Exploring the ‘White’ Mountain of God

Reputed as the mountain of ‘Murungu’ (God), Mount Kenya is a national icon, with unmatched aura of life and contradiction.

By Shanjoy Tours.

To see the magical sparkling spices of Mount Kenya, you have to wake up early. As dawn breaks so do her sparkles appear. One of Africa’s tallest mountains, she is the ultimate contradiction.  Mount Kenya straddles the equator, yet royally crowned with ice.

Perhaps it’s her miracles of colour when the sun drops behind her peaks as dusk knocks. Maybe it’s her mystic foggy forests or giant crystal pools that anoint her slopes. Or it’s because she is a sanctuary to over 2500 elephants, the vanishing Bongo, and the exotic Mount Kenya mouse shrew. Whatever the reason, Mount Kenya is a magical aura of life.

Reputed as the mountain of God, the Agikuyu community call it Kirinyaga, which loosely translates to the ‘striped one’ or ‘the White Mountain’. According to their traditional myths and fables, ‘Murungu’ (God) lives among her peaks, watching and protecting his children. As a result, their houses are built with doors facing the mountain so God can have a closer watch on them.

Once the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano formed some 3 million years ago. She is now Africa’s second highest mountain after Kilimanjaro and Kenya’s highest mountain.  Her magic has made her a national icon, a UNSCO national wild heritage site and a wildlife asylum.  With glacier dotting her peaks, her triplet towers of Batain (5,199m), Nelion (5,199m) and Lenana (4, 985 m) are crowned with Ice. The mountain slopes are magically adorned with a unique mosaic of rock, alpine flora and fauna further enchanting her serenity.

Mount Kenya Safari Expeditions

The extraordinary beauty of the mountainous park inspires you to become one with the wilderness.  Thousands of people climb and trek this mountain every year. Some make the climb in less than 3 days while others take upto 5 days. This is because of the degree of altitude adaptation and experience required. However, the variety of views, sceneries and pleasure derived – all agree, it’s one of the most stunning climbs in the world.  And although safari drives are not allowed, you do get to enjoy a nature walk at the foothills of the mountain. As one of the highest national parks in the world, Mount Kenya offers a breath-taking scenery rich with biodiversity. With the help of your native ShanJoy guide, you can trace the well-travelled elephants’ migration paths and spots herds of buffalo or Zebra on the trails. The forest is a sanctuary to some of the world’s exotic species including bongo, suni and giant forest hog. Spotting one of these animals are awe moments to an already memorable Safari tour.

If staying inside the national park, Serena Mountain Lodge strategic positioning allows you to view wildlife at the comfort on your balcony. Birds are welcome guests at the property. Recorded species include cinnamon-chested bee-eater, hunter’s cisticola, and Jackson’s francolin among others. If you choose to stay at the suburbia of Mount Kenya Safari Club, you can ride a horse down the foothills, go canoes riding in one of the streams, or pay William Holden Animal Orphanage a visit.

 For adventurous spirits, fun activities are more than you can envisage.

Fact File

Climate: At points above 4,000m Mount Kenya is usually misty, windy and freezing cold. During daytime, the temperatures may rise to over 150 C (above 4,000m) and drop to nearly -100 C at night.

Vegetation: Alpine flora with bamboo and montane forest, moorland and tundra.

Wildlife:  Unique and exclusive animals includes; serval cat, mount Kenya mouse shrew,  the black-fronted duiker, white-tailed moongose, giant forest hog, bongo, elephants, buffalos tree hyrax, black rhino, leopard, and suni, among others.

Birds: Over 130 species recorded.

Accessibility: The Mountain can be accesses by road or air. Nanyuki metropolitan offers the closet airstrip.  Airport and road transfers are readily available with Shanjoy Tours.

Accommodation: Choices range from Kenya Wildlife campsites, self-catering lodges, to five-star hotels located inside the park and its suburbs.