Imported from africa.wmf 25/05/2008 18:01:19

Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya was formed by a volcanic eruption over 3 million years ago. Though now extinct, this mighty peak is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. Named by the local people as Kirinyaga or ‘place of light’, the beautiful, rugged and life-giving Mount Kenya stands proud and defiant, dominating Mount Kenya National Park, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mount Kenya has a trio of glacier-clad summits, named after Maasai chieftains who called the mountain ‘God’s throne’ and built their huts facing its slopes. Together, these snow-capped mountain peaks tower over the surrounding savannah landscape.

Batian and Nelion, the highest of the trio, are both over 17,000ft and require good climbing experience. However the third, Point Lenana, while still over 16,000ft, can be climbed by anyone with good general fitness and the right equipment.

Once inside the National Park, lakes, glaciers, peaks, mineral springs and forests abound. While several animal species, like the hyrax, have evolved to thrive at high altitudes of Mount Kenya, the alpine forests are also home to an amazing abundance of wildlife.

These forests sustain larger mammals such as elephants, Cape buffalo, rhino, lions, leopards and hyenas, as well as smaller mammals like the rare albino zebras, the elusive mountain bongo antelope, colobus monkeys and porcupines. Looking up, you are likely to see many of the exotic species of avifauna, including the ominous bearded vulture!

With the park being so close to the equator, both day and night last 12 hours each with sunset and sunrise at the same time every day of the year. But beware – the light and dark arrive with such rapidity they can catch out the unwary visitor, and trekking in the dark is certainly not advised.

But for a truly memorable and humble experience, look no further than the immense, stony and silent wonder that is Mount Kenya.

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