A Park Near A Mountain.
MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK
Mount Kenya is one of our country’s greatest pride and joy. Standing at 5,199m, it is the second highest peak in Africa directly after Mt.Kilimanjaro. The National Park was set up to protect the mountain, the wildlife and its surrounding environment, which acts as a natural habitat for wild animals. The area is also a water catchment area that supply’s the countries much needed water. Mount Kenya was once an ancient volcano which was thought to have risen to a height of 6,500m during the period that the volcano had been active. There is a total of 12 remnant glaciers found on the mountain and is receding at a rapid pace as well as four secondary peaks. The national park spreads out over an area of 276 square miles while the forest reserve covers 705 square kilometres. And the most endearing aspects of this nature filled area is that it has been preserved as a UNESCO Heritage site at a combined 1420 square kilometres. The area around the mountain is covered in volcanic soils that are rich in agricultural value. Mount Kenya serves as one of the most impressive landscapes found within East Africa. From is rugged glacier covered summits to its forested slopes it is absolutely a sight for sore eyes. The air is crisp and fresh and it is an absolute gem for any individual who wishes to be in tune with their nature side.
How to Get To Mount Kenya National Park.
It is possible to get to the park by Road, By Air and via mountain climbing routes
By Road: The Park is located 175km from Nairobi and can be accessed through the Nanyuki-Isiolo road via Sirimon Track or through the Nyeri-Nanyuki Road that is located near NaroMoru on the Eastern side of the country. Besides those two roads, the park is also accessible through Chogoria on the Embu-Meru road about 150km north of Nairobi.
Mountain Climbing Routes: Without access to official gates, the entrances one can use include; Kamweti, Marania, Burguret and Themwe.
By Air: The nearest commercial airstrip to the park is the one in Nanyuki or Laikipia. Although most tourists who fly would prefer to fly in from Nairobi then drive from there into the park.
The Mount Kenya National Park property is inclusive of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve to the North. The two component parts of the property are connected by a wildlife corridor which forms part of the buffer-zone for the property. This provides an important connection for the elephants that are in constant migration between Mount Kenya and the larger conservation complex of the Somali/Maasai ecosystem.
What to See and Do Within Mount Kenya National Park.
The first attraction to the area is the presence of the second highest mountain in Africa. It therefore attracts a large numbers of hiking enthusiasts and mountain climbers. Most of who make it to the top of the highest peak once they are interested in the experience. There are up to seven routes up the mountain. Point Lenana is the highest peak and only climbers who have advanced technical climbing ability are allowed to attempt that feat.
The park is home to beautiful scenery and an array of flora and fauna that are inherent to the area. These include; the Buffalo and Elephant which are found within the tropical forest followed by the Bamboo ecosystem which is home to the rare Bongo and even higher where strange plants such as the Rosette plant and the Giant Lobelia grow. The presence of pristine wilderness, glaciers, lakes and tarns just add on to the alluring beauty of the Mountain and build on your experience as well. One can also engage in Cave Exploration once within the park. The recommendation that is provided is that one should take at least three nights while ascending the mountain so that your body can get acclimatised to the climate on the mountain so as to prevent altitude sickness.
There is an array of accommodation and camping options both within the park and outside in the adjoining vicinity. The Serena Mountain Lodge is the only one found within the Park and is found on the lower slopes of the mountain. It possesses a number of viewing decks which provide a vantage point for the inhabitants. If you wish to put up camp within the moorlands it is still possible to do so depending on your operator’s suggestions.
PARK RULES/CODE OF CONDUCT
- Respect the privacy of the wildlife, this is their habitat.
- Beware of the animals, they are wild and can be unpredictable.
- Don’t crowd the animals or make sudden noises or movements.
- Don’t feed the animals, it upsets their diet and leads to human dependence.
- Keep quiet, noise disturbs the wildlife and may antagonize your fellow visitors.
- Stay in your vehicle at all times, except at designated picnic or walking areas.
- Keep below the maximum speed limit (40 kph/25 mph).
- Never drive off-road, this severely damages the habitat.
- When viewing wildlife keep to a minimum distance of 20 meters and pull to the side of the road so as to allow others to pass.
- Leave no litter and never leave fires unattended or discard burning objects.
- Respect the cultural heritage of Kenya, never take pictures of the local people or their habitat without asking their permission, respect the cultural traditions of Kenya and always dress with decorum.
- Stay over or leave before dusk, visitors must vacate the Park between 6.00 p.m. – 6.00 a.m. unless they are camping overnight. Night game driving is not allowed.