Hiking in Kenya

21 Best Hiking Trails in Kenya

Hiking in Kenya - Travel Quote: "Getting to the top is optional.  Getting down is mandatory" - Ed Viestrus

Brief Overview of Hiking in Kenya

Mountains are, without a doubt, nature’s most astonishing wonders, that fill us with marvel: Muted cathedrals and idols of unspeakable beauty. Their extreme terrain has always beckoned and repelled, enthralling us with mystery and awe. Mountains have invariably stood as places to be revered, either as the home of the holy or the hostile. Just a little over a century ago, climbing mountains was unspeakable if not unimaginable, yet, in climbing them they have become icons of dreams and desires. “The silence of summits has always drawn man in both spirit and adventure.” Or again, “the mountains we climb are mountains of the mind.” Mountaineering, walking, trekking, rambling, strolling and bushwalking (all variants of hiking) are today’s nature-based tourism per-excellence, to seek out these ungoverned up-country paradises. Our enchantment with mountains and the challenge of hiking them gives us the grand magic to venture upwards, and to yield upon the human imagination the dreams of conquering the highest summits. ‘Chasing angels or fleeing demons off we went to seek the mountains’.

As the challenge to summit mountains got bigger adventure replaced reverence. Earliest explorers took to them in earnest to name these uncharted worlds. As the mountains of Europe became popular and great numbers assembled at the Alps each season, many hikers began looking for challenges in other continents, where there are high peaks, which were not so widely-known. East Africa began experiencing this migration, and it is not surprising as there are five mountains of over 14,000 ft. Of the five mountains, three are permanently snow-capped – Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft.); Kenya (17.058 ft.); and the Ruwenzoris (16,763 ft.). They were first climbed in that order – Kilimanjaro being first in 1889; Kenya second in 1889, and the summit of Ruwenzoris, Margherita, in 1906. To make up the five, Mount Elgon (14,178 ft.) and Mount Meru (14,978 ft.) cannot be neglected, as they both support mountain vegetation and scenery that could be termed unique. Both mountains are often covered in frost, indeed in the years gone by were occasionally covered in snow, but the snow was never permanent.

Mount Kenya – A Climber’s Paradise. Published by Ake Lindstorm

Planning Your Hike in Kenya

Whether a day or overnight adventure, hiking into the hillsides and mountains of Kenya offers the intrepid new perspectives and a chance to experience rare and unusual horizons. Knowledge, preparation and planning are your keys to success. “Be honest about your health and fitness, know your limits and avoid spontaneity.” Hikers should be suitably clothed and equipped. Warm clothing and a change of it, dark glasses, deep-threaded sturdy boots (or shoes), large woolen scarf, mittens, sun-proof hat, at least three good blankets (a sleeping bag preferably), a first-aid kit, and vaseline for the protection of the skin, are necessary. Always carry enough refreshments! “Eat double your normal intake of carbohydrates and salty foods. Calories play an important role in regulating body temperature, and hiking suppresses your appetite.” There are two major seasons for hiking in Kenya (and notably of hiking Mount Kenya), they are late December to mid-March, and July to early October during the dryer times of the year. Depending on your destination and target of the hike, clothing for various locations will vary, but for Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon and Aberdare Range is almost self-same as that needed on Mount Kilimanjaro, but the serious climber wishing to tackle hard routes will know what extra equipment to take. All parties hiking the big mountains of Kenya are required to get in touch with Kenya Wildlife Service and Mountain Club of Kenya to get useful and the latest information on the state of huts, trails and conditions of the mountain. Last but least, know how to rescue yourself in case of danger or alarm. If you start to feel nauseated, dizzy or disoriented during a hike, rest, eat and drink until you feel better; taking as long as needed. Always check the weather forecast beforehand.

