Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest peak in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro. It is located in central Kenya, approximately 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of Nairobi, the capital city. The first ascent was in 1899. In this blog we will get into detailed information about Mount Kenya on the following areas;

  1. Mount Kenya peaks.
  2. Flora and Fauna
  3. The Lakes.
  4. The Glaciers.
  5. The Rivers.
  6. The Valleys. 
  7. The waterfalls. 

Mount Kenya Peaks

Elevation: Mount Kenya reaches an altitude of 5,199 meters (17,057 feet) above sea level at its highest point. 

Mount Kenya consists of three main peaks: Batian, Nelion, and Point Lenana. 

  • Batian.

Altitude: Batian is the highest peak of Mount Kenya, reaching an elevation of 5,199 meters (17,057 feet) above sea level.

Technical Climb: Batian is a challenging technical climb that requires mountaineering skills and experience. It involves rock climbing, ice climbing, and roped sections.

Rock Formation: The peak is composed of solid granite rock and is known for its steep and rugged cliffs.

Accessibility: Batian is the least accessible of the three peaks and can only be reached by experienced climbers.

  • Nelion.

Altitude: Nelion is the second-highest peak of Mount Kenya, standing at an elevation of 5,188 meters (17,021 feet) above sea level.

Technical Climb: Similar to Batian, Nelion is also a technical climb that requires advanced mountaineering skills. It involves challenging rock faces, vertical pitches, and icy sections.

Rock Formation: Nelion is characterized by sheer rock faces and challenging rock formations, including the famous “Diamond Couloir.”

Accessibility: Nelion is located close to Batian and is typically climbed as part of a multi-day expedition with Batian as the primary objective.

  • Point Lenana.

Altitude: Point Lenana is the third and most accessible peak of Mount Kenya, with an elevation of 4,985 meters (16,355 feet) above sea level.

Non-Technical Trek: Unlike Batian and Nelion, Point Lenana does not require technical climbing skills. It can be reached through trekking routes, although some sections may involve steep ascents and scree slopes.

Popular Trekking Peak: Point Lenana is the most frequently visited peak on Mount Kenya due to its accessibility and the opportunity to experience high-altitude trekking.

Scenic Views: From Point Lenana, trekkers can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, glaciers, valleys, and the vast expanse of the Kenyan landscape.

Flora and Fauna

Mount Kenya is known for its diverse flora and fauna, thanks to its varied ecosystems at different altitudes. Here are the details of the flora and fauna found at Mount Kenya.


  • Lower Slopes (Montane Forest);

Vegetation: The lower slopes are covered by montane forests consisting of cedar, olive, bamboo, and camphor trees. These forests are rich in biodiversity and provide habitat for numerous plant species.

Ferns and Orchids: Montane forests are home to a variety of ferns and orchids, adding to the lush greenery of the area.

  • Upper Slopes (Heath and Moorland):

Vegetation: As the altitude increases, the vegetation transitions into heath and moorland. These areas are characterized by tussock grasses, giant heather, and diverse species of lobelia and senecio plants.

Giant Lobelias: Mount Kenya is famous for its giant lobelias, which can grow up to 6 meters (20 feet) in height. These unique plants add a surreal and otherworldly touch to the landscape.

  • Alpine Zone:

Vegetation: At higher elevations, the landscape becomes rocky and devoid of large plant life. However, some mosses, lichens, and cushion plants can be found in sheltered areas.

Vegetation Adaptations: Plants in the alpine zone have adapted to the harsh conditions, including strong winds, extreme temperatures, and low oxygen levels.


  • Mammals:

Elephants: The lower slopes of Mount Kenya are inhabited by elephants that occasionally venture into the forested areas.

Buffalos: Cape buffalos can be found in the montane forest zones of the mountain.

Sykes’ Monkeys: These monkeys are commonly sighted in the forests of Mount Kenya, particularly in the lower regions.

Duikers: Various species of duikers, such as the Harvey’s duiker and the common duiker, can be found in the forested areas.

