We had planned the hike for a month or so, and finally it was the day. Saturday was the day.
We departed Nairobi pretty early so as to be in Aberdares early enough. The weather wasn’t promising but as an outdoor enthusiast, that’s never an excuse to remain indoors.
The road is tarmacked all the way to Njabini, a town at the foot of the Aberdare ranges. Then it’s a muddy road to South Kinangop Forest Station. This is where you begin your hike. Advice: Take a 4×4 or a bus as your mode of transport, a car won’t make it.
The place is not as far from Nairobi as I had thought, just an hour and a half away. Pretty cold, and wet of course. Everything is lush green and the sky is rarely sky blue.
After a brief session with the forest guard we were assigned to, it was time to hike. We changed into our gear and one thing became evident, none of us was a hiker. We all had rubber shoes and no rain jacket. The KFS guard was helpful much and offered us their rain jackets.
We set off with the rain threatening over our heads and were told to expect anything.
It was one long trek through the forest. You first use roads used by tractors that get trees from the forest. There are also farms here which the locals were given.
After the farms is the dense forest area. It gets colder as you go deeper into the forest. The road was not fit for rubbers and we occasionally had to go into the forest to make our way through. This road comes to an end halfway into the forest and you begin following elephant tracks. The tracks are narrow and you’ll step on their droppings once or twice. (Walk carefully)
The bamboo forest is next and this is where your body starts to give up. The air becomes more humid and it’s really cold. At this point, the sun was kind to us and had made its way through the clouds. We took a rest.
15 minutes later we were back on track. We had walked approximately 5Km up in 1 & a half hours. Not the greatest pace as we came to find out.
We agreed to reach the half way point in an hour or less. By now, some of us were almost giving up. Only the fact that elephants were roaming around prevented them from walking back alone.
The pace wasn’t as quick as we had set out at this point. The feet were heavy and the lungs were threatening to protest. We had short stopovers before getting to the end of the bamboo forest. At this point, only 2 ppl were willing to continue the hike. So a return to the start point was agreed upon. We had taken 3&a half hours to this point.
After a 45 minutes rest we set out on our way back. The knees were tired and going down doesn’t make them rest. Punishing!!! Took 2 hours to get back. It was a worthwhile experience. We all enjoyed but getting back there will be debatable for most.
#TembeaKenya #MagicalKenya #Aberdares