The walkway ends at a wooden platform where one can have a meal, relax and enjoy a view of Ngare Ndare River from a vantage point. Buffaloes and Elephants frequent the river to drink and wallow.
They say there is an adventure always waiting in the woods. Like yams I ate the three ruby hills of Ngare Ndare. Huffing, puffing, and lost in the trail, snaking under the canopy. The shade and colours were graceful, all the while inhaling the essence of the forest but being spooked by feral sounds at the same time.

Turquoise pools of Ngare Ndare. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

After thirty minutes, my guide and I arrived at the cascades of Ngare Ndare. For a moment I was in a trance, lost to the turquoise-coloured pool which seemed to give way to deeper, darker aqua-coloured water. I felt enveloped in the most serene, loving, utopia. The pristine water drooled over lush green shrubbery and splashed on rocks. The splashing cascade made a moderate unending laughter, the sound that reigned in the jungle.

Goats bound home from the pastures. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

At one point, a string goat smell hit me with a procession of the same appeared from the bushes shortly after. Seemingly, the goats had had a quench from the cool, pristine pools of Ngare Ndare. Uncharacteristic of goats however, they made no bleats. I suspect they had their fill of nature's sustenance. The herds-boy trailed after, offering guidance and protection.

QUENCHED MY THIRST

In the twilight, I arrived at an immaculate brook. I was panting and thirsting for a quench as a deer would. There I scooped some water while Bamuriat watched my back for the Elephants. Soon I felt a cool rush coursing through fevered veins. Thirst quenched.

A fresh water brook and a baby stream in Ngare Ndare forest. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

We returned from the pools in twilight splendour. A swirl of orange and lavender transfigured the sky as the perishing ball of light slowly sank below the horizon, leaving behind a spray of dark orange. Slowly the forest was robbed of its brilliant hues and replaced with a faded out khaki-grey. By this time, there were newly pitched tents that looked like softly glowing globes, the light from lamps. Hundreds of unseen frogs were rioting and croaking, a symphony of the primal evening.

Camp sites in the forest. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

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.

Cycllists in Ngare Ndare forest. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

Rock climbing at the falls and at Nugu Rock as well as canopy walks are also offered.

Ecologically sensible pit latrine in the forest. PHOTO| TOM MWIRARIA

WHAT IT WILL COST YOU

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. The guides are very professional and profoundly knowledgeable about Ngare Ndare.
The walk, the hills, the breeze, the forest sounds, the sky, the solitary evening was like a treasure found and voluntarily, surrendered. I returned to the city renewed and reinvigorated.

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