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Best Hiking Trails in Kenya

Overview

Kenya is a large country in eastern Africa that is popular for wildlife viewing. It also has plenty of mountainous landscapes strewn along the Great Rift Valley. The main areas for hiking in Kenya include Mount Longonot National Park, Aberdare National Park, Menengai Crater, Hell’s Gate National Park, and of course, Mount Kenya National Park, home of the highest peak in the country (and 2nd highest peak in Africa). The best months to hike in Kenya vary according to the region; read below for more information on where and when to go hiking in Kenya. 

Capital: Nairobi

When To Hike in Kenya?

May – October; December – March: There is great variability in terms of the best months to hike in Kenya – all depends on the region and the altitude.  Filter in the map to see the best months by region.
Varies: Rainy, snowy in high altitudes
Climate: Range of climates in Kenya.  In general, there’s the ‘long rains’ from March to May and the ‘short rains’ from October to December.  There is huge variability in terms of altitude and typically, the higher you go, the rainier it gets.  Due to its location in relation to Equator, temps are quite steady year round.  Hotter in the winter months generally.

Accessibility of Hiking

Medium: There are established trails but you need to go with a guide in some places

Transportation required: Vehicle required to access most trails

Where to stay in Kenya for hiking:

  • King’ong’o
  • Ngurunit
  • Nairobi

Most popular hikes in Kenya

The western half of the country contains the Central Rift Valley, with mountains rising on the eastern side of the valley. The eastern half of the country is mostly plains but has scattered low mountain areas. Highest Mountain: Mount Kenya (5199 m), in Mount Kenya National Park.

Filter out hiking places of Kenya by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

Tsavo West National Park

  • Jan – Feb; May – Oct

Chuyulu Hills National Park

  • Jan – Feb; May – Oct

Tugen Hills

  • Dec – Mar

Cherangani Hills

  • Dec – Mar

Mt Elgon National Park

  • Dec – Mar; quite rainy; Dec – Feb are driest times; Sept and Nov are somewhat ok
  • Straddling border with Uganda 
  • Home to Mt Koitoboss (Kenya’s second highest peak)

Ndoto Mountains

  • Dec – Mar; June – Sept
  • Ngurunit is a good base to explore

Aberdare National Park

  • Dec – Mar; June – Sept

Mount Kenya National Park

  • Jan – Mar; June – Sept
  • Home of Mount Kenya, highest peak in Kenya and 2nd highest peak in Africa

Mount Suswa Conservancy

  • Jan – Feb; June – Oct

Ngong Hills Nature Reserve

  • Jan – Feb; June – Oct

Menengai Crater

  • Jan – Feb; June – Oct

Hell’s Gate National Park

  • Jan – Feb; June – Oct

Mount Longonot National Park

  • Jan – Feb; June – Oct

Long Distance Trails of Kenya

  • Mount Kenya – multi-day hike
  • Mount Elgon – multi-day hike

Kenya's Walking & Hiking Resources

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Kenya Hiking Books: 

  • Kilimanjaro: The Trekking Guide to Africa’s Highest Mountain, by Henry Stedman, 2018, Trailblazer Publications – https://amzn.to/3VDALXJ
  • Lonely Planet Kenya, by Anthony Ham, Anna Kaminski, Shawn Duthie, 2018, Lonely Planet Publications – https://amzn.to/4ctTBXf
  • DK Eyewitness Kenya, by DK Eyewitness, 2015, DK Eyewitness – https://amzn.to/3TRYbas
  • Fodor’s The Complete Guide to African Safaris: with South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, Uganda, and Victoria Falls, by Fodor’s Travel Guides, 2023, Fodor’s Travel Guides – https://amzn.to/3PzydWT – not hiking related but has good info on safaris

 

Kenya Hiking Associations/Clubs:

 

Best Hiking Trails in Kenya:

You can find more details on hiking these trails from trail maps/apps, websites, and tourist offices:

  • Mount Kenya
  • Mount Elgon (Koitoboss)
  • Mount Longonot
  • Menangai Crater
  • Mount Satima – Aberdare Mountains
  • Mount Kilimambogo (Ol Donyo Sabuk)
  • Elephant Hill – Aberdare Mountains
  • Table Mountain – Aberdare Mountains

Easy Hiking Trails in Kenya:

  • Hell’s Gate National Park
  • Ngong Hills

 

Kenya Hiking Websites: There are a few travel blogs related to hiking in Kenya (not listed here)

 

Kenya Weather Website:

 

Kenya Official Tourism Site:  

 

Kenya Hiking Apps: 

 

Kenya Hiking Maps:

What Else To Do

  • Wildebeest migration
  • Wildlife (Masai Mara, Amboseli National Park, Tsavo National Park, Kakamega Forest, Lake Nakaru National Park)
  • Tea plantations
  • Non-mountain hiking (ie. In the various forests – Matthews Range, Kakamega Forest Reserve, Arabuko Sokoke Forest Reserve)
  • Marafa Depression

Other Important Points

  • Northern Kenya – security situation