MOUNT KENYA NATIONAL PARK
The name of the park originated from it being situated alongside Mount Kenya. Mount Kenya National Park was created in 1949 to protect Mount Kenya and its environment from destruction and development. The park consists mainly of the three peaks of Mount Kenya. This unique feature gives it a different landscape structure than the other national parks. The park contains breadth species of African animals evidently identified. These animals include African elephants, monkeys and a host of birds. The Mount Kenya Forest Reserve encircles the national park and the two areas, combined, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mount Kenya National Park covers 715km² and the forest reserve at the base covers a further 705km².
Mount Kenya has the height of 5199m (17,057 feet) above sea level, dominating the view for miles around. It is the second highest mountain in Africa, next to Mount Kilimanjaro found in Tanzania. This mountain was formed hundreds of years ago by a series of volcanic eruptions. Gradually, the cratered rim has eroded and formed several peaks. The purpose of creating the park was to encourage tourism, to preserve the natural outstanding beauty areas, to conserve the animal habitat and to protect water catchment areas. Mount Kenya National Park is located between other safari parks – Aberdare, Samburu and Meru National Park.
Of Mount Kenya’s three main peaks, the only Point Lenana is the one that can be climbed by amateurs during mountain climbing safari. The other two peaks require full mountaineering skills and technical equipment to facilitate climbing interventions. The mountain supports a rainforest with thick clumps of bamboo growing above the forest. Higher up the slopes, it becomes moorland with heather and lobelia. A tarmac road runs around the base of Mount Kenya and there are several towns situated along the road, including Naro Moru, Nanyuki and Meru. African animals found in Mountain Kenya are elephants, buffalo, Cape buffalo, Colobus and other monkeys, antelope and giant forest hogs, inhabit the lower forests. They are contained within the national park by electrified fences. The birdlife is also very productive, including huge eagles and colorful sunbirds. A spotter’s guide may be useful for identifying the animals and birds.