Mountain Kenya National Park
Mountain Kenya National Park – Mountain Kenya at 5,199 metres above sea level is Africa’ second-highest Mountain. It is an imposing extinct volcano that dominates the landscape of the Kenyan highlands east of the Rift Valley with its northern flanks across the equator. The mountain’s sprawling slopes are cloaked in forest, bamboo, scrub and moorland, giving way on the high central peaks to rock, ice and snow.
Mount Kenya is a vital water catchment area, supplying the Tana and Northern Ewaso Ngiro systems. The wet south-eastern slopes (with rainfall up to 2,500 mm/ year) hold luxuriant rainforest up to 2,400 m, from c.2,400 m altitude. The forest gives way to dense stands of bamboo Arundinaria alpina, with scattered trees.
There is no forest on the dry northern slopes, which receive as little as 800 mm of rain/year and support only scrubby vegetation. Above about 2,850 m, the bamboo merges with open woodland of Hagenia abyssinica trees and Hypericum shrubs. This in turn grades into Erica heathland above 3,000 m, where ‘everlasting’ flowers, Helichrysum spp., are conspicuous.
Above Erica, the Afro-alpine moorlands stand outstanding, both scenically and floristically with giant groundsels Senecio keniodendron and Senecio johnstonii battiscombei. The Giant lobelias Lobelia deckenii keniensis and L. telekii along with various tussock grasses, are also very impressive.
Mountain Kenya National Park Mammal Viewing
Mammals can not go unattended since Mantled guereza, Sykes monkey, Bushbuck, African buffalo, African bush elephant, Olive Baboon, Waterbuck, Black rhino, Leopard, Giant forest hog, Genet species Bushpig and Spotted hyena among others show up quickly.
Mount Kenya National Park Birding
Mount Kenya has a rich montane avifauna. The park has six of the eight Kenya Mountains Endemic Bird Area and 54 of the 70 Afrotropical Highlands biome species that occur in Kenya. Mountain Kenya area has records of globally and regionally threatened species, some with no recent records. They include Abbott’s Starling, Lesser Kestrel (a passage migrant on the moorland), Jackson’s widowbird (at up to 3,000 m), Sharpe’s Longclaw, Olive Ibis and the large Lammergeier. Iconic birds like Ayres’s hawk-eagle, African Crowned Eagle, African Grass Owl, Cape Eagle-Owl, Purple-throated Cuckoo-shrike, Long-tailed widowbird, Abyssinian Owl, Scarlet-tufted Sunbird, and Kenrick’s Starling are seen on birding walks.
Mountain Kenya National Park is located approximately 150 km from Nairobi and was opened to visitors in December 1949.