Kereita Cave and Waterfall
|Distance from Nairobi||About 60km|
|Starting Point||Carbacid Forest Gate|
|Ending point||Carbacid Forest Gate|
|Walking Duration||6 hours|
|Terrain||Animal trails through an indigenous forest.|
The Kereita Forest at the southern-most end of the Aberdares range has many interesting hiking trails and features like the Kereita Cave and Waterfall. The trails were established by Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO), a local community based organization that works to conserve this rich biodiversity. One of these trails, the Carbacid trail, leads to Kereita Waterfall on Gatamaiyu River, and the adjacent cave that is home to a small bat colony.
Kereita Forest bears the distinction of being the site of mass graves where over 5,000 victims of revenge attacks on the local population by the British colonial administration were buried. These reprisals were triggered by the so called Lari Massacre in March 1953, after Mau Mau combatants attacked and killed about 100 loyalists in this area, including the local colonial Chief Kahangari.
The walk through Kereita Forest starts at the Carbacid Forest Gate. This general area sits on top of an underground natural CO2 reservoir currently mined by Carbacid Ltd for industrial and commercial usage.
During the first hour, the hike goes through an exotic forest interspersed with large open clearings created by the controversial Shamba System. This system is credited with the large-scale destruction of Kenya’s indigenous forests countrywide during former President Moi’s rule. KENVO is trying to rehabilitate this section of the forest.
As you get further into the forest land and descend into the first river valley, the clearings give way to the indigenous forest. The undergrowth gets thicker and more interesting and varied. Giant ferns and climbers abound, competing for the meager light filtering though old gnarled mammoth trees that stand tall and proud. The jungle comes to life with the calls of various monkey and bird species. The trail is hardly discernible due to infrequent visitors to this part of the forest. Most of trail here follows animal trails going the general direction of the waterfall.
After walking up and down two steep river valleys for about two hours, the trail passes by the Elephant Pool, a large natural water body where elephants come frolic in. A further one hour walk finally brings you to Kereita Waterfall on Gatamaiyu River, dropping 60ft to the stream below. To the right side of the waterfall is a cave with a small bat population.
The return path retraces part of the trail out of the valley to the top of a ridge, before veering off on a northbound trail into a bamboo forest. This path climbs to the highest point of the hike, a clearing with excellent views of Elephant Hill, Nairobi and Mt Longonot. This locations makes an great camping point from which to view the night sky and lights in Nairobi and Thika. The whole round trip takes about 5 hours.
From Nairobi, take Njabini matatus stationed at the Old Nation House roundabout, and alight at Kimende, about 47km from Nairobi. The fare is between Ksh 100 and Ksh 150. From Kimende, take a taxi to the Carbacid Forest Gate for about Ksh 300. The KENVO guide will accompany you from Kimende.
If driving from Nairobi, take the new Nakuru Road on the upper escarpment for about 47km to Kimende. From here, the KENVO guide will join you for the remaining 10km ride to the Carbacid Forest Gate.
Entry charges: Ksh 200 for residents, Ksh 600 for non-residents.
Guide fees: Ksh 2,000 for a group of 10 or less
Fees for two Kenya Forest Service armed rangers: Ksh 3,000.
Camping fee: Ksh 200 per day
Contact KENVO, the local community organization, who’ll provide you with a guide and arrange for Kenya Forest Service armed escort; or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Alternatively you can contact the guide Stephen on 0723749498.