Mount Kenya is located in Kenya, about 150km northeast of Nairobi. It is surrounded by the counties of Laikipia, Embu, Kirinyaga and Nyeri County. The height of Mt. Kenya is 5,199m (17,057 feet), making it the highest mountain in Kenya and the second largest in Africa. At the 2,440m contour, the circumference is approximately 95 miles (153 km). Mountain climbing here is difficult since Mount Kenya is the second highest peak in east Africa.
Mount Kenya is famous for its scenic beauty and being the second highest mountain in Africa. It consists of pristine wilderness with various features such as lakes, a variety of wild animals, and a wide variety of birdlife.
In this article I will be briefing you on various facts about Mount Kenya by providing information on various topics discussed below.
Who Named Mount Kenya?
Mount Kenya was named by the local people and later by the earliest European explorers. The local residents who lived around the Mountain were the Embu, Kikuyu and the Meru who assigned the Mountain with different names.
Before the arrival of Johann Ludwig Krapf and other Europeans, the region in areas around the mountain was occupied by the African local residents called Embu, Kikuyu and the Meru people. The local residents of Kikuyu used to refer to the mountain as Kirinyaga which meant “The mountain of witness”. The Embu used Kirenyaa to refer to the mountain while the Meru residents called it Kirimara.
In 1849, Johann Ludwig Krapf (a missionary worker from Germany) was the first European personnel to see and assign the mountain its name. Mount Kenya peaks are also named after the legendary leader called Maasai Laibon due to his honor of serving his people. The peaks are Point Lenana, Nelion and Batian. The Batian peak was named after Loibon Mbatian, who was also a special rank in the Maasai people. Nelion peak is named after the brother to Loibon Mbatian, Nelieng.
Does It Snow On Mount Kenya?
Yes, Mount Kenya experiences snow though in limited amounts in top peaks of the mountain above 4500 meters. Snow only forms from March to December when the level of precipitation is highest.
Mount Kenya has two seasons (Wet and Cold season) since it is located in the tropics. The wet season starts in March and lasts up to mid-June and more rainfall is recorded periodically over this time called Long rains which results in almost half of the annual rainfall received on the mountain slopes. This will allow formation of snow at the peaks of the mountain as the temperatures are lower than usual. Snow is able to be collected easily. The slope of the mountains only holds the snow temporarily before melting away.
The long rains are followed closely with a dry season which starts in September and lasts up to December. Temperatures here are higher than normal and some of the snow melts away. Short rains are followed starting from December to March and this actually forms about a third of the rains being received annually. Temperatures here are a bit normal at lower slopes while at the peaks limited snow still forms since the higher you go the cooler it becomes.
Does Mt Kenya Have A Lake?
Yes, Mount Kenya has over 20 lakes which cover different places along the slopes and altitude. Famous lakes on Mount Kenya include Lake Michaelson, Lake Alice, Lake Rutundu, Lake Hohnel and Lake Ellis.
The lakes provide scenic features which attract tourists from various places who visit Mount Kenya. All the lakes on Mount Kenya can be reached by road, mountain climbing or by the use of helicopters. Fly fishing in Mount Kenya may be practiced by incoming tourists who camp up to around six days. The Lakes here are surrounded by hills and no trees in sight as it is mostly moorland.
At 48 acres, Lake Alice is the largest crater lake on Mount Kenya. It is located near Ithangune hill, 3,400m above sea level. It was named after the Duchess of Gloucester, and Prince Alice, after visiting Kenya and attempting to climb the mountain only to reach 4,300m.
How Many Lakes Are In Mt Kenya?
There are 25 lakes which dot Mount Kenya’s varied landscape at different altitudes. Lake Alice is the largest of the Lakes with 48 acres while Lake Michaelson being the second largest Lake with 30 acres.
Fishing is one of the main activities on these lakes since their remote locations have ensured growth and survival of trout fish introduced ages ago. Lake Alice is stocked with trout making it perfect for sports fishing. Lake Alice is surrounded by exotic vegetation and offers scenic views for climbers.
Tourists from various places visit this lake as it forms a scenic beauty. The view of the lake from the summit is something unforgettable. Halfor Mackinder called it by the name of a friend of his with whom he shared the organization for the expedition that took place in 1899. The lake is over 70 meters deep and it is said that, fed by an underground river there is also a natural “jacuzzi’’.
What Animals Live On Mount Kenya?
Animals living on Mount Kenya are Blue Monkey, African Buffalos, antelopes, elephants, a variety of birds and tree hyrax. The Mountain has a large forest cover which provides a habitat in which a wide variety of animals live.
Zones such as the Bamboo which form the lower part of the mountain comprises mammals such as elephants, rhinos, and hogs. However, there are a few numbers of mammals which inhabit the higher zones due to the high altitude of the mountain. There are also a small number of larger animals in this attitude as they find it hard to survive in the cold climate experienced there.
Approximately 160 exciting bird species exist on Mt. Kenya which is cherished by Mount Kenya National Park. The forest on the mountain has the most loved birds such as Green Pigeon, White headed Barbet, Meyer’s Parrot and Doves.