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Climb Mt. Kenya via the Chogoria Route: Off the Beaten Path

Mt. Kenya | Kenya
5.00
3 REVIEWS
Trip Highlights

Top three reasons to go hiking on Mt. Kenya

  • Trip Highlight

    An amazing location to camp and relax after a long day of trekking

  • Trip Highlight

    Ancient landscape dotted with glaciers, spires, and beautiful unique wildlife

  • Trip Highlight

    Summit the second highest mountain in Africa and enjoy unique scenery

At 17,050ft, this approximately 3 million-years-old volcano is the second-highest mountain in Africa. Mount Kenya, the jewel of the eponymous country, boasts a number of different trekking routes that vary in length and offer a range of spectacular views of the mountain and the surrounding area. The scenic Chogoria route starts about 13 miles up the hill and follows a network of trails towards the stunning peaks. Less frequented than other routes, it offers a good chance of seeing wildlife and gives a feeling of solitude and peace while maintaining the comfort of the more crowded routes. Its lakes and tarn—a consequence of millions of years of glacial activity—give it an almost mystical charm. Follow a gentle ascent trail up to Mount Kenya and see why it is one of the top trekking destinations in the world!

Season

December

Nearest city

Nairobi and Nanyuki are 4 hours away

Duration

5 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced

Itineraries

Book this adventure

Off the Beaten Path: 5-Day Chogoria Trek on Mt. Kenya

5 days

As you climb the Chogoria route, follow a network of game trails leading toward the remote Enchanted Lake, Carr’s Lakes and Lake Michaelson that boast stunning scenery and unique wildlife. Over five days, you’ll pass verdant forests and vast valleys and encounter numerous wild animals, including zebras, buffalos, and, if you’re really lucky—an occasional leopard or a cheetah. Join your guide for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and spend your days surrounded by peaceful nature and fresh alpine air as you climb the highest mountain in the country!

Trip Highlights

Itinerary

Day 1: Chogoria Gate to the Soda Spring Camp (3551m)

After an early breakfast at your accommodation, you will be collected by your guides and taken to the start of the route. This drive often takes about 4 hours from Nanyuki and about 4 hours from Nairobi—you and your guide will agree on the meeting point. Once you check into the park, you will start your hike through the forest that merges into moorland. The trek follows a jeep track for about 2 hours and continues for another hour or two down a network of game trails, clear paths through forests. You will reach the camp about mid afternoon.

Driving: 4 hours

Walking: 3-4 hours

Masai giraffe crosses in front of a vehicle with city backdrop in Nairobi National Park, Kenya. Focus on vehicle.

Day 2: Soda Spring Camp to Carr’s Lakes (3963m)

The walk to the stunning Carr’s lakes follows a network of trails through an area seldom walked by people, so be prepared for some uneven terrain and a little bushwacking. This route crosses two vast valleys with incredible views of the dramatic Delamere peaks above.

Walking: 7 hours

Fishing on one of the lakes on Mt. Kenya

Day 3: Carr’s Lakes to Enchanted Lake and back to Carr’s

The walk up to Enchanted Lakes takes you past a couple of smaller lakes into another smaller valley adjacent to the Hobley Valley. The Enchanted lake is quite big, and in the right light, boasts a striking turquoise color. 

Walking: 4-5 hours

Enchanted Lake in Mt Kenya

Day 4: Carr’s Lakes to Lake Michaelson (4000m)

The walk up the Hobley Valley takes you up through the last of the vegetation zone past a beautiful high altitude lake full of algae named Gallery tarn.The route then takes you up to the valley to the top of the pass which offers spectacular views over Lake Michaelson in the Gorges Valley. The final walk down to Lake Michaelson is another 1-2 hours of walking. For those extra adventurous, you can also climb point Lenana. However, it will add an extra 3-4 hours to your journey.

Walking: 5 hours

Beautiful green valleys along the Chogoria trail

Day 5: Lake Michaelson to Chogoria Gate

After four days of hiking, head back to the Chogoria gate, about 5-6 hours away, and enjoy one of the most scenic walks on the mountain! The trail takes you along the top of the ridge overlooking the Gorges Valley before you reach the end of the trail.

Walking: 5 hours

Spectacular Lake Michaelson accessible through Chogoria route in Mt Kenya
Reviews

Reviews (3)

Mount Kenya Expedition
MegsHof about African Adventures on TripAdvisor

African Ascents took us up Mt Kenya in September and my experience with them was incredible. Everything was well organised, the staff were knowledgeable wonderful people and the food was delicious!

I was blown away by the effort put into making our trip as comfortable as possible. I also felt really safe with the team. I hope to see them all again next year!

