Mt Kenya is an ancient extinct mountain of volcanic origin. It is the highest mountain in Kenya and second highest in Africa. It is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Mt Kenya National Park was established in 1949 and become a biosphere reserve in 1978. The highest peak is Batian at 5,199 metres. It straddles the Eastern and Central regions, south of the equator.
The lower parts of the mountain are covered by forests of different types. Many alpine plant species are endemic to Mt Kenya. They include the giant lobelia and senecios and the local species of rock hyrax.
Mt Kenya is also habitat to many sought-after hard woods, including the East African rosewood, (hagenia abyssinica), camphor (ocotea usam-barensis), cedar (juniperusprocera) and the wild olive (olea europaea).
Mt Kenya is an important water reservoir for a population of about seven million who live on its foothills and adjacent areas. It is a water catchment area for the Tana and Ewaso Nyiro rivers. It contains a mixed mountain and highlands ecosystems.