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Mt. Kenya Forest

Mt. Kenya forest is an irreplaceable biodiversity hotspot with unique flora and fauna of conservation importance, which underpins its Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) status and the extant government protection. The forest is a cornerstone of Kenya’s economy through provision of varied socio-economic and ecosystem services; Mt. Kenya forest is a major carbon sink and a major water tower. Mt Kenya forest is home to Africa’s second tallest mountain which is Mt Kenya with an elevation of 5,199 meters above sea level.

 

The forest is located in the former Eastern and central provinces of Kenya, now Meru, Embu, Laikipia, Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Tharaka Nithi counties.

 

There are several vegetation bands from the base to the summit. The lower slopes are covered by different types of forest. Many alpine species are endemic to Mt Kenya. An area of 715 km2 (276 sq mi) around the centre of the mountain was designated a national park and listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.

 

The main ethnic groups living around Mount Kenya are Kikuyu, Ameru and Embu. The three communities are closely related. They all see the mountain as an important aspect of their cultures. All these cultures arrived in the Mount Kenya area in the last several hundred years.

 

Mount Kenya is the main water catchment area for two large rivers in Kenya; the Tana, the largest river in Kenya, and the Ewaso Nyiro North. The Mount Kenya ecosystem provides water directly for over 2 million people. The rivers on Mount Kenya have been named after the villages on the slopes of the mountain that they flow close to. The Thuchi River is the boundary between Tharaka Nithi and Embu county. Mount Kenya is a major water tower for the Tana river which in 1988 supplied 80% of Kenya’s electricity using a series of seven hydroelectric power stations and dams.

 

The climate of Mount Kenya changes considerably with altitude, forming belts of community types.

Around the base of the mountain is fertile farmland. The tribes living around the mountain have cultivated this cool relatively moist area for centuries.

 

Getting Around

Main road access to Mt Kenya is via Nanyuki or Naro Moru, both easily accessed from Nairobi by bus/matatu or private transport. Some trekkers access the Mountain from the small village of Chogoria. There is an airstrip in Nanyuki, with both scheduled and charter flights available. Many trekking companies can organize transfers from Nairobi to Mt Kenya. Hotels in Nanyuki and Naro Moru can organize transfers to the gates of Mt Kenya National Park. The forests can also be accessed from Kiganjo.

Mt. Kenya has earned global conservation recognition including being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an Important Bird Area (IBA). 

 

Existing tourist accommodation facilities in Mt. Kenya Forest Reserve

 

•Castle Forest Lodge

•Hombe Forest Guesthouse (A KFS-managed facility)

•Mountain Rock Hotel (Bantu Lodge)

•Rutundu Log Cabins

•Serena Mountain Lodge

•Thego Fishing Camp

•Themwe Campsite

•Thiba Fishing Camp

•Timau River Lodge

 

Upcoming tourist accommodation facilities in Mt. Kenya Forest Reserve include

 

•Gitoro Forest Camp in Meru Forest Station

•Nanyuki Forest Camp in Nanyuki Forest Station

•Naro Moru Forest Lodge in Naro Moru Forest

•Ragati Fishing Camp in Ragati Forest Station

•Thegu Forest Lodge in Kabaru Forest Station

•Themwe Lodge in Ruthumbi Forest Station

•Tungu/Nithi Eco-lodge in Chuka Forest Station

 

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