Camping at Lake Ellis

Lake

We recently made a trip up Mt. Kenya to Lake Ellis for a night of a cold but satisfying camping trip. Lake Ellis offers stunning views of the peak and fresh crisp air. It is the furthest point you can drive to on the mountain at 3470m above sea level. And if you didn’t know, the highest point on Mt.Kenya is at 5199m.

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First, have a watch of a short video we made of our trip up the mountain:

If you’re planning this trip, you’ll need to enter Mount Kenya National Park through the Chogoria gate, which is about 4hrs 30mins from Nairobi via Embu.

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So from our experience, here are a few tips if you’re planning to camp at Lake Ellis:

  1. The road to the gate is accessible by any car but once you begin the 7km journey to the lake from the gate, a solid 4×4 is very necessary. There’s a few loose rocks on the way to Lake Ellis so drive with caution. But if it’s been raining heavy then plan this trip for another time. And remember to take directions from the KWS rangers at the gate.
  2. KWS don’t accept cash at the gate and service is really really bad there (we had to drive back down to find some service to make our mpesa payment). I’d say plan ahead and make your payment before getting to the gate. You can find the KWS rates here. And don’t forget your ID.
  3. You must be totally self sufficient. So take everything you need to eat and drink for your time up there. We went up with a grill! There are no toilets up there either so take something to dig a hole.
  4. Unpredictable weather. The weather on the mountain can be blazing hot one minute and freezing cold the next (as you can see in the video) so dress accordingly. The nights are usually pretty cold so take some good thermal wear and make sure you have a heavy duty sleeping bag!

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    The fog that came right after the sun
  5. If you’re a fan of fishing then take your rod with you.
  6. And don’t forget the firewood. Nothing worse than being in a cold place with no camp fire going!
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Tales by the camp fire

During the day you can hike up the mountain if you’re feeling adventurous or even just around the lake (which is about a 30min hike depending on your pace).

I’d definitely make a trip back to Lake Ellis very soon. Just for the sheer beauty of being up on the mountain, the serenity of the lake and good times with friends and family.

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