Chasing Waterfalls in the beautiful Aberdare National Park
Aberdare National Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the country. I am convinced that the mountains hold secrets that they reveal to those willing to brave them. The serenity, oneness with nature and spectacular views you experience in the Mountains is unmatched. I have a love-hate relationship with hiking but the reason I keep going back to the trails is the crisp fresh air, raw beauty, clear streams, and of course, the amazing views.
Since coming back from Tsavo, I have been craving some time out in nature. Going back to the Aberdares has always been top of my list and when I got the opportunity to go back, it was a quick and easy yes. The trip was organized by Leetle Adventures and was Kshs.3,750 per person, inclusive of park entry fees, lunch, and transport.
- 1 The Journey
- 2 Aberdare National Park
- 3 Aberdare National Park Entry Fees
- 4 Waterfalls in Aberdare National Park
- 5 Places to stay in Aberdare National Park
- 6 Things to note about Aberdare National Park
We began our journey from Nairobi at 6:00 am and used the scenic Kiambu-Githiga Road to the Naivasha-Nakuru highway. We passed by tea farms which formed a beautiful backdrop against the rising sun. The road is smooth and you can’t help but gawk at how beautiful the environs are. Naturally, the conversation evolved to how dreamy living in the countryside would be.
The road leads to Limuru town, from where you join the Naivasha-Nakuru highway. Per usual we stopped at the View Point, for some quick snaps.
Take the turn to Kinangop/Ndaragwa and the road to the national park is quite bumpy from this point.
Aberdare National Park
There are several entry points to Aberdare National Park; Nyeri, Naro Moru, but the best route to access the waterfalls, is Naivasha-Mutubio Gate. If flying, the nearest airstrip is the Mweiga Airstrip along the Nyeri – Nyahururu road.
Aberdare National Park Entry Fees
Please note that:
The prices are subject to change. Payment is cashless and is done via Mobile Money or Card. Park fees are valid for 24 hours from the time at which the bearer enters the Park.
It is important to have a Ranger accompany you on your trek within the park, incase you encounter animals and the charge will be separate from the park fees.
Aside from waterfalls and crystal clear streams, game viewing in the park is a treat. The Aberdares are home to elephants, leopard, black rhino, buffalo, hyena, serval cat, bongo, zebra, warthog, bushbuck, monkey, and several other species.
Bird viewing and trout fishing are popular in the park and for hiking enthusiasts, the Aberdare Ranges provide the perfect experience. Try hiking up Mt.Kinangop, Rurimeria Hill, Dragon’s Teeth, Oldoinyo LeSatima, and Elephant Hill for a challenge or in preparation to summit Mt. Kenya.
Waterfalls in Aberdare National Park
We drove for about ten minutes from the park gate to this point where we left the car and embarked on a 3km trek to Karuru Waterfalls.
The weather was cool and the air was crisp which was perfect considering it was midday. The trail is straight forward and well-marked. A 4WD can easily make it through. You are treated to views of the golden moorlands and cool forests filled with cedar trees.
The moorlands took me back to Lake Ellis.
I love the sound of rushing water and flowing rivers and as you draw nearer you can hear the sound of the cascading falls. It was so exciting playing the guessing game and trying to figure out how far I was from the falls.
We finally got to the thundering Karuru Waterfall. Standing tall at 273M, it is the tallest waterfall in the country. It falls in three steps, the first at 117M, the second at 26M and the third at 130M.
A few meters away is a picnic area where you can view Karuru Falls from the front. We indulged in some snacks here as we experienced the spectacle.
Yet another beauty within the same vicinity as Karuru Falls is Gura Falls. You can only view Gura Falls from the Karuru Falls view point.
Unfortunately, there are no hiking trails leading to the bottom of both falls for safety reasons. Both falls stream into impenetrable ravines.
Afterwards, we hiked back to the car( for what seemed to be an eternity) and headed to the next waterfall.
Magura Waterfalls and Queens Cave
We parked the car and trekked for about ten minutes to Magura Waterfalls and Queens Cave. On the way to the falls, our knowledgeable Ranger Joseph gave us a quick history lesson about the place. Before she was crowned Queen, Princess Elizabeth was around the area when she received news of her father’s passing. The wooden spot where she had her lunch still remains standing.
Behind the Falls are some caves, where the Mau Mau fighters would hide from the British.
Back to the car and on to the next.
Per usual, we parked the car at this point and started our descent.
The trail to Chania Falls is very steep and there is a makeshift staircase and rail to help you climb up and down to the falls.
Seemingly taller than Magura Falls, Chania Falls was the fan favourite among the group. Chania feels a lot more private than the others, perhaps because it appears as though there is a wall surrounding the place.
Some opted to dip their feet in the ice cold waters but I was so beat at this point, so I had my lunch and enjoyed the breathtaking view in front of me.
Swimming is not allowed in any of the pools.
The Park is clean and did not see any litter which was very impressive. You can tell that a lot of thought and effort has been put into maintaining the natural state of the park.
Places to stay in Aberdare National Park
Aberdare Fishing Lodge
This simple cabin can accommodate a maximum of seven people on a self-catering basis. It is Kshs.14,000 per night for residents and is $210 per night for non-residents. Enjoy trout fishing, hiking and walking safaris around the area. To get to the cabin, use the Nyeri -Treetops gate or Naivasha-Mutubio gate.
For more information contact KWS.
- Reedbuck (At The Moorlands)
- Honi Campsite
- Shamata Campsite
- Bill Woodley Campsite
- P.C Haji’s Campsite
- Muringato (M1)
- Bongo (M2)
- Nyati (M3)
- Queen Beatrix (M5)
- Kiguru (K1)
- Kifaru (K2)
- Prince Charles
Visitors are advised to carry firewood for use at the fireplace to keep warm.
Things to note about Aberdare National Park
- For this particular circuit, you need a car to move around. Getting to the park gate is also quite a distance from the main road.
- The roads inside the park are murram and a 2WD can make it, however, I would recommend using a 4WD especially when it rains.
- Speaking of the rains, it is important to layer your clothing because of the drastic weather changes.
- Carry a raincoat or umbrella to use in case it rains.
- The hike is beginner friendly.
- Wear comfortable shoes. The trails leading to the waterfalls are steep and you do not want to exert too much pressure on your toes.
Find more tips here to help you prepare adequately for the hike.
I had a good time with amazing people and would highly recommend Leetle Adventures. They are planning another trip back to the Aberdares in March, please reach out to them if you’re interested.
Chasing waterfalls in the Aberdares was a wonderful experience that I would encourage everyone to try. I cannot wait to go back and spend the night in the magical Aberdares.
Watch what went down by clicking the “Aberdares” highlight on my Instagram profile here.
Let me know in the comments below which waterfalls you are dying to visit.