Visiting lake Ellis on Mount Kenya is a fantastic experience. Lake Ellis is located on the slopes of Mount Kenya, 3500m above sea level.
The lake is a beautiful glacier lake found in Meru county. The lake’s entrance is 21km past Mount Kenya Forest Gate, called Chogoria Gate.
Spectacular flowers and trees cover the trails from Chogoria Gate to the lake. This makes the walk or drive to the lake natural and breathtaking.
The lake is close to Mount Kenya and other lakes like Lake Alpine.
Do you want to visit the lake? There are a few things you need to know before you start packing or even booking the trip, including modes of payment and activities you can enjoy on the trip. Read on.
1. Temperatures Change Drastically
Around the lake, temperatures fluctuate drastically. In the morning, it can be sunny, and the afternoon is cold. The sunny weather isn’t worth celebrating. You should be prepared in case of a temperature change.
While packing, include warm clothes in your bag. Warm clothes include:
- Heavy sweaters
- Fleece jacket
You should be dressed in a way that you’re able to layer down clothes in case of sunny weather and layer up during cold weather without a hassle.
If you’re going to camp, ensure you carry warm beddings and firewood. You’ll need to lit fire to keep yourself warm at night and to have a conversation with friends deep in the night.
Due to temperature changes, you might not be lucky enough to swim in the lake on cold days. Sometimes the lake is even covered by fog.
2. Outdoor Activities You Can Enjoy While Visiting Lake Ellis
Visiting Lake Ellis is worth every dime. Activities you will enjoy and their benefits are tabulated below.
|Hiking||It helps in building bone density since it’s a weight-bearing exercise. Improves the quality of your sleep. Improves your mood. Hiking builds teamwork among teammates. Combats depression. Adds vitamin D.|
|Camping||It unplugs you from noise and brings peace and quietness. Removes stress triggers like traffic, work pressure, and busy city life and replaces them with a settled life, thus reducing stress. Builds on better relationships with family, away from distractions of mobile devices. When you’re surrounded by fresh air from trees, the body releases serotonin, which improves memory. Setting up and preparing camps is a form of exercise.|
|Fishing||It keeps you physically fit. Improves your concentration and Patience. Cleans out your lungs, your fresh breath air in nature. Fish is a source of a healthy meal. Fishing offers a great view of the beautiful scenery of the lake. Fishing with friends helps build better relationships.|
Before you visit the lake, plan on the activities you’ll enjoy. Determine the time you’ll stay in the lake and the resources you’ll need for your trip to be successful.
Check Out: 4 Impressive Picnic Sites in Thika
3. You Should Be Prepared to Walk or Have 4 by 4 Wheel Drive
You can drive from Mount Kenya Forest Gate to the Chogoria gate. The road has murram. However, the terrain from the Chogoria gate to the lake is rough, stony, and muddy. Not all cars can traverse the terrain. Rains make the road situation worse. You’ll need a highly experienced driver to drive the last 7kms to the lake.
Some of the cars that can navigate such roads include:
- Isuzu D-Max AT35
- Suzuki Chimny
- Ford Ranger Raptor
- Land Rover Discovery
- Bowler Bulldog
On the flip side, if you’re walking, guides walk with you to the lake. The journey from Chogoria Gate takes around 2 hours to the lake. It would be best if you’re mentally and physically fit to walk for a long time.
If you have only one day to visit, ensure you get there early to have enough time to enjoy the lake scenery and visit nearby waterfalls and caves.
As you walk, you interact with nature. You’ll see hills like Mugi Hills, valleys, beautiful flowers, and winding roads.
The cheapest way of staying overnight at the lake is by camping. If camping isn’t viable for you, there are different places that offer accommodation services. They include;
- Shiptons Mountain Huts
- Old Moses Mountain Hut
- Chogoria Banda’s
Booking for rooms is done online or on-site. The only disadvantage of booking on-site is that sometimes rooms are fully booked.
Mainly, the rooms provide a bed and bathroom. There is no electricity or hot water baths.
Inside the accommodation places, there is no sale of food. As you visit, buy everything you need like food ingredients and drinking water.
You can rent a gas cooker for a small fee. Chogoria gate offers phone charging services for free to visitors.
Shops sell products like beer and toiletries.
5. Cash Payments and Plastic Bottles aren’t Allowed
Payments are made at the Chogoria Gate. Kenya Wildlife Service(KWS) doesn’t allow cash payment. Only Mpesa.
You should follow the Kenya Wildlife Service payment procedure and pay in advance. At the gate, you’ll only produce the Mpesa confirmation message.
Don’t waste your time planning the trip only to be turned down at the gate. Deposit some money to your Mpesa account in nearby towns.
Kenya banned one-time plastic bottles and bags in national parks and game reserves. Littering the environment with a plastic bottle or bag is illegal and attracts a fine if you’re found guilty.
To be on the safe side, carry multiple-use bottles. If you’re a plastic bottle user, ensure you keep it and dispose it outside the reserve area.
6. Carry Enough Food, Water, and Firewood
Many people visit Lake Ellis before climbing Mount Kenya. They camp around the lake to re-energize and strategize the mountain climbing.
You’ll require water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
There are no hotels to buy food, carry food enough to take you through the days you’ll camp. Even the available accommodation places don’t sell food.
Due to the cold, you’ll need enough firewood to light throughout the night for you to witness beautiful night sky views and take amazing night pictures. Carry a tripod for great pictures.
Also, you can use the firewood for cooking and warm bathing water.
7. Plan Well
Having known a few things before visiting Lake Ellis. Now it’s time to plan for the trip.
First, due to temperature fluctuations, travel while donning warm clothes. Avoid wearing jeans because they will interfere with your walk and can’t warm your body.
The last town to buy goods to use when coming from Nairobi is Embu and from Mount Kenya regions is Meru. Buy everything you’ll require as the small shop inside the Lake reserve may lack some products.
If you’re traveling as a team, plan the activities you’ll undertake to enable you to carry all the resources required to facilitate the activity.
Plan on the period you’ll spend there. The period will determine the amount of food, water, and firewood to carry. Also, it will determine the time you should arrive at the lake.
Plan on the method of transportation inside the reserve. If it’s by car, get a 4 wheel drive; if it’s by walking, be ready for a long walk.
You can book to go to Lake Ellis as a group or an individual through a traveling agency.
Lake Ellis will offer you an excellent place for camping and hiking. If you need to breathe fresh air and enjoy quietness away from city life, the lake is an excellent place to go.
Before visiting the lake, you should know that temperature changes drastically around the lake, and you should carry everything you’ll use. Also, no cash payments are allowed in the lake.
Book a trip to the lake today and enjoy the visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Lake Ellis located?
Lake Ellis is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Kenya. It’s one of the major lakes in the region after Lake Alice and Lake Michaelson. Therefore, you can expect fantastic activities at one of the largest lakes within Mount Kenya region.
Can you climb Mount Kenya without a guide?
Yes. You can climb Mount Kenya without a guide. However, you should be aware that the Mountain is very steep and may be dangerous for you if you don’t know what to expect in a given region. For this reason, climbing Mount Kenya is allowed without a guide for a group of at least 2 people. This way, you can assist each other in case of altitude sickness.
Can you see Mt Kilimanjaro from Mt Kenya?
No. You cant see Mt Kilimanjaro from Mt Kenya. Mt Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania and can only be seen from the Amboseli National Park in Loitoktok.