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.