climb africas highest mountains and explore rugged beauty
Climbing Mount Kenya takes you through varied ecosystems and awe-inspiring scenery. With its volcanic ridges and glacial valleys radiating across the land like spokes from a wheel, the massive bulk of Mount Kenya straddles the Equator yet is permanently crowned with snow. The 588 square-kilometre National Park surrounded by 2000 square kilometres of Forest Reserve is dominated by the twin summits of Batian (5,199 m) and Nelion (5,188 m) whose jagged snow-capped peaks are all that remain of a gigantic volcanic lava plug that once thrust another 300 meters into the sky. The 2000-square-kilometre Mount Kenya Forest Reserve, meanwhile, is the largest forest reserve and water-catchment area in Kenya and features magnificent stands of buttressed and lichen-draped juniper, podocarpus and African olive trees whose dense canopy provides the ideal habitat for vast herds of buffalo and elephant as well as a bright kaleidoscope of birds and other wildlife including elephant, buffalo and monkeys with even the moor lands offering a long list of mammals including the rock hyrax, the nearest living relative of the elephant. Of the three main peaks only point Lenana can be reached by trekkers and the other two being only for technical climbers. Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest walkable mountain. You go through 5 different climatic zones to reach the summit. It is the world’s highest free-standing mountain and towers majestically over vast open plains with a permanently snow-covered peak which, on a clear day, can be seen from over 150kms away. With its gleaming glaciers providing a stunning back-drop for safaris in the surrounding area, Mount Kilimanjaro is comprised of three extinct volcanoes: Kibo 5895m (19340ft), Mawenzi 5149m (16896ft) and Shira 3962m (13000ft). Its imposing bulk looms 4800m over the surrounding region that averages 1000m above sea level. The Marangu and Rongai routes are wildly tipped as the “easiest” trails, and the Machame route is particularly renowned for its stunning scenery. Routes from Umbwe, Lemosho and Shira offer more challenging options. However, it is the duration of a climb that is as important as the ease of the route. Other mountains that can be climbed in East Africa include Mount Meru (Tanzania), Mount Ruwenzori (Uganda) and Mount Elgon (Kenya).