Mt Kenya National Park


Africa’s second-highest mountain is also one of its most beautiful. Here, mere minutes from the equator, glaciers carve out the throne of Ngai, the old high god of the Kikuyu. To this day the tribe keeps its doors open to the face of the sacred mountain, and some still come to its lower slopes to offer prayers. Mt Kenya also has the rare honour of being both a Unesco World Heritage Site and a Unesco Biosphere Reserve.

In the past, 12 glaciers wore Mt Kenya down to 5199m worth of dramatic remnants, but today it's the ice itself that is under threat, disappearing under increased temperatures and taking with it crystalline caves and snowy crevasses. That means the climb up the mountain is easier than it has ever been – but by no means does it mean the ascent is easy.

The highest peaks of Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5188m) can only be reached by mountaineers with technical skills, but Point Lenana (4985m), the third-highest peak, can be reached by trekkers and is the usual goal for most mortals. When the clouds part, the views are simply magnificent.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kenya attractions

1. Highland Castle

5.34 MILES

If you are trekking along the Burguret Route, you will likely camp just below the lava cliff of Highland Castle at 3700m. If time allows and you're…

2. Shipton's Caves

8.36 MILES

Just before Shipton's Camp, along the Sirimon Route, you will find Shipton's Caves. You'll likely spend a night here to acclimatise, so ask your guide if…

4. Solio Game Reserve

18.52 MILES

This family run, private 71-sq-km reserve, 22km north of Nyeri, is Kenya's oldest rhino sanctuary and an important breeding centre for black rhinos. The…

5. Baden-Powell’s Grave

23.57 MILES

The scoutmaster’s grave is tucked behind St Peter's Church, facing Mt Kenya and marked with the Scouts trail sign for ‘I have gone home’. His more famous…

6. Morani Information Centre

24.46 MILES

Part education or interpretation centre, part museum, this three-roomed structure is appealingly interactive and comes with instructions to 'please touch'…

7. Endangered Species Enclosure

24.46 MILES

This 283-hectare drive-through enclosure next to the Morani Information Centre is home to the last three remaining northern white rhinos (one male and two…

8. Baden-Powell Museum

24.48 MILES

Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout Association, spent his last three years at Paxtu cottage in the Outspan Hotel, where this museum is…