Whether you want to take on a multiple-day trek, go rock climbing, or head out for a gentle day hike - Kenya offers many exciting walking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. To enjoy a fun and diverse Kenya travel itinerary, we recommend combining a vehicle-based safari with multiple days of hiking. Often, the hike places in Kenya see fewer tourists and allow for an off-the-beaten-track experience.
Ready to explore some of the most beautiful trails in Africa? This is our list of Kenya's best hikes!
1. Mount Kenya | The technical one
Tourists are always fascinated by a number one positioning, be it the highest, biggest, or oldest. As such, Mount Kenya, being the second-highest mountain in Africa at 5199 metres, is often overshadowed by Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. As the Kilimanjaro is...yep, the highest mountain in Africa. Yet, summiting Mount Kenya is more technical. So there you have it, a number one position. :) Fewer tourists climb Mount Kenya; hence, summiting the peak is a more affordable and even more authentic experience than climbing the Kili.
The South East Face is the most frequented trail up to the summit, approaching the mountain along the Chogoria route. This climb requires a total of five to six days. Needless to say, don't try to save a buck, but choose a reputable company to hike with to the top. Climbing season at Mount Kenya spans from July to early October.
If you do not have five days set aside to climb Mount Kenya, then enjoy a beautiful day hike to the Met Station instead, at an altitude of 3,050 m. Some hikers choose to continue to the alpine zone, one hour further. This zone is covered with distinct vegetation comprising of Senecio, giant heather, lobelia and tussock grass. The panorama is definitely worth the strenuous hike.
2. Hells Gate | Abseiling, rock climbing and gentle hiking trails
The Rift Valley cliff surrounding Hells Gate attracts climbers of all skill levels, with Fischer's Tower being a popular stand-alone rock for experienced athletes. Not a fan of climbing? Then try abseiling instead! Equipment and qualified guides for both activities can be found at the Elsa Park gate.
Inside Hells Gate, you'll find Ol Njorowa Gorge. With a total of 24km and various hot water springs, the gorge offers one of the best hiking trails in Kenya. For more information about Hells Gate National Park, we gladly refer you to our blog the most beautiful national parks in Kenya.
3. Mount Elgon | Muddy trails
Mount Elgon is an extinct volcano, divided by the Kenya-Uganda border. Climbing the summit takes around four days. This area also offers plenty of hiking fun for day walkers, with several beautiful and serene hiking trails to be found in the lower forest. The cliffs of Lower Elgon and Sudek are also great for rock climbing.
To hike Mount Elgon, trekkers should prepare adequately. Despite the mountain's equatorial location, it can be cold once you reach the top and it rains often. Want to read more about Mount Elgon and other hidden gems in Kenya? Then check out our blog 'Kenya off the beaten track'.
4. Loroghi Hills | Wild hiking
Wild and isolated, the Loroghi Hills are one of Kenya’s best trekking regions. The hills provide stunning views across the Rift Valley, as well as high mountain passes and forested valleys. Tracks wind their way up the Lesiolo escarpment, reaching a 2580-metre pinnacle at Poror Peak. However, the real beauty of this region is the opportunity to meet and spend time with the Samburu people, for whom these hills are their home. Travelling with a Samburu guide helps you to get to know both the land and its people, making your trek more than just another walk.
You can access the Loroghi hills in Northern Kenya from the small town of Maralal, 350 km north of Nairobi. Due to the rough roads, we don't allow travellers to take their rental cars to Maralal and Loroghi Hills. In this case, travelling with a local driver-guide is essential. Inform us in advance if you wish to travel to Loroghi Hills.
5. Kakamega Forest | A birders paradise
Kakamega is particularly popular among specialist birders and naturalists. The area offers a range of trails with varying lengths, and the wide variety of unique plants and animals makes for truly fascinating hikes. The local guides of Kakamega Park are well-trained and trekking conditions are quite easy here, although you should be prepared for the occasional rain.
6. Mount Longonot | Day hike close to Nairobi
Mount Longonot is a dormant volcano and a fairly easily accessible peak to climb. You can reach the top at 2276 meters in about two hours, on a well-marked trail. It’s a steep climb though, but you will be rewarded with breathtaking views over the plains. Going around the crater at the summit takes an additional two hours.
Mount Longonot is a great option if you feel like stretching your legs after a few days of vehicle-based safaris. As the trail is only a one-hour drive from Nairobi, it is a popular day trip from the city. This means that the weekends are usually a bit more crowded, and planning around it can be worthwhile.
Taking off on your Kenya hiking adventure
Are you ready to rent a car and explore the best hiking trails in Kenya on a self-drive trip? Get in contact with our experienced team at Roadtrip Africa to check availability, and secure your 4x4 now!