In Summary
  • The forest was recently included as an extension of the Mount Kenya UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ngare Ndare forest hosts 200 year-old trees, giving a home to a variety of bird and animal species.
  • The town was what a village becomes with no prior planning. Every building was different from the other, borrowing here and there from the architecture of another era.
  • In the Ngare Ndare river, swimming and diving is allowed; for those willing to brave the chilly waters. The visitors can take guided forest walks, mountain biking and camping.
  • The daily fee in the forest is Sh 500. There is an additional Sh 1,000 for camping and a further Sh1000 for armed security.

Ngare Ndare means goat waters in the Maa language. The forest was recently included as an extension of the Mount Kenya UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ngare Ndare forest hosts 200 year-old trees, giving a home to a variety of bird and animal species. It is an important ecosystem that connects Mount Kenya and to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The ecosystem has sustained the elephants for centuries.

Owing to fatal human-wildlife conflicts, the forest was fenced off in 1992 and in 2009 it was placed under the custody of the Ngare Ndare Trust after a concession with Kenya Forest Service.

Ngare Ndare Canopy. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

THE JOURNEY

Timau - Ngare Ndare road. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

After thirty minutes on Nanyuki–Mere road, the road unveiled a little mountain town of Timau. Motorbikes lined up in rows, typical of rural towns in Kenya. The town was what a village becomes with no prior planning.

Timau town. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

Every building was different from the other, borrowing here and there from the architecture of another era. The rickety stalls, however, were full of farm fresh fruits, vegetables and cereals of various kinds. The air was cool and crisp, like a refreshing glass of cold water after hours in Kitui. The breeze fluttered around, gently caressing everything it touched with velvety tendrils.

BREATH-TAKING LANDSCAPES

The locals advised me to take a left detour that would lead me to the heart of Ngare Ndare. The landscapes were utterly breath-taking.

Quaint sky over Timau. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

The landscape glowed orange with a spray of lavender all around. It was like a painting straight from a gallery. My eyes roamed, enchanted by the green hills and ploughed fields while the snowy peak of Mt Kenya glistened from afar.

A SERENE UTOPIA

An hour later I was at Ngare Ndare. A lush indigenous forest at the foot of Mt. Kenya. I was greeted by a whisper of an immaculate, meandering silvery stream, flowing in majesty and disappearing under canopy. Over the canopy was a skywalk board, perched high up, stretching an illusionary path to the gossamer clouds, gliding gently under azure sky.

Skywalk board in Ngare Ndare. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

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