|Distance from Nairobi||About 160km|
|Starting Point||Entosapia School|
|Ending point||Entosapia School|
|Walking Duration||5 hours|
|Terrain||Dirt trail, rocky|
The journey from Nairobi to the Nguruman Escarpment takes you through the rolling green foothills of the Ngong Hills, a long descent to the semi-arid plains on the floor of the Great Rift Valley, a brief watery interlude crossing the renowned Lake Magadi, followed by another seemingly endless drive through dusty dirt tracks crossing semi-arid plains inhabited by the Maasai community.
The Nguruman Escarpment forms the western boundary of Kenya’s Rift Valley to the south near the border with Tanzania. As you approach its foothills about 160km from Nairobi, the vegetation changes dramatically. Groves of Mango and Pawpaw trees flourish all around. There is a thriving farming community growing and supplying horticultural produce to Nairobi residents and export markets, thanks to Entasopia River originating from the Escarpment, and Ewaso Ng’iro River from the Mau Escarpment that flows along the base of this Escarpment on its way to Lake Natron.
A popular activity for most visitors to Nguruman Escarpment is hiking to the Entasopia River Waterfalls. Depending on your starting point and pace, hiking up the escarpment to the waterfalls and back could take 5 to 6 hours, with the elevation going from 750m to about 2000m above sea level. The trail first takes you through a river crossing strewn with rocks and fallen decaying trees felled by the river during rainy seasons. Soon after, the trail becomes steep as you work your way to the upper reaches of the escarpment. As you climb higher, you get amazing views of the settlement below, the Ewaso Ng’iro, the distant Lake Magadi and various hills.
The trail levels off briefly only to get steep again as you make the final push to the vicinity of the waterfalls. Interestingly, even at this altitude, you will find Maasai herdsmen and women who trek this path daily. This route apparently goes all the way to Maasai Mara, so as you approach the waterfalls, you will get off the trail at some point and go down a hairy vertical descent of about 10m through forest undergrowth to access the river and waterfalls below. The experience of edging down the sheer drop, clinging for dear life onto every root and branch within reach, is as memorable as the sight of the waterfalls at the bottom.
Water pools beneath the first two shelves of the waterfalls offer excellent swimming opportunities to cool off as you enjoy the scenery. The last stage of the waterfalls beyond these pools is a very long drop. For the adventurous, it might be worthwhile to look for vantage points from which to view this marvel.
Only one bus service, Ostrich Services, operates between Kiserian and Nguruman once a day if you plan to get there by public transport. It leaves Kiserian late in the afternoons, arriving Entasopia Market in the Nguruman area in the late evenings hours. For the adventurous, you can brave a ride on the pickups or lorries ferrying goods between Kiserian and Nguruman. See the Waria in Kiserian for a hookup.
If driving from Nairobi, you’ll need a 4WD vehicle with a good clearance. Take Lang’ata Road till Bomas of Kenya and turn left onto Magadi Road. Drive past the Magadi Soda Factory where the tarmac road gives way to a dirt road. This road crosses Lake Magadi at some point, and then climbs back onto the dusty semi-arid plains where it weaves its way until the foothills of Nguruman Escarpment.
The Nguruman ICIPE Research Centre provides accommodation facilities with showers and meals. If you call Joseph Saningo (+254(0)715 648192), the caretaker for this Centre at least a week in advance, he’ll make the necessary arrangements for you. He’ll also make arrangement for a local guide for your hike.
Another alternative is Cool Waters Camp, who have tents setup on a riverbank, and can arrange for meals on request. Call Sam, the Camp Manager on +254(0)727 469373 to make booking, or ask Joseph to arrange for you.
There may be a charge for accessing the waterfalls, which is on Maasai community land. The fee is currently not clearly defined, so ask Joseph or your local contact for the latest figures.
Other interesting hikes
- Kereita Cave and Waterfall
- Gatamaiyu Riverine Walk
- Mt Olorgesailie
- Suswa Crater & Caves
- Ngong Hills
- Ol Donyo Sabuk
- Hell’s Gate
- Oloroka, near Oltepesi
- Ole Sayeti
- Karura Caves & Waterfalls
- Mt Longonot
- Elephant Hill, Aberdares