Mount Kenya Climb: CHOGORIA DOWN SIRIMON
As Mount Kilimanjaro will be giving you the height, Mount Kenya Climb will surpass it with beauty and contrast! This is a dormant volcanic mountain which last erupted roughly 3.5 million years ago. It is regarded as a ‘Holly Mountain’ to the local Kikuyu and Meru people who live on the lower slopes of the mountain. Few locals would venture near the peaks, partly due to cold and the fear of invading the God’s Sanctuary in the olden days!
Our route of preference is the Chogoria. This is because of its scenic landscape all the way to the peaks. It is a dry route up the mountain and the walk along the Gorges Valley makes it spectacular.
Going down the Sirimon route takes one through some beautiful pockets of Senecios. In the lower elevations, the bamboo forest and a belt of rain forest completes the South East to North West traverse of the mountain.
– Climb Mount Kenya from South East to North West via the Chogoria and Sirimon routes.
– Summit Point Lenana, the highest trekking point on Mount Kenya.
– Climb via the quieter, longer and most spectacular Chogoria route
Nairobi – Meru Mt Kenya Lodge (Bandas) 2,950m 3hrs, 10km walk, 950m ascent.
Day 1: Leave Nairobi after breakfast and drive through the rich agricultural Kikuyu and Meru up to Chogoria trading center for lunch. We meet the supporting crew and drive up to the edge of the bamboo forest. The forest comprises of ancient Cedar, Podo curpus, Meru Oak and many more trees. From here we start our trek through the dense bamboo forest for a distance of 10 km to the Meru Mt Kenya lodge also referred to as Bandas. The compound is scattered with buffalo dung as they gaze around at night and in the early hour of the morning.
An early dinner prepared by our chef is served. A short briefing by our senior guide follows before retiring to bed in the lodge. (2950m)
Mt Kenya Bandas – Road Head campsite (3,300m) 3-5 hrs, 7km, 350m ascent.
Day 2: After breakfast, we commence a short trek a long the ridge through the rolling down land. If lucky, occasional sights of elephants, bush-bucks and buffaloes emerging from the forest will add excitement. Higher up the tree line, hike through heather land to the camp. We set up the camp and enjoy our hot lunch. We visit the Nithi Falls in the afternoon. It is an idyllic place with butterflies dancing among the orchids and red hot poker. The moment of icy spray and the weight of the white water dashing on your shoulders like ice or fire makes it unique. Early dinner is served before retiring in out tents just after a short briefing by our guide.
Road head- Lake Michelson (4000m) 5-7hrs, 10km, 700m ascent.
Day 3: Our beautiful day starts after crossing Nithi River to reach the moorlands. It is a jaw-dropping beautiful hike! The picturesque is immense from the upper region. The sunlight and shadows playing across endless miles of forest in the lower region, the Gorges Valley, Mushroom rocks, The Temple, Billiards table- a huge, flat-topped volcanic platform, and the higher peaks of Batian, Nelion and Lenana- all named after Maasai leaders. There is a site of the Vivienn Falls- Named after a colonial hunter who came to Kenya in 1922, the time for colonial hunting safaris. (Her family planted a wooden cross nearby to commemorate her stay and love of Mount Kenya). Our camp will be set on the shores of this beautiful lake. We will be served our dinner before retiring to bed.
Lake Michelson – Upper Simba Tarn (4500m), 8km, 500m ascent.
Day 4: After the sun reaches the camp, we enjoy the warm breakfast. Because it is a short day, today’s departure will be delayed a little bit. We climb out of the valley to rejoin the moorland trail. Then leave the moorland and take the alpine desert trail to the camp. Lunch is served here. Afternoon spent by exploring the nearby surrounding. After an early dinner, retire to your tent for a much needed rest so that you can re-energize your body for the summit .
Simba Tarn- Pt Lenana ( 4,985m) Old Moses Camp (3,300m) 11-12 hrs, 485m ascent, 24km walk, 1,685m descent
Day 5: We attempt the summit at 0430hrs and we hike for about one and half hours up to Point Lenana (4,985m), the normal hiker’s peak, arriving there for the African sunrise. Weather permitting, take a photo sessesion and then descend to Shipton camp for breakfast (4,200m). After breakfast, begin the 5 hours descend via Mackinder’s valley to the Old Moses / Judmiere camp ( 3,300m). The journey is gentle and it offers ample time to enjoy amazing scenery which includes the peculiar mountain plants. The last dinner is served early before retiring to bed.
Judmiere Camp – Sirimon gate – Nairobi. 2 hrs. walk.
Day 6: After breakfast, we descend for 2 hours on the newly tarmacked road to Sirimon Park gate (2650m). Zebras, black and white Columbus monkey, elephants, water bucks, bongo, baboons and other smaller mammals can be seen on the way down. With luck on your side, you can be able to see the leopard basking on the sun. After checking out of the national park, we meet our diver and drive to Nanyuki for lunch. After bidding farewell to the supporting crew, drive back to Nairobi arriving by 1800 hrs. You have conquered the second highest Mountain in Africa!