Mt. Kenya National Park is located to the east of the Great Rift Valley, about 175km North-East of Nairobi. The ecosystem lies in Central and Eastern provinces of Kenya. At 5,199m the mountain is the second highest peak in Africa. Mt. Kenya is an important water tower in the country. It provides water for about 50% of the country’s population and produces 70% of Kenya’s hydroelectric power.
Mount Kenya stands a magnificent 5199m (17,057 feet) above sea level, dominating the view for miles around. It is the second highest mountain in Africa, next to Mount Kilimanjaro, and was formed hundreds of years ago by a series of volcanic eruptions. Gradually, the cratered rim has eroded, forming several peaks.
Mount Kenya National Park consists mainly of the three peaks of Mount Kenya. This gives it a different landscape than the other national parks, but the African animals are still evident, including African elephants, monkeys and a host of birds.
Mount Kenya National Park was created in 1949 to protect Mount Kenya and its environment from destruction and development. The Mount Kenya Forest Reserve encircles the national park and the two areas, combined, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mount Kenya National Park covers 715km² (276 square miles) and the forest reserve at the base covers a further 705km² (272 square miles).
The park was created to encourage tourism, to preserve the area’s natural, outstanding beauty, and to conserve the animal habitat and protect it as a water catchment area. Mount Kenya National Park is located between Kenya’s other safari parks – Aberdare, Samburu and Meru National Park.
Of Mount Kenya’s three main peaks, only Point Lenana can be climbed by amateurs on a mountain climbing safari. The other two peaks require full mountaineering skills and technical equipment.
The mountain supports rainforest, with thick clumps of bamboo growing above the forest. Higher up the slopes, it becomes moorland with heather and lobelia. A tarmac road runs around the base of Mount Kenya and there are several towns situated along the road, including Naro Moru, Nanyuki and Meru.
African animals, including elephants, buffalo, Colobus and other monkeys, Cape buffalo, antelope and giant forest hogs, inhabit the lower forests. They are contained within the national park by electrified fences.
The birdlife is also very prolific, including huge eagles and colorful sunbirds. A spotter’s guide may be useful for identifying the animals and birds.