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MOUNT KENYA CHOGORIA ROUTE information

Mount Kenya trek is a challenging and enjoyable hike to Mount Kenya's highest trekking peak (Point Lenana) at 4985 metres. From the summit there is a beautiful views across the various tarn lakes

Chogoria Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya Chogoria Route is the one of the most beautiful access points to Point Lenana. There are 3 principal summit routes (and 4 lesser used routes), namely Sirimon, Chogoria and Naro Moru. These can either stand alone, or together as variations with other routes. The most scenic and interesting of the three main routes on Mt Kenya is Chogoria route. It starts at Meru Bandas and it is It is normal to drive 4x4's through the forest as the Bandas (3000m). Chogoria is arguably the most magnificent ascent route to the summit area.  The additional features of Lake Ellis, the Giant's Billiard Table and the Nithi Falls further add to its interest.

One of the most beautiful lakes, Lake Michaelson just below the head of the spectacular 'Temple' after Mintos Tarn. As it is a slower ascent it offers more prospects for acclimatisation and also time to enjoy the magnificent scenery. Another route is Sirimon, which has the most gradual ascent and also ascends on the driest side of the mountain, meaning less chance of rain. It starts in a yellowwood forest, into a shrubland, a forest of scenecios up to Lenana. When combined over 5 or 6 days, it forms Sirimon Chogoria route.

Sirimon-route-kenya
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best time to climb

Being equatorial,  Tanzania has two wet seasons.

The first is the long rains from March to May, and then a short rainy season in November. The daytime temperatures tend to range around 32 to 38 degrees C in the forest, to anything from -2 to 6 degrees at the summit. Nights tend to range from 10 degrees down to well below freezing. Summit temperatures can drop below -20C. 

The warmest months with the clearest trekking days on Kilimanjaro,  are from mid to late December, January, February, September and October. The rains often come in April and the start of May with the possibility of some snow.  June through to August are superb trekking months, though evening temperatures tend to be colder. The wettest months on Mt Kenya are November and early December, where snowfalls are likely. Note, that as this is a mountain it is not impossible to get sporadic snow or rainfall at odd times throughout the year, although the snow normally only falls above 4400m.

MT KENYA HUTS

Because Mount Kenya has so many different routes, there a lot of huts to be found on the mountain. 

Austrian Hut/Top Hut (4,790 metres (15,715 ft) is the highest hut on Mount Kenya, with the exception of Howell Hut on Nelion. It is a good base for the ascent of Lenana.

Mt Kenya Lodge (3,017 metres Meru Bandas (9,898 ft)  are privately owned on the edge of the national park.. The lodge is about 500 m from the park gate, and consists of several log cabins, each with a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living area with log fireplace. There is hot running water in the cabins, which sleep 3–4 people. The campsite is located at the park gate, and has running water. 

Sirimon Bandas (2,650 metres (8,694 ft)  are located at Sirimon Gate, just inside Mt Kenya National Park. The bandas each have two bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, a bathroom and a veranda. There is hot running water. 

Old Moses Camp (3,400 metres (11,155 ft)  has dormitories and a large campsite, as well as accommodation for guides and porters.

Liki North Hut (3,993 metres (13,100 ft) is not really a hut any longer but has a camp area. There are no ablutions

Shipton's Camp (4,236 metres (13,898 ft) is home to many rock hyrax, as well as striped mice, many types of sunbirds and Alpine Chats.  

travel insurance

The cost of a medical evacuation from the mountain is expensive, which is why adequate travel insurance  is required on all climbs booked through us. Adequate, means you must be covered for 1) Trekking or hiking – this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion. 
2) Altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard cover and often limit it to 3500m or less. 
3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy – yes, many insurers exclude this; though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for. 
4) Personal accident – this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients – “if anything happens to me, just leave me there.” It is not that simple. 


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We suggest two variations, although you can also ascend and descend on the same route.

Day-1: Nairobi - Chogoria Town - Meru Bandas
The day starts with collected from your hotel in Nairobi. We then drive north to Chogoria Town for an early lunch. You will then take a 4x4WD land rover into the rain forest to a clearance. Your hike starts from here for 16km. The forest can be dry and dusty, or muddy in rainy season. The hike will last 4hrs reaching the Meru Bandas on 2950m where dinner and first night will be. 

