Naro Moru Route
Key information: Naro Moru Route
- The most direct route up Kenya’s highest mountain. Enjoy spectacular, ever-changing scenery as you climb to the dramatic summit of this ancient volcano.
- Climb through a range of ecosystems (forest to moorland to alpine to rock and ice) in this World Heritage Site.
- Walkopedia rating88
- Natural interest18
- Human interest5
- Negative points3
- Total rating88
- Note: Negs: Altitude
- Length: 4-5 days return
- Maximum Altitude: 4,985m
- Level of Difficulty: Difficult
The highest mountain in Kenya (and second-highest in Africa) is a huge stand-alone extinct volcano, last active some 2.6 million years ago. Its mass is some 70km across, and its trekking peak is 4,985m, so it is a whopper in every sense. It is walking and climbing heaven. Walkopedia has yet to meet someone who has walked both it and Kilimanjaro and prefers the latter.
There are several outstanding routes, which all reach the Summit Circuit Path, a… er… circuit of the peak area. Walkers should take different routes up/down if they can, thus traversing the mountain and viewing different aspects of his most remarkable place.
All the main ascents treat you to an extraordinarily interesting selection of vegetation zones and landscapes as you ascend. They all start in thick forest, climb out of the treeline into unique moorland and alpine areas. Then it is the rocky drama of the peak area.
The Naro Moru Trail from the west is said to be the most popular route with operators because the tourist hotels near the roadhead are best (and it is nearest Nairobi) and it ascends most quickly, which makes for speed and… er… profit.
The Naro Moru climbs in 2 days from 2,500m (at the park gate – you can drive in further, but better to start there for acclimatization purposes) to Mackinder’s Camp at around 4,200m, a bit below the Summit Circuit Path. With the usual first night at the Met station at 3,050m, you would climb over 1,000m (in 5-6 hrs) to Mackinder’s Camp the next day, which is likely to leave you feeling quite sorry for yourself, at the least.
The Naro Moru is claimed to be a bit less beautiful than the other main trails. With the treeline at around 3,200m, you spend the first and part of the second days in the beautiful and interesting forest. The moorland above is wet, and features a famous and self-explanatory area called the “vertical bog”.
Day 1: to the Met Station. A reasonably easy ascent, from 2,500, to 3,050m, in interesting forest.
Day 2: to Mackinder’s Camp. You climb over 1,000m (in 5-6 hrs) to Mackinder’s Camp (at 4,200m), which is likely to leave you feeling quite sorry for yourself, at the least. You spend the first part of the day in the forest. The moorland above is wet, and features a famous and self-explanatory area called the “vertical bog”.
On day 3, most will attack the Lenana summit to the east, a tough near 800m climb in 4-5hrs on very steep and loose gravel, starting very early to get the sunrise and best conditions. Or you can join the Summit Circuit for some gorgeous exploration and acclimatization before the big one.
If in a hurry, you can descend the whole way for a pick-up at the Met Station on the third day, although that is quite a walk.
Altitude: Mount Kenya is very high and rises quickly, so it poses a classic risk of altitude misery or worse. The slower you ascend, the better chance you have of avoiding the worst. The Sirimon and Naro Moru routes ascend to the Summit Circuit Path at around 4,200m in 2 days, but climbing this fast will really increase the risk. You are well advised to take at least 3 days to get to the peak area. The Chogoria route takes 3 days but ends up substantially higher. It is a very good idea to get to the base area the day before and do an acclimatizing walk that afternoon. If you can, try to “walk high and sleep low”, ie make sure you have made an acclimatization walk above where you will sleep on the way up.
The best weather tends to be in the mornings, so start early!
Walkopedia’s expedition to Mt Kenya was organised by Tourdust (although we didn't walk this particular route with them), and we were absolutely delighted. Carefully selected and planned options, very efficient and nice to deal with. Now our partners, and highly recommended.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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