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Mount Kenya National Park, Kenya

If you want to feel like you are in one of those wildlife documentaries you have watched before from the comfort of your couch, Mount Kenya must be the place.

 

First established as a forest reserve, Mount Kenya National Park was turned into a full national park spread around Mt Kenya and comprising a UNESCO World Heritage Site of 1,420 sq km. Some parts of the park are surrounded with electric fence to keep the elephants and other big animals away from the farmland: the steps of Mt Kenya are bustling with rural life where humans must coexist with protected wildlife. Local Kikuyu and Meru tribes believe that the God Ngai and his wife Mumbi live on the summit of Mt Kenya, and certain times of the year are marked by special rituals performed in honor of the divine family on the holy mountain.

 

Mt Kenya (5,199m) itself is the second tallest peak in Africa and an extinct volcano. Its top is sometimes seen covered in snow, and several glaciers are preserves at very high altitudes, but the mountain’s biodiversity also incorporates dense green forests on the slopes and green valleys at the foothills. Wildlife varies as well, depending on the altitude, and you can come across many endemic  or rare species. You are likely to see tons of varieties of monkeys, in particular colobus monkeys and baboons, strolling like bosses on the forest paths. The forests along the trail that leads to the top can bring you a lucky encounter with white-tailed mongoose, black-fronted duiker, black rhinoceros and leopard. Grevy’s zebras comprise a very large part of local population, along the fascinating array of birdlife: Ayres hawk eagles, green ibises, Abyssinian long-eared owls, sunbirds and alpine swifts fill the slopes of mount Kenya with their voices and songs around the clock. Hiking up this trail and sleeping in the jungle at night will be one of your wildest adventures in Kenya.

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