Hiking in Kenya: View inside Mount Elgon National Park.  Photo Courtesy of Primadona
View inside Mount Elgon National Park. Photo Courtesy of Primadona

“People ask me, ‘What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?’ and my answer must at once be, ‘It is of no use’. There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behaviour of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron… If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for.” – George Mallory (Hiking)

Best Hiking Trails in Kenya

Embu County

1. Nthenge Njeru Falls Hike

Hiking in Kenya - Nthenge Njeru Falls in Embu County

Great for groups, backed up by local guides that can be availed through Melody Eco-Lodge prior, Nthenge Njeru Hike Trail is one the veritable hikes in Embu County. The fact that the 8 kms trails can be portrayed before commencement (at Melody) makes this hike agreeably. The aim is to go up and over the tapered wooded hill within sight of Melody Lodge, through tea farms, a small unnamed rapid and bucolic boonies, then go down a steep side of a hill to Nthungu Falls (also known as Mbiu-Njeru) and back to Melody Eco-Camp, to descend on yet another steep side of a hill to Nthenge Njeru Falls; the crowning moment of the hike. After a short brief and warm up, you head out of Melody Eco-Lodge along the narrowed and winding Mukuuri-Kevote Road for about 1.5 kms to the base of the hill – passing both the paths to the Nthenge Njeru and Mbiu Njeru Falls. Whilst it’s a rather steep hill climb, it’s bright, airy and smelling of fresh stems, and provides a powerful shift in the senses. Atop of the hill there is a viewing ledge from where Ruyenges Town and the stunning countryside appear rather small and distant in comparison. The walk down the hill is also engaging, over pencil-thin footpaths often through thick bush and scrambling over small steep sections. Once through the tea farms, you double back along the bituminized Mukuuri-Kevote Road, down a steep sometimes slippery path to explore Mbiu-Njeru Falls. Once back up, the walk takes to near Melody Eco-Camp, down a steep slope to Nthege-Njeru, thence back to the camp. The Nthenge Njeru Hike takes about 5 hours and it is rated easy to moderate. A good watch for weather, lots of drinking water, snacks, sturdy walking shoes and raincoat are necessary.

Homa Bay County

2. Homa Hills

Hiking in Kenya - Homa Hills in Homa Bay County

The 6 kms long range of peaks of Homa Hills seen as you approach Homa Bay from Kendu Bay form a pleasant roadside delight. Set between Homa Line and Mainuga Beach, on the Homa peninsula which protrudes into the Winam Gulf and forms the east flank of Homa Bay, they sit in the tectonically active region along Kendu Fault. The main peaks, Nyasanga, Apoyo and Homa, are encircled by cliffs steeply standing out above the surrounding landscape as they abruptly rise from the Kavirondo Gulf, with the tallest of these, the Homa, rising to 1581 ms. The geothermal prospects of Homa Hills, with hot springs on the northern and southern parts of the area, are especially of interest for visitors. These hills, which are a popular hiking and scrambling locale, are best explored during the early morning hours when the sun is not too high overhead.  From above, the boundless vegetation in the delta region, typified by grass, shrubs and natural trees including acacia and other semi-arid species, is striking. The view of Lake Victoria from the upper reaches of Homa Hills are superb. Kisumu and Ndere Island can also be sighted. Kisindi Spa and Lodge is a perfect jumping-off place.

3. Mount Kwitutu

Rising to 1,635 ms from the south to center of Mfangano Island, Mt. Kwitutu is its most prominent landform. Its moderate slope allows for easy walking to its upper reaches and where the Kwitone Rock Art site in located. Made up of sets of intricate red and white circles, on a concealed 40 ms overhang ledge on the hillside, sometimes known as the Kwitone Hill, the Kwitone Rock Art delineates that this site was most probably used as a shrine.  It bears much resemblance to Mawanga although here the colour and vibrancy is more intricate. “According to the elders, in times of war and trouble, people would come to the cave to ask the ancestors to bring peace. In their battle between the Wagimbe and Wasaki (about 200 years ago), the Wagimbe had taken refuge in the cave” – TARA. The Abasuba used Kwitone Rock Art Site for rainmaking ceremonies as late as the 1980’s, before the missionaries opposed ‘these rituals of worship’.  The Kwitone Rock Art is found 6 kms from Mawanga site. It can be visited with a guide from the Abasuba Peace Museum, and requires a hike of one and half hours to reach.

