KENYA, MOUNT KENYA
In depth guide to the seasons, animals, birds and wildlife habitats of the African safari region of Mount Kenya.

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Colobus Monkey.  Pic: David Anderson.
In the centre of Kenya only 10 miles south of the equator is a snow-capped mountain. This seems so unlikely that the German missionary to report this in 1833 was laughed at. Its existence was not acknowledged for another sixteen years and it then took a further fifty years before anyone climbed to the 16,900 feet (5,199 meter) summit.

Mount Kenya is considered by the local Kikuyu people to be the home of the Supreme Being 'Ngai' - the Possessor of Brightness, and the mountain is known as Kere Nyaga - Mountain of Brightness. When Mt Kenya's peak makes an appearance between the clouds, the sun dazzling off its snowy tip and jagged peaks certainly gives it a godly glow. The Kikuyu who live on the slopes always face their homes towards this sacred peak.

This mountain is also fascinating because of its variation in flora with the change in altitude. The lower slopes are covered with dry forest followed by montane forest full of cedar trees at about 6,500ft (2,000m). Then begins a dense belt of bamboo and short trees in which numerous animals hide. Between 9,750-11,375 feet (3,000-3,500 metres) comes high altitude health dotted with giant tree heathers and open moorland grazed by a few acclimatised zebras and eland.

ANIMALS & BIRDS

Elephants share the forests and bamboo belts with black and white colobus and Sykes monkeys, olive baboons and giant forest hog. The rare and elusive bongo and suni antelopes find solitude here, as do black rhino and buffalo.

Buffalo and Cattle Egrets.  Pic: David Anderson

SEASONS

Daytime temperatures are pleasant year round and do not vary considerably, but during the dry season winter months, the nights get extremely cold.
Rainy Season: April to June - hot and wet (long rains), November to December - warm and wet (short rains).
Dry Season: January to March - hot and dry, July to October - warm and dry with freezing nights.

MOUNT KENYA SPECIALITIES

· Hiking, climbing or mountaineering
· Fabulous scenery
· Unique flora
· Dawn and dusk sightings of Mt Kenya's peak

FACTS

The park was proclaimed in 1949
It covers an area of 276 miles² (715km²)

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PRIVATE SAFARI LODGES WE RECOMMEND IN THE MOUNT KENYA REGION

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