can be somewhat more guilt-free.
We (my gf Camilla and I) had Christopher (56), Gabriel (37) and Stanley (37) guide us up the mountain. All lived in villages nearby, looked young for their age and had perplexing amounts of energy.
Fuelled by tea
Each morning the C, G and S would brew up a pot of milky, sugary tea and knock back a couple of pints.
And that was it until dinner.
Camilla and I were snacking at any opportunity, drinking from the fresh rivers and relapsing after a meal of veg stew with rice/spaghetti in the evening.
The guides’ abstinence seemed to be partly out of service “we need to make sure you’re OK first” (which we did our best to absolve them from) and partly that they didn’t seem to be that hungry.
Perhaps they were just being polite/ a lot fitter than us both, but I’ve never seen such power of putting the kettle on.
Tent with a view
On the second night we were in the shadows of the peaks.
Mount Kenya is the second highest peak on the continent (5,200m) behind Kilimanjaro (5,800m).
To get to the Kenya peak requires “technical skills” (i.e. the ability to use a pick axe) which none in our group were in possession of.
As such we climbed to “Lenana Point”, the third highest in the range, designed for the more casual mountaineer.
To get to the top we left the campsite at 3am, and trudged up for the final ascent.
Soon we were in snow, though with deep cloud, it was unclear quite how far we were going beyond the dim glare of our head torches.
It was about 7am, with the rays straining through the dense cloud when we got to the summit.
In total we were up on the top for about 15 minutes, taking some proof-bearing snaps, and enjoying the unusual vantage point of looking down and out onto the world below.
The clouds parted ways momentarily and a pallet of blues appeared before us.
Descending from the peak we walked past various fresh lakes, streams and beautiful vantage points.
The route we took was called “Chogoria” and afforded many moments to just stop and look around at the scenery.
We arrived at our final campsite 14 hours after setting off that morning, and after setting up our tent, a hot drink and some food duly collapsed to sleep.
Back to reality
The final morning was spent walking like puppets to a nearby waterfall and cave, and then finally through some more changing landscapes back to the gate.
The guides swiftly changed into their Sunday best, and we did a debrief saying what was good about the experience together. Camilla and I also gave them all a tip.
It was then an hour’s drive in a beaten up Land Rover and a quick transition to a shuttle bus back to Nairobi. Christopher, polite as ever, still found time to suggest we break for “perhaps a cup of tea?”.
Doing the hike
If you have any inclination for good “raw nature” views, then I’d highly recommend the Mount Kenya National Park. At times, it felt like we were walking through a High School geography syllabus.
The summit itself required some sure footing, but was rewarding, when at the top.
The guy who organised it for us was called Peterson, if you’re interested in making a trip too, his WhatsApp number is +254722579818.
Any other questions on the trip – very happy to answer!