Kajiado County

4. Ngong Hills

Hiking Ngong Hills in Kajiado County. Image Courtesy of Afro Tourism

Topologically Ngong Hills are remnants of an old volcanic cone thought to have had an original diameter of 11 kms prior to being cut by the Rift Escarpment. In 1885, Joseph Thomson, who passed through Ngong Hills on his route from Ol Doinyo Orok to Ngong, described these as “a hallmark of Kenya’s beauty”. Over the years, Ngong Hills have received lots of high-praise for their rare beauty, to include the exotic descriptions given by Karen Blixen in her book Out of Africa. A joyride over the four-peaked Ngong Hills, hundreds of feet above the plain of the Rift Valley, offers a memorable drive over one of the knockout landscape in Kenya.  The scenic jaunt over Ngong Hills also beholds great views of the Kapiti Plains where one can catch a glimpse of prolific plains-game freely roaming the lowlands.  The paucity of wildlife, depending on the season, is compensated for by the beauty of the area. The drive is best approached from the southeast. That is to say, you drive out on Magadi Road through Kiserian and over Ngong Hills.

5. Nguruman-Entasopia Falls

Away from the plains of Narok, the life-giving brown and muddied water of the South Ewaso Nyiro River, sometimes spelt Uaso Ng’iro, flows in a graben valley with Nguruman Enkorika Scarp or Nguruman Escarpment as its western wall on its journey to Lake Natron, the final destination. As it negotiates the course, leaping over one of the abrupt ridges of the Nguruman Escarpment, it forms the wildly-pretty Entasopia Falls nearby Oloibortoto. Originally known as Hayton’s Falls, this is a spell-binding corner of paradise reached along a veritable journey of ecological display – starting at the windswept plains and culminating in the jungly wooded areas near the Falls. Depending on the starting point, it takes on average six hours (round-trip) to hike up Nguruman and reach Entasopia Falls.

6. Ol Doinyo Orok

Quite unmistakable a stone’s throw away from the Kenya-Tanzania boundary at Namanga, is the eminence of Ol Doinyo Orok which rises to 2548 ms and 1190 ms above the surrounding flat country. Also dubbed as the Namanga Hill, this conspicuous triangular range trends northerly from Namanga into the interior of Kenya akin to a harbinger pointing north to Kenya. From Namanga, 57 kms from Kajiado Town, holiday-makers aiming for Amboseli National Park take a sharp turn left, easterly heading to the park. Ol Doinyo Orok is much-liked as a hiking destination visited by hundred of hikers each year. The hiking trail itself goes past a montane forest, patches of exotic flora, rivers, caves, viewing ledges and Maasai bomas before reaching the summit. The Enkamuka Peak, its second highest, on the eastern side, is the most favoured landing. It takes on average 7 hours (round-trip) to complete the 9 kms hike up and down. Native guides are available at Maili Tisa lying 13 kms before Namanga and 150 kms from Nairobi.

7. Mount Kilimanjaro

Granted that Mt. Kilimanjaro lies just over the Kenyan border, in Tanzania, the appeal of this magnificent haunt caps the beauty of the southern area of Kajiado County. Rising 19,340 ft. (5,895 ms) from the game plains of Kenya-Tanzania boundary, the snow-capped peaks and glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro provides a knockout landscape. It is the highest mountain in Africa as well as being one of the highest volcanoes in the world. Kilimanjaro has two main peaks. Kibo is the main attraction, being the true summit of the mountain. Mawenzi rises east of Kibo to a height of 16,980 ft., and is of particular interest to the serious climber. Whether you are an active potential mountain climber or a mere beauty lover, Mount Kilimanjaro is a must. The walks take through a fairlyland of forest and waterfalls among the colourful, happy Chagga people who give the traveller as warm a welcome as can be had in any part of East Africa. The ascent of Kibo can be made from many different routes, but the common ways are from Moshi (on the Tanzania side), and from Loitokotok (on the Kenyan side). The best months for climbing Kilimanjaro are January and July in a round trip of five or six days.

