Mt.Kenya region, home to 6 counties; Meru, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Laikipia, Kirinyaga and Nyeri. I managed to go home, Meru County, for a day and decided to do a small article on a round-trip around Mt. Kenya region.
Depending on what route you are using can go around Mt. Kenya region, and pass through all the counties. Enjoy the greenery, scenic views, the winding and flat roads, and on a good day, you might get a chance to see Mt. Kenya.
Main Routes to Use around Mt. Kenya region
There are 3 main routes to take from Nairobi. The journey to your destination will take you 2 to 5 hours depending on the route you take.
First is the Mwea- Embu – Chogoria route. It is longer and more hilly than the other routes. It is also one of the most dangerous roads to drive, courtesy of the notorious Nithi Bridge. If you do decide to take this route, make a point of getting some scrumptious Nyama Choma from Mitheru, just before you descend the Nithi Bridge.
The second route is the Mwea – Ishiara – Tharaka – Chaaria route. I have managed to use part of this route. From Nkubu to Mitunguu, Chaaria and Meru. It is flatter and shorter than the first route, and will also serve you with some beautiful scenery.
The third route, the Nyeri – Nayuki- Timau route. It is also short, no hills to meander and has a better view of Mt. Kenya. On a good day, you can see the peaks.
What to do around Mt. Kenya Region
“When was the last time you
did something for the first time?”
– John C. Maxwell
Most of these involve a lot of wildlife, hiking trails, breathtaking landscapes and waterfalls.
Mt. Kenya National Park
Mt. Kenya region is home to Kenya’s highest mountain and the 2nd highest mountain in Africa. While climbing to the highest peak may not be possible for you, you certainly do not want to miss the chance of at least getting to the lesser peaks.
The scenic highland that makes Mt. Kenya National Park and surrounds the mountain is hard to miss. And best of all are the many crater lakes with Lake Ellis, Lake Alice, Lake Ratundu, and Lake Michaelson topping the list of must-see places to cross off your travel bucket list.
You can access the park from Chogoria, Naro Moru, Nanyuki. Many tour companies in Kenya offer packages for trekking and camping with organized accommodation and transport.
Meru National Park
A hidden treasure rarely talked about or visited for that matter. However, it is such a classic getaway and vacation destination. It features a wide array of wildlife; from elephants to hippos, leopards, cheetahs, buffalos, Grevy’s Zebra, among others.
The park has more than 427 bird species, riverine and rivers, habitats, Adamson’s Fall, The Tana River, and an epic view of Mt. Kenya.
Ngare Ndare Forest
But, if you are aquaphobic like yours truly, you will have to make do with the hiking trail through the forest. There is a campsite, too, in case you want to spend a night in the forest. Rock climbing is also available for climbers.
The 450-metre long canopy walk, which is 30-feet above the ground, is for those with a strong heart. It gives you an excellent view of the forest, the running river down below, and wildlife as they come to quench thirst.
Aberdare National Park
The highlight of your visit to Nyeri or Naro Moru should be a visit to the Aberdare National Park. It is a misty and foggy place in a dense rain forest with stunning waterfall views and hilly terrains.
It is home to many wildlife species including elephants, the spotted hyena, leopards, warthogs, buffalos, and the black and white colobus monkeys, among others. There have been rare sightings of animals like the African civet cat, the African Wild cat, the golden cat and the Giant Forest Hog.
There are camping sites in the park and other activities like trout fishing, bird watching, and trekking.
It is one of the must-see waterfalls in the Mt. Kenya region. Thomsons Falls is in Laikipia County about 2 km from Nyahururu town along the Nyahururu – Nyeri highway.
The equatorial waterfall sits on Ewaso Narok River, an affluent of the Ewaso Nyiro River that drains from the Aberdare Mountains. It is 74 meters high with a powerful and ranging flow during the rainy season, but it is also very scenic.
Apart from watching the waterfall, you can engage in other activities like face painting, the perfect experience for the kids, and horse riding.
One can spend the night at the Thomsons Falls Lodge. From here, you can follow the nature trail from the lodge through the gorge to the waterfall and organized drivers to the Aberdare National Park and other places.
Meru National Museum
It is in Meru Town, on your way to Makutano. It is an excellent place to learn about the Ameru culture. I have not been here in a while since I was like a teenager, I think. But I remember a compound full of the traditional Meru huts, traditional artefacts and a garden with indigenous medicinal herbs and shrubs. It also some wildlife, like crocodiles and snakes.
Where to stay
Depending on where you are, you will not lack a place to spend the night.
A simple search on sites like Trip Advisor and Booking.Com will give you a wide selection of hotels that suit your budget.
Pass by The Trout Tree Restaurant and grab some delicious trout or tilapia fish before you leave Nanyuki. Nyeri has Green Hills Hotel and The White Rhino Hotel.
Meru has the Alba Hotel, Meru Slopes and the Meru Safari Hotel. If you are in Nanyuki, you can try out Sweetwaters Serena Camp, Regency Mount Kenya Hotel and Ngomongo Cottage.