Kenya is a country beloved by many people in the world. It is the eyes of east Africa, and this gem sits at the center of the equator; therefore, the climatic conditions are quite favorable for hiking throughout the year. There are amazing hiking places in Kenya waiting to be explored. Some of the hiking trails in Kenya are marked out, while others are not. However, the thrill of summiting these mountains while hiking is something that you should not miss.
When planning to go and hike in the rift, the central or the southern part of the country, you must check the prevailing weather conditions in these locations. The highland areas usually experience heavy rains from April until August. However, in the lowland areas, heavy rains are restricted to just April and May. However, you can hike the mountains any time of the year.
Table of Contents
Why You Should Explore Hiking Places In Kenya
Kenya enjoys a relatively tropical climate; therefore, you will find that the temperatures are warm most times of the year. The variation of altitude is perfect for hiking as it creates easy to moderate hiking trails. You will find lower mountains with relatively low elevation and high peaks, such as Mount Kenya and Mount Elgon, at high elevation. The routes usually have low bushes and grasslands, and you will find the cattle grazing in the highlands as you hike. Besides, you can choose to set up a camp high in the mountains for you to enjoy the sunset and sunrise as well as the picturesque undulating mountain range.
Higher up the mountains, the temperatures can go low, and you should be well prepared to deal with the prevailing condition. You should have proper hiking boots, a decent rain jacket, warm clothing as well as gloves. Guides are usually unnecessary, but if you want to walk with local guides, this could be a chance to explore more areas as there can be areas where the trail is not marked well. There are numerous locations that you will enjoy hiking in the country
Hiking Mount Kenya
Mount Kenya is the second-highest mountain in Africa, following Mount Kilimanjaro. It is one of the most challenging mountains to summit because it is pretty steep, and the terrain can be slippery when it rains heavily. However, this does not deter people as many have summited this mountain several times, and they still go back. Climbing this mountain will require you to get expert guidance. Mount Kenya national park has about thirty routes, and you can use the most popular routes to avoid confusion. The Chogoria route is more popular, and you can use this route for hiking to the mountain top.
The best time you can and hike Mount Kenya is from August to October. During this period, the rains have stopped, and the terrain is quite fair.
The hiking trail is classified as moderate; therefore, you would expect some areas to be challenging while others are summit able.
Hike at Hells Gate National Park
The Hell’s gate national park is one of the most iconic hiking places in the rift valley religion. The national park is situated on the southern part of Lake Naivasha, and it has numerous hiking trails that you can trek. The location is named so because of the unique rock formation and solid geothermal activity that shapes the features natural environment into something very unique. The expansive park surrounding this hiking location is fantastic because you can see animals and exceptional vegetation. There are red-colored rock cliffs, savanna grassland, meandering gorges, and depressions.
The cliffs in the park rise high, and there are multiple areas where you can climb and marvel at the beautiful creations. You will find professional rock climbers at Fischer’s gate as well as the Elsa gate. There are multiple animals that you can watch whether you are walking on foot or you are on a bike.
Mount Ololokwe hiking trail
This is a popular hiking destination located in the northeastern parts of the country in Samburu country. The flat-topped mountain is exquisite as it overlooks the Samburu plains. It is a few distances from Archer’s post where the British army train. If you plan to visit this location, it is about 350 kilometers off the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
The hiking trail is at 2000 meters above sea level, and it is exceptional because it is situated in an arid area, and you will find that as you head up the mountain. You will encounter rugged paths created by the biggest mammal, the elephants, as they search for water and food. It will take you about 3 hours to complete the hike. The mountain top views are unique and exceptional, and you should take them to enjoy them and take pictures as well.
Mount Elgon is a border mountain, and it is situated in western Kenya along the Ugandan border, and it is a hotspot for beautiful hiking. This mountain has several craggy peaks that will allow you to explore the region adequately while experiencing the most surreal environment. There are geothermal springs, dense forests, caves, and you will find this place heartwarming and worth your visit.
It is important to note that this mountain is quite cold as it is located on the equator line. There are frequent rains, and you should prepare adequately if you are planning to summit this mountain. The terrain is moderate, and you can explore the region during the dry period to avoid the heavy rains that could deter your progress.
