Kenya Walking Safaris – Hiking in Kenya
African safaris are well-known for their wildlife adventures but most of the wildlife is not accessible by foot hence mostly happens through game drives.
But that is not all a safari adventure can offer, there are possibilities of walking or hiking while enjoying the very awesome scenery. There are also many bird species in the African continent to sample as well as small creatures that crawl harmlessly through the Savannah grasslands.
Mountain climbing is also an activity you can consider with some mountains having high peaks which offer very good camping sites. Let’s look at some best walking safaris in Kenya. Well, we cannot exhaust them all but I will pick some that I have had an experience with.
The capital city Nairobi scenery
Well, Kenya being famous for its wildlife has taken up the art of conservation with the government taking great emphasis on preserving most of its natural environment to protect the great Savannah wildlife.
There are a number of places that offer hiking experiences and safari walks as one enjoys the beautiful scenery.
Some of the places in the capital city and its environs to consider are:
The Nairobi Safari walk based in the Kenya Wildlife Services headquarters. It offers a good walk-way as one watches some rescued wild animals that normally inhabit the animal orphanage. The place has been an attraction to many great people like Usain Bolt who adopted a cheetah now named Bolt.
We have Ngong Hills in the outcasts of Nairobi which offer hikers an experience, going up the seven hills one by one as they follow each other till going to the other end and meeting the Maasai community, a tribe that is famous for being firm with its traditions.
Karura Forest Reserve is an urban upland forest on the outskirts of Nairobi. The forest offers its visitors an opportunity to run and jog or sit quietly and experience the serenity of nature away from the hustle and bustle of the hectic city. There is also a biking trail to ride away through the green leafy surroundings.
The Oloolua Nature Trail hidden in the upmarket suburb is home to the Institute of Primate Research(IPR). The 5km nature trail offers an oasis of tranquillity for city residents looking for a place to hide from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s not really a place I would recommend for solo hiking but is a perfect spot for group hiking.
Highlands Hiking Trails.
The Uplands region of Kenya has various areas that offer nice scenery with vast hills and some even wildlife watching areas with hiking trails to suit different hikers.
We will look at some common places that offer some majestic scenery.
Elephant Hill found in the southern end of the Aberdares Ranges with a dirt road leading to a swampy trail in the bamboo zone that also turns rocky. You need to be reasonably fit to try this terrain. It is ideal for a day hike especially if you are preparing for the more challenging Mt Kenya or Mt Kilimanjaro.
Kereita Cave and Waterfall is also in the southern end of the Aberdares Ranges which is an animal trail through the indigenous Aberdares forest. One trail leads to the Kereita Waterfall and the adjacent cave which is home to a small bat colony. The trail also passes by the Elephant Pool, a large water body where the elephants come to frolic. There are many activities in this area including, zip-lining, archery, biking etc.
Mt Longonot National Park is a hiking destination where you get an awesome viewpoint on the rim of a volcano in an hour or two depending on your fitness. You get to climb a steep and rocky side of the volcano, once you get to the top you have the option of walking along the circumference of the caldera or just sit and enjoy the scenery.
Hells Gate National Park named for its intense geothermal activity within its boundaries is found in the Great Rift Valley. Scenery includes towering cliffs, water-gouged gouges, start stock towers, scrab claw volcanoes and belching plumes of volcanic steam. For a day trip, visitors are subjected to mountain biking, rock climbing and a natural spa.
Mt Kenya is the second largest mountain in Africa climbing to 5,199 meters. It is a pristine wilderness with lakes, tarns, glaciers, dense forest, mineral springs and a selection of rare and endangered species.
Walking in this area is mostly during the dry seasons in the months of January, February, early March and August. Day hiking is available for those who are not interested to reach any summit. It is designated for those interested to see fascinating vegetation zones of an equatorial mountain and associated rich animal and birdlife.
There are lodges, hotels and hostels around the mountain for those taking day hikes. The walks offer great opportunities for bird watching and enjoying different birdlife.
However, if you are planning on the actual mountain climbing, there are very many qualities to consider one is being in good health as the terrain is rough and the weather a bit hush.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. The mountain is found in Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania.
The hiking adventure in this mountain is no walk in the park and one needs to be in perfect health and a moderate degree of physical fitness.
There are day hiking trips for those who are not able to do the whole 6-7 days mountain climbing. This is a good trip to take especially if you have been doing game drives safaris all through. A break from being driven around and a stretch of your muscles will do you good.
On a clear day, you will be able to see and hear birds singing in the bushes while seeing monkeys jump from one tree to the other as you enjoy the natural vegetation the hike has to offer. You can try to stretch your self to reach the first hut without feeling too exhausted in the end.
Is that all?
Apart from the well-known hiking venues and nature trails, we do have some short safari trails in some parks and game reserves that can be allowed so long as you walk with a guide who is familiar with the terrain and wild animals in the area.
- Some parks like Maasai Mara allows for guided walks on the border of the Game Reserve to go watch the sunrise up the hills.
- We have the Amboseli that has guided walks to allow for an up-close view of the elephants as well as watching Mt Kilimanjaro snow peak.
- The Tsavo West National park also allows for a guided hike along with the lava floors and rock climbing along the cliffs. This and much more can be achieved depending on the amount of time you have at hand and the arrangements you have made with your travel agent.
- Ngare Ndare Forest at the foot of Mount Kenya Forest which joins two Counties; Meru and Laikipia and borders two conservancies; Lewa and Borana offer guided hikes with an option of camping and swimming. It also has a long canopy that you can walk in while watching herds of elephants, buffalos and other herbivores graze below.