RAPIDLY SHRINKING GLACIERS
With the height of its highest peak Batian at 5,199m, Mt Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and second highest in Africa after The Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It is an extinct volcanic mountain having last erupted over 2.6 million years ago. Formed as a result of the formation of the East African Rift valley. Located slightly over 140km from the capital city Nairobi and nine kilometers south of the equator in Central and the Eastern provinces of Kenya.
Image courtesy of google.
Features Of Mt.Kenya
Mt. Kenya was years ago covered by a great snow cap and over the years the snow has melted leaving very little of it. As a result of the melting snow most rivers that originated from Mt. Kenya have dried up. Hence alarming as most people living around the area depended on the rivers for fishing and irrigation activities.
The flora found on Mount Kenya varies with altitude, aspect and exposure. As the altitude increases, the plants have to be more specialised, with adaptations to strong sunlight with ultraviolet, lower mean temperatures and freezing night temperatures.
Plants in the Afro-alpine zone have overcome these difficulties in several adaptations:
- The giant rosette, which is exhibited by giant senecio. Senecios form single-aged stands that drive community structure over decades.
- Giant lobelia and giant thistle, which use bud leaves to protect their buds from freezing.
At the foot of Mt Kenya you will find the famous Mt.Kenya forest which occupies over 200,0000 hectares, the forest has over 880 species of plants.
Image courtesy of google.
The forest is also home to wild animals . Various species of monkeys, several antelopes, white tailed mongoose, suni, black fronted duiker, mole rat, bushbucks, waterbuck,tree hyrax,bongo,forest hogs and porcupines. Larger animals such as African elephants and buffalo all live in the forest. Predators found here include hyenas , leopards and occasionaly Lions. Also there are over 130 species of beautiful birds.
Within the forest there are several caves that are said to have formed when it was forming. These caves act as hiding places for the animals.
Mount Kenya National park was established in 1949 and the site became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997
Lakes In Mt.Kenya
The top 4 largest lakes in Mt.Kenya:
- Alice-This the largest Lake in Mt. Kenya. Fomous for royalty named after Princess Alice the duches of Glouchester.
- Michaelson– Second largest Lake in Mt.Kenya.
- Ellis-Situated below Migu Hills, north of the main peaks .Lake Eliis is the third largest Lake in Mt.Kenya.
- Rutundu-Situated in a crater at the base of flat-topped Rutundu Hill. Forth largest Lake and the farthest from the peaks of Mt.Kenya.
Image courtesy of google.
Rivers From Mt.Kenya
Rivers which start on Mount Kenya are the tributaries of two large Kenyan rivers: The Tana and The Ewaso Ng’iro rivers. A lot of Mount Kenyan rivers flow into the Sagana which itself is a tributary of the Tana, which it joins at the Masinga Reservoir.
Cultural Tribes and Activities in Mt.Kenya
For many years the community around the mountain, i.e the Agikuyu people, Aembu, Ambere, and the Ameru have carried out their religious practices facing the mountain as they believe that is where their God hails. They go to the mountain to offer their sacrifices and other rituals. They are agriculturalists, and make use of the highly fertile volcanic soil on the lower slopes.
The mountain attracts so many tourists over the years many because of the climate as the weather in the Mt. Kenya region, The mountain has the leeward side which is hot and dry and the windward side which is cool and wet all through the year making it favorable for tourists as they can choose the side they would like to experience the mountain from. Locals in the leeward practice pastoralism and those in the wind ward practice farming.
Activities at the mountain include;
1. Hiking the mountain, it takes a total of six day to go up and come down, this hike has to be guided by certified guides as they are familiar with the terrains.
Images courtesy of google
2. Visiting the mount Kenya forest, you will learn about the different tree species in their environment.
3. Safari, a safari is definitely the first thing you want to do on landing in Kenya, the area has wildlife conservancies like the Ol Pejeta (home to the late “Sudan ”,the last African female white rhino) that will give you a breathtaking experience.
4. Camping is an experience to look forward to at Mt.Kenya
5. Museum, the Meru national museum is a must visit place in your Mt. Kenya vacation.
- The beautiful Maasai Mara.
- Must visit place in Tanzania.
- The best HoneyMoon location in Africa.
- The most breathtaking tented camp in East Africa.
- White sandy Beaches of ZanZibar.
How to get to Mt. Kenya
From the capital city Nairobi one can either use:
- Road , it takes around 2hours
- Rail it takes around 3hours
- Air it takes 25minutes
All the means of transport are affordable depending on your budget.
Mt.Kenya is a large tourist attraction region thus possesses some of the most prestigious hotels in East Africa. One can choose from tents ,treehouses and other luxurious lounges.
Accomodation in the area is pocket friendly depending on one’s budget.
What to note;
- Guests are not allowed to carry plastic bags or bottles as they pose a threat to animal lives and the vegetation around Mt.Kenya.
- All activities around Mt. Kenya are guided by certified tour guides .