Day-2: Bandas - Road Head - Lake Ellis, 5hrs, 13km, 700m ascent
 Wake up to breakfast. Follow the path through giant heather and forest up to Chogoria road head, from where you detour with a descent from the route crossing a stream (stemming from Lake Ellis) on to Nithi Falls then a short ascent to get to Road Head Camp at an altitude of 3300m walking approximately 3-4hrs. You then continue hiking from Road Head Camp for 1hr, following the track in the forest and giant heather to arrive at Lake Ellis, through Mugi Hills between the Gorges Valley, up through the Nithi River. You will then reach Lake Ellis Camp for the night, 3650m 

Day-3: Lake Ellis Camp - Mintos Hut - hike of 12km in 4-5 hrs 
An early start with hiking through the track following a ridge for approximately 3 hours. At an altitude of 4100m we will join up with the main Chogoria trail where we get spectacular views over the scenic Gorges Valley, Northern Moorlands and towards Ithanguni. In the afternoon, it is well worth a short walk to see the 'Temple' which a 150 meters vertical cliff overlooking Lake Michaelson. We could also hike to Lake Michaelson, which is around 2 - 2.5 hours return. 

Day-4: Mintos Hut - Point Lenana - Old Moses Hut 
At about 02h00, we will begin our trek toward to Point Lenana at 4985m, aiming to reach there around 06h30 for a sunrise summit. You will start your final journey at 2 am hiking towards the main mountain peaks. We will then head on a 2hrs descent to Shipton Camp at 4200m. Enjoy a well-deserved breakfast. Another 4hrs through Mackinders Valley to arrive Old Moses Camp, located at 3300m for the night 

Day-5: Old Moses Camp (Judmier Camp) - Sirimon Gate - Nairobi 
Today, you hike down for 2-3hrs through the rainforest to reach Sirimon Gate, 2650m. You then connect with your transport vehicle to Nanyuki Town for lunch and continue back to Nairobi with an arrival estimated to be approximately 3 pm.     
                                          

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 ​​​We suggest two variations, although you can also ascend and descend on the same route.

Day-1: Nairobi - Chogoria Town - Meru Bandas
The day starts with collected from your hotel in Nairobi. We then drive north to Chogoria Town for an early lunch. You will then take a 4x4WD land rover into the rain forest to a clearance. Your hike starts from here for 16km. The forest can be dry and dusty, or muddy in rainy season. The hike will last 4hrs reaching the Meru Bandas on 2950m where dinner and first night will be. 

Day-2: Bandas - Road Head - Lake Ellis, 5hrs, 13km, 700m ascent
 Wake up to breakfast. Follow the path through giant heather and forest up to Chogoria road head, from where you detour with a descent from the route crossing a stream (stemming from Lake Ellis) on to Nithi Falls then a short ascent to get to Road Head Camp at an altitude of 3300m walking approximately 3-4hrs. You now continue hiking from Road Head Camp for 1hr, following the track in the forest and giant heather to arrive at Lake Ellis, through Mugi Hills between the Gorges Valley, up through the Nithi River. You will then reach Lake Ellis Camp for the night, 3650m 

Day-3: Lake Ellis Camp - Mintos Hut - hike of 12km in 4-5 hrs 
An early start with hiking through the track following a ridge for approximately 3 hours. At an altitude of 4100m we will join up with the main Chogoria trail where we get spectacular views over the scenic Gorges Valley, Northern Moorlands and towards Ithanguni. In the afternoon, it is well worth a short walk to see the 'Temple' which a 150 meters vertical cliff overlooking Lake Michaelson. We could also hike to Lake Michaelson, which is around 2 - 2.5 hours return. 

Day 4: Minto`s - Austrian hut (top hut) 4 hrs, 7km, 500m ascent.

Today we begin our trek ascending up along the foot of huge rock walls. From the top, we'll have an excellent view of Mt. Kenya. After ascending for a couple of hours you reach Tooth Col. From here you traverse until you reach the Austrian Hut for dinner and overnight. 

