Mount Kenya National Park (World Heritage)
According to listofusnewspapers, the 584 km² national park around the region of the Mount Kenya massif, which at 5199 m is the second highest mountain massif in Africa, is one of the most impressive East African landscapes with its glaciers, glacial lakes and pointed peaks as well as its fascinating flora and fauna.
Mount Kenya National Park: Facts
|Official title:||Mount Kenya National Park|
|Natural monument:||Mount Kenya with the peaks Batian (5199 m) and Nelion (5188 m), an extinct volcano that was active 3.1 to 2.6 million years ago; in the national park (since 1949) 12 glacier remains and moraines between 3950 and 4800 m altitude, 20 smaller glacial lakes; Total area 1420.20 km² (without Lewa wildlife sanctuary); two rainy seasons with precipitation up to 2800 and 3800 mm; Snowfall over 4500 m|
|Location:||northeast of Nairobi|
|Appointment:||1997; 2013 Expansion of the 225 km² Lewa wildlife sanctuary|
|Meaning:||National park on the second highest mountain in Africa with rare alpine flora|
|Flora and fauna:||alpine and subalpine flora such as African pencil cedar below 2500 m; at 2500 m to 3000 m an African mountain bamboo species (Arundinaria alpina) and the stone slab species Podocarpus milanjianus, at 3800 m to 4500 m and others. Lobelia such as Lobelia telekii; Mammal species such as white-tailed mongoose, steppe forest tree hyrax, black rhinoceros, leopard, suni, Johnstoń’s rock hyrax, crown duiker; Bird species such as the local subspecies of the Guinea ibis, East African long-eared owl as well as scaled francolin and lobelia nectar bird|
The mountain that gave the country its name
The mighty mountain forest gives the visitor a feeling of great seclusion. The loneliness seems limitless, but it does not mean being alone. The omnipresent forest lets you forget the everyday life you just lived, and you feel closer to nature, much closer than in our civilized world. Except for the occasional bird call, there is deep silence. Water drips from the dense canopy of leaves that blocks the view of the sky. It’s humid and the higher you go, the harder it is to breathe. Boulders, slippery stretches of road and scree slopes higher up are not easy to cope with for pedestrians who are used to paving stones. And you should take your time to look at the ferns, mosses and lichens that hang from the branches like ice-gray beards. Green in an incredible number of nuances is the color that dominates everything.
During a breather you will notice all kinds of flowers. Among these splashes of color are the terrestrial orchids and their mostly white flowering relatives in the forks of the trees. Some flowers seem familiar to us: They are relatives of our hard-working lizards, lily or rose plants, aster or mint plants. The everlasting flowers are particularly delicate in color, and the bamboo belt that adjoins the summit looks like a wall made of giant grasses as thick as a meter, friendly in the light green color, but impenetrably dense. Every now and then you can see that large animals, mostly buffalo, have cut narrow paths through this thicket.
In the following vegetation zone with its cold patches of bog, over which melancholy clouds of fog hang, one does not think it possible to be in tropical Africa. Here, heather grows to the height of a tree, giant cruciferous herbs and tree lobelia dominate the flora. As you climb further up, you will only encounter mosses and lichens, until finally the eternal snow does not tolerate any more plant growth.
Africa’s high mountains are characterized by these altitude-dependent vegetation zones. On the slopes, especially on the south-east slopes, typical mountain forests thrive all year round with moderate temperatures and heavy rainfall. In Kenya, up to 3800 millimeters of rain fall a year, more than three times the amount in Europe. About every 200 meters the temperature drops by one degree, and the vegetation becomes more sparse, more and more frugal plants take over from each other. The bamboo zone joins the forest, which merges into the heather and moorland belt. Only a few plants that are insensitive to the cold grow in the alpine zone, and there are no more plants in the eternal snow.
The Lewa Wildlife Sanctuary at the foot of Mount Kenya was privately established in 1993, in particular to enable professional protection of black and white rhinos. In 1995 it was designated as an official national park by the Kenyan government.
At first glance, Kenya with its rugged, jagged peaks does not reveal its volcanic origin, only at the foot of the mountain do the fertile soils reveal their volcanic origin. The three main peaks, Batian, Nelion and Lenana, are made of particularly hard, cooled lava. They remained standing while the crater walls were eroded under the influence of cold rain, scorching sun and strong winds. The fertile land in the area is populated by Kenya’s greatest people, the Kikuyu. As skilful and hardworking arable farmers, they understand how to make good use of the fertile soil. They believe that their god Mwene-Nyaga lives on the mountain, which in their language is called Kirinyaa or Kirinyaga, which, through careless pronunciation, became Kenya. And so the whole country was called.