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Serena Mountain Lodge - Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya National Park

The only 'tree hotel' ever to be built on the slopes of Kenya's legendary Mount Kenya, the Serena Mountain Lodge offers a matchless game viewing opportunity whilst combining a glorious panorama of mountain vistas with the primordial splendours of an ancient rainforest. Floating 2,134m high on the flanks of Kenya's highest mountain and secreted deep within her largest forest reserve, the lodge offers not only the champagne-clarity of mountain air, the tranquility of the forest and a colourful cavalcade of wildlife but also the chance of scaling the icy peaks of Africa's second-highest mountain.

Guests can also awake to the trumpeting of elephant, fall asleep to the symphony of the African night or sit in stillness and observe the fascinating interplay of the animals as they arrive to drink, bathe, spar and forage around the water hole. Finally, they can venture down to the secret viewing hide by the water's edge and experience the awesome thrill of being only meters away from some of the most massive beasts on earth.

Location
Mountain Lodge is set within the Forest Reserve Area of the Mount Kenya National Park, 193km northeast of Nairobi and 480km from the Kenyan Coast. It is easily reached by road or by the internal flights that operate between Nairobi and Nanyuki.

Kenya hotels and accommodation
Amongst the wide range of Kenya hotels, some make the ideal Kenya safari destination. Choose a safari lodge, safari hotel, bush camp, luxury lodge, safari camp, tented camp or bush lodge. National park accommodation usually takes the form of a traditional safari lodge or tented camp, but numerous other options exist on the park boundaries. Luxury lodges and luxury camp options are also offered in the private wildlife conservancies.

The Background
Mount Kenya National Park
With its volcanic ridges and glacial valleys radiating across the land like spokes from a wheel, the massive bulk of Mount Kenya straddles the Equator yet is permanently crowned with snow. The 588 square-kilometre National Park, surrounded by 2000 square kilometres of Forest Reserve, is dominated by the twin summits of Batian (5,200m) and Nelion (5,188m) whose jagged snow-capped peaks are all that remain of a gigantic volcanic lava plug that once thrust another 300 meters into the sky.

Traditionally venerated by the Kikuyu people as the dwelling place of their God, Ngai, and known by them as ‘Kirinyaga' or ‘the mountain of whiteness', all Kikuyu homes were once built to face the mountain and elderly Kikuyu are still regularly found wandering the high moorlands in search of their God. The 2000-square-kilometre Mount Kenya Forest Reserve, meanwhile, is the largest forest reserve and water-catchment area in Kenya and features magnificent stands of buttressed and lichen-draped juniper, Podocarpus and African olive trees whose dense canopy provides the ideal habitat for vast herds of buffalo and elephant as well as a bright kaleidoscope of birds and other wildlife.

At higher altitudes, the forest gives way to lush bamboo groves where colobus monkeys leap and lion prowl and, higher up, the stunted woodlands give way to tussock grass and alpine moorlands, jewel-studded by icy glacial tarns and moraines. As for the globally unique alpine flora, it features 13 species endemic to the mountain and displays such freakish montane mutations as giant lobelias, groundsel and water-holding cabbages.
Game highlights include: elephant, buffalo, black rhino, lion, leopard, colobus and Sykes's monkey, zebra, duiker, buck, giant forest hog and the extremely rare Bongo antelope.

Accommodation
The lodge offers 42 rooms all with en-suite bathrooms and telephones. Services include: Individually tailored forest trails, moorland hikes and mountain climbs.

A private water hole and salt lick, which acts as a magnet for the region's wildlife especially elephant. Post mountain-climbing herbal massages. Extensively stocked Africana Gift Shop. Relaxing beauty treatments, manicures and pedicures. Full housekeeping services (hot water bottles, laundry, babysitting, children's' menus and dining facilities, shoeshine etc). Express check-in/out. 24-hour Forex facilities. Full medical back-up and emergency evacuation facilities. All weather airstrip and well-maintained road network. A wide range of board games plus a full library of books on Africa.

The Lodge
Sailing like an ark above the rainforest's waxy-green canopy, the first sight of Mountain Lodge sets the scene for the experience to come and provides a dramatic climax to the tantalizing approach up the lower slopes. A timbered drawbridge leads from a winding path in the depths of the rainforest, over a moat of sun-dappled jungle and up on to the wooden ‘decks' of the forest-green, timbered lodge. Inside, the impression of having boarded a ship is perpetuated by a combination of log panelled walls, timbered game-viewing decks and winding stairs leading to a selection of snugly comfortable, cabin-styled rooms.

Cool, tranquil and hushed for optimum game-sightings, the open-air viewing-deck looks down onto the endlessly shifting scenes of the wildlife theatre that troops and teems around the salt lick and waterhole below. Come evening, the softly glowing lamps and warmly upholstered arm-chairs allow for optimum night-viewing whilst for those in search of a really close wildlife encounter, a special ‘hide' has been built at the water hole's edge delivering once-in-a-lifetime closeness to some of the world's rarest animals.

