Stay on the trails where they exist. This protects the surrounding vegetation and prevents soil erosion.
If one is hiking where no trails exist, spread the impacts so that no new trails are created. When taking breaks, choose areas that will not show much human impact such as rock or bare ground. Sitting on vegetation leads to its destruction.
Refuse left by careless hikers is not only an eyesore but can also be harmful to all forms of wildlife.
There is no proper means of waste disposal on the mountain other than packing litter out. Buried litter breaks down extremely slowly in the environment and is liable to be dug up by animals. Unsightly and unhealthy garbage pits result. Burning is illegal. One will be asked to produce one´s litter at the gate on one´s return. If there are any extra supplies, give them directly to someone who will use them. Do not leave them out with the litter. Do not feed the animals as this disrupts their normal existence, increases impact on vegetation surrounding the huts/campsites and could result in the destruction of the animal itself.
Be part of the Mt. Kenya clean-up effort. Bring back more than just your own litter. Litter: pack it in-pack it out.
Wild animals on Mt Kenya do not normally come into contact with hikers and because of the dense forest most species are rarely seen. If surprised or provoked, particularly Cape buffalo and elephants, they may attack. Talking, frequently clapping or making a hooting sound while hiking below the moorlands warns the animals you are approaching and they should move away. Do not approach the animal or proceed along the trail if it fails to move away. Consider backtracking away from elephant and buffalo in particular. Feeding wild animals disrupts their natural behavior and this includes monkeys, hyrax and birds. One may also be attacked if the animal is aggressive, so exercise caution and leave the wildlife alone.
DRESS, EAT & DRINK RIGHT
These guidelines may save your life. Extremes of heat, cold, wind and sun can adversely affect visitors to Mt. Kenya. Temperatures range from 30oC (90oF). Hypothermia or exposure is a life- threatening lowering of the body temperatures. It may occur in air temperatures as high as 10oC (50oF). Signs/symptoms are clumsiness, stumbling, apathy, lethargy, loss of enthusiasm and thinking ability, disorientation and unconsciousness. Treatment requires early recognition and aggressive steps to warm the hypothermic person. Find shelter, remove wet clothing, create a warm and dry environment for the victim. Put the victim in a sleeping bag with one or two other people stripped to their underclothes. If the casualty is able, drinking warm high caloric fluids like cocoa will help. The recovering hypothermic person will need rest and should be taken off the mountain
The combination of strong equatorial sun and thin air makes sunburn and snow blindness very common. Protect your skin and eyes from the sun. Dehydration predisposes hypothermia and altitude illness. Drink 4 to 6 liters of fluid per day. A diet high in carbohydrates supplemented by other foods will best prepare the body for the challenging alpine environment.
Most of the huts are privately owned. If one plan to stay in huts, please contact the appropriate organization for bookings. Fees help maintain the huts. In areas where previous use in not obvious, camp on durable surfaces such as rock or bear ground instead of vegetation. Camping at least 50 meters away from water helps prevent contamination of the water by human waste. In all cases, try to leave the camping area in better condition than found in first place.
Campfires are not permitted above the forest edge in Mt. Kenya National Park and Reserve. While there may appear to be wood available for fires, the small amount present is an important source of nutrients for the soil and future plant growth. Plan on carrying a camp stove.
With so many individuals concentrated in limited areas on the mountain it is vital to protect water resources from contamination. Plan on purifying all drinking water, either by boiling, filtration, or use of purification tablets. Do not use soap directly in water sources. Even the best biodegradable soaps take several days under ideal conditions to break down. Where possible move at least 10 meters away from water sources before using soap.
Human faecal material is a major source of water contamination on the mountain. Where they exist, use an established toilet (choo)
HOW TO RECOGNISE ALTITUDE RELATED ILLNESS
At high altitudes the amount of available oxygen decreases dramatically. This can result in medical situations that must be of concern to every hiker. These range from acute mountain sickness (AMS), with various degrees of discomfort, to high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE), both of which can be fatal. Because cases can progress rapidly from mild to severe, recognition of symptoms is essential.
AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)
Headache, nausea, fatigue, malaise, loss of appetite and difficult in sleeping.
Slow down, stay in camp, drink plenty of fluids and rest while body adjusts to the altitude. If symptoms persist after 48hours, descend.
HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema)
Shortness of breath during exercise progressing to shortness of breath at rest, a dry cough deteriorating to a frothy sputum audible gurgling (rales) from the chest are heard, increased heart and breathing rate.
Immediately descend and seek
medical attention. Descend is the best available treatment. HAPE can progress quickly to a point where the victim cannot walk. HAPE does not improve with rest at the same altitude.
HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema)
Symptoms of AMS that progress to severe headache, loss of co-ordination, slurred speech, irrigational behavior, coma and death.
Immediate descent. HACE, as with HAPE, can quickly progress to a lethal stage.
In case of an emergency (a severe injury or illness where outside help is needed) contact a KWS official immediately. The ranger station and the head of the Teleki valley and Austrian hut are permanently manned as is the Met station and the Naro Moru, Sirimon and Chogoria Gates. All have radios. One may also be assisted at Mackinders hut in the teleki valley and Shiptons hut in the Mackinders valley. Write down all the information on the victims condition and location. Mark the victims position on the map. Be familiar with the nearest source of help while on the mountain.