Ngare Ndare Forest Day Trip
Ngare Ndare has been on my Kenyan bucket list since I learnt of it. If you are an avid Instagrammer more so a Kenyan one, I am pretty sure you have seen photos of beautiful waterfalls with azure pools on your timeline or people swimming in said pools. When a window to join a group day trip came up, I jumped at the opportunity.
I booked my trip with Zuru Adventures and the process was very smooth, from booking to communication. The particular package was going for shs 3,300 and was inclusive of round trip transport, a bottle of water, entry frees and lunch. This was way out of my comfort zone as I have never been part of a group tour. I was a bit anxious because I did not know any of the people in the group but that is the beauty of group trips.
Ngare Ndare forest is located beyond Nanyuki, past Timau. Find directions to the forest here. The road from Timau to the Forest is murram and rocky. A 4WD vehicle is recommended however a 2WD can make it during the drier months of the year. Make sure you call the Trust ahead of your visit to ask about the condition of the road and the weather.
On getting to the forest, an armed ranger and a guide were assigned to us. After a short briefing about the forest and Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, we set out on a 7 km hike to the famous waterfalls.
Fun fact: Ngare Ndare means goats water in Maa.
I was NOT PREPARED for the hike. This may sound very naive in retrospect, seeing as we were in a forest going towards the Ngare Ndare waterfalls obviously, a hike was in the works. It was definitely a more challenging hike as compared to Karura or Oloolua and this girl thought she was going to die! Remember how I was complaining this one time?
Anyway, long story short we got to the waterfalls, at least two of them (the forest is home to 7 waterfalls). The grandeur of the waterfalls left me speechless and at that point I forgot I was running out of breath minutes ago.
Minutes later, people were happily splashing in the ice cold watered pool. Spoiler alert- I did not swim, simply because I can’t and also the water was not shallow.
We continued with our hike to a much smaller waterfall but the beauty of this one is that swimmers can dive into the pool. Here we spent a couple of minutes cheering on the brave ones among as who dared to dive into the chilly waters.
After cheering our mouths dry, we continued our ascent with the guides urging us to hurry back to the starting point. It was all fun and games trekking back until we started spotting animal dung on the hiking trail. Best believe we increased our pace -ain’t nobody trying to bump into a buffalo or an elephant in a forest, in the evening with threats of rain! No thanks, we love our lives.
Ngare Ndare Canopy Walk
We hurried back just in time to get on the canopy walk. It is 10 metres high and 450 metres long, being the longest and highest canopy walk in East Africa. This was my favourite part of the trip – and the wobbly bridge made it all the more exciting. The view of the forest from that vantage point a few minutes before sunset was so beautiful. The forest is vast and you might just spot an elephant or a leopard!
Right after the walk we had our delicious lunch prepared by Mama’ s Plate and just when we were about to leave for Nairobi, one of the front tyres of our vehicle got stuck in a hole so we had to push the vehicle. Long story short, we started our journey back to Nairobi filled with fond memories of the day we had.
- If you are on a day trip, make sure you get to the forest preferably before noon so as to take your time and enjoy the activities in the forest.
- Other activities available in Ngare Ndare are Canyoning, Forest walking, Game drives , Bird watching and Rock climbing.
- A 4WD car is preferable especially during the rains. The place is also quite a distance from the main road so bear this in mind.
- There are animals in the forest, do pay close attention to the rangers, be aware of your surroundings and stay alert.
- The water in the pools is usually blue (or a light shade of blue) during the drier months of the year. We visited the place during the rainy season which explains why the pools were not blue. Some waterfalls are also inaccessible during the rains.
- Be open-minded, have a positive attitude and generally have fun.
If you prefer not to go an a day trip, you can opt to camp in the forest. Alternatively you can book hotel rooms in Timau or Nanyuki. There are pretty good AirBnBs near the Ngare Ndare area that you can check out such as here and here. Join AirBnB using this link to get $25 off your first booking.
Ngare Ndare Charges:
Entry fees for citizens is shs 2,000 and shs 3,000 for foreigners/non-residents. Note that you have to pay a separate fee of shs 1,000 for an armed ranger. If camping, a fee of shs 1,000 applies.
For more information about Ngare Ndare Forest and Ngare Ndare Forest Trust check out their website and The Kenyan Camper has a fantastic blog post on Ngare Ndare from a few years back. This post also has some helpful tips.
I am so happy I ventured out of my comfort zone and booked the trip. The day trip was such a good time and next time I will definitely swim. Consider this a nudge to visit Ngare Ndare, it is a beautiful place, quite the hidden gem. If you have never been part of a group tour you should book one, you will be pleasantly surprised. I highly recommend Zuru Adventures, they do an amazing job. This trip was not sponsored, I honestly enjoyed their services.
As always guys have fun, tembea Kenya and seek discomfort!