Mt. Kenya, the Land of Lakes and Tarns.

Mt. Kenya lakes and tarns are listed by size. lake Alice, lake Rutundu, lake Ellis, lake Michaelson, Lake Höhnel, Carr Lakes, Enchanted lakes, Teleki tarn, Hidden tarn, Halls tarn

1.  Lake Alice.

It is located in a crater near the Ithangune hill. It seats at an altitude of 3,550m asl.  It got its name from the Duchess of Gloucester, who visited Kenya and tried to climb Mt. Kenya only to reach 4,300m asl. It is the largest covering an area of 48 acres. It has a large fish concentration making it ideal for sports fishing.

2. Lake Michaelson. 

It is found in the Gorges Valley, above Vivienne falls just below the 300m cliff of the Temple. The elevation is 4,000m asl. The lake feeds the Nithi river. It was named by Mackinder, after a friend he climbed within 1899. It measures 30 acres. The lake also has trouts to spice up the visit.

3. Lake Ellis.

It is located at the base of Mugi hill at an altitude of 3,500m asl. It was named after Thomas Evelyn Scott-Ellis, who was the first European to reach the lake in 1927 accompanied by Eric Dutton. It ranks third in size, occupying  28 acres. It offers great day hikes as well as overnight for fly fishers.  It has been incorporated as a stopover camp for climbers doing the Chogoria route.

4. Lake Rutundu.

Located at the base of Rutundu hill at 3,100m asl. It got its name from the hill adjacent to it which resembles packed tobacco in the Meru dialect. It has a size of 25 acres. It is a haven for anglers. It was brought to the media limelight by a marriage proposal done by UK’s Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2010.

5. Lake Höhnel.

Situated at the end of Hohnel valley, just Castlehill.  It was named after Lieut. Ludwig von Höhnel, who was 2nd in command on Teleki’s expedition to the mountain. It occupies an area of 21 acres. It is a fishing spot at 4,300m asl.

6. Carr Lakes.

The two masses are located in the lake-rich Hobley valley, just below Thompson tarn, Gallery tarn, Hanging tarn and the Enchanted lakes. Mackinder river drains to it before becoming Rupingazi river. It was named after Ernest Carr, who discovered the Lakes and erected two huts on the mountain. He built a road up the east side of the mountain from Chogoria and was the founder of the Mountain Club of East Africa. It has a size of 20 acres at 4,00m asl.

7. Enchanted lakes. 

It is located to the right in the Hobley valley just above Carr lakes. It was probably named due to its delight and charm.   Its size is 10 acres at 4,250m asl.

8. Teleki tarn.

It is situated in the Teleki valley across the Rangers post near Shipton’s peak. It is on 4,300m asl. Named after Count Samuel Teleki, who led the first expedition to penetrate the forest zone of Mount Kenya in 1887. It has a size of  8.5acres

9. Hidden tarn.

Stashed well at the source of the Nyamindi river. Its location is secluded due to the steep terrain hence the name. It has an elevation of 4,270m asl and sits on 7.8 acres.

10. Halls tarn.

This is definitely among the most well-known and reached tarns. They are found at Minto’s hut/ campsite along the Chogoria route. The elevations are 4,300m asl. It was named after F. G. Hall, the District Commissioner at then Fort Hall {Murangá}.  It measures 5 acres.

11. Hut Tarn.

It is also known as Two Tarn is located on the Teleki ridge. It is along the Western peak-circuit just above American camp before Nanyuki tarn. There used to be a small shelter by the tarn. The elevation of 4,490m asl and a size of 4.5 acres.

12. Oblong tarn.

You will find this one on the Hausberg valley at an altitude of 4,370m asl. They are separated from Hausberg tarn by the western peak-circuit trail.  The tarn drains to the main Nanyuki river. The Oblong tarn lies closer to the point Peter and Piggot peak.  It covers an area of  4.2 acres.

