Hiking Rurimeria, the Sleep Inducing Mountain

by Monicah Wangari
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I slept, while on a hike. It was not by choice.

Quick Update on Hiking Rurimeria, Aberdares, Nyandarua County

Location; Nyandarua County.

Distance and duration; 140 Kms (3.5 hour) from Nairobi.

Hike Duration; approximately 7-8 hours.

Difficulty; Hard.

Elevation; Minimum elevation is 2,850 metres above sea level and Maximum elevation is 3,860 metres above sea level (altitude of 12,670ft). It is the third highest hill of the Aberdares after Satima and Mt Kinangop.

Weather; 11 degrees. Cold. The weather is subject to change. So, do your research in advance. Usually, I check on accuweather for predictions.

Cost; Using a tour company, the charges are approximately Kes. 3,500 per person. This is inclusive of transport to and from Nairobi, guide fees and park fees. The price hardly includes snacks. Seeking clarification in advance is advised.

Story Time

We left for Rurimeria at 5:30 am. It was a long drive there. We started our hike at 10 am. Quite late for a hard hike.

Rurimeria has three false summits ahead of the main summit. So four summits in total.

It had been on my bucket list for a while and I was excited to finally explore it.

Having done Mt Kenya, I was confident that this one was a piece of cake.
But the hill had other plans for me.
Take a seat and hear me.

I was always the first or second on this hike. I quickly summited false summit one and two. Cakes. I could see the rest of the team downhill from uphill and they’d disappear into the bushes often.

I was so determined to get to the moorland and that’s where I’d take proper rest. The moorland is between hills three and four.

I didn’t take long rests while on hills one and two. I took a few two minutes rests while standing. I didn’t want to lose the momentum. I would sip some water while at it.

Hill three, the weather began changing on us. It got foggy and cold. It started drizzling at some point. I wore my rain gear.

My pace slowed down and I took longer rests. Normal.
I had fruits, an energy bar, and water.

When on a hike, the group usually splits when it gets tough. Some people will be way ahead, others way behind.
I was now somewhere in the middle of the group. I’d take two steps and take a rest. It reminded me of Mt Kenya days 3 and 4.

Then things got thick for me. I ran so low on oxygen that moving became impossible. I got dizzy. So I sat to rest. While seated and taking in deep breathes, I fainted. I don’t remember the last time I fainted.

The feeling right before fainting was so uncomfortable. I felt out of control. Helpless.

Don stayed by my side. We were in the same hiking group. Thank you Don.

After some time, I moved to a better position where I’d rest better. I felt extremely cold.

With prior knowledge of altitude sickness, I quickly made peace with the fact that I would not be summiting Rurimeria that day. I didn’t cry. I was very jolly on the way downhill. With Guide Nancy’s help, I alongside two other ladies descended together. They too had slept at various points on the mountain. #sleepinducingmountain

The lower I got, the better I felt. Seeing the sun downhill was my motivation to descend.

We had a lot of our time in our hands so we took lots of photos and videos. The descent was good to me.

We got to our ride and freshened up as we awaited the rest.

We left Rurimeria some minutes past 7 pm. It was not pretty because of the ongoing 10 pm curfew. Glad we all got home safe without hiccups.

Rurimeria taught me to take it slow. Especially since I live in a low-altitude place.


  • Take it slow to slowly acclimatize
  • If you get serious altitude sickness, descending is your only option
  • Not getting to the summit is okay
  • In these time-restricted times, keeping time is of essence

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