Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mt Kenya National Park

Mt. Kenya National Park is located to the east of the Great Rift Valley, about 175km North-East of Nairobi.  The ecosystem lies in Central and Eastern provinces of Kenya.  at 5,199m the mountain is the second highest peak in Africa. Mt. Kenya is an important water tower in the country. It provides water for about 50% of the country’s population and produces 70% of Kenya’s hydroelectric power.

The kikuyu people believed the mountain to be a holy ground, they believe that their God who is called Ngai leaved on the mountain. They call it Kirinyaga, which means "Place of light". It is now the centre of a National Park offering more diversity of flora than most other Parks in Kenya.
Mt. KenyaNational Park was establishes in 1949 to protect Mt. Kenya and the diverse ecosystem surrounding the second highest mountain in Africa (5,199). Covering an area of some 700 square kilometres, over half of the Park is over 10,500 feet (3,000 metres). It was made a World Heritage site in 1997. The Park was created not only to help preserve the flora and fauna of the area, but also to protect the area because of its importance as a water catchments area for the surrounding population and agriculture. The mountain has three peaks namely lenana at 3364metres, Batian at 5188metres, Nelion at 5199metres. There are three routes that one can use to hike the mountain. These are Sirimon route, Chogoria route and Naromoru route.

The lower altitudes are covered in dry upland forest and are home to Colobus monkeys, Cape buffalo and elephants. (These elephants go as high as 15,000 feet in search of grazing). Montane forests start at 2,000 metres with cedar and podo trees. At 2,500 metres you move into a bamboo belt and then smaller shrub forest. Above this lies altitude moor land of heather and moss. Wherever you go there is wildlife, from baboon, forest hogs and leopard, each existing in its own environment in this unique park.

Although there is only one lodge in the Park itself, there are several famous lodges on its lower slopes, built there because of the cool climate in the hot season heat. Treetops, Naro Moro Lodge, mountain Lodge are all famous names in the history of Kenya and a great place to start a visit to the country.