The journey up the adventurous Kamweti route commences at Castle Forest Lodge on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya. The trail up is fairly challenging: rough underfoot, with dense montane forest, lush stands of giant bamboo, muddy when wet, no huts and a forest track more used by wild animals than humans. At Mackinder’s camp 4,300m you might, for the first time, meet other trekkers since Kamweti route connects with the more commonly used trails at the Teleki Valley en-route to the hiker’s summit (Lenana peak – 4,985m). On the average you will be walking for 5-7 hours per day. The crew will set our overnight camps in the wild campsites or in the neighborhood of available cabins located along our trail.
Kamweti route options:
Option 1: The Kamweti to Chogoria route in 7 days.
Option 2: Kamweti to Sirimon route in 5 – 6 days
Day 1: Castle Lodge – Kamweti (2,081m – 2,650m)
Transfer from Nairobi to Castle Forest Lodge (2,081m.), on the northern slopes of Mt Kenya. After sorting mountain gears and enjoying lunch at Castle Lodge, we commence a 3 hours hike through the natural forest to the Kamweti’s old forest station (2,650m) and spend the night in pitched tents. Elephant, buffalo and waterbuck are common here.
Tip. Clients arriving at castle Lodge after lunch or in need of rest for additional acclimatization can spend the pre-trek night at the castle lodge. A short nature hike in the forest whilst at the lodge is encouraged for acclimatization and siting of forest birds, colobus monkeys and possibly elephants.
Day 2: Kamweti – Sagana Campsite (2,650m – 3,150m)
Early breakfast at camp then hike about 15kms in 5-6hrs through dense stands of towering bamboo to Sagana River camp at an altitude of 3,150m. Today we’ll slip deeper into the dense virgin bamboo forest which marks the true beginning of the actual mountain trek. Picnic lunch en-route and dinner and overnight at Sagana campsite.
Day 3: Sagana Campsite – Thegu Camp (3,150m – 3,750m)
The luxuriant bamboo thicket yields to the hagenia rosewood zone which, in turn, yields to heather zone as our climb get steeper approaching the moorland. The edge of the moorlands marks our lunch spot before heading up through unique endemic mountain vegetation of giant lobelia and groundsels. Today’s hike is about 7kms and takes us about 6hrs to arrive at Thegu River camp (3,750m). Our overnight spot offers exhilarating peak views. Dinner and overnight again in tents at Thegu River camp.
Days 4: Thegu Camp – Mackinders Camp (3,750m – 4300m)
We continues steeply up for about 3 hours to lake Hornell trekking through beautiful tropical alpine vegetation dotted with Senecio and Lobelia plants. At this scenic lake we stop for lunch before a farther two hours hike through undulating terrain to reach Mackinder’s Camp (4,300m) within the Teleki Valley. Overnight will be at the campsite in close proximity to the mountain hut. (If you wish you may alter your accommodation tonight and utilize the hut at a small fee). Early dinner and good rest in readiness for an early start the next day.
Day 5: Mackinders Camp – Point Lenana – Chogoria track head or Sirimon’s Oldmoses camp (4,300m – 4,985M – 3000m)
Pre-dawn start (3am) to attempt conquer the hikers summit. After an early light breakfast, we go up steep scree and a bare rocky track for about 3 hours to reach Austrian Hut. Then, an exhilarating 30 minutes to reach the hikers summit, Lenana peak at 4,985m in time for sunrise – Kilimanjaro is usually visible 340kms to the south. Though tired after this demanding conquest we’ll be absolutely ecstatic that we’ve made it to the top. After celebrations at the top, we have 2 options for our descent.
Option 1 – Descent along the very scenic Chogoria trail. (Continuation of Day 5:) From Lenana peak we descent 3 hours to Hall Tarns (4,300m), where you have a late second breakfast. We have excellent views from top of a sheer 300m cliff overlooking the Gorges Valley. Then, a 3 hour hike down the Gorges valley in the afternoon, along a broad ridge enjoying magnificent views back up the valley to the snowy peaks, and down to waterfalls, tarns and lava flows in the Gorges Valley itself. Tonight we camp by the track head in the giant heather zone.
Day 6: Short descent through the forest zone to the mountain cabins and afternoon relaxing. Log fires, hot showers, beers if you wish, and comfy beds for overnight. Wildlife viewing – often from your cabin verandah as the elephant and buffalo graze outside!
Day 7: Descent on a broad track for about 10 kms. through bamboo and virgin forest to meet vehicle(s) for the return to Nairobi – usually arriving mid to late afternoon.
Option 2 – Descent along the Sirimon trail. (Continuation of Day 5:) From Lenana peak we descend to Shipton’s camp (4200m) in 2 hours for our second breakfast then proceed further down on the Sirimon trail and arrive at Old Moses in a farther 4 hours – picnic lunch served en-route. Overnight projected at the Oldmoses hut (3050m).
Tip: There is a possibility to exit from the mountain at this stage and reduce this itinerary by a day.
Day 6: Have early breakfast then descend along a bold track to Sirimon park gate in about 2 hours, Here, we’ll connect with the vehicle for our transfer back to Mountain Rock Lodge for a hot shower and lunch before our return journey back to Nairobi. Arrival in Nairobi is by late afternoon