Mount Kilimanjaro Montage Video. Published by Arienne Parzei

Kiambu County

8. Gatamaiyu Camp

The biologically-diverse forest trail of Gatamaiyu Camp is enclosed by Kereita Forest. It marks the southern limits of the forest patches which collectively fall within the Kikuyu Escarpment. Gatamaiyu Camp is a no-frills all thrills nature-lovers spot, mostly liked for its forest trail that is marked by a rugged trail with plenty of steep-sided-valleys containing slow-flowing streams that culminate at Thaba Falls; that is the primary interest of visitors to this forest trail. Along the riverine walk, trippers can easily spot plenty of monkeys and birds. The walk commences at the Gatamaiyu Forest Gate and follows the course of the river, to Thaba Falls. A round trip takes about 2 hours. It is located 41 kms from Nairobi.

Kirinyaga County

9. Kamuruana Hill

Set about 4 kms from the Chehe Forest Station, in Kangaita, the wooded dome-like undissected ash cone of Kamuruana Hill is one of the worthy walking trails in Kirinyaga County. The moderate gradient of Kamuruana Hill makes it rather easy for trippers to reach its upper limits and enjoy the diversified flora and rich bird life. Kamuruana Forest, which covers 23.9 hectares, is one of two gazetted forests found in Kirinyaga, together with the 202.3 hectares Muriinduko Forest. There is a lovely natural clearing at the summit, with amenities like toilets and water, which is popular for picnics and birding, and which can be reached by car for those not aiming to hike. From here, the views are great and trippers can enjoy romantic walks along the trails. This is located on the southwestern tip of Mount Kenya Forest, 16 kms from Karatina, via Gikororo-Ndima-Itundu Road.

Machakos County

10. Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

Hiking in Kenya - Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

The relatively small 21 km2 Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park situated 30 kms east of Thika Town, along the A3 Thika-Garissa Road, is dominated by the forested top of Ol Donyo Sabuk Hill. A considerable part of its top, excepting the summit itself, is covered by forest consisting of lofty trees, of which Conopharyngia and Croton are the most important. Plants of the forest floor include Cape peppers, stinging nettles and Aneilema pedunculata (or the “Mickey Mouse” flower). Ol Donyo Sabuk is also known as Mount Kilimambogo, an epithet that answers to the few buffaloes that use this forest as a refuge, grazing outside it after dark. Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is more scenic than faunal and makes a delightful goal for a weekend trip. The object of many trips here is an active adventure up and down Ol Donyo Sabuk Hill, on an 8 kms ascent which is well rewarded with knockout views at the summit; making up for what little wildlife is found within the park. Here, Mount Kenya stands guard to the north beyond a saucer-shaped valley separating the two. On most days, Yatta Plateau and Mount Kilimanjaro can also be easily glimpsed, immediately south and far southeast, respectively. Westwards, the flat volcanic scrub plains stretch away towards the Mua Hills. A round-trip takes about six hours on a moderate walking pace. Other interests at the Park are the MacMillan Grave, nearby MacMillan Castle and Fourteen Falls.