  • Birds:

High-Altitude Bird Species: Mount Kenya is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, with over 130 bird species recorded. This includes the endangered Abbott’s starling, Jackson’s francolin, scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird, and many more.

Bird Migration: The mountain serves as a crucial stopover and breeding ground for migratory birds, adding to the avian diversity.

  • Reptiles and Amphibians:

Chameleons: Mount Kenya is home to several species of chameleons, including the Jackson’s chameleon, which is known for its colorful appearance.

Frogs and Toads: Various frog and toad species can be found in the moist areas of the mountain, contributing to the amphibian diversity.

  • Insects:

Butterflies: Mount Kenya boasts a rich butterfly population, with numerous species fluttering around the diverse vegetation.

Beetles and Moths: The mountain is also home to a variety of beetles and moths, some of which have adapted to the high-altitude conditions.

The Lakes:

Mount Kenya is home to several lakes, each offering its unique charm and beauty. Here are some notable lakes found on or near Mount Kenya

  • Lake Ellis;

Location: Lake Ellis is located on the southwestern slopes of Mount Kenya, near the Mackinder Valley.

Altitude: The lake sits at an altitude of approximately 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) above sea level.

Scenic Beauty: Lake Ellis is known for its stunning reflection of the surrounding peaks and its serene alpine setting. It offers breathtaking views and is a popular spot for photography and camping.

  • Lake Michaelson:

Location: Lake Michaelson is situated on the Gorges Valley, which lies on the southwestern side of Mount Kenya.

Altitude: The lake is located at an altitude of about 4,200 meters (13,800 feet) above sea level.

Alpine Scenery: Surrounded by rugged cliffs and towering peaks, Lake Michaelson showcases the dramatic beauty of the high-altitude landscape. It is often visited by hikers and mountaineers.

  • Lake Rutundu:

Location: Lake Rutundu is found on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya, close to the Timau route.

Altitude: The lake is situated at an altitude of around 3,800 meters (12,500 feet) above sea level.

Tranquil Setting: Lake Rutundu offers a peaceful and secluded atmosphere amidst alpine moorlands. It is known for its picturesque surroundings and is a popular spot for fishing, birdwatching, and nature walks.

  • Lake Alice:

Location: Lake Alice is located near the Chogoria route, on the eastern side of Mount Kenya.

Altitude: The lake sits at an altitude of approximately 3,800 meters (12,500 feet) above sea level.

Alpine Ambience: Surrounded by moss-covered rocks and alpine vegetation, Lake Alice provides a tranquil and enchanting atmosphere. It offers opportunities for relaxation and exploration.

The Glaciers

Mount Kenya have several glaciers, but due to the effects of climate change, they have experienced significant retreat and shrinkage. Here are some details about the glaciers at Mount Kenya.

  • Lewis Glacier

Location: Lewis Glacier is located on the southeastern slopes of Mount Kenya, primarily on the Lewis Glacier Valley.

Size: It is the largest glacier on Mount Kenya, covering a substantial area.

Retreat: Lewis Glacier has experienced notable retreat over the years, with a significant reduction in its size and thickness.

  • Tyndall Glacier

Location: Tyndall Glacier is situated on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya, in the Tyndall Valley.

Size: It is the second-largest glacier on the mountain, although smaller than Lewis Glacier.

Retreat: Similar to Lewis Glacier, Tyndall Glacier has undergone significant retreat and has lost a significant portion of its ice mass.

  • Diamond Glacier.

Location: Diamond Glacier is positioned between the peaks of Batian and Nelion, the highest summits of Mount Kenya.

Size: It is a smaller glacier compared to Lewis and Tyndall, but still significant in its own right.

Retreat: Like the other glaciers, Diamond Glacier has also experienced considerable retreat and reduction in size.

The Rivers:

Mount Kenya is the source of several rivers that play a vital role in the region’s hydrology and ecosystems. Here are some notable rivers originating from Mount Kenya.

