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Mount Kenya National Park

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Mount Kenya
lays a crucial role in the life of the country being Kenya's single most important permanent watershed and her largest forest reserve. The fertile soils of its lower slopes also sustain the growth of the nation's richest farmlands whilst much of its vegetation is globally unique.

In recent years, however, the Mountain has suffered greatly from the adverse effects of deforestation, resulting in large tracts of its lower slopes being entirely denuded of trees and occupied by squatters. And, although much of the vast forest cover remains intact, the growing demand for timber (Kenya's staple construction and fuel source) threatens to lead to even more serious deforestation and subsequent soil erosion.

Over half of Africa's forests have been destroyed, in this century alone, by means as varied as illegal logging, charcoal burning, agricultural encroachment, ‘land grabbing’ and the unscheduled de-gazetting of supposedly protected forest areas. Indeed recent estimates slate that only 2.9% of Kenya's original forest cover still exists.

There is also evidence that not only is the water-catchment area suffering, but also that the montane glaciers have shrunk so rapidly over the last 20 years that some of them have completely disappeared. Finally the popularity of trekking and hiking holidays on the mountain is placing enormous pressure on the natural environment thanks to the attendant ills of tourist refuse, forest fires, feeding wildlife, off-road driving and erosion of climbing routes.

The people of Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya represents the ancestral home and heartland of the Bantu-speaking Kikuyu people, Kenya's largest ethnic group. Heavily influential throughout Kenya's history, the Kikuyu were instrumental in leading the fight for independence, provided the country with its first President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, and have forced the pace of all subsequent political developments.

The original Kikuyu are thought to have migrated from the east and northeast of the continent in the 16th century. Because land was the dominant factor in their social, political, religious and economic life, however, this brought them into conflict first with the Maasai and then with the European settlers, who seized large tracts of their territory.

That said, the Kikuyu have adapted to the challenges of Western culture more successfully than any other tribe and are enlightened businessmen and successful and progressive farmers who grow coffee, tea, pyrethrum, horticultural crops, vegetables and flowers for the export market.

Traditionally the Kikuyu have always believed that Ngai's (God's) most frequent resting place is on 'Kirinyaga' or Mount Kenya and although Christianity has altered these beliefs there are still many churchgoers who maintain that their ancestors control their destiny thanks to their closeness to 'Ngai. Today the Kikuyu remain at the forefront of Kenya development as both successful business people and formidable politicians.

Climate: July to August marks the Kenyan winter. Broadly speaking, January-February is dry. March-May is wet. June-September is dry, October-December is wet, the rains passing in time for Christmas.


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David Masters

Dear Davies, The safari experience exceeded my expectations. Each of the parks we visited was unique. We saw all the animals that Africa had to offer. The vehicles used were excellent. The quality of the lodges was beyond my expectations. I thought the guides were adequate. They did alot of driving and were skilled at that activity. Although, they were very knowledgeable about the animals and let us know what we were viewing, I would have liked to have had more information on the countries that we visited, the people, the economy, politics, etc. In this regard they did not volunteer much information beyond telling us about the animals. The guide in Tanzania was somewhat more informative than the guide in Kenya. Both were extremely pe...

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