Roving and Guiding Memoirs: Travel Discover Nyeri
Songs, chip and call notes from birds welcome you to an early Nyeri town morning. The rush green vegetation consisting of introduced and indigenous trees greet you from every corner. The chilly morning atmosphere is amazingly refreshing.
Stacked some 150km away, Nyeri ,fondly referred to as Rware by the residents, is a perfect excuse to run away from the nags and tags of the noisy capital city of Nairobi.
Its 6.50am, angry clouds at a distance have been staring at the town since I spotted them 30minutes ago. An hour later, they succumb to the first rays of the rising sun. The ground seems quit wet, a clear indication that the hardworking rainmakers-in-charge of this former colonial headquarter had a successful party last night. The green on the grass is plenty topped up with glittering dew.
The seemingly wet ground doesn’t inspire any thoughts amongst us, of an early game drive to the Aberdares National Park, as planned. We therefore duck unceremoniously into White Rhino for some arrow roots and strungi. It’s been a favorite breakfast spot anytime the driver and I get to Nyeri since the days I was a wannabe tour guide. Ok, Im just saying, they have very nice ndumas alias arrow roots on their continental breakfast menu. The wazungus in our the entourage are particularly thrilled.
When it comes to cuisines in Nyeri, besides White Rhino, you need to check out The Green Hills Hotel, The Outspan Hotel, The Treetops Lodge, WestWood Hotel, Batian Grand Hotel, Eland Safari Hotel, Ibis Hotel, just to name a few while for transit tourists Karatina Town wouldn’t be too mean not to offer you a good one at the famous Starbucks Hotel or Ibis Hotel, another alternative up north would be Narumoru River Lodge off Nyeri-Nanyuki road, Fairmont Mt Kenya Safari Club near Nanyuki, Rhino Watch Lodge near Mweiga not forgetting The Ark Game Lodge and Tafaria Castle & Country Lodge off Nyeri – Nyahururu road.
We’ve just shelved off Aberdares game drive plans to a later time of the day; thus, 8am finds us patiently waiting by the gate at the Lord Baden Powell Museum. Baden Powell is the founder of the worldwide Boy Scout Movement. He lived in Nyeri since 1938 and passed on Jan. 8, 1941 aged 83 and was buried at the St Peter’s Cemetery. This is a very important site for the Scout Movement. Every February they troop here from all parts of the globe to celebrate his birthday and that of his wife Lady Olive Baden Powell the founder of the Girl Guide Movement. There is a great deal of Scout movement’s history to learn from here. The museum, which actually used to his cottage, is and has been part of the Outspan Hotel and all enquiries can be directed to them.
At a few minutes to eleven, we hit the road and head up for Ol Pejeta Conservancy that is located just a few strides from Nanyuki town, accessible by both road and air via Nanyuki Airstrip. We arrive some minutes after 1pm. I swear this is my second time here, and because I am a typical juaji tour guide, we head straight to the Sweetwater’s Chimpanzee sanctuary, to get up close and candid with our closest relatives. This is the only place in Kenya you can see chimpanzees. The sanctuary takes care of chimpanzees that have been rescued from illegal pet trade and black markets. Its home to 42 of them and offers visitors opportunities to not only learn about them but also a chance to adopt them.
At around 2pm we treat ourselves to a buffet Lunch at Morani’s Restaurant after which we drive off to the Aberdares National Park, the final leg of today’s itinerary. At 4.15pm, the cruiser breathes fire as it enters the Kenya Wildlife Service Aberdares HQs gate. This will be the last game drive of the day before we retire to Outspan Hotel for that deserved evening rest. The Aberdares National Park has two sided major access points. The eastern side is accessible from Nyeri and Narumoru, while the Western side is easily accessible via Naivasha. The Nyeri access point is advisable as that’s the only point you can load your Safaricard. The park is also served by numerous gates namely ( as stated by Kenya Wildlife Service with approximate distances from Nyeri);
Park Gates And Distance From Nyeri
- Ark Gate – 28 kms
- Treetops Gate -17 kms
- Ruhuruini Gate -20 kms
- Kiandongoro – 30 kms
- Wandare Gate – 47 kms
Others are Shamata, Rhino and Mutubio Gates.
When it comes to game, According to KWS, Aberdares has a variety to offer including Leopards, Buffaloes, Black and White Colobus monkey, Sykes Monkey, Black Rhino, Elands, Antelopes and awesome Baboons.
I have so far managed to spot all except a Rhino and a Leopard. However, the baboons have been looking at me like we have met before.
The park is also a bird watchers paradise with over 250 species of birds such as Plovers, Goshawks, Eagles, Sparry Hawk, Sunbirds, Jackson’s Francolin and Plovers.
Its 5.30pm, time to retreat back to the Hotel for a night. Tomorrow we set off for Lake Nakuru National Park via Thomson Falls, Nyahururu, early in morning. #WhyILoveKenya
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