11. Kanzalu Hill

Hiking enthusiasts who love going off the beaten trail to find hair-raising ledges with breathtaking views will find that Kanzalu Hill near Tala rarely disappoints. A moderate-to-challenging ascend to the upper reaches of the 1,730 ms Kanzalu Hill rewards one with astounding views that delight almost to the blink of fear, especially at Kanzalu’s most treasured place at the naturally formed ledge of an un-fenced large overhang outcrop at the summit. For here, the belt of semi-arid country stretches northeasterly to merge with Kangundo Hills. To the east, Mua Hills stand guard with the shimmering line of Athi River forming abstract loops and bends outwith. The chain of highlands formed by Kanzalu, Kangundo and Machakos Hills, and Ol Doinyo Sabuk, has been, and is, a major watershed. Its deflecting action is illustrated by the Athi River, which flows east-south-east from its source to Athi River Town, then north-east before turning to flow in a south-east direction round the northern end of Ol Doinyo Sapuk. On most days, at the summit of Kanzalu Hill – one of the most exciting hiking experience in Machakos County often sold short – hikers can also spot Mount Kilimambogo and Yatta Plateau. Kanzalu Hill (near Kanzalu Hill Primary School) is in direct connection with Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, 54 kms north, on a good road passing through Tala. The popular route is along the Northern Bypass (either through Ruiru or Embakasi), and then via C100 Kangundo-Tala-Kanzalu Road.

12. Lukenya Hills

Recognizable by the rutted scarps on the eastern side, Lukenya Hills trending in a north-east strike close to A109 Nairobi to Mombasa Highway form part of the superb highland chain of hills in Mackakos County. Separated from Iveti Forest Reserve and Mua Hills by a wide shallow basin-like depression, the sequestered Lukenya Hills are a popular hiking destination. There are various hiking trails around Lukenya Hills which are also excellent for mountain-biking adventures. Most travellers to Lukenya Hills opt to use Lukenya Getaway as a jumping-off place. With a day to spare, you can visit Lukenya Motocross with an overnight rest at Lukenya Getaway. Lukenya Hills are located 50 kms from Nairobi’s CBD.

13. Kiima Kimwe

A hike up Kiima Kimwe, to the upper reaches and the summit, in one of stellar hiking launches in Machakos County, and a memorable and rousing experience. This offers compelling facilities for taking in the landscapes and photographing. Quite unmistakable and easily recognizable by its deep gulleys, the bulk dome of Kiima Kimwe, just outside Machakos Town, is an imposing and breathtaking sight. Reaching 6,078 ft east of Machakos Peoples Park and south of the main Machakos Town, this isolated hill where Rivers Liyini, Maruba, Miwongoni and Metheu converge, was traditionally cherished as ‘The State House of Akamba’ serving as a base for Local Native Councils. Or again, it is on the Kiima Kimwe that the celebrated Prophet Masaku of the Akamba People is believed to have lived in the 1700’s. And there are yet more fascinating allegories to beckon the hiker to Kiima Kimwe: “On the hill is a crater they believe Masaku drew water from but due to prolonged drought it has since dried up and a hulking 26 ms high rock which was child’s play for Masaku to leap over” – Standard Media. Kiima Kimwe is located 1 km from Machakos Town via Machakos to Kitui Road.

Makueni County

14. Nzaui Range

Hiking in Kenya - Nzaui Hill or Nzaui Range. Image Courtesy of Makueni Tourism

Most on leaving Makongo Valley opt for the (C99) through Nziu and Kalamba to the A109 Nairobi-Mombasa Road at Emali. This stretch of road cuts through Kitondu and Kitende Hills on one side and Nzaui Range on the other, that rise to an altitude of 1675-1830 ms (5500-6000 ft). On the eastern side along this route rises the 13 kms long Nzaui Range which is a fine example of the ancient granite masses containing rafts or roof pendants in Makueni County. The Nzaui itself is fashionable for the well-defined shelf (sharp nose or rock face) marking an abrupt change of topography on its southern edge. The summit is covered with pine forest and several large outcrops which double as viewing ledges. For touring, the range is a lighthouse hiking destination at Kalamba Village. The landscape around Nzaui is managed by Kenya Forest Service who also operate a guesthouse and campsite. Hikers and walkers to Nzaui Range are advised to report to Kenya Forest Service office before embarking on the hike and from where they can get assistance of expert guides. The 12 kms round trip with the Mituluni Center as a usual starting-point takes on average 6 hours (round-trip).

