Ngare Ndare SW
We decided to begin this year’s adventures with a camping expedition to Ngare Ndare. Despite a few hitches in leaving Nairobi we were soon on the open road headed to Timau. Now, one thing worth noting is technology is not always right! Entrusting your directions to Google Maps could get you out of a fix or in the middle of a fork road at 8.30 p.m in a pitch black area with the automated voice telling you, ‘You have arrived at your destination’. Once rescued one can look back at it as spice to the adventure but in the middle of it, panic and anxiety always set in!
Google Maps will send you to the Isiolo-Meru junction and tell you to turn left, however this road is extremely rocky and long. The better alternative is to turn left 300 metres from Timau Police Station and drive along the murram road for about 11 kms till you get to the entrance. A 2-wheel drive vehicle is capable of this journey if it has not rained heavily.
With the help of Ibrahim, our Ngare Ndare correspondent we were rescued and at camp by 9.45 p.m, tents pitched and bonfire lit. It was time to cook some supper.
Dining is an important part of a self-catering trip. We hope to give a few pointers from what we have learnt from spending nights in the open.
We always carry a small gas cooker, sufurias, an improvised mwiko and disposable utensils. We try to get to camp before dark so as to cook with the light but in our case we had missed the light by a good 3 hours. So we cooked at the boot of the vehicle using light from the vehicle and torches.
On the menu was indomie, carrot stew with potatoes. No meat this time.
Taking it all down with milk and sodas and later on settling by the fire to roast some marshmallows.
Breakfast was buttered bread, hotdogs with mayo and ketchup and chai.
The most incredible bit about camping is the incredibly stunning array of stars stretched above you. The night sky is something to behold. Ngare Ndare is freezing at night so carry warm clothing, shukas and make sure to layer up. It was largely uneventful apart from an elephant and some hyenas passing near our campsite at some point in the night but you’ll be safe as there is an armed guard keeping watch the entire night.
Canopy Walk and Waterfalls
The main attraction in Ngare Ndare is the canopy walk and waterfalls with the mystical blue pools.
After waking up and freshening up, we started on the canopy walk, 40 feet above the ground and 500 metres long. You get a stunning bird’s eye view of the Lewa Conservancy. If you’re lucky, a herd of elephants or buffalos could be passing by beneath you as you walk across the suspension bridge.
We then headed out to the waterfalls. There are several waterfalls with beautiful pools but we only visited one. With a mighty drop, the ice cold waters from Mt. Kenya flow in to a natural pool, 7 metres deep. One simply has to swim here! We were soon in our costumes and splashing around in the refreshing waters. It must be noted though that caution must be taken in these pools, if you are not a confident swimmer then it is best advised to just dip your legs and enjoy from the shores.
We were a bit unlucky to not encounter a lot of wildlife but for a giraffe and bush back, but the area is teeming with all sorts of fauna, including the Big 5.
Perhaps a whole day for a game drive is needed to view most of the wildlife.
Let the year not end with you not visiting this magical place! It is without a doubt one of the best kept treasures of this country.
Contact Dominic, the manager, from the Ngare Ndare website to book for a camping or day trip there. You will be glad you did so!
And oh, did I mention the glorious wheat fields of Timau that greet you as you enter?
Dining Experience (We need to stock up on more meat next time!) 3/5
Adventure (*in terms of exciting activities) 4/5
Camping Grounds (hella stony so stock up on mattresses) 2/5
The drive (Quality of the entire drive) 4/5
Scenic Sites (Photography worthy scenes) 4/5
For a full view of the gallery, click here.