A great out-of-season trek
Patrick S about African Adventures on TripAdvisor

Julian and his crew did a great job with a customised trek for my group 17 members – providing excellent literature and guidance by email (PDFs) and responding quickly to my many questions. The group ranged in age from 23 to 73. We went up from Chogoria (East side of the mountain) and descended to Old Moses Gate on the NW side – a five day, four night trek. Single members of the expedition were provided with their own tent, couples shared two person tents. As the group was large, we had two latrine tents set up at each camp. The mess tent was a large teepee, including the luxury of a wood burning stove. Very useful as we had frosty mornings up high, and snow on the last night. Catering was as good as I’ve seen on a mountain, with a re-supply of fresh fruit on day three, plus a superb 70th birthday cake for one member. Elijah was an excellent pacemaker, and looked after those who were affected by the altitude. I would strongly recommend anyone planning to climb Mt Kenya to African Ascents.

Trip of a lifetime!
Robyn J about African Adventures on TripAdvisor

Julian and Elijah were great company as guides, full of interesting facts about the mountain, wildlife and plants. What was most impressive though was their ability to adapt plans to fit with abilities and changing conditions on the mountain. We changed camp plans and routes during the trip due to walking speeds and weather conditions and this really let us see the best of the mountain while keeping our group together and healthy and happy. Some serious logistics and all made to look effortless! Mt Kenya is one of the most beautiful mountain areas I’ve spent time in and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The experience wouldn’t have been the same without African Ascents – thank you and I can’t wait to come back again soon!

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in Kenya

57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity. 

We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Kenya please refer to the U.S. Embassy in Kenya websites.

Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

What’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

  • Trained local guides (at least 1 WFR certified guide)
  • Camp crew, a cook, and a great team of porters
  • Safety equipment
  • All accommodation during the hike
  • Meals as described in the itinerary
  • Tents and camping equipment 
  • Drinks on the hike (potable water, tea, coffee & hot chocolate)
  • Emergency medical evacuation as far as the relevant gate
  • Supplemental oxygen & pulse oximeters
  • Transport to and from the park gate — only from Nanyuki
  • All relevant park fees

What’s not included:

  • Transportation to Nairobi or Nanyuki
  • Transportation to and from the park gate for Nairobi — available for an additional fee
  • Nairobi transfers
  • Showers and wash tents — can be rented for an additional fee
  • Items of a personal nature 
  • Alterations to this itinerary (i.e. if different accommodations and services are provided then the price will most likely vary up or down) 
  • Beverages in hotels (except those in your personal safari vehicle)
  • Hospital bills and international evacuation in the event of an emergency

How fit do I need to be?

The best thing about hiking the Chogoria route of Mt. Kenya is that it requires no technical climbing skills. This intermediate hike will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles. This trek requires a well established fitness base but it is certainly one of the more adventurous and rewarding treks on the mountain. Keep in mind, the weather can change quickly and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.

What do I need to bring?

Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

  • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 35-45L bag)
  • Rucksack with cover (around a 55-65 bag, for a porter to carry your main gear) 
  • Dry bags
  • Hiking poles — optional
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
  • Warm hat and a buff or scarf
  • Sun hat 
  • Warm gloves or mitts, and thin liner gloves are also useful
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Waterproof gaiters
  • Warm jacket – fleece or down jacket, potentially ski jacket
  • Waterproof jacket over the top
  • Fleece tops or hiking shirts/sweatshirts
  • Base layers or T-shirts
  • Pair of trekking trousers and shorts
  • Leggings or thermal bottoms or running tights
  • Several sets of underwear – cotton best avoided
  • Several pairs of good quality trekking socks
  • Waterproof trekking boots 
  • Trainers or flip flops/sandals
  • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Favourite snack bars
  • Headtorch
  • Power pack for charging phones etc
  • Wash kit — no showers on the mountain but you can have a bucket wash
  • Flask for hot drinks — optional, useful on summit night
  • Earplugs — optional
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera — optional (but recommended)

For camping, you need to bring:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping bag thermal liner
  • Pillow
  • Thick foam mat or self-inflating mat (like a Therm-A-Rest)

Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans. Keep in mind that despite Mount Kenya being on the equator in Africa, it can get very cold. In the early morning hours the temperature can get to about -4 degrees Celsius and as high as 18 degrees Celsius during the day.

A porter can carry max 18kg/39.6Lbs, including food, accommodation, wages, etc. There will be multiple porters depending on the amount of baggage and in case your baggage weight more, you can hire another porter for an additional fee.

Group sizes and age requirements

Group sizes and prices:

  • For the private adventures, the usual client to guide ratio is 4:1 with up to 8 people in a group. 
  • The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family!

Hiking in Kenya can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

Min. age requirements:

  • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
  • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Mt. Kenya, most people fly into Nairobi International Airport which is under an hour away from the trailhead. Nairobi is the major hub for East Africa and is served by many airlines so there’s a competitively priced choice of flights. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service.

There are no direct flights from the US or Canada to East Africa. The fastest routes to Nairobi are usually two nonstop legs viaLondon or another European city such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Paris.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location.

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