Meru County

15. Kaithandu Hill

Just in case you want to sight the Kierra Valley 200 ms above the surrounding landscape, Kaithandu Hill is one of Meru’s finest viewing ledges, which rarely disappoints. As alluded to earlier, the Kierra Valley is a staggering beautiful no-man’s land in amazing contrast to Mount Kenya and its associated forests. It is especially stupendous when viewed along the 3 kms stretch between Kaaga and Runogone Market where Kaithandu Hill is located. Rising to 1618 ms and 200 ms above the surrounding landscape, the summit of Kiathandi Hill provides an excellent base to take in the landscape of Meru. The amusing unexacting hiking trail eventually gets to the top of this hill which is round and flat with a vegetal profile of a forest patch, shrubs and grass turfs, making it an ideal site to picnic. Kiathandi Hill is found near Runogone Market 2 kms off C91 Meru-Maua Road.

Nyandarua County

16. Kijabe Hill

Hiking in Kenya - Kijabe Hills in Nyandarua County. Image Courtesy of How and Where Kenya

Reaching 2,915 ms (ASL) and 400 ms above the surrounding landscape at the south edge of the Kinangop Step, Kijabe Hill is considered a precursor to many of Nyandarua’s superb hiking destinations (notably of the Elephant Hill and Ol Doinyo Lesatima) owing to its proximity to Nairobi and the easy-to-moderate level of difficulty. On a similar note, Kijabe Hill marks the southernmost edge of Nyandarua County along its boundary with Nakuru County. By the same token, it marks the steep sloped corner of Kinangop Step – a 16 kms step on the side of the Great Rift Valley. Eke-named the miniature Mount Longonot, which stands sentinel just a few kilometres north, Kijabe Hill is geologically thought to be an old eruption that burst out following the astronomical faulting of the Great Rift Valley. It takes on average 5-6 hours (round-trip) to hike Kijabe Hill. Make sure you carry food and drink and attempt to start as early as possible. Considering its light vegetation and clear line of sights it may not be necessary to arrange for a local guide, but, hikers should elicit some cordial tips from the natives. From the summit hikers can relish views of Mount Longonot, Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha, and much more. It is located 55 kms from Nairobi and Mai Mahiu is a popular start-point, with the trip terminating at the Flyover-Njabini Junction.

17. Ragia Forest Trail

Ragia Forest is one of twenty forests that consist the 1,149 km2 Aberdare Forest Reserve which expands over four counties: Nyandarua, Muranga, Kiambu and Nyeri. Ragia Forest covers 26 km2, of which 17 km2 is a natural forest, 8 km2 is planted forest and 1 km2 is glades. It is the 6th southernmost forest following, Kamae, Kieni, Kinale, Kereita and Uplands. Ragia Forest Trail is reached via the C67 Flyover-Magumu-Njabini Road through the Ragia Forest Station and takes on average 6 hours (round-trip). The hike proceeds deep into thick bamboo and follows elephant trails down the valley to march along Sasumua River and going past a pleasant waterfall simply known as Number 18. From number 18 the trail aims for an exacting descent which forms the better part of the trail to yet more sights and a second falls, and to the ghostly Mau Mau Caves. From here the trail goes past a bamboo forest en-route the main forest road which marks the end of the Ragia trail. The usual start and finish point is the impressive Sasumua Dam.

18. Elephant Hill

The taper, symmetrical and steep scarp on the south tag-end of Aberdare Range spectacularly named Elephant Hill – both for its shape and for the abounding numbers of elephants in these forests – is proper hiking country, classified as moderate to difficult, yet, in addition, it really is full of heartwarming sights; in conformation to the acclaimed beauty of the elephant. Along the trail, Sasumua Dam, Ndakaini Dam, Mount Kipipiri, and, the Honi, Wanjohi and Rift Valley Valleys are sighted. Elephant Hill is a part of Aberdare Simbara: a series of hills that form the mountainous part of the Aberdares. The Simbara is uninhabited, with unnamed streams, grassy slopes, deep valleys, bogs and dozens of dykes. Many a sad hiker have regretted not adequately planning for the hike especially for the second push up the rump of Elephant Hill. This has tested the resolve of many, who, taking a chance on the ever impeding cloud, discovered it was really not much fun. Stories of the wardens high consternation over an downpour that appeared hours away, only to drench hikers in minutes, are not rare. It always rains here and a hike should be planned in good weather – that is not in April, May and October. Obvious perhaps is to take snacks and water and wear sturdy shoes. It takes on average 8 hours (round-trip) to hike Elephant Hill. The trail starts at Njabini Forest Station near Njabini Town. Generally speaking, the fees for engaging a ranger are USD 25 for local residents, and USD 40 for non locals.

