I hosted a Hike to Kieni Forest and Gakoe Tea Estate

by Monicah Wangari
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Drumroll Please…. I Curated a Hike Experience.

The first of many.

I have hiked with a few companies and I often wondered if I too could curate an experience for other people. With the help of my friends and hiking buddies, I did. The 4th of September 2021.

Quick Update on Hiking Kieni Forest, Kiambu County

Location; Kiambu County.

Distance and duration; 84 Kms + (2.5 hour) from Nairobi.

Hike Duration; approximately 6 hours.

Difficulty; Easy to moderate.

Weather; 15 degrees. 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. 2,500 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 departed Nairobi at 6:30am for Kieni forest which is a 3 hours drive away. The hike began at 10am with the tea plantation as our starting point.

Despite the gloomy weather, it did not rain and our enthusiasm drowned the gloom. We did some stretches and made introductions about ourselves with a playful twist.

Kieni Forest is made of large beautiful tea farms and three waterfalls. The plan was to hike through the tea farms to the waterfalls. The tea farms were strenuous as the terrain was a mix of ascents and descents. Tea farmers went on with their business of tea picking. Some would stop to look and we would say a quick hello. We passed by a tea measuring station where the farmers sell their harvest.

Getting to the waterfalls meant traversing through the forest and descending to the base of each waterfall.

We had two armed guards and one local guide. They all played roles in educating us about the location, and helping us manoeuvre tough spots. The guards served as protection against elephants which frequent the forest. However, we didn’t encounter any.

The forest was a sight to behold with frequent chirps of birds. Our guide John had bird sounds on his phone which he often played. Everytime he played the bird sounds, we’d hear birds sing from the trees.

By 4 pm, we were done with the hike and ready to head back home.

Reviews by some of the Hikers;

Here are a few reviews by some of the hikers who were in attendance;

“The terrains, the fresh air, the tumbles, the beautiful scenarios: all part of the experience that I had on the hike in Kieni Forest. It was the first time for me, and I had a good time, interacting with nature and taking time off from the day to day activities. The hike offered physical exercise and mental relaxation. Having familiar faces ensured that the camaraderie was already present and this made the hike more enjoyable. Anyone who is looking to take a pause and have a reflective and relaxing experience should give it a shot.” Osmond.

“The views and the temperature were perfect. I find the cold weather a beautiful atmosphere to hike in and accompanied with the serene views, it was perfect. The journey was challenging and not too simple, which meant it kept us on our feet. The passage through tea plantations was also quite exciting with the beauty of nature not disrupted so significantly by the actions of man. It’s a great place for mid level hikers who have done a few minor hikes. The guide was quite an interesting man.” Mitesh.

“Our trail began in the beautiful tea plantations. The ground was slippery and often, I landed on the ground. I didn’t mind it though because it wouldn’t be a hike if I didn’t get dirty. The beauty of seeing undisrupted nature with the sounds of different tropical birds and beautiful trees was not only thrilling, but very humbling. I wouldn’t do justice if I didn’t mention our Guide John. He not only helped anyone who got tired, but also educated us on the different types of trees and birds in the forest. The memories made on that day will long live engraved in my heart.” Irene.

Next Hike Details;

Our next hike will be to Castle Forest (Kamweti) in Kirinyaga County on the slopes of Mt. Kenya on 2nd October 2021. It is a moderately difficult hike. Normally, hikes are ranked as easy, moderate and hard.

We picked this trail because the experience involves forest bathing in a rainforest. The rainforest has a variety of tree and bird species, and Kamweti Falls which is a part of the Kathiba River.

If interested, contact us on themkare@gmail.com or call Leila on 0786609728. Irene is the assistant planner.

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