Hiking in Kenya : Kenya is one of the finest destinations and a beautiful country found in East Africa endowed with savannah plains, lakes, rivers, forests, mountain highlands and the Great Rift Valley. Kenya is a popular safari hub for Kenya wildlife safaris, birding safaris, cultural safaris and hiking safaris.
Kenya’s strategic location at the Equators and its various landscapes offer the perfect climate conditions and opportunities making it a great hiking destination for short and long hikes, hiking safaris are facilitated by relaxed walking trails in forests, national parks, villages and challenging ascents up summits and mountain peaks.
Hiking in Kenya take hikers through the spectacular scenery of montane forests, vast valleys, waterfalls and wildlife.
Though there many destinations where to do hiking in Kenya, below are some of the best hiking destinations every tourists interest in hiking should add on their bucket list.
Mount Kenya is the tallest mountain in Kenya and the second tallest in Africa after Mount Kilimanjaro standing at about 5,199 meters above the sea level with Batian peak being the highest peak.
Other main peaks of Mount Kenya include Lenana Peak at 4,985 meters and Nelion Peak , hiking Mount Kenya is quite challenging and more rewarding given its off the beaten path compared to Mount Kilimanjaro. Hiking Mount Kenya offers panoramic views of wildlife, montane forests, rocky slopes and glaciers at the summit.
Caution: you need to be in good physical and mental shape to enjoy hiking Mount Kenya
Hiking Mount Kenya is done on 8 hiking routes usually taking between 2 to 8 days depending on which route one prefers, most of these routes lead to the lowest peak and the most preferred by the hikers is Lenana at 4,985 meters. There are other routes leading to the second peak, Nelion and Batian the highest peak perfect for expert hikers.
The best time of the year to hiking Mount Kenya is during the drier months of December to February and July to September.
The beautiful Ngong Hills are located in Nairobi city approximately less than an hour’s drive from the city center, these hills are the perfect destination for a day or weekend safari in Nairobi city. Ngong Hills are made up of 7 hills covering an area of about 21,000 square kilometers with its highest peak standing at 2,460 meters above the sea level, the boasts remarkable views of Nairobi city and the Great Rift Valley.
The starting point for hiking Ngong Hills is at Ngongo Police Station, the hike takes between 4 to 5 hours and take you through a dirty road then to the radio masts and finally though rolling hills until the ending point at Kona Baridi. Some of the sights you will enjoy include wild animals such as buffaloes, dik-dik, porcupines and dramatic shrubbery , scenery of the Great Rift Valley and Nairobi City.
Mount Longonot is another wonderful hiking destination in Kenya, this stratovolcano is located south – east of Kenya’s lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley. Mount Longonot is found in Mount Longonot national park and its highest peak stands at an elevation of 2,77meters above the sea level.
Mount Longonot has a lake that is characterized of steep ridges and hiking on it takes approximately 8 to 9 hours and it can be done as a one day tour, the trail starts from the park’s entrance gate leading to its peak. During the hike, you will be rewarded with impressive views of cape buffaloes, zebras and several primate species found in the thick forest at the base of the volcano, incredible views of the crater ridge, the Great Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha.
Caution: hiking Mount Longonot is moderately technical but it is good for hikers with good physical fitness.
Hell’s Gate National Park
Hells Gate national park is one of the most scenically endowed places in Kenya located south of Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley, this small Kenya national park is known for its spectacular scenery and thriving wildlife and comprises of 2 extinct volcanoes that spewed to form gigantic cliffs, gullies, plain rock towers and burping plumes of geothermal steam making the park to be the most atmospheric parks in the continent.
Hells Gate national park is a renowned Kenya for day hiking safaris to the cliffs, mountain biking, abseiling and rock climbing.
Menengai Crater is a massive caldera of approximately 90 square kilometers with a view point at 500m above the sea level, this mystical crater is located on the outskirts of Nakuru Town. This caldera is believed to have evil spirits roaming the area and it is often visited by the locals for prayers and intervention, hiking this caldera takes approximately 3 hours depending on the fitness of the hikers.
Hiking this lovely caldera starts from the viewpoint at the top and goes steeply downwards to the floor, the crater is surrounded by lush forest and filled with flowering place and several animals such as dik – diks, reedbucks and monkeys among others.
The spectacular Chyulu Hills are tucked away between Amboseli national park and Tsavo West national park, these hills are also situated in Chyulu national park. Chyulu Hills are one of the the largest lava tubes on the globes and are about 150 kilometers long standing at an elevation of 2,188m above sea level, the hills comprises of lush rolling hills and impressive landscapes that harbor several large animals, reptiles and bird species.
Chyulu hill is a haven for spectacular hikes most especially for nature hikers, hiking to the highest peak of these hills take about 3 – 4 hours, there are no hiking routes, so hikers follow the game tracks through the tender hills and it is always advisable to take a game ranger with you for security purposes.
Other great hiking destinations in Kenya include The Elephant Hill in the Aberdares and Kakemega Forest walk.
Elephant Hill in the Aberdares
The Elephant Hill in the Aberdares is one of the stunning destinations in Kenya for day hikes located at the southern end of the Aberdare ranges in Aberdare national park, situated west of Kenya in the central highlands between Lake Naivasha and Nyeri.
Hiking The Elephant Hill is moderately challenging most especially for hikkers who are planning to hike Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Kenya, the hike starts from the Njabini Forest Station at 2,500 meters with the firest few kilometers having mostly forests and farmlands. As you head higher, the trail takes you through steep bamboo forests to the moorland zone comprised of attractive giant heather, the hike continues over rocky terrain to the elephant’s back which you will offer you the first sight of the summit. After traversing the elephant’s back it is a very short climb to the summity (3,650 m above the sea level). Hiking up and down the Elephant Hill takes approximately 8 to 9 hours depending on the speed and the level of physical fitness of the hikers.