When we think of the average Nomad, we have beach goers, bush adventurers and the less spoken about…mountain lovers. These are often those friends or family who love the idea of a hike on a Saturday morning and possibly enjoy a good row down a meandering river. Fear of heights? Absolutely none, if anything, the higher the better! Having had a few great high-altitude experiences ourselves, here are some of our best reasons to try a mountain retreat for your next holiday!
1. Fresh Air
You know that feeling you get when you pop a mint and have some cold water right after? Imagine that but better. It’s a known fact that higher regions tend to have much better air quality and we promise you’ll notice this the second you get there. Being up in the mountains gives your lungs the chance to take in oxygen that is significantly less polluted. Great for respiratory issues and even a number of allergies.
The Aberdares | Agence Française de Développement
2. You Get to Clear Your Head
This is especially true for city dwellers. We’re often so caught up in the fast pace and busyness of daily urban life that the constant hum in our heads becomes the norm. Some quiet time away is just the remedy for that. Between the fresh air and being out in nature, there are tons of mental benefits to being higher up.
Studies show that the regular interruptions of modern society (car hoots, ringing phones, alarms, door bells etc) constantly hijack our attention, alongside the millions of thoughts we already have. A retreat into the hills means less of that. Even more so if you choose to unplug for a few days (highly recommend if you can).
Allowing yourself to be fully present in the gentle flow of nature encourages your executive attentional system to replenish and as a result, a calmer, clearer mind. Something to consider right before you next need to make a big decision.
3. It Boosts Your Mood
Along with clearing your head, being outdoors is great for your overall mood. Humans are innately drawn to nature and more than that, it has been scientifically proven that spaces are likely to make you feel better when they have a touch of nature. So be it a painting, a sound, a scent, the outdoors does the soul good, even in small doses. That being said, getting the chance to actually be outside, fully present amidst the trees, rocky terrain and gurgling creeks is a sure way to leave in a better, more revitalised mood than you came.
4. New Activities to Try & Terrains to See
When it comes to exciting and novel experiences, the Mount Kenya National Park is certainly a favourite. It houses the 5,000-hectare Ragati Conservancy in partnership with the Kenya Forest Service. Here you can access some of the most unique and well-curated experiences for your stay, taking you across lush glades, high peaks, icy rivers and dense forests.
One of the more popular activities is fishing and particularly fishing for rainbow trout. Popularly known as ‘Ragati Reds’ this species actually originates from the initial rainbow trout introduced to the river in the early 1920s and 30s. Over a few generations they developed the unique colouring they are known for among fishing enthusiasts.
Heli-fishing day trips are also available for the more adventurous. Guests are picked up and flown right to the top of Mount Kenya to prime fishing spots like Lake Ellis, Lake Michaelson, Lake Alice and Lake Hoehnel. All boasting breathtaking views.
If you’re well-prepared and keen on climbing your way to the top of the mountain instead, that can also be arranged. The fauna and flora on the mountain are unique to East Africa and provide endless interest for trekkers as well as technical climbers with numerous difficult and very difficult routes to explore.
Another activity to try while in the montane region is a trekking or walking safari. The Aberdares National Park which is part of the Aberdares Ranges, provides the perfect setting for a highlands hike. Get to experience the terrain on foot with the help of a guide and perhaps catch a glimpse of the critically endangered mountain bongo if you’re lucky!
5. It’s Great for Your Relationships
Any relationship can benefit from a mountain retreat. Whether it’s a solo trip to simply reconnect with yourself, a fun family getaway to bond a bit more or even a romantic holiday, to take some time off and enjoy the montane outdoors with your loved one.
Being in a new environment where new memories can be made together fosters deeper connections in couples and groups of friends and family. It also means more opportunities to communicate better and help each other out as you figure out road maps, itineraries and activities that require teamwork. A great recipe for stronger friendships, partnerships and even self-understanding.
Mountain Stays We Love
If you’re feeling inspired and would like to make a trip in the near future, here are two of our hand-picked stays for the perfect mountain getaway.
Wonderfully private and located in the most idyllic glade, Ndongoro Log Cabin is a stay right off a postcard. The wooden cabin is completely eco-friendly, running on solar power and it sits right in the heart of the unique Ragati Conservancy on the Southern slopes of Mount Kenya. Here, you are surrounded by over 5000 hectares of afro-montane forest and afro-alpine heath, the crystal clear Ragati River and stunning wildlife including elephants, buffalos and leopards as well as the rare Mountain Bongo.
Cedar Retreat is in the Northern Moorlands of the Aberdares National Park & is a haven of serenity. It is also the only wildlife adventure lodge in the Northern part of the region. With 6 beautiful rustic log cabins, styled with organic architecture which intertwines into the tranquil surroundings, it blends perfectly with the untouched cedar forest in which it is hidden.