Mount Kenya climbing itinerary:
Day 1: Nairobi – Giant Bamboo camp
Transfer from Nairobi to Nanyuki for lunch. After lunch drive to Gathiuru forest station and a 4 hour ascent through dense stands of towering bamboo to a Giant Bamboo Camp at 2600m. Elephant and buffalo are common here.
Day 2: Giant Bamboo – Highlands Castle
The luxuriant bamboo yields to enormous podocarpus and pencil cedar forest before we climb to the hagenia rosewood zone at the edge of the moorlands. This marks our lunch spot before heading up through the extraordinary giant lobelia and groundsels. We spend the night close to the sheer lava cliffs of the “Highland Castle” at 3,700. Today’s hike takes 5-6 hrs with an ascent of 1,100m
Day 3: Highlands Castle – Shipton Camp
Spectacular scenery as the jagged volcanic peaks and shimmering glaciers tower above our trek around the summit circuit. Turquoise tarns nestle in the valleys, eagles and buzzards soar overhead – it’s difficult to believe we’re on the equator! We might, for the first time, meet other trekkers here as we hike for 5-6 hours to overnight at Shipton Camp at 4,200m.
Day 4: Shipton camp – Pt Lenana – Hall Tarns
Predawn start for the summit attempt. Up steep screes and a bare rocky track to reach the summit. It’s an exhilarating 3 hours from here to reach the hiker’s summit, Pt Lenana at 4,985m in time for the sunrise – Kilimanjaro is usually visible 340kms to the south then 2-3 hours descent to Hall Tarns (4,300m), where we have a hefty breakfast and spend the day here to rest and to relax. Our campsite is perched close (but not too close) to the top of a sheer 300m cliff overlooking the Gorges Valley.
Day 5: Hall Tarns – Mt Kenya Bandas
Gentle hike down a broad ridge enjoying magnificent views back up the valley to the snowy peaks, and down to waterfalls, tarns and lava flows in the Gorges Valley itself. Overnight in the Meru Mt. Kenya cabins – log fires, hot showers, beds – and if the supply vehicles have made it up through the forest, Tusker beers! Wildlife viewing possible in evening with elephant and buffalo often grazing outside our cabins and a large numbers of forest and moorland birds.
Day 6: Mt Kenya Bandas – Nairobi
Three hours walk down through the bamboo forest to meet our vehicles for the return journey to Nairobi, arriving in the late afternoon.