14 FALLS AND KILIMAMBOGO – EVE D’SOUZA
Let’s face it. We’re generation of convenience. Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to staying indoors over the weekend, my rear super glued to the couch all day! And yet, we are so blessed as Kenyans, a step out your door leads to exciting adventures, jaw dropping scenery and unforgettable experiences. Kenya provides such unique opportunities to bond with nature no matter which of the country you reside.
I decided to find out what the area of Thika has to offer apart from its cliché juicy pineapples and headed to Ol Donyo Sabuk National park to hike up Mt Kilimambogo. Established in 1967, the name of the park, Ol Donyo Sabuk, means ‘large mountain’ in Maasai language. The Park is readily accessible on tarmac from Nairobi past Thika off the Thika Garissa highway.
We first decided to stop off at the famous 14 falls, 20kms from Thika town. 14 falls are appropriately named because there are 14 distinct waterfalls on the broad section of the river. As we drove in, we found local guides with whom you can negotiate a reasonable fee for a truly exciting tour.
We were led down a rocky path to the water where you can hire a crossing boat. The view of the falls from the boat is extraordinary and after a leisurely ride, we made it across the river to a rocky bank. A walk along the rocks will get you closer to the falls and the base of the falls is characterized by large boulders and the powerful sound of rushing water as it cascades down the 25 foot drop.
But what stole the show was the entertainment from the guides as they performed dangerous types of jumps off the cliff into the plunge pool below.
We then headed to our hike up Kilimambogo located within the park. Ol Donyo Sabuk National park is located about 85km north east of Nairobi and if you are interested in an overnight stay, I highly recommend the cost effective KWS Sabuk guesthouse, which sleeps ten people.
The eco system of Kilimambogo constitutes a mountain, which is entirely covered with dense montane forest, except for a small area at the top. The hike makes a great bonding experience whether for a group of friends or family. Near the peak is the grave of Lord Macmillan, his wife and their dog.
After the nature walk we took a short drive east of Ol Donyo to the building that was Lord Macmillan’s home, visited by former American President Theordore Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, amongst other very important guests. We also made an exciting discovery below – the house had served as a jailhouse during the second world war and we got to explore the eerie space where prisoners where kept below.
All in all it was a unique, fun and educational long day out for all of us and great exercise. Who said Thika was just a quiet town? There are lots of attractions around the area I hope you’ll make a point to explore and discover for yourself!