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Chogoria route trail.

Chogoria Route Trail: Discover the breathtaking beauty of Mt. Kenya. Experience panoramic landscapes, fascinating flora, and stunning cliffs.

The Chogoria route runs from the east of the mountain. The route is often described as the most attractive, scenic, and rewarding for hikers interested in seeing beautiful panoramic landscapes and the peculiar flora on Mt. Kenya. However, there are no huts for the high camps. During the rainy season, you have to use 4x4s through the forest until the park’s gate, the Meru Bandas (2950m).

The next part of the track goes further towards the “Roadhead,” where you can either branch left for a more direct route, or right to pass Mugi Hill and Lake Ellis. Both tracks re-converge near the head of a spectacular amphitheatre of cliffs known as “The Temple,” at the bottom of which is Lake Michaelson, and at the west end, a large notch where the Nithi River enters. Mintos Hut (4300m) is an old, rickety hut that porters often sleep in, but clients have to camp. The path continues to rise, up to Simba Tarn, before splitting to head either north to Shipton’s camp or south to the Austrian hut.

The physical landscape on this route is its biggest attraction. Whereas the other routes above generally follow a U-shaped glacial valley for much of the way, the Chogoria traverses around the head of the spectacular ‘Temple’ with the Hall Tarns perched on the rock ledge above it and Lake Michaelson at the base of the amphitheatre. The additional features of the trail include Lake Ellis, the Giant’s Billiard Table, Nyumba ya Mburi caves, the Kibatia mineral spring, and the Nithi Falls, which further add to its interest. However, the Chogoria route is often used as a descent route after ascending one of the other routes.

Route access.

The Chogoria route is one of the most scenic and popular routes for climbing Mount Kenya, offering breathtaking views and diverse landscapes. Here’s a general overview of what climbers can expect along the Chogoria route trail:

Chogoria Gate.

The trek may begin at Chogoria Gate, located at the edge of the forest on the eastern side of Mount Kenya. Climbers register here and obtain any necessary permits before starting their journey.

Chogoria Town to Chogoria Gate.

From Chogoria Town, climbers may travel by vehicle to reach Chogoria Gate. This section of the journey provides stunning views of the surrounding countryside farms as you ascend towards the mountain.

Chogoria Gate to Meru Mount Kenya Bandas.

The trail initially passes through lush montane forest, where climbers can encounter diverse flora and fauna. Along the way, several viewpoints offer panoramic vistas of the forest, valleys, and peaks. After several hours of hiking or driving, climbers reach Meru Mount Kenya Bandas, a popular rest stop and accommodation option.

Meru Mount Kenya Bandas to Lake Ellis.

From the bandas, climbers continue their ascent, gradually leaving the forest behind as they enter the moorland zone. The trail becomes steeper, and the terrain becomes more rugged. Climbers eventually arrive at Lake Ellis, a charming alpine lake with adjacent Mugi Hill.

Lake Ellis to Minto’s Hut.

After camping or resting at Lake Ellis, climbers proceed towards Minto’s Hut. The hut serves as a basecamp for summit attempts via the Chogoria route. The trail traverses rocky terrain and steep slopes, offering stunning views of the Gorges Valley and the distinctive Lake Michaelson.

Minto’s Hut to Austrian Hut Variation.

Climbers may continue their ascent towards Austrian Hut, another basecamp situated at a higher elevation. This section of the trail may involve navigating rocky ridges. Sometimes you will be crossing snowfields, depending on the season and weather conditions.

Summit Push:

From Mintos Hut or the Austrian Hut, climbers make their final push towards the summit of Mount Kenya. The trail may involve some scrambling over rocks and negotiating steep sections. The summit, Point Lenana, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and is a rewarding culmination of the trek.

Descent:

After reaching the summit, climbers descend along the same route, retracing their steps back to Chogoria Gate. Along the way, they can savour the memories of their adventure and the incredible scenery of Mount Kenya.

Overall, the Chogoria route offers a challenging yet rewarding trekking experience. It showcases the natural beauty and rugged grandeur of Mount Kenya’s eastern side. Climbers should be well-prepared with appropriate gear, physical fitness, and altitude acclimatisation to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. Additionally, hiring an experienced guide is recommended for navigation and safety purposes

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