  • Ewaso Ng’iro River:

Source: The Ewaso Ng’iro River originates from the eastern slopes of Mount Kenya.

Flow: It flows in a northwesterly direction, passing through the lowlands of central and northern Kenya.

Importance: The Ewaso Ng’iro River is one of Kenya’s major rivers and a crucial water source for human consumption, agriculture, and wildlife in the region. It supports the livelihoods of communities and ecosystems along its course.

  • Tana River:

Source: The Tana River, Kenya’s longest river, originates from the slopes of Mount Kenya.

Flow: It flows in an easterly direction, traversing central and eastern Kenya before reaching the Indian Ocean.

Importance: The Tana River plays a significant role in Kenya’s economy and ecology. It provides water for hydroelectric power generation, supports agricultural activities along its banks, and sustains diverse ecosystems and wildlife in its basin.

  • Thiba River:

Source: The Thiba River is a tributary of the Tana River and has its origin in the highlands of Mount Kenya.

Flow: It joins the Tana River in the eastern part of the country.

Importance: The Thiba River contributes to the overall flow of the Tana River system, adding to the water resources and hydrological balance of the region.

  • Naro Moru River:

Source: The Naro Moru River has its source on the western slopes of Mount Kenya, near the town of Naro Moru.

Flow: It flows westward, eventually joining the Ewaso Ng’iro River.

  • Burguret River:

Source: The Burguret River originates on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya.

Flow: It flows in a northerly direction, eventually joining the Ewaso Ng’iro River.

The Valleys:

Mount Kenya features several stunning valleys that add to the scenic beauty of the region. Here are some notable valleys found in Mount Kenya

  • Gorges Valley:

Location: Gorges Valley is situated on the southwestern side of Mount Kenya.

Description: This valley is characterized by deep gorges and towering cliffs, offering a rugged and dramatic landscape. The cliffs are composed of volcanic rock formations, adding to the scenic beauty.

Activities: Gorges Valley provides opportunities for rock climbing, hiking, and exploration. It attracts adventurers and nature enthusiasts seeking challenging terrains and breathtaking views.

  • Sirimon Valley:

Location: Sirimon Valley is located on the northwest side of Mount Kenya.

Description: The valley is known for its rolling hills, alpine meadows, and picturesque landscapes. It offers a blend of scenic beauty and tranquility.

  • Mackinder Valley:

Location: Mackinder Valley is situated on the southeastern side of Mount Kenya.

Description: This valley is known for its vast U-shaped glacial valleys, surrounded by towering peaks and rugged cliffs. It showcases the geological forces that shaped the mountain over millions of years.

  • Liki North Valley:

Location: Liki North Valley is located on the northeastern side of Mount Kenya.

Description: This valley is characterized by gentle slopes, open grasslands, and scattered vegetation. It provides a picturesque setting against the backdrop of the mountain’s peaks.

Wildlife: Liki North Valley is known for its wildlife, including various antelope species, such as elands and zebras. It offers opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature photography.

  • The Waterfalls

Mount Kenya is home to numerous waterfalls that cascade down its slopes. Here are a few notable waterfalls in the Mount Kenya area:

Chania Falls: Chania Falls is a beautiful waterfall situated on the eastern slopes of Mount Kenya. It plunges down in multiple tiers, creating a mesmerizing sight.

Nithi Falls: Nithi Falls is located on the northeastern side of Mount Kenya. It is a picturesque waterfall that drops down from the mountain cliffs, surrounded by lush vegetation. The falls are a popular spot for hiking and nature enthusiasts.

Gura Falls: Gura Falls is another notable waterfall on Mount Kenya. It is situated on the western side of the mountain and offers stunning views as the water cascades down steep cliffs. The falls are known for their impressive height.

Rutundu Falls: Rutundu Falls is a beautiful waterfall located near Lake Rutundu, which lies on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya. It is a secluded and serene spot, surrounded by scenic landscapes.

At Ahambi Tours we help you in choosing the best route to take based on your preferences to ensure you have a lifetime experience at the Mountain. 

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