Inside, the cosily-welcoming bar centres on a glowing log fire and has been tastefully decorated with traditional Kikuyu handicrafts and a series of sepia prints depicting the traditional Kikuyu way of life. The brightly renovated rooms, meanwhile, feature thick-pile locally woven rugs and wall-hangings, luxury bathrooms and rough-hewn timbered balconies overlooking the waterhole whilst the décor has been designed to provide glowing warmth and fireside comfort against the evening chill of this unique tropical mountain environment.

Dining and bars
The traditionally timbered dining room is surrounded by windows and has been built on stilts so as to seemingly float above the liana-strung forest whilst commanding enchanting views over this primeval environment. The menu has been planned to offer a blend of traditionally hearty safari favourites, spicy ethnic cuisine, crisp salads and internationally-themed dishes.

Conference and event facilities
The Mountain Lodge ‘Under Canvas' Conference Area can accommodate 20 guests, ‘theatre-style' in each of it's two tented roof-top facilities and offers a separate seminar suite within the hotel.

Facilities include:
State-of-the-art presentation facilities
To include: A full selection of projection TV, screen, video, video conferencing and audiovisual equipment.

Full Conference organisation service
To include: badges, registration desks, delegate packs, delegate services, specialist delegate gifts, secretarial back up and communication links, tailor-made itineraries, private safaris and individually planned and themed menus.

A full range of imaginative incentive packages and fully tailored accommodation packages is also available.

 

Mount Kenya Weddings and Honeymoons
Options Include:

Wedding ceremony and reception' under canvas' on the roof of the lodge.
Sumptuous floral arrangements, bouquets and buttonholes
Private candle-lit honeymoon dinner for two
Luxurious honeymoon Suite supplied with forest fruits and chilled champagne Photography and videoing of your special day.
Special accommodation packages for the entire wedding party.

Special Occasions
Individually themed ‘Safari-style' menus
Unique rooftop ‘Under Canvas' receptions and cocktails
Floral decorations or culturally/colour coordinated style themes
Individually styled guest gifts

 

Child-friendly
The lodge welcomes children over 7 years of age . Children's meals are available, babysitting (on request) and family rooms.

What to see and do

Namesake of a nation
One of the world's highest National Parks, Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano some three and a half million years old. Straddling the equator, the mountain offers a unique mosaic of forest, moorland, rock and ice and is crowned by the glittering twin peaks of Batian (5,199 m) and Nelion (5,188 m). The sacred home of Ngai, God of the Kikuyu people, Mount Kenya is Kenya's highest mountain, a national icon, a climbers' Mecca, the nation's namesake, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, and a wildlife stronghold. Anyone in reasonable health can attempt the steep trek to Point Lenana (4, 985 M), which is the highest point for trekkers. Of the approximately 500 climbers who attempt to scale Nelion each year, around 200 make the summit. Around 50 experienced climbers achieve the summit of Batian annually. Words 136

Wildlife highlights: includes; giant forest hog, tree hyrax, white-tailed mongoose, elephant, black rhino, suni, black-fronted duiker, bongo, leopard, Mount Kenya mouse shrew, hyrax, duiker and the endemic mole-rat. Birds: 130 recorded species.

 

Activities include:
The activities on offer at Serena Mountain Lodge include:

The chance of a ‘once-in-a-lifetime' climb to the glacial glades and jade-green tarns of Mount Kenya's mythical Lenana Peak.
Exploration of the forest and moorlands via a series of 4km trails that can be tailored to suit the fitness levels of the party.
‘Sundowners' on the hushed, timbered game-viewing deck overlooking the water hole where cavalcades of buffalo, elephant and other wildlife come to drink.
Exclusive trout fishing in the crystal streams and tarns of the mountain.
A lamp-lit , safari-dinner, ‘under canvas' and high on the roof of the lodge.
Safari tea in a forest glade whilst following the winding paths of the Rainforest Nature Trail in the company of the resident naturalist.
‘Wildlife and Mountain Wilderness' talks and slide-shows by the resident naturalist.
Kikuyu dancing and cultural displays.

 

Climbing God's Mountain
An extinct volcano, some three and a half million years old with permanently snow-covered, ice-shattered peaks, Mount Kenya is the second-highest mountain in Africa after Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro. There are four main routes of ascent, the Naro Moru trail, the Burguret and Sirimon trails and the Chogoria trail and, whilst the icy peaks of Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5,189m) are accessible only to experienced mountaineers, Point Lenana (4,985m) can be conquered by anyone who is reasonably fit. In fact, the task has been made considerably easier thanks to Serena Hotels and the Kenya Wildlife Service who have recently cooperated to pioneer a new climbing route, which offers maximum adventure, panorama and enjoyment and minimal hardship.

Depending upon the weather conditions and the fitness level of the climbing party, the trip takes approximately 3 days in ascent and 2 days in descent and is led by a team of experienced mountaineers and naturalists who remain in constant radio contact with the Lodge. Mountain accommodation is provided in the form of ready-pitched camps of comfortable and fully-equipped high-altitude tents whilst the food, provided daily by the hotel, will include tasty packed lunches, hot drinks, fortifying snacks and individually presented supper menus. Upon arrival at Lenana Point guests will also be met with hot drinks, biscuits and brandy before being transported back down the mountain to a celebratory dinner at the hotel.

 

Serena Mountain Lodge - Mount Kenya • Forest Lodge • Kenya Hotels, Safari Lodges & Tented Camps
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