The Timau Route: Summit Circuit

The Timau Route approaches Mount Kenya from the North and follows a meandering route through the gentler northern slopes until they steepen at around 4200m. The peaks on Mount Kenya line up from east to west, meaning the views from the north give the impression you are entering an entire mountain range.
8 Days

The Timau Route: Summit Circuit - 8 - $2,956

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Mount Kenya stands alone in the highlands of Eastern Africa. Once an ancient volcano, estimated to have once been almost 22,000 feet tall, what now remains is a steep, eroded core, just over 17,000 feet in height. It's (more famous) nearby neighbour - Mount Kilimanjaro - is a couple of thousand feet higher, but does not offer nearly the climbing challenge and alpine character of Mount Kenya.

Standing at 5,199 metres above sea level, Mount Kenya is the second-highest mountain in Africa. The mountain provides the best technical alpine climbing in Africa; this is a real climber’s mountain.

The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian (5,199 metres, 17,057 ft.), Nelion (5,188 metres, 17,021 ft.), Point Lenana (4,985 metres, 16,355 ft.). Batian and Nelion are technical summits. 

The Timau Route approaches from the North of the mountain, following a meandering route through the gentler northern slopes until they steepen at around 4200m. From here it drops abruptly into and across the Hinde Valley and the Nithi North river before climbing up to meet the Chogoria Route at Hall Tarns.

The route lies in a major rain shadow. Because of this, there is a very little forest on this side of the mountain. However, the low rainfall zone it generally makes for a drier trek. The slope is gentle and because the peaks on Mount Kenya line up east to west, the views from the north give you the impression you are trekking into a whole mountain range.

Itinerary summary: 

  • Day 1: Marania Camp
  • Day 2: Major’s Camp
  • Day 3: Simba col
  • Day 4: Simba col to Teleki camp site via Lenana
  • Day 5: Teleki camp to Mackinder valley camp via Eastern Terminal
  • Day 6: Mackinder valley camp to Old Moses
Distance to the Summit: 36kms
Altitude at the Start: 2700m, 8,860ft. 
Altitude at the Summit: 4985m, 16,355ft
Summit: Point Lenana.

Start from Nairobi and end at Nairobi

Landmarks potentially visited on The Timau Route: Summit Circuit


Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi

Upon arrival in Nairobi, transfer from the airport to hotel. Activities dependent on international flight arrival time. 

Day 2: Timau to Marania Camp

Transfer from Nairobi to Nanyuki Town (base town of Mount Kenya). Continue by road to the trailhead of the Timau route north of Timau town at 2,700m above sea level.

The hike starts at the start of the moorland zone and takes you up through patches of bamboo and heather. We will stop for lunch on the rim of the crater, which offers a chance to see some of the rare mountain species including eland, zebra, buffalo and even the occasional elephant.

The view as you ascend is breath-taking, looking down across Kisima, Lewa Downs, Samburu and the great Northern Frontier beyond and up to the glaring peaks of Mount Kenya ahead.

Stop for a picnic lunch and continue on your way to Marania Camp on the edge of one of the mountain’s shoulders in heather moorland.

Distance: 8 km

Hours Trekking: 4 hrs.

Altitude gain: 500m, 1,640 ft

Overnight at Marania Camp (3,200 m 10,500 ft)

Day 3: Marania to Major’s Camp

We will depart the camp after breakfast, walking up through the moorland towards the peaks ahead that make up the Mount Kenya Massif.

A picnic lunch will be set up at the Marania Spring, the source of the river that runs by Marania camp. It's a beautiful lunch spot, especially if there are some curious zebra around.

You will arrive at Major’s Camp in the afternoon, which is located at the base of the valley near some very dramatic rock faces. Some wildlife has been known to frequent the area, and previous guests have had sightings of the rare Serval cat!

Distance: 14 km

Hours Trekking: 8 hrs.

Altitude gain: 600m, 1,970 ft

Overnight at Major’s Camp (3,800 m 12,470 ft)

Day 4: Major’s to Simba Tarn Camp

You will begin the long, gradual hike up towards the Lower Simba Tarn. This walk is an experience unlike any other, with a unique lunar landscape coupled with very distinctive vegetation.

You'll catch your first glimpse of the fabulous Giant groundsels and Lobelias, particularly in the Hobley Valley below the massifs of Terere and Sendeyo (named after two Maasai wise men). This vegetation is endemic to Mt Kenya.

You will arrive at the Simba Tarn camp at the top of the Hobley Valley and the aptly named Gorges Valley. The views from Simba Tarn camp are staggering.

Distance: 12 km

Hours Trekking: 8 hrs.

Altitude gain: 850m, 2,790 ft

Overnight at Simba Tarn Camp (4,650 m 15,255 ft)

Day 5 : Simba Tarn to Teleki camp site via Point Lenana

An early departure at 5.30am for a sunrise summit is the best way to experience this climb, and enjoy the expansive views of the mountainside, valleys and country beyond - even the summit of Kilimanjaro - whilst sipping a hot tea or coffee. 

The descent takes you down the southern side along the Naro Moru route, where you will have brunch in the Teleki Valley and spend the rest of the day enjoying the view of the surrounding peaks.

Distance: 18 km

Hours Trekking: 5-6 hrs.

Altitude gain: 335m, 1,100 ft

Altitude at Lenana: 4925m

Day 6: Teleki valley to Mackinder valley campsite via the Eastern Terminal traverse

After breakfast, we press on, passing the Hut tarn, Arthers seat and around to a camp just below the Shiptons camp in the Mackinders valley.

This is arguably one of the most beautiful sections to walk on Mt Kenya.

Distance: 18 km

Hours Trekking: 6hrs.

Altitude: 4300m

Day 7: Mackinder Valley Camp to Old Mozes Hut (3,200m)

Depart after breakfast for a walk down the Mackinder valley to the Old Moses Hut for collection and transfer to your hotel, where you can enjoy a well deserved shower and a hot meal!

Day 8: Return to Nairobi

After breakfast, transfer back to Nairobi to connect with your international flight home. 

Prices and Inclusions

Base price is a per person rate based on 2 people travelling together.

Single Supplement And Child Policy

Single supplement: $192 USD


  • Trained local Mt Kenya guides (at least 1 WFR certified guide per 7 guests, 1 guide: 4 guests ratio)
  • Camp crew, cook, a great team of porters
  • Airport transfers (Nanyuki airport or town) – NOTE: transfers out of Nanyuki supplement $20 per person.
  • All relevant Park fees
  • Emergency medical evacuation as far as the relevant gate
  • Supplemental oxygen & pulse oximeters
  • All accommodation, meals and drinks as described in the itinerary
  • Tents and equipment as per specification selected
  • Drinks on the hike (potable water, tea, coffee & hot chocolate)
  • International flights
  • One night accommodation in Nairobi before the trek
  • Transfers from Nairobi to trek start


  • Tips (recommended $150 per person for large groups, $200 per person for small groups)
  • Entry visas
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Alterations to this itinerary (i.e. if different accommodations and services are provided then the price will most likely vary up or down)
  • Airport departure taxes (unless stated)
  • Laundry
  • Beverages in hotels (except those in your personal safari vehicle)
  • Hospital bills and international evacuation in the event of an emergency

Questions about this Trip?