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Lukenya

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Summary

The most popular crag in Kenya is certainly Lukenya, located just 45 minutes from Nairobi. See more info on the MCK website: https://www.mck.or.ke/lukenya-rock-climbing/

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Description

Lukenya offers a variety of climbing routes including face climbs, some jamming cracks, and overhangs in difficulty ratings of up to E4 6b (and increasing!). The first route was opened in 1936 when Arthur Firmin put up “Arthur’s Horror” (Severe) but visitors nowadays often do the climbs in the 5b to 5c range located on Main Face, Upper Cliffs or Edinburgh Castle. Lukenya, with its good-quality routes in all grades, is also an excellent place to provide instruction and the MCK provides a chance for first-time and intermediate climbers to learn something during the Beginners’ and Intermediate Climbing Meets, each offered several times a year.

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Access issues

Lukenya is owned by the Mountain Club of Kenya and entrance is free for members. Non-members have to pay for daily membership (KES400 for Kenyan citizens, KES800 for others, payable by Mpesa Paybill No. 880926, account: guest fee). No commercial groups are allowed without prior agreement from MCK. Some climbs are occasionally off-limits when eagles are nesting (in particular Eagle's Nest Face). If this is the case it is normally communicated on a notice in the sign-on book at the gate, through a climber Whatsapp group and on the relevant page on theCrag. There are many other wild animals that call Lukenya home, including a resident leopard, snakes, hyenas. In general, these will all stay well out of your way, but be aware at night and avoid confrontations with bigger grazers like giraffes or eland. This is a wild place, so treat it with respect, pack out any rubbish, and bury human waste at least 30 cm underground (bring a spade or trowel!).

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Approach

From Nairobi, take the Mombasa highway. Turn left after the Cement factory (use your GPS for Lukenya academy). Follow the signs for Lukenya academy. Carefully and slowly drive through the school to the cliffs. Sand is being mined heavily in the plains opposite Lukenya, so occasionally very low clearance vehicles might have a bit of difficulty on the section from Mombasa Road to the school, or past Nemesis up to the campsite, which can be rocky and rutted depending on rain erosion. Traffic is usually smoother on Sundays, though the new Expressway now goes all the way to Mlolongo. If traffic looks bad after a climb, a good option for some food and beer while it dies down is Small World Country Club on the other side of the road from Lukenya, on the left as you drive back to Nairobi.

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Where to stay

There’s a campsite on top of the hill, which has no facilities so you need to bring your own water, food, camping gear and carry your trash out. If you want to make a fire you’ll have to bring your own wood. Never cut trees or bushes down to preserve the environment.

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Ethic

Lukenya is mostly trad, with some specific sport crags. No bolting is allowed without special permission from the Mountain Club of Kenya - get in touch with them if you think you have spotted a sport route, think there should be an extra bolt on a climb, see some degraded equipment, etc. Avoid cutting down any vegetation beyond a few bush branches - if you think a particular tree poses a real danger to climbers please bring this to the attention of MCK. Don't harass any of the local, sometimes rare wildlife.

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History

History timeline chart

One of the most important climbing sites in Kenya and East Africa, Lukenya has been the hub for the development of the sport in the country for nearly 100 years. In 1968 most of the land containing crags at Lukenya was bought by MCK, an investment which has proved invaluable, especially as the land around becomes increasingly developed, mined and destroyed. A purely trad destination for many years, in 1990 sport climbing truly arrived with the development of Nemesis, and from 2005 bouldering in a more serious form also made an appearance, with consistent development really taking off from around 2015.

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Some content has been provided under license from: © Mountain Club of Kenya (Copyright Mountain Club of Kenya)

Areas

Add area(s) Add topo Reorder Bulk edit
Name
Style
Routes
Ticks
Height
Grades
Main Face cliff
28
144
76m
4
Archway sector
20
62
24m
4
Warning Egyptian cliff
23
105
21m
6
Cave Crag sector
7
7
17m
3
Warning Eagle's Nest sector
12
24
27m
3
Fig Tree sector
14
22
32m
1
Boulder sector
6
55
16m
1
Cakewalk sector
3
19
30m
1
Square Crag sector
7
16
14m
2
Lower Cliffs sector
15
5
24m
5
Upper Cliffs sector
18
32
36m
2
Sentry Box sector
16
12
25m
3
Gumshoe sector
18
32
21m
3
Nemesis crag
21
383
20m
2
White Wall sector
1
0
10m
1
The Prow sector
5
0
21m
2
Black Slab sector
13
0
19m
2
Red Nose sector
2
1
14m
1
Lichen Face sector
15
0
15m
1
Agama Wall sector
3
0
17m
1
Hyrax Wall sector
3
0
13m
1
Campsite feature
-
0
0
Bouldering in Lukenya boulder field
275
440
5m
156
-
0
0
-
0
0

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