Mount Kenya is one of the highest peaks in Africa, second only to Mount Kilimanjaro. At an elevation of 12,549 feet, the glacier-topped mountains provide an excellent source of water for much of Kenya. Here are more fast facts about the mountain that named the country.
1. Mount Kenya is an inactive stratovolcano. It has spewed out lava that quickly hardened, thus creating the conical shape it is famous for. If the mountain is cut crosswise, visible layers of lava, tephra, pumice and ash will be found according to the sequence and type of volcanic spews. The rich soil makes a perfect habitat for a variety of plants.
2. A 715 square-kilometer National Park sits around the center mountain. The park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 for its geologic characteristic. It is a famous tourist spot and it receives 16,000 visitors per year.
3. There are four ethnic groups that live around Mount Kenya. The Gikuyu are the growers or agriculturists. They take advantage of the high fertile soil at the western side of the mountain. The tribesmen build their houses with doors facing the mountain, as they believe that it is God’s throne on earth. This practice is observed by the Embu tribe, who says that Mount Kenya is the sacred abode of God. The Ameru has made the east and north slopes their home, while the Maasai are semi-nomadic people occupy the northern part of the mountain with their cattle.
4. The center of the mountain has a similarity with the Alps’ terrain. The peaks have a craggy nature and alpine plants grown in rock crevices. The peaks each have a name with the highest one reaching to 17,057 feet high, and it is called Batian. The first known climbers of Batian reached the summit in September, 1899. It took them three attempts before they successfully got to the top.
5. It is more difficult to climb Mount Kenya than Kilimanjaro. The first is listed in The Seven Summit, a popular bucket list for mountaineers around the world. It requires special equipment and tested rock climbing skills to get to the twin summits of Batian and Nelion.
6. This equatorial mountain has an equal number of hours for day and night. The sunrise and sunset occurs at 5:30 almost constantly every day. There’s also just one minute of difference between the shortest and the longest days.