Mount Kenya, with its snow capped peaks 5,199 m. high, is Kenya’s highest mountain and certainly one of the most beautiful mountains anywhere. Its slopes are covered with rich deciduous and bamboo forests and open high altitude moorland just below the glaciers and snowfields. Wildlife resident within the forest includes elephant, buffalo and even lion, with several species of antelope and other smaller animals. Mount Kenya rises to the twin snow-covered peaks of Batian (5199 meters or 17058 feet) and Nelion (5188 meters or 17022 feet), the second and third highest peaks in Africa (topped only by Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru peak in Tanzania, which rises to 5895 meters or 19340 feet). Both of Mount Kenya’s peaks are named after Maasai laibon (ritual leaders) of the nineteenth century. According to legends of the Kikuyu people, Ngai (the creator of all things) dwelt on the summit of Kirinyaga. “Kirinyaga” means “mountain of brightness” in Kikuyu and has since been corrupted to the present “Kenya.” The 715 sq Km Mount Kenya National Park, established in 1949, protects the mountain and most of the endemic vegetation growing on its higher slopes. The mountain shelters a huge variety of wildlife, including the rare and elusive Bongo antelope. Elephants and buffalo are numerous while lions and leopards are around, though rarely seen. Over 150 species of birds have been spotted, making any visit a lively and colorful experience. The plant life varies from rosewood and bamboo to heather, giant lobelia and brilliant flowers that must be seen to be appreciated. No Picnic On Mount Kenya by Felice Benuzzi, is a memoir written by 3 Italian prisoners of war. During the Second World War, they made climbing equipment, escaped, and scaled the mountain. Although they failed to reach the summit, they did leave the Italian flag at Point Lenana, a notable accomplishment when one considers the many challenges which they were faced with. First climbed in 1899, Mount Kenya has become a popular spot for mountain lovers. Of the two peaks, Nelion is the toughest climb. The easiest route to either peak is Grade IV, so only experienced climbers should attempt the climb. It is still possible to enjoy the beauty of the mountain and its wildlife, by hiking or partaking in the two day climbs to Point Lenana, which at 4986 meters (16355 feet) can be reached relatively easily even by those without any climbing experience.