Mount Kenya National Park
Mount Kenya National Park is situated on the eastern side of the Great Rift Valley, about 175 kilometers northeast of Nairobi (the capital of Kenya). It was established in 1949 to protect the region surrounding Mount Kenya. Initially it was a forest reserve before being announced as a National Park.
Currently the National Park is within the forest reserve which encircles it. In April 1978 the area was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park and the forest reserve, combined, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. They occupy an area of 2,800 square kilometers, most of which is above the 3,000 meters contour line.
The park can be reached on Nanyuki-Isiolo road via Sirimon Track or Nyeri-Nanyuki road near Naro Moru. It is also reachable via Chogoria on the Embu – Meru road, about 150 kilometers north of the capital.
The closest commercial airstrip to the park is Nanyuki Airport (NYK).
The park has 6 gates – Naro Moru Gate, Sirimon Gate, Chogoria Gate, Mawingu Gate, Kamweti Gate and Kihari Gate.
Mount Kenya National Park Major Attractions
At 5,199 m high, Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain after Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) in Tanzania. The mountain offers easy or challenging ascents with superb scenic beauty. Its highest peaks are Batian (5,199 m), Nelion (5,188 m) and Point Lenana (4,985 m).
The climate, flora and fauna on Mount Kenya varies with altitude. Attractions include pristine wilderness, glaciers, lakes, tarns, peaks of great beauty, geological variety, forest, mineral springs, falls, rare and endangered species of wild animals, high altitude adapted plains game, unique montane and alpine vegetation with 11 species of endemic plants.
More than 130 species of birds have been recorded, including sunbirds, alpine chats, starlings, olive pigeons, giant kingfishers, red-fronted parrots, Lammergeiers, Augur Buzzards and Verreaux’s Eagles.
Wild animals that can be seen include elephant, Black and White Colobus monkey, Sykes monkey, Olive Baboon, buffalo, bushbuck, waterbuck, eland, black rhino, black fronted duiker, leopard, giant forest hog, genet cat, bush pig, mole rats, tree hyrax, porcupine, white tailed mongoose and hyena. More elusive is the bongo, a rare type of forest antelope.
A number of other rare or endangered species can be found here such as the Sunni Buck, Mount Kenya Mole Shrew, skinks (lizard), and a variety of owls. Occasional sightings have been recorded of albino zebra.