Our journey to Aberdares National Park.

 

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The Aberdare National park has been open for all since May 1950. The locals called it Nyandarua as from a distance it looks like dry hides while others called it Kiambiruiru coz of the dark patches seen from a distance. However, Joseph Thomson a famous explorer name it after the then president of the royal geographical society Lord Aberdares.aberdares123

On this visit I am honoring an invite From KWS aberdares in their quest to expose this magical place to the world and especially to encourage Kenyans to include it in their holiday destinations. Most people think that this park is in accessible given that it hosts the Aberdare ranges a region of stunning and diverse landscape where jagged peaks soar up to 4,001m and deep ravines cut through the deep forested slopes. What most don’t know is there are quite good roads within the park and proper hiking trails; for security you can organize to have a kws Rangers Because of the wild animals.

I was accompanied by my felllow travel enthusiasts and we approached  Aberdares from Kinangop side at Mutubio Gate its only one and a half hours from Nairobi  and of course we could just skip enjoying the big Mandazis and creamy tea synonymous with this sides, someone chose mahindi choma with tea lol!

Upon arrival we were received by the warden and The assistant director Mt.Kenya Region Mr.Simon Gitau

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Stellamaris stejosTours, Rosebell EAluxury, Eliud SafiriNasi, Mr.Simon KWS AD, Duncan Xtrym Adventures, John Cheetah Safaris, Moses Warden KWS and our Pilot.

The journey from Ndunyu Njeru to Mutubio gate is steep and needs a resilient car. It takes you through locals farms, to community forests before getting into the bamboo thickets and magical views of the riftvalley.  At the gate Mr.Kariuki the customer care KWS briefed us and our first stop was to check in at Fishing lodge a kws self catering house. Then grab a bite before proceeding to the activities of the day.

Fishing Lodge is located on the misty moorland of the Aberdare Hills and are 2 units owned and operated by the Kenya Wildlife Service. Fishing Lodge Guest House is 180 kilometers from Nairobi (via Nyeri) depending on entry gate into Aberdare National Park. Distances from Nyeri: Treetops Gate 17 kilometers, Ark Gate 28 kilometers, Ruhuruini Gate 20 kilometers, Kiandogoro Gate 30 kilometers, Wanderis Gate 37 kilometers. Distance from Naivasha: Mutubio Gate 50 kilometers.)

The rest of the afternoon we visited Chania Falls, Queen caves and Falls, Karuru Falls

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Karuru waterfalls  fall in three steps, 1st step 117M, 2nd step 26M and 3rd 130M, making a total of 273M.

 

At the queens waterfalls and caves@Queen’s Cave Waterfall, located inside the Aberdares National Park, a habitat that is also a mine of historical information.

A picnic table is set at the entrance to a waterfall and a cave that was once used by Dedan Kimathi, the Mau Mau freedom fighter. The cave, which lies at the base of the 10,000ft was christened the Queen’s Cave after Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, were served lunch here by Major Eric George Sherbrooke Walker in 1952. The site offers an ideal place for picnics with staircase leading into the cave.

 

Chania WaterFalls

 

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At Karimu River. Karimu means foolish. The river was given that name because it Defy’s gravity and flows upstream.
On our way back we spotted quite a number of animals, e.g bushbucks, buffaloes, elephants, birds and I must tell you it was getting quite chilly I mean really cold but when we got to the lodge the caretaker had lit the fire and we formed a semicircle at the fire place; then the news came in that the driver was going to pick something in town and the digital in some of us went biserk they just couldnt imagine 4days without electric power and internet #KidsOfNowadays lol! only the two of us were left at the lodge the rest of the team went to Twit hehehe but they came back with numb fingers…….

 

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Now! now! one of the bonfire story was when a ranger in the wilderness had the need to use a bathroom so she decided to hit the bush and in the middle of her business she had a breathing and she knew that was a rhino she charged back into the car more than a rhino could… hehehe! the hilarious part was the breathing Demo it got me on Floor laughing…..#Sensored

After a great diner this day ended up with the most unfare poker game in the world eti HAIKUHUSU lol! But it was better than the hussle of warming bed sheets….

 

 

This is just the first out of our fun four days keep it here you wouldn’t want to miss the hilarious jungle stories and experiences of our rangers while protecting wildlife.

What comes to mind when you hear of Murang’a?

For many when they want to getaway from their usual routine  few consider or actually try this town in central kenya…something I witnessed last week on a journey to my rural town Kiria-ini with my fellow Travel ethusiasts…Murang’a rocks our television screens for both good and bad news but most importantly its rumored you want a good wife #TembeaMurang’a hehehe sio sifa it must have been proven. Haithuru….

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Gosheni farm Hotel

Murang’a town was called Fort hall during the colonial era, named after its first district commissioner Mr.Francis Hall, but unfortunately the chambers which could have served as a historical fact were demolished to pave way for a more modern county assembly and only a gate to the original house that’s remaining and a few newspapers of 1900, a grave site for deported samoei clan members serves as a bond between the kikuyu and kalenjin communities but I guess this part of history has been forgotten too. A memorial site  was  made to honor home guards and white settlers who were killed by Mau Mau……There is soo much history in this area that was left to rot unless the county govt collects it and preserves it, most resident don’t even have a clue about it….. A tour within the premises didn’t have much to see of yester years and even the archives are unkept dusty and left to rot somewhere in the ceiling……

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Standard newspaper I guess corruption is older than most….

There are quite interesting stories to tell about Muranga and one would be that of a woman subchief called Wangu wamakeri who was said to be using men backs as her chair while addressing the crowd…. but if you are curious to know what exactly happened while in Muranga Visit the Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga Shrine the origin of Kikuyu community and also get to learn a beautiful legend of clans and communities origins and naming -I must visit while in this area. The landscape in this part of central kenya is quite appealing and hair raising too as you meander through this rugged country side full of hills and valleys, small farms….

