Mount Kenya Chogoria route
We will meet you in Nairobi, either at the airport if you fly in today, or at your accommodation if you have arrived beforehand. We will then drive up to the town of Embu on the South East of Mt Kenya(3hrs) Dinner and overnight in a budget hotel.
Transfer around to the small town of Chogoria to sign in to the National Park. We will then drive up through the forest in 4×4’s. It is usually possible to drive all the way to today’s camp, but we will decide where to be dropped off so that we get the acclimatizing benefits of a walk and also the opportunity to soak up the sights and sounds of the forest and to get ‘in-tune’ with our surroundings. We will probably walk around 5-10km before we arrive at the Meru Bandas(3000m, where we spend the night. This is a good spot to see wildlife in the evening including monkeys, buffalo and even elephant.
Leaving the Meru Bandas, we head out across the alpine heath with giant Lobelia and Groundsel amongst the giant heather and tussock grass. The path up to Lake Ellis is not as well used so we may simply take the line of least resistance as we climb up, generally following the course of the stream out-flowing from the lake. Afternoon to climb the nearby Mugi Hill(3400m) to enjoy views of the higher peaks.
After breakfast at Lake Ellis we drop down to cross the Nithi North River and climb the broad hillside over thinning moorland until we come alongside the canyon of the Gorges Valley. We follow its rock edge around to a collection of small lakes perched on a rocky plateau above the spectacular vertical and overhanging cliffs of The Temple; this is where we camp for the night. If we have time and energy, we can make a fantastic trip around and down through a notch in the upper cliffs over the scree and down to Lake Michaelson at the foot of the Temple cliffs, remembering that it is a stiff ascent back up to the camp.
Leaving our spectacular campsite, we head on up towards the peaks that beckon above. The gradient is initially fairly gradual before it steepens to climb up to where the summit circuit path crosses our way. Before we ascend this slope we will evaluate how we are all feeling and either head to the left and traverse around to Austrian Hut beside the Lewis Glacier at 4790m or head to the right to camp at Simba Tarn at 4600m.
If we slept at Austrian Hut we will be up at around 4:30am to follow the rocky south ridge up to Point Lenana for sunrise. If we camped at Simba Tarn we will be up around 3:30am to climb up to Harris Tarn and follow the north route to Point Lenana. Both routes generally only require careful walking but each have small sections where we will use our hands to scramble as well. After watching the sunrise out over the African plains and soaking up its warmth, we will descend back to the Hall Tarns and via a different route to camp near to the Nithi Falls. This is a long day but one full of amazing sights and experiences, a particularly quick descent could get us back to the relative luxury of Meru Banda’s to enjoy a local beer and the varied wildlife that is on view at dusk and dawn.
This morning we will have a fairly relaxed start before walking along to the beautiful Nithi Falls, just above our camp. We will then walk back along the vehicle track to the Meru Bandas and sign out of the National Park. We will then load up our 4×4 for the drive back down through the forest to Chogoria and around to the town of Embu and on to Nairobi.