Lake Elementaita is a lake located in the rift valley, and it is among the naturally formed lakes along the rift valley. The area surrounding this region will take your breath away as you will see natural fauna and flora. It is a natural state. Some sceneries include acacia trees, warthogs, antelopes, deer, zebras, among other animals. You can hike around the lake as it offers a fantastic way to explore the area and know you are there when you see flamingos. If you are into birdwatching, then this is the right destination for you.
There are hot springs on the northern side of the lake, and you can enjoy warm water as you relax before continuing with your hike. Besides, you can choose the longer route to Mlima ugali, and this is where you can see the plains and valleys below, it is a fantastic view as you will enjoy the breeze and see the natural mountain formation.
Menengai crater hiking trail
Menengai crate is featured as one of the most fantastic hiking trails in Kenya because of the nature of the environment and the surrounding nature. The crate is situated a few kilometers from Nakuru town. This is the largest volcano, caldera, and it has massive crater walls and hills that form a circular ring which is about 600 meters from the ground, and the highest point sits at 2288 meters above sea level. This is a moderate hiking trail, and it will take you around seven hours to complete the hike.
Therefore even novice hikers can explore it. The richness and diversity of this environment make it an exceptional place that you must visit. The area is not very cold compared to other regions. However, you must have proper hiking boots.
The bushy hiking trail makes the entire journey exciting, and once you reach the summit, you will have a fantastic look at lake Nakuru. It is a volcanic lake, and it is home to pretty flamingoes. You are not limited, you can explore this hiking trail as it is moderate.
Explore the wild Aberdare forest hiking trail
Kenya is a fantastic country to go and explore, the Aberdare hiking trail is an adventurous wild trek that you can explore as you move from one point to another. There are falls such as Karura falls, and from a higher point, you can see the valley and bluffs and the unique view of Mount Kenya and the lowland areas covered with mist and snow.
The lower dense forests present a perfect environment where you can watch amazing animals that you will not find elsewhere. There are campsites and huts where you can take a break and relax before you can continue with your hike.
Ngong hills hiking trail
This is one of the most exceptional hiking places that you can explore just a few kilometers off the capital Nairobi. It is a fantastic fun-filled hiking trail, and you can explore it whether you are a beginner or an advanced hiker. The Ngong hiking trail is a tremendous experience because it has a game watch and other exciting activities.
You will find Kenyan runners training in this region. Once you are on top of the hills, you will see the fantastic views of the rift valley, and if you have watched the movie ‘Out of Africa’, you will realize that this is a familiar scene as some parts of the movie were shot here.
Karura forest hiking trail
The Karura forest hiking trail is located just a few kilometers from Nairobi, and it is a perfect location where you can enjoy your journey. The forest covers an area of 564 hectares, and an electric fence surrounds it. It will take you fifteen to twenty minutes from the Kenyan capital Nairobi to reach this destination. It is a unique forest because it is filled with indigenous trees, and it offers a tranquil environment where you can relax and unwind in a cool climate.
There are waterfalls and caves in the area, and you can see the shrines and other unique animals in this forest. The trail is well marked and can be classified as a moderate hiking trail. The Karura falls are over sixty feet high falling on the rocks before it flows through the area. If you want to explore the location, you should check out the area.
Explore the Loroghi hills hiking trail
This is a wilderness hiking trail that is situated in the Samburu national park. The hills offer a beautiful hiking trail, and you can see the rift valley through the deeply forested region. The hiking trail begins at the base of the mountain before it gains height to the Lesiolo escarpment. These bluffs are located at 2580 meters above sea level.
During your hike, you will encounter the Samburu people, and it is here where culture meets diversity. The community is one of the indigenous who still believe in their ancient culture. You can hike with them as they teach you the culture and share their experiences as well. You do not have to worry about accommodation because you can spend a night at their unique structured houses called Manyatta.
When you are going for a hike, you must be well prepared to ensure that you are safe and can enjoy the experience. Some of the items that you should not miss on your hike include proper hiking boots, a map or compass, food, adequate water, trash bag, rain gear, a multipurpose tool or a knife, sunglasses, sunscreen, a whistle, or light and other safety items. Always ensure that you are safe and explore the environment to the fullest.
Have you ever been to Kenya? What’s your favorite place to hike in Kenya? Share your thoughts and experiences below.