In Tents Under The Rain, Nyambene Hills Meru County, Kenya

by Monicah Wangari
8 comments 1679 views


Yes, it happens. 

Before I experienced it, I was like, that’s crazy. 

I had reconsidered going to Meru because if Kitengela was raining, then the rest of the world was. 

But I sucked it up and let my explorer side speak over my fear side. 

See, I am the type of person who will stay in a sweater all day even when the sun comes out. “Monicah is it cold?”, is a familiar refrain at work. But I think they already got used to it and no longer ask. 

On Saturday, we left Nairobi for Meru at midday. The Meru PSV bus stage is at the famous Tearoom stage which is at the junction of Accra Road and Dubois Road. 

I’d gone with two of my girlfriends and we took the back seat in a 10 seater PSV whose occupants were us, the campers. 

It felt good to leave town. I’d been craving a long-distance road trip and this was it. Just perfect. Using the Thika Superhighway in an Ungwana Shuttle, we chatted away and enjoyed breathtaking views of the Central Province of Kenya. 

Our first stopover was Mwea. Mwea is famous for rice plantations that are visible from the road. I wondered how those paddy plantations turn into the meal we have every so often. Here’s a brief how; first, the land is let to dry, then the rice is harvested, placed somewhere and let to dry for three days. Curious further? Visit huffpost.com/entry/rice-harvesting

At the Embu stopover, we met women selling watermelon – which we observed are grown in the area on a large scale. 

As we surveyed the place, we bumped into travel enthusiasts from Nairobi who’d come for a one-day road trip to visit Camp Ndunda Falls which has zip lining. 

Back on the trail, we passed through Embu, Tharaka Nithi counties and finally reached our destination. Nyambene Hills sits in the middle of Meru and Isiolo counties. It was to be our home for The Mashujaa Weekend. 

With the rains, the road to the campsite was not a walk in the park (pun intended). The car would skid and at some point, the car had to be pushed when stuck in the mud. We spent a little over an hour from the main road to our campsite. 

We had to walk some distance to the campsite as the vehicle could not go further in. The cold that hits you when on the ground is on another level. The phone service coverage was poor.

The tents we’re already pitched on the ground. We had a brief session where raincoats and sleeping bags were distributed. After settling in, we had our supper as we socialized. 

We then retired to our tents and slept on the ground. Unfortunately, some of our tents took in water from the ground as the rain heavily dropped that night. The next day, we changed the tent position to one that was more inclined to let water flow away. 

I had switched off my phone at 26% charge at night and by morning it had dropped to 19%. I guess they too hibernate. 


Sunday Morning feels. Hike Day! The Ura dam covered in fog.
Sunday Morning feels. Hike Day!

Hike Nyambene Hills Day

As per the previous day’s brief, we were to be awake by 8 am to start our hike at around 9 am. I honestly was scared of the hills. I mean the ground was already wet and foggy. 

We had eggs, sweet potatoes and tea for breakfast. Snacks were distributed for the hike. 

Talk about Mud! Mud! Mud! People were sliding all over and the few daring ones would swing on tree branches. We saw waterfalls, the Ura dam Conservancy which was opened by Martha Karua in 2004 and a dark tunnel. 


We wore ponchos (raincoats) we'd slept on to reduce contact with the cold earth while asleep.
We wore ponchos (raincoats) we’d slept on to reduce contact with the cold earth while asleep.

The peak of the hills which is about 2500 meters above sea level, hosts several boosters. Temperatures can go as low as 9°C

After a long day of hiking, we were back to camp around 6 pm. 

With the cold weather there, showering was not for the faint-hearted. But we did anyway. There was no bathroom so we showered in the open. In fact, I showered barefoot. The water-holding container was a wheelbarrow and a raincoat. Talk about new experiences. 

The evening was then followed by supper (the meal which had meat felt like a luxury), good music, drinks and rest. 

On this night, even as it rained, I had a good night sleep, our tent didn’t take in water. We slept in threes. 


Sunny Monday

We had our breakfast of eggs, arrowroots, and tea. Then packed up our bags and repacked the tents. 

We walked for a distance to our ride home and sang along to the music in the car on our way back. 

Having left Nyambene Hills at 10 am, we got to Nairobi at 5 pm.

Trip was courtesy of Tripple F Adventures. You can contact them via +254 727811182 (Sam). Sam has hiked Mt. Kenya over 100 times.

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8 comments

Kamachu October 28, 2019 - 7:34 am

Its happened to me before, best and worst camping trip i have been on. hope you enjoyed yours as much as i did:)

Reply
Monicah Wangari October 28, 2019 - 4:44 pm

Hey Kamachu,
I’d love to hear about them lol!
I had a great time. Part of my bucket list now is camping by the beach 🙂

Reply
Hiking Mt. Ololokwe, Isiolo County - Themkare.com September 30, 2020 - 2:45 pm

[…] Read about how I hiked Nyambene Hills in Meru during a rainy period; […]

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Mercy Chidi Baidoo October 2, 2020 - 7:10 am

I loved reading your experience in Isiolo. I hope to take the hike as well

Reply
Monicah Wangari October 2, 2020 - 7:55 am

Hey Mercy,
You will love it there 🙂

Reply
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