Mount Kenya National park
Mount Kenya National park covers both the national forest reserve and Mount Kenya and was established in the year 1949 which was later on declared as a world heritage site in 1997 in order to ensure that its unique attractions are well protected. Mount Kenya national park is yet one of the best National parks in Kenya worth a visit while on an East Africa Safari. The park obtained its name from the existing Mount Kenya which is known to be the highest mountain in Kenya with its peaks Batian, Point Lenana and Nelion. Mount Kenya is yet the second highest in Africa at an elevation of 5,199M high above the sea level just after Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania which is elevated at 5,895M high above the sea level. The park is mainly surrounded by the Kikuyu people who believe that Mount Kenya national park harbors Ngai they one they refer to as their god. Other communities surrounding this park include the Kamba, Masai and Embu. The Apart from Mount Kenya which is the top tourist attraction in the park, the park harbors a lot of other tourist attractions including fauna such as Primates including Sykes monkey, olive baboons, Black and White Colobus monkey, mammals such as Elephants, antelopes, buffaloes, mongooses, cats, bush pigs, zebras, hyrax, hyenas, plenty of bird species such as Starlings, African crown eagles, owls, cuckoos, sunbirds, widowbird and flora species with breath taking scenery that make it one of the best Kenya park to explore different adventures such as wildlife viewing adventure, Mountain climbing safari, birding, nature walks, Camping and picnic among others.
Top things to do in Mount Kenya national park
Mountain climbing/ Mount Kenya hiking: Mount Kenya national park is yet amongst the best parks in East Africa that offers breathtaking mountain Climbing experiences to summit 3 peaks of Mount Kenya. As mentioned above, Mount Kenya thrills with 3 peaks including Point Lenana at 4,985M, Batian the highest peak at 5,199M, and Nelion at 5, 188M that can be hiked by adventurous tourists you need something more straining but rewarding. The park has different trails used by hikers and these trails last between 5 days to over 10 days depending on the trail used and what one intends to see since different trails pass via different locations till the summit. The mountain climbing trails include Summit circuit that take hikers/ climbers to the highest peak of Mount Kenya, Timau trail, Nelion trail and Burget route. These routes are used by experienced hikers who intend to summit the peaks of Mount Kenya. However, there are other trails used by the climbers who are less experienced and also have limited time on safari and these include; Summit circuit, Naro Moru, Sirimon route, and Chogoria route. Ascending like any other mountain climbing adventure is straining and challenging but descending is always easier and fascinating as you slide and roll yourself. Along the hike, hikers are rewarded with a view of the park, several wildlife, glaciers, and many other wildlife species that thrill in Mount Kenya national park. The best season to participate in Mount Kenya hiking is during the dry months when the park is dry and the hiking trails are passable and it’s even easy to spot lots of wildlife along the hike.
Game Viewing: There is a great number of wildlife species thrilling in M0ount Kenya national park and these offer a great wildlife viewing experience by taking either a vehicle on a game drive to get closer to mammals in their natural habitats while on a safari vehicle or even by opting for guided walks. Game drive is always the top tourist activities done in most of savanna national parks and Mount Kenya national park is also one of them. The park offers both half day and full day game drives in a four-wheel drive safari vehicle that enables tourists to get closer to wildlife in their nature habitats. Amongst wildlife seen while on a game drive in Mount Kenya national park include; Elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, duikers, mongoose, Black Rhinos, waterbucks, bush backs, leopards among others without forgetting an opportunity to watch several birds species. The best spots to view several wildlife include the areas with green vegetation cover such as along the shores of the waterbodies and within other lowland parts of the park.
Guided nature walks: This is yet another way to explore the beauty that lies within Mt Kenya National park. This is achieved by use of local experienced safari guides and rangers to walk deep into the forest via different trails while sighting out several attractions including primates such as monkeys, mammals including elephants, forest hogs, bush bucks, warthogs, mongoose, pigs, Cats, plenty of forest and migratory birds and identifying serval species of trees and other flora species among others.
Birding: with over 100 species of birds recorded, Mount Kenya national park is indeed one of the best birding destinations in Kenya with the best birding spots being with in the mountains, highland areas in montane grassland, montane forest, along the water bodies, in the bamboo forest and in the moorland among others. This implies that one can engage in birding while performing any other park activities such as forest walk, game viewing, mountain climbing, camping among others. Some of the bird species seen in Mount Kenya national park include; Starlings, African crown eagles, cuckoos, sunbirds, Cape Owl, widowbird, Abyssinian crimson wing, sprawl hawk, olives, Apalis, Greenbul, Hoopoe, Oriole Finch, doves, Barbets, Pigeons, and many more.
Camping: Mount Kenya national park also offers the best camping ground for tourists who wish to spend a night in the wilderness surrounded by nature and the sky. This is one of the fascinating activities enjoyed by nature lovers on a Kenyan safari to Mount Kenya national park as travelers set up fire in the jungle, listen to the mammals that are always active in the nights and watch the stars up in the sky. Camping can also be combined with Picnic to have an overwhelming experience in the wild.
Accommodation / where to stay in Mount Kenya National park
Mount Kenya national park thrills with a good number of accommodation facilities well designated to suite the budget of any tourist on a Kenya safari and these range from lodges such as Luxury accommodation, Midrange accommodation and Budget accommodation. Some of these lodges include; Bantu Mountain lodge, Serena Mountain Lodge, Castle forest lodge. The park also boost with several campsites and camping grounds to provide accommodation for several tourists.
Getting there/ getting to Mount Kenya national park
There are two options used by tourists to access Mt Kenya National park and these include by Road transport and by Air.
By road, the journey from Nairobi to Mt Kenya National park takes about 4 hours road drive and the recommended vehicle is a 4 wheel drive especially at the stretch towards the entrance gate as the road off the main road is very rough and in most case it gets abit impassable especially once it rains that’s why a 4 wheel drive safari car is recommended by anyone intending to visit Mount Kenya national park. While at the park, there are several entrance gates into the park.
By Air, there are always domestic and chatter flights from Wilson Airport to Nanyuki Airstrip for tourists to prefer to get to the park by air.