This is one weekend I had been looking forward to. There’s nothing quite like sitting around a cozy campfire with good company and spending a night in the tent. It was going to be my second time camping at the Ngare Ndare Forest and the excitement was twice as much as the first time. I always have a thing for waterfalls and I knew the Ngare Ndare forest was not going to disappoint.
Ngare Ndare which means ‘water for the goats’ is a lush indigenous forest at the foothills of Mt. Kenya, in Timau, Meru County. The forest serves as a natural corridor that links the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to Mount Kenya. It’s the only indigenous forest in Kenya with an expanding canopy cover.
The forest is a conservancy managed by the community, with some of the trained Kenya Wildlife Service rangers being locals of that area. There is an entrance fee and if one is camping, there is also a camp fee. So it’s advisable to call the management in advance before making any visitation plans.
The drive from Nairobi to Ngare Ndare is approximately 5 hours 20 minutes. There is a rough road from the main road to the forest so a vehicle that can handle a rough road would be advisable. We opted to use an overland truck.
Our first activity would be to take a dip in the Azure pools. The trek from the camping site to the pools is 3.5 kilometers which is like a 45 minutes hike. The scorching hot weather almost made the hike impossible but the thought of seeing and taking a dip at the pools of turquoise blue waters and the beautiful waterfalls kept us going.
Some of the trees which form this forest are ancient African Olive and Red Cedar trees which are thought to be around 200 years old.
The many reasons i keep falling in love with nature.
Azure pools glisten at the bottom of waterfalls. The dry season is the best season to visit because a visit during the rainy season would be a total disappointment. The blue pools turn to brown pools :-). We were lucky enough to visit at the right time.
The beauty of these blue pools and waterfalls are a wonder to behold. It’s a simple definition of a small paradise.
The night did not disappoint, it was magical. To have a clear view without clouds and the glaring lights of the city was a deeply humbling and enriching experience. The pics below says it all.
The nights at Ngare Ndare are very cold, luckily we had packed heavy and were ready for the cold night. The last time I camped at Ngare Ndare, we had made a mistake of leaving left over foods outside the tents, which attracted hyenas and luckily we were not eaten :-). This time round we were more careful so we only heard them from a far.
The morning after was saved for the Canopy walk. The guide had advised us that it was the best time to view animals from the canopy. We decided to try our luck but unfortunately we only managed to see some monkeys and hyenas. I had seen elephants from my previous visit.
The canopy walkway is a 40 ft. high aerial bridge of wiremesh and cables meandering through the tree canopy and extending 450 metres long. The walkway ends at a wooden platform 30ft. high, where you can relax and enjoy a view of the river from this elevated vantage point. Elephants and buffaloes frequently come here to drink and wallow, and one can enjoy a drink or a meal at the lofty leafy deck.
Camping at Ngare Ndare is an experience that always leaves a profound impression that makes me want to camp over and over again. So Ngare Ndare, am coming back soon for round 3!
Photography by Siva Balendra.