Those not flying with the group from London will either need to meet the tour leader at the airport at 06.30h or will be picked up en-route to the airport at 06.00h from the pre tour hotel we use and will join the rest of the group at the airport. (Times are subject to change depending on group flight times - see final joining instructions). From the airport we drive to Mountain Rock Lodge, around a 3 hour drive in time for lunch. This afternoon we walk to Mau Mau caves in Mount Kenya Forest Reserve. These caves used to be the hideout by local freedom fighters that fought for independence in the colonial period. This is a pleasant walk through the tall towering trees. The forest reserve is home to a wealth of birdlife, game and plants, with at least 11 unique species on the lower slopes of Mount Kenya. You may see Colobus monkeys up in the trees and elephants and buffalo through the clearings.(1950m)
We are initially transferred to Gathiuru Forest Station 15kms away (approx 1 hour), before entering the dense forest with its stands of towering bamboo. We trek through forest, bamboo and rosewood, gaining around 400m in altitude. This hiking is essential for acclimatisation. On the lower slopes of Mount Kenya there is a wide range of vegetation and fauna. We look out for tracks from various game as we walk through the variety of vegetation including huge podocarpus and pencil cedar trees. In the forest brightly coloured birds such as scarlet winged turacos can be seen and heard, as well as different types of monkeys. (2600m) Approx 4-5 hours walking.
We get up early this morning to trek to Highland Castle Camp, as we hike over steeper ground where the bamboo gives way to the to hagenia rose wood zone (2850-3000m), and as we then climb higher we pass through the Giant Heather zone (3000m-3100m). Our camp is located close to the sheer lava cliffs. We cross high altitude moorland, dotted with the unique Giant Lobelia and Senecio plants. We gain a further 1100m in altitude in the course of the day. There is little game as we reach this point, but we will look out for the elusive high altitude zebras and eland, but you more likely to see rock hyrax and sunbirds. Burguret Valley offers spectacular views of the two highest and technical peaks of Baitan and Nelion, a rewarding and interesting day. (3700m) Approx 5-6 hours walking.
Today we ascend up to Hausberg Col. We pass spectacular moorland landscapes and there are some amazing views and it is not unusual to spot eagles and buzzards circling overhead as we ascend to Hausberg Col at 4600m, before connecting the summit circuit trail to descend to Shipton's Camp. Shipton's camp is one of the few permant camps on the mountain, and where we will likely come across other trekkers on the mountain for the first time. The camp has panoramic views of all the main peaks including Terere and Sendeyo two old parasitic vents of the main peaks. Climbing high and sleeping low is excellent for acclimitisation and the benefits of todays ascent and then descent is planned accordingly.(4236m) Approx 6-7 hours walking.
We rise very early this morning before dawn with the aim of arriving at Point Lenana for sunrise. We zigzag up a large scree slope before we make the final short ascent to Point Lenana at 4985m with a good moon you hardly need a torch. The climb takes between 4 -5 hours. Watching the sunrise over the Kenyan plains is a truly amazing experience. We later descend to Shipton's Camp for breakfast before continuing on down to Old Moses Camp at (3340m). This is an extremely long and hard day, with between 9 and 12 hours walking at altitude.
We descend down Mount Kenya before enjoying lunch at the foot of this great mountain and a much needed shower and beer! We then return to Nairobi airport for those on group flights. We will trek for around 2-3 hours in total today.