Mount Kenya, the country’s highest mountain, has its higher slopes permanently covered in snow, even though it sits astride the equator and is becoming increasingly popular with mountaineers from all over the world. Although conceived as a recreation area, the park has a good and varied population of wildlife. Elephant, buffalo and rhino are frequently seen and birdlife too is varied. Walking through the forests you are sure to see a flash of vivid red as a Hartlaub’s turaco flies ahead. Around the base of Mount Kenya are a number of hotel and lodges with the plush Mount Kenya Safari Club, for guests who demand the utmost in comfort and luxury.
The park was created around Africa’s second-highest mountain. It straddles the equator and covers more than 715 sq km. Mount Kenya is seen as sacred by the Kikuyu people, as there is said to be a god who lives here. The mountain’s snow-capped peaks can be seen on clear days, but are often enclosed in low cloud cover. With altitudes ranging from 1,600m to 5,200m, the summit is a difficult technical climb, but the lesser peak of Point Lenana (4,985m) can be reached by fit trekkers. This trek takes between three and five days through a fascinating world of low-lying forests, unique montane vegetation and one of the world’s rarest sights, equatorial snow. Common species found on the hills are giant forest hog, tree hyrax, white-tailed mongoose, elephant, buffalo, suni, duiker, leopard, black rhino, bushbuck, bongo and a type of ‘golden cat’. Mountain buzzards, tinker birds and various louries are also found here. For those who do not want to climb the mountain, its highlands are a lovely place to explore.