At 16,000 feet, Mount Kenya is East Africa’s second highest mountain. To the Kikuyu tribes people it is the home of the Supreme Being: Ngai, a name also used by the Maasai and Kamba tribes. Part of the Mountain’s fascination is the variation in flora, including the Giant Groundsel and Lobelia, and fauna as the altitude changes.
The lower slopes are covered with dry upland forest, the true montane forest begins at 2,000 m is mainly cedar and podo. At 2,500 m begins a dense belt of bamboo forest which merges into the upper forest of smaller trees, interspersed with glades. In this area the trees are festooned with high altitude lichen.
These forest belts are host to many different animals and plants with at least 11 unique species. Game to view includes: Black and White Colobus and Sykes monkeys, bushbuck, rock hyrax, buffalo, elephant and lower down olive baboon, waterbuck, black rhino, black fronted duikers, leopard, giant forest hog, genet cat, bush pig and hyena. More elusive is the bongo, a rare type of forest antelope. A number of other rarer species are found more infrequently: Suni antelope, Mt. Kenya mole rat, skinks, montane viper and a variety of owls. Occasional sightings have been recorded of albino zebra.
The high altitude heath at the top is generally open, dotted with shrubs: African sage, protea and helichrysum. The peak (above 3,500m) is moorland, with little game other than high altitude zebra and eland, common in the northern moorland.
Park Size:444 sq. miles – 715 sq. kilometers
Altitude: 11,000 – 16,000 ft. | 3,350 – 4,870 meters.
Ecosystems: Dry forest, montane forest, bamboo forest, alpine forest
Wildlife: Black and White Colobus, Sykes monkeys, bushbuck, rock hyrax, buffalo, elephant, olive baboon, waterbuck, black rhino, black fronted duikers, leopard, giant forest hog, genet cat, bush pig, hyena, bongo
When to go: January to February and July to October