Day 5: Austrian camp - Pt Lenana(4,985m) - Mackinders camp. 5 hrs, 285m ascent, 785 descent.
Leave at 5.00 am for predawn attempt, climbing for 1 hour across bare rock and scree slopes characteristic of the alpine region up to Pt Lenana - the hiker`s summit, arriving in time to catch the African sunrise. Descend to Austrian hut( Top hut) for breakfast. After breakfast descends to Mackinder’s camp for diner and overnight. 

Day 6: Mackinders camp -Shipton`s Camp. 4 hrs, 100m descent
After breakfast, we go clockwise climbing up to Two Tarns and Nanyuki Tarns, and then pass between Oblong and Hausberg Tarns before descending to Shipton's camp on the Northern side of the peak, at about 4200 meters for dinner and overnight 

Day 7: Shipton camp - Nairobi. 5 hrs, 14km, 900m descent
After breakfast, we begin a 5-hour descent via Mackinder`s valley to the Old Moses camp (3,300m). The descent is gentle and it offers ample time to enjoy fascinating scenery which includes the moorlands before reaching the camp for lunch. After lunch transfer back to Nairobi arriving late afternoon.                                              
                                              
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This video is of the Sirimon Chogoria route. The Sirimon route up and Chogoria route down is arguably the most magnificent route to the summit area of Mount Kenya. It is the driest route up the mountain and the walk beside the gorge is truly spectacular.

Mount Kenya Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mt Kenya a technical climb?

Mt Kenya comprises three peaks, two of which are technical climbs and one which is a  trekking peak. The two major technical rock and ice climbing peaks are called Nelion and  Batian. The third peak is known as Point Lenana and is a trekking peak, easily achieved  via hiking or walking. Our  Mt Kenya treks all go to Lenana, so our tours are to the  trekking peak where no technical expertise is needed.

How long does it take to climb Mt Kenya?

The shortest number of days required to climb to Lenana on Mt Kenya is three days. The longest trek is around 6 days. It all depends on which route you choose.  As a general rule of thumb, any trek where the ascent is very quick makes the overall success rate, lower, so it is better to add on extra days to increase your chances of success.

How long does it take to climb Mount Kenya on Sirimon Chogoria Route?

The shortest number of days required  for is 5, but by the time you have added on arrival and departure days it is 7. It is best done in 6 to increase your chances of success.

How fit must I be?

Although Mount Kenya is classified as a ' trek,' it has a very fast altitude gain.  It requires physical fitness and stamina and most importantly, mental fitness. Your legs will get you up the first days but for your summit night, it is often mental  strength that will get you to the top - (assuming of course that you are not affected by altitude, sickness or pure fatigue). A good exercise and training program is essential. The climb should not be undertaken lightly, after all, why spend the money if you are not willing to prepare yourself physically as well?

Do I need to undergo specific medical tests?

This really depends on the operator you travel through. The parks Kilimanjaro Park authorities do not ask for any medical information on the climbers when permits are purchased. Some operators request the clients complete a medical  form, others do not. We require that all of our clients complete a medical form and based on the answers, we may request a letter from your medical practitioner. People suffering with conditions such as severe asthma e.g. should not climb. Regardless, anyone attempting the climb, or any climb for that matter, should ensure that they are medically fit, and convey any medical conditions to the operator they book with.

How will the altitude affect me on Mount Kenya?

This is one of the most often asked questions - "how will I cope with the altitude". To be honest, this is an ' unknown' factor as no-one can predict how your body will cope at altitude. People who have been to altitude many times in the past without problems, may on one climb suddenly develop problems. There are many factors that play a role. The only way to help combat this, is to take all of the necessary precautions, and walk slowly,  pole pole. Choosing a path where you get to follow the principle of "climb high, sleep low" is also advisable.                    

Is Mt Kenya better than Kilimanjaro?