13. Thompson tarn.

It is located in the Hobley valley to the left below the Austrian hut at 4,350m asl. It lies below the Tilman and Grigg peaks. To its right is the Gallery tarn. It got the name from W. Bird Thompson, who was the leader of the British East African expedition to the mountain in 1891. It has a 4 acres size.

14. Emerland tarn.

It is located along the western peak circuit, between Nanyuki tarn and Arthur’s seat. I think it got it its name from the bright greenish colour it displays. It drains its water to the Nanyuki river. The size is 3.2 acres at 4,450m asl.

15. Lewis tarn.

Located below Lewis glacier at an altitude of 4,800m asl. Its size is 2.8 acres.

16. Hausberg tarn.

Located in the Hausberg valley at an altitude of 4,370m asl. They are like twin lakes, separated with Oblong tarn by the western peak-circuit trail.  The tarn drains to the main Nanyuki river. The Oblong tarn lies closer to the Pt. Peter and Piggot peaks while Hausberg tarn is to the flow. It covers an area of 2.6 acres

17. Gallery tarns.

It is located in the Hobley valley near the Coryndon peak. Its elevation is  4,450m asl. It was named for its appearance. It covers 2.6 acres.

18. Hanging tarn.

It is found along the Gorges valley near Delamere peaks at 4,430m asl. It was formerly named after Gitchini, the personal servant of Melhuish, who accompanied him on many expeditions. Latter adopted the name Hanging tarns due to its looks and position. It occupies 2.6 acres.

19. Nanyuki tarn.

It is adjacent to point Piggot along the western peak circuit trail. The tarn is named after the river that it flows into.  It covers 1.7 acres at an altitude of 4,470m asl.

20. Tyndall tarn.

It is directly below the Tyndall glacier between point Slade and Midget peak.  Sitting in 1.2 acres at 4,450m asl.

21. Polishman’s tarn.

It is located near the Hausberg col along the ridge with an altitude of 4,440m asl. It got its name after a Polish artist searching for a good view of the peaks saw the tarn. It occupies 1 acre.

22. Kami tarn.

It is close to the Batian peak and used to be the base camp for the North face route. The name might be a corrupted version of “Kikami”, meaning hyrax from the Meru dialect. The area has a lot of them. The elevation is 4,400m asl. The tarn is emaciating fast from its former size of 0.7 acres.

23. Harris Tarn.

It is located near point Lenana along the trail at 4,750m asl. It was named after P. Wyn Harris, who made the first ascent of Nelion and the second ascent of Batian with Shipton in 1929. Its size is 0.5 acres.

24. Upper Simba tarn.

It is located just below Simba col. Simba means lion. It was named after the porters claimed to have sighted a lion within the area in 1924. It is at 4,600m asl. It occupies 0.5 acres.

25. Square tarn.

It is just below the point Lenana, at the start of Gorges valley. Its shape gave it a name since looks like a square. At an altitude of 4,700m asl and covering 0.2 acres.

26. Lower Simba tarn.

It is situated towards the start of Mackinder valley with an elevation of 4,390m asl. Simba means lion. It was named after the porters claimed to have sighted a lion within the area in 1924. It has an area of 0.2 acres.

27. Kech tarn.

Located in the Hinde valley below Mugi hill. Its elevation is 3,400m asl. It was named after Richard Ketch a KWS warden, prowess technical climber and a member of the mountain rescue team.

28. Nduku tarn.

It is situated at the source of the Sagana River. It was named in honour of the first African woman to join the mountain rescue team. An astute rock climber and KWS ranger.  

29. Fox tarn.  

Found on the Eastern moorlands, near the leopard rock. It stands at 3,900 asl. NOLS had a campsite which they named “Good Camp Tarn”.

30. Hook tarn.  

At an elevation of 4,100m asl overlooking Sirimon valley along the Timau track. A haven for anglers and fly-fishers. 

31. Nkunga Sacred lake.

This crater lake is located in the lower Imenti forest. With its beautiful greenish floating mat-like of aquatic grass. “Nkunga” is a mythical dreaded beast that could swallow anybody who dared swim in the lake. It is a sacred shrine for the Ameru people.

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