At the edge of bustling Nairobi lies a forest that will cool nerves

Tuesday December 15 2015

Domestic tourists at Kereita Forest in Kimende, Lari District, on December 12, 2015. The forest is part of the Aberdares ecosystem. SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Do you love nature? Yes? Well, we might have just the perfect plan for you.

Make your way to Kimende, a vibrant township about 50 kilometres northwest of Nairobi that, curiously, has a lot of butcheries.

Once there, drive 10 kilometres south until you find yourself at the edge of the imposing Kereita Forest, part of the Aberdares Forest Complex.

And then take out your camera, smile, and click away. You have arrived home.

This is nature as virgin as you have never imagined it, a little paradise full of birds, historic caves, animal trails and hiking sites.

The Birdlife International Organisation lists Kereita as a significant bird watching area, and it is easy to see why: once inside, nature soothes you with lullabies belted from the beaks of birds so exotic, and so colourful, that they seem too good to be true.


Here is an ecosystem decorated with such diverse offers as bats and monkeys and... wait a minute, is that an elephant? Yes, elephants in Kereita!

As you make your way through the trails, green ferns kiss your heels and brush their cheeks against your arms, as if somehow, in the muteness of their actions, they want to make you feel welcome.

Kereita also bristles with streams, with water so clear