Mt Kenya is a less popular choice which means less hikers. On some routes you may hardly see other people, especially during the  less-popular wet seasons of March-June and October-December. Less people means less competition for bunks, less noise and less litter. Hikers can also hike at their own slower paces                            

Although both Kilimanjaro and Mt Kenya are mountains, Mt Kenya feels more like you are on a mountain. It has a  lot of streams, very craggy volcanic peaks and valleys, more wildlife, clear lakes boulders stunning scenecios.

What gear do I need on Mt Kenya?

There are certain essentials that are needed for most climbs and Kilimanjaro is no different.  The best way to draw up your list is from the base up, i.e. thermal underwear, then hands and feet (gloves, socks etc). Then boots which must be waterproof with good ankle support, trekking pants, trekking tops, short and long sleeve, thermal jacket, outer shell jacket which likewise is windproof and water proof, hat, scarf, beanie, balaclava. Then consider  sleeping, i.e. sleeping bag, mat etc. Most companies supply sleeping mats so check before you buy one. Then, the last items to add are personal items like toiletries, camera, medicines, water bottle, backpack, camera etc.                        

Most companies will supply you with a comprehensive list for your trek, as do we. If you arrive to Kilimanjaro and are missing items, you can normally rent most gear. Do not, however, reply on buying your gear on arrival.                     

What if I have to turn back?

Unfortunately this is something every trekker has to consider.  Anything from a stomach bug to altitude sickness can quickly stop a trekker in their tracks. If you are ill and need to turn back or even too tired to continue,  a porter will walk off the mountain with you and your gear. If you are too sick to walk, then part of your fee includes evacuation by teams already on the mountain and employed by the Parks authorities.                    

Do I need climbing insurance?

Yes you do. We (Nomadic Adventures) do not allow anyone to climb with us unless they have adequate travel insurance. Adequate, means you must be covered for                        

1) trekking or hiking - this may sound strange, but many insurance list that as an exclusion.                          

2) altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard option and often limit it to 3500m or less.

3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy - yes, many insurers exclude this, though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for.

4) personal accident - this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients - "if anything happens to me, just leave me there." Bodies need to be brought home or laid to rest overseas, and this can run into  thousands of dollars, creating a huge burden on family members.                              

We will assist in helping you provide good cover.   If you need cover or simply a quote, follow the  details herewith:. Once you have done your initial quote, you will need to upgrade your cover to include altitudes up to 6000m.  Towards the bottom of the page you will see a section called, Options: Upgrade your cover.   Click the link called 'View Adventure Sports Benefits'. A blue pop up screen will open. Look for the level of cover required for 'trekking to 6,000 meters' or 'hiking to 6,000 meters'. Depending on your country it is usually a level 1 or 2. Note: we are not insurance experts and it's your responsibility to ensure you have correct and adequate cover. If you live in South Africa, we have other cover options



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What are the routes on Mount Kenya and how do I choose one?

There are 3 principal summit routes (and 4 lesser used routes), namely Sirimon, Chogoria and Naro Moru. These can either stand alone, or together as variations with other routes.

The fastest route and most direct to Point Lenana is the Naro Moru route. Given the short number of days it is often a very popular route with groups. It is also a lot steeper than other routes and also has the famous 'vertical bog,' which is a steep section of mud and best traversed in gum boots. Because of its steepness, it has less acclimatisation chances. The route makes use of Met Station and McKinders Camp.

The most scenic and interesting of the three main routes on Mt Kenya is the Chogoria route. It starts at Meru Bandas at the base of arguably one of the beautiful Lake Michaelson. As it is a slower ascent it offers more prospects for acclimatisation and also time to enjoy the magnificent scenery.

The third main route is Sirimon, which has the most gradual ascent and also ascends on the direst side of the mountain, meaning less chance of rain. It starts in a yellowwood forest, into a shrubland, a forest of Scenecio’s up to Lenana.

These routes can be combined to get the best of various scenes. Likewise Noromoru - Sirimon and Sirimon Chogoria.

What If I Don’t Have Anyone To Climb With Me?

We arrange treks from just 1 person on their own with a guide and porters to large groups. If you climb alone you will still get to meet other people on the mountain if you are sociable.

When is the full moon?

Moon phases (Full Moon) 2022

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