CLIMBING MT. KENYA
Kenya, Africa's second highest peak, has long been regarded as the realm of Ngai, the god of the local Kikuyu people. Traditionally, all Kikuyu homes were built to face this sacred peak. The Kikiyu name for this jagged peak is Kirinyaga, meaning "place of light." The mountain is an awe-inspiring sight, its ragged peaks crowned with snow and its slopes thick with forest. The mountain is best seen at dawn, when the morning sun backlights its impressive summit high above the surrounding plains.
While the 17,058 feet (5,199 meter) summit is a difficult technical climb, a fit trekker can easily reach the lesser peak of Point Lenana (at 16,350 feet, or 4,985 meters). The trek takes between 3 and 5 days and passes through a fascinating world of forests, wildlife, and unique montane vegetation, including podocarpus and grounsel. But the climax is surely the summit, where one can luxuriate in one of the world's rarest sights, equatorial snow.
For non-climbers, a visit to Mount Kenya is still worthwhile. The cool highlands that surround its base, crossed by babbling brooks, are well worth a visit. The forests are ideal for game viewing, and the crystal clear streams at the foot of the mountain abound with trout.