Mount Kenya

Rising 17,058 feet above sea level, Mount Kenya is Kenya's tallest mountain. It is the second-tallest in all of Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro, which is found in northeastern Tanzania. UNESCO has designated the area around Mount Kenya (Mount Kenya National Park) as a World Heritage Site, and thousands of visitors flock here every year to catch a glimpse of, or hike the craggy, rocky mount. Should you be up for climbing Mount Kenya, you should know that it is a more technical climb than Mount Kilimanjaro, so you can brag to your friends about it once you get home. Of course, bragging rights are not exactly why climbers like to challenge Mount Kenya. Instead, they come for the thrill and the views, which are some of the best on the continent. You can see Kilimanjaro in the distance from the peak of Mount Kenya, and you better bring your camera, although it's likely that your memory will retain the experience quite well should you forget yours. Just don't plan on climbing Mount Kenya quickly, as it can lead to one heck of a case of altitude sickness. Take it easy, and you'll find the experience to be much more comfortable.

Different peaks make up Mount Kenya, the tallest of which is Batian. The mountain is an extinct volcano, experiencing its last eruption some 3 million years ago. There are several different biomes, or ecosystems, found at varying levels as you make your way up Mount Kenya, and the distinct vegetation zones include broad-leaf and bamboo forests, with nothing but ice and rock at the top. Those interested in climbing Mount Kenya will want to have crampons and ice-picks should they venture to the upper reaches. Should you be a rather fit individual not looking to ice climb, than you might entertain the idea of heading up Pt. Lenana, which is the third highest peak on the mountain, though this often requires the proper equipment as well. Your guide company should provide the proper equipment rental, so you should not worry too much about that.

Even Pt. Lenana can present a fairly big challenge, so those not looking to "get in too deep"can always opt to take it much easier. There are plenty of reputable guides and companies that can help you enjoy a Mount Kenya safari, though there are also some that are not likely qualified, so it's important to make sure your guide is KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) certified if you are not arranging your Mount Kenya safari through a Kenya travel package. Those with ample room in the budget can always stay at the world-renowned Mount Kenya Safari Club, which is quite a luxurious hangout on the slopes of Mount Kenya. Stay here, and you'll have Mount Kenya and the Mount Kenya National Park close at hand for your enjoyment. There are less-expensive accommodation facilities that might be a better fit, and you might consider the tented campsites and private camp sites that can provide a wonderful outdoor experience near Mount Kenya.

Mount Kenya is just 125 miles or so from the Kenyan capital city of Nairobi, and excursions can be arranged with tour companies there, or you might opt to rent a car to head out yourself. Should you want to experience other adventures besides climbing Mount Kenya, the Mount Kenya National Park is home to a dazzling array of creatures, such as black rhinos, leopards, and bongos, which are a rare forest antelope. Often times, Mount Kenya safaris that feature Mount Kenya National Park can include other top Kenyan tourist destinations as Lake Nakuru and the Maasai Mara game reserve. Arguably, the best time to visit Mount Kenya, and Mount Kenya National Park, is between the months of July and March, as April through June sees much more rainfall, and thus harder access, especially if you are without a 4x4 vehicle.

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