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Mount Kenya

Bantu Mountain Lodge

Naro Moru
Tel: 254 20 242133

Naro Moru River Lodge

Naro Moru
Tel: 254 20 4443357's insider take:

With all the fanfare surrounding Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya might be the planet's least-appreciated 17,000-foot peak. But Africa's second-highest summit rises majestically over central Kenya, challenging visitors to scale its snowy heights. Located just ten miles from the equator, the mountain's glacial crown gleams with icy cap for much of the year. The trek to Point Lenana, the highest peak accessible to casual hikers, is a tough test of endurance; to reach the two peaks above it, you'll need technical climbing skills. The Naro Moru Route is the most popular choice for the ascent, since it makes a beeline for the summit and descends again in just four days. The Sirimon and Chogoria routes offer more impressive scenery and gentler ascents; allow at least five days for each. Two of the most respected outfitters for organizing treks, the Bantu Mountain Lodge and the Naro Moru River Lodge, are based in the scruffy town of Naro Moru, from which most treks begin. All-inclusive packages that cover fees and rentals are the most practical option if you'd like to minimize the planning hassle.

Whatever you decide, it's worth giving yourself an extra day or two to enjoy the terrain. The mountain's forested slopes are rich in wildlife, and you might spot a few Sykes monkeys or a rare bongo (an elusive antelope species) prowling through the woods. After a few frosty days on the mountain, cozy up at the stately Mt. Kenya Safari Club nearby, which was recently purchased by the Fairmont group. Be sure to add your name to the venerable guest book aside those of Winston Churchill and L.B.J.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.