After Our stop-over at Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga we drove further on to Gosheni Farm Hotel in Kiriaini town a beautiful property set on a hill overlooking the tea farms that surround it. The concept of the hotel is to expose children and adults in a farm setup kind of a holiday where activities like Milking, feeding domestic animals, picking tea, visiting coffee factories, fishing, biking are part of your stay.

Attractions in Muranga County;

Aberdares National Park

The Southern parts of the Aberdare ranges forests fall in Muranga County and contain numerous tourist attractions which are yet to be exploited. This constitutes northern parts of Muranga County which fall under the Aberdare Ecosystem Management Plan which is a a low use zone.This region is suitable for establishment of eco-lodges, permanent tented camps, self-help bandas, public campsites and other recreational facilities. Tourism and leisure activities which can be exploited in this region include; hiking, nature trails, Sport fishing, Paragliding, Bird watching, Orienteering, Caving and Game viewing.


Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga

Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga is located in Gaturi location in Murang’a East District of Kiharu Constituency. It is believed to be the mythical Garden of Eden of the Agikuyu tribe. Historically, it was the central point of dispersal of the Agikuyu after arrival into the Mt. Kenya area. Mukurwe wa Nyagathanga today attracts curious Kikuyu wishing to know their history as well as tourists and researchers who want to learn more about the tribe that is associated with the Mau Mau and played a crucial role in Kenya’s struggle for independence. Sacrifice and prayers are also conducted here by Kikuyu traditional elders. It is also used by the Kikuyu political elite to rally the tribe around a common cause.

It is gazetted as a national monument, under the custodian of National Museums of Kenya. Instead of a museum, people want it promoted as a cultural and heritage centre where Kikuyu customary activities like dowry payments, engagements, cultural rites and family outings can be held. This has led to an impasse and the place remains undeveloped with two unfinished buildings, the Cultural Center Performance Hall and a hotel. The walls of the buildings are covered in graffiti with guests using the walls as a “Visitor’s Book”. Disputes have also arose over the building of an exterior wall.

The compound also has ten huts named after the nine plus one clans of the Agikuyu and a reception.

Consolata Tuthu Shrine

The Tuthu Shrine is located at Our Lady Consolata Catholic Church, Tuthu Parish which is under the Catholic Diocese of Muranga. The church was established in 1902 by the Consolata missionaries and was the first catholic church in the area. It is situated in Tuthu town, which is Kangema Constituency, Muranga County.

Tuthu Catholic Church also houses the mausoleum of Paramount Chief Karuri Gakure who welcomed the missionaries to Tuthu and assigned them a compound to stay in and to conduct their first Mas130511_0467Tuthu-Pilgrimages which was under a Mugumo tree.

Mugumo tree is a sacred tree among the Kikuyus and was a place to offer sacrifices and it is symbolic that the missionaries did their first mass under a sacred tree where other sacrifices had been offered.

Today, a modern shrine has been built in the design of a cut tree trunk which is going to grow into a tree, symbolizing faith.

The shrine significant to the Consolata Missionaries because it was the first place where the missionaries celebrated mass and shared with the local people in Kenya their faith and it was from Tuthu after being taken care of by Chief Karuri that the missionaries started doing their work in Kenya.


Ndakaini Dam (Thika Dam)

The dam is owned by Athi Water Services and operated by the Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company. The dams construction started in the year 1988 when the Kenya Government compulsorily acquired approximately 1,200 acres of land to create space for the construction of the dam to supply portable water to the residents of Nairobi City and its environs.Ndakain Dam is located in Gatanga Constituency, Muranga county. It is home to the Ndakaini Half Marathon held every year in September and sponsored by UAP Insurance Company.

Catchment Features
The Dam’s catchment area measures 75 square Kilometers. It consists of Kimakia and Gatare Natural forest which form the Aberdare Ranges. The main rivers that drain into the Dam from this catchment are Thika, Githika and Kayuyu. Thika drains 50% Githika 30% and Kayuyu 20% of the catchment into the Dam respectively. The area receives ample rainfall of between 2000 – 2500 mm annually.

 


Rapids Camp Sagana

Activities at the camp include:Rapids Camp is situated on the border between Kirinyaga County and Muranga County. With its proximity to the city of Nairobi and the Thika super highway makes it very easy to access. Rapids Camp has a river frontage of about 450m and the largest waterfall in terms of volume in Kenya, combined with very huge boulders (rocks) within the camp which are good for rock climbing plus 4 acres of neatly manicured lawns which makes it a perfect adventure camp.

  • Bunjee Jumping
  • Canoe Kayaking
  • White water rafting
  • Team Building
  • Camping
  • Rapids River Trekking
  • Sagana Chopper trips

Kimakia Fishing Grounds

Kimakia Stream in Kimakia is located in Kimakia Forest which is a conservation area of the Aberdares Forest National Park.The fishing groungs offer leisure fishing sites and is among the finest fishing or outdoors adventure locations in the region due to its reserved location. The Stream is located at the latitude and longitude coordinates of -.9 and 36.883333. How to get there: Fishing enthusiasts interested in fishing near or at Kimakia should print out the Google map and take it with them on their fishing trip. Others attractions are: Heritage sites such as Karia Ka Mbari ya Ngware.


Accommodation in Muranga: Hotel Nokras, Stanleys Haven, Aberdare cottages, Goshen Farm Hotel, Fortune green hotel, Monkey bay resort, palms Hotel kenol, Trotters Hotel Kenol, Murang’a Mukawa.