19. Rurimeria Hill Trail

“ln the northern Aberdares, on Kipipiri and in valleys near the southeast edge of the area, the exposed volcanic rocks are basaltic lavas of a distinctive type. In fact, the principal centres of eruption of these basalts were around Satima and Kipipiri. Closely similar basalts were erupted including Rurimueria, Nyandarua and Kijabe Hill, probably during the same volcanic phase. Denudation has long ago removed any trace of the craters of these volcanoes and other lavas have been erupted on and around them.” – R.M. Shackleton. From the higher peak of the Elephant Hill in the southern area of Nyandarua County, the overall dip of the Aberdare Range is north-easterly trending, the range deeply dissected by numerous streams, a feature that is most pronounced in the Kijabe area where scarcely a single ridge is wider than half a mile. ln the northern Aberdares, the Satima, Kipiriri and Rurimueria Peaks are the highest areas, in that order. The Rurimueria Hill Hike commences at Kingangop through Ndunyu Njeru Forest Gate. It is rated moderate to difficult. “Rurimueria is under the Kenya Wildlife Service. Besides the entrance fee, one is required to pay for a guide. Given its beaten nature, a local guide is also provided. You will need someone who’s been brought up there, believe me. The mountain knows her children.” – Wacera

20. Satima Peak

Ol Doinyo Lesatima, simply known as Satima, is the pièce de résistance of the many spectacular scarps and rock faces on the Aberdare Range. And with just a metre over 4,000 is the third highest peak in Kenya. The Satima Scarp found on the north-western edge of Aberdare Ranges, and which more or less marks the north-eastern frontier of Nyandarua County, “is the most scenic and gentle of all the trails in the Aberdare Range – with the route hugging the escarpments above undulating valleys and hills of rich alpine and sub-alpine flora to include rare species of lobelia, erica, giant helichrysum and tussock grasses” –The East African. There is no difficulty in ascending to Satima, but is a mountain walk of pleasing beauty and interest which goes past the Dragon’s Teeth (the sporadic spread of jagged rocks that rise above the consistently wet boggy moorlands), undulating hills, deep incised river valleys and remnants of volcanic vents. It takes on average 7 hours to complete the 14 kms trail starting-off at Wandare Road head. For more inspiration read Jambo Nairobi’s Guide to Hiking Satima.

21. Njigari Forest Hike

‘Nature will reward your courage to be out there’ as you divest yourself from the demerits of gridlocked roads and expanding towns, into a trail weaving through health-giving bamboo forests, hilltop plenaries, picturesque waterfalls and past ancient podo trees. Njigari Forest Trail, at the southeast corner of the Aberdare Forest, commences near Njigari Center – 15 kms west of Othaya Town – cutting through a section of the Nyayo Tea Estate and inclining for about 1 km to the Aberdare National Park fence and thence leading you into the dense forest. The 12 kms trail rated moderate is a fairly long-distance trail typically taking over 8 hours to hike. “Not for long in the giant Podo forest, the trail evolves into a huge bamboo garden; some shooting, others rotting, others hugging, others standing alone, others broke and dying along elephant tracks, and yet others have broken but growing again; nature has so much to teach” – HikeManiak. It is a hike of great sceneries and some steep ascents, challenging in parts, accomplished by almost anyone with average fitness. Ensure to carry plenty of water and snacks, wear sturdy shoes and carry a poncho. The hike through the Aberdare Reserve must be in company with by park rangers. For group trips contact Hike Maniak.