Day: February 4, 2023

Mount Kenya – Nithi Falls & Lake Ellis

View route on Outdoor Active

When I was planning my trip to Kenya, coach Steve had posted pictures from a hike on Mount Kenya that made me jealous, so we hatched a plan to squeeze in a day hike before I headed for home.. Detailed plans for an early start were made and, although Nashon and I were up at 04:00 and on the road at 04:45 as planned the sequence of pick ups dragged on so that by the time we were approaching Embu we were about 90 minutes behind schedule. Then disaster befell: the throttle cable jammed in Embu town. Luckily a credible mechanic appeared but we had a 90-minute wait (drinking coffee etc) while the van was fixed.

When we left the highway we had to follow some 30km of rough gravel road climbing up to Chogoria Gate.

Climbing very slowly as the 1800cc engine was too feeble to carry 7 people up the hill and eventually stopped dead. We all got out and Steve got it going again; Nashon and I ran after him and jumped in, then we drove on leaving the others to walk! At the gate (rather further than we’d expected) we met my friends Makena ad Brian who had driven up in their Prado and Brian was despatched to rescue the walkers!

So it was after 1pm rather than 9am that we actually started walking.

After a long steady climb, we descended to the stunning Nithi Falls.

Then back up and on across the mountainside

The giant Lobelia are weird and wonderful

Eventually we got sight of Lake Ellis

On the way back down it was getting late. Brian had driven up to collect Makena from the road head and stopped to pick the rest of us up for the last 2 or 3km. How many people can you squeeze in a Prado? (There were 3 more of us in the boot)

We ate our “lunch” quickly then started the descent by road, in the dark. I had elected to accept an invitation to stay with Makena and Brian (only 15 minutes from the lower gate) rather than travel all the way back to Nairobi that night.

After a great night’s sleep (no mosquitoes, fresh cool air) I awoke to birds singing, cattle lowing, cocks crowing, and a splendid sunrise across the tea gardens.

Before breakfast I took a short walk through the tea gardens, down to the river and back up again. So green, so peaceful. Is this heaven?

My final day in Kenya consisted of visits to Makena’s relatives, sharing chai and chakula, exploring shambas (it was lovely) before a drive back to Nairobi, and a couple of cheeky beers with Brian and Makena before heading to Nashon’s to pack, eat and head to the airport.

This bonus trip was the icing on the cake – despite all the morning’s grief (and thanks to Makena and Brian’s rescue service!)