It’s been a while since I woke up so early for a safari, yet before COVID19 it was the norm. A couple of days before, I had a conversation with a colleague who is a serial hiker and mentioned how I wanted to hike Mount.Kenya. He encouraged me to join a programme they had for beginners. A programme coriagraphed to help some of us achieve those dreams we only imagine are for chosen few.
Basically all attending this hike to Gatangu water Falls in Othaya were at the assemble point at 0520hrs. Talk of discipline! Mr.Nganga the team leader had told me they don’t wait for no one departure time isn’t, you know, African time hahaha…!
Our journey started after a few minutes of briefing. We trans-versed through Kiambu and Muranga county with one bathroom break in Muranga town, before taking Muranga, Gitugi road to Kiriani. From Kiriani you turn left at Karikii junction before you get to Othaya Town. Then Head straight up Past Chinga Dam ; A Manmade dam for Recreational and Irrigation activities. From here the weather changes and air gets thicker as the altitude rises a notch higher. We arrived at around 08:30HRS at a place called Mucarage our base for the trek to Gatanga Water Falls. Mucarage is a beautiful, breathtaking landscape with tea carpeted rolling hills.
Wild springs adventures our host had hired local guides and we also had a Kenya forest Service and Kenya wildlife service guards accompanying us; security was tight. Before the trek the local guide Mr.Raphael gave us a short brief. He’s born and raised in Mucarage and they are allowed to herd their cattle in zuti forest which neighbours Southern Aberdares. Something that has helped them master all tracks within the forest.
Our trek started at ASL and through the forest the weather was great and the tracks were not muddy. We occasionally came across elephant dung. The guides told us Elephants are occasional visitors in their neighborhood. You see, Zuti forest was originally called Thuti but the colonialists could not pronounce it properly hence it’s being referred to Zuti. The forest is about 8000 acres and is protected by Kenya forest service and Community Forest association something that aids locals to herd their cattle and collect dry firewood from the forest responsibly. It also reduces Human wildlife conflict and habitat loss.
The trail leads you to open fields which were once part of the forest but were cleared in the 1990s for farming. However there is an active ongoing rehabilitation programme, one can adopt a tree. During the colonial period this forest served as a hide out to Mau Mau soldiers as the local women discreetly delivered food to them in their solidarity to fight the British colonialists.
The trek within the indigenous forest is very therapeutic all of your senses come alive. The aroma from the trees clears your respiratory system as the body embraces clean fresh air and is massaged by a cool breeze. The small streams make a calming sound as they curve gently through with a stillness only heard in this forests serenity. As we curved our way up and down and through the papyruses a gushing from underground would be heard but the forest guards informed us its underground water tunnels for piped Gatangu water system.
The climax of this trek was at 2600M above sea level the highest elevation on this hike, before descending to Gatangu water falls through the bamboo. A descent that will see you slide through the mad just like we used to do during our childhood.. The difference is, then you enjoyed it, right now you might be a little bit afraid haha. Proper hiking boots are an essential item on this tour they will help you with the grip. On rare days Giant forest hogs and bongos will grace your occasion, otherwise, the sounds of birds chirping and tweeting their symphonies will give you a unique natural orchestra through-out as you enter and exit this trail.
Our trail ended back at Mucarage Gate, of course we were exhausted but the team had a lot of praise to wildspring’s. The coordination was on point no one felt left behind from first hikers to team tortoise they were all taken care of. We also had a great driver. When we got to Nairobi as it was almost curfew hours the team made sure everyone got Home safe and sound. Thumbs up #TeamWildSprings and am Glad I joined this programme.
Cheers to many More See you at the top of Kenya…
For more programs like this check wildsprings page .