Camping in the clouds at the foot of the second highest mountain in Africa seemed like the perfect place to spend the evening.
Nestled right at the foot of mount Kenya is Lake Ellis. The lake covers 28 hectares and is part of the chain of great lakes which surround Mount Kenya, alongside Lake Alice and Lake Michaelson. Lake Ellis offers extraordinary views of the peak of the mountain, and combined with ample space to set up camp; camping around the Lake comes fully recommended! It can get misty around the lake but the weather is changeable so be patient as it will clear!
Drive four and a half hours from the north of Nairobi. When you get to Chogaria, the tarmac roads end. From here, it is a gravel road up to the park gate and can be driven by any vehicle. As you proceed through the park, the road turns into a dirt track, and anything other than a 4×4 would make the journey difficult. Loose rocks litter the trail and there are multiple routes to go down, so make sure you ask the rangers at the gate for directions.
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After arriving at the park gate, you still have to travel another seven kilometers along a dirt road. Depending on the season, the road can get treacherous, so if there are heavy rains it’s probably best to avoid it. There are a couple of streams you need to cross, and with high water levels this would become very difficult. As you drive along, you will go through Ameru territory, which is a local tribe who focus on agriculture by taking advantage of the volcanic soil. Their name for the mountain is ”Kirimara”, which means ‘mountain with white features.’
Thinking about camping around Lake Ellis; these things are all vital for a nice evening!
- A stove
- Fishing line
- Salt, pepper and butter (to season the fish)
- Avocado (perfect accompaniment for fish)
- Fold out chairs to appreciate the view
- Lots of warm clothing (the weather is unpredictable and in the evening it gets very cold)
Mount Kenya has an elevation of roughly 1500 meters and from the camping spots it is a 4-6 hour round trip. The walk around the lake is also a nice excursion taking roughly thirty minutes and isn’t too strenuous. Camping around Lake Ellis is easy are here is lots of space to pitch the tent around the lake, but the area is only shrub land, so hammocks are a definite no go.