Evans Mwangi, our guide, picked us up at our hotel in Nairobi. A car ride from downtown Nairobi to the foot of Mount Kenya may not seem like much fun, but it was. The driver was a character – clever with words, opinionated, outrageous, incredibly funny, and deadly serious about serious issues. He even flirted with Jacqui while he was driving, and then gave me advice on how things should be!
The route that we had chosen was the Chogoria-Sirimon Traverse which meant that we started on the east side of the mountain, climbed Point Lenana, and returned down the east side. This route is less travelled, which appealed to us. At Chogoria we had a quick meal and loaded the gear on to a Land Rover.
Evans introduced us to the cook and 3 porters and we crammed ourselves into the vehicle – we picked up a hitch-hiker who insisted on sitting on the roof!
Some way along Evans, Jacqui and I started to walk and the guys drove on to the hostel.
The walk was a well-carved road but even here we could get a sense of Africa in the bush – the ever changing smells, sudden sounds of movement, beautifully coloured birds and small animals that looked out and moved on. We heard an elephant make a lot of noise in the scrub and could see from its spoor where it had crossed the road some hours earlier. The trek changed a lot with unusual trees and sudden clusters of bamboo and monkeys everywhere sneering at us.
The Meru Mt. Kenya Bandas hostel is a group of wooden huts. It was shrouded in mist when we arrived and it was cold outside. The guys built a big fire for hot water and cooking, we set out our sleeping bags, and the cook brought our meal.
The food on the trip was very appetising, filling and more than we expected. Soup to start – and even if you are not a big fan of soup, it is great when you have had a day’s walking and you are hungry. The main meal was usually rice or potatoes with vegetables and meat. They did a great job with basic ingredients, but then we are not fussy eaters as we have walked mountains for many years and when you carry your own food you watch the weight! Desert was usually fresh fruit and we had plenty of tea and coffee.