In Summary
  • I came to work a few weeks ago and found a large brown envelope on my desk. Inside was a new copy of The Mau Eburu Forest – A Visitors’ Guide, and a very neatly written letter from the guide’s editor, Gordon Boy.
  • Gaps in the belt of African Mountain Bamboo around the summit revealed hazy views of Soysambu and Lake Elmentaita to the north, and Lake Naivasha to the south.
  • We found out later that night, as we camped by the Forest Glade, that the reserve is also home to a large population of tree hyraxes – who kept us up all night with their crescendo of blood-curdling shrieks.

The Mau Eburu Forest may be among the smallest of these islands, but its biological diversity and function as a key water catchment have motivated the likes of the Rhino Ark to protect it.

I came to work a few weeks ago and found a large brown envelope on my desk. Inside was a new copy of The Mau Eburu Forest – A Visitors’ Guide, and a very neatly written letter from the guide’s editor, Gordon Boy.

“I hope this guide might inspire one (or more) in your team of illustrious columnists,” he wrote, “to visit the forest and attempt one of its many hiking trails.” With no plans at the weekend, that’s exactly what we did.

In preparation for the trip, I had a thorough read through the guidebook. The first of its three sections tells the story of Mau Eburu – from the brief history of its people and its broader ecosystem, to current conservation efforts. The second explores the unique flora and fauna of the forest, and includes a map of the reserve and the surrounding settlements. And the third provides practical information for visitors, including very detailed route notes for six hiking trails.

The guide was produced with support from the M-Pesa Foundation, and is an outcome of the ongoing Eburu Ecosystem Conservation Project – a joint initiative of the Rhino Ark Kenya Charitable Trust, the Kenya Forest Service, and the Kenya Wildlife Service. Its well-researched and well-presented chapters draw on the expertise of guides from within the local Eburu community, as well as several researchers and scientists.

Until as recently as the 1930s (the guide tells me), the Mau Eburu Forest was just the easternmost tip of the vast, 10,000km2 Mau Forest. But, as a consequence of decades of deforestation, this super forest has been fragmented into a patchwork of “ecological islands”. The Mau Eburu Forest may be among the smallest of these islands, but its biological diversity and function as a key water catchment have motivated the likes of the Rhino Ark to protect it. Now, with the completion of a perimeter fence in 2014, the forest is better protected.

To get to the forest, we opted for the route along the Moi North Lake Road. After about 10km, turn right once you see a sign for the KenGen Eburu Geothermal Power Station. The road deteriorates considerably from here, and climbs for 12km through the settlement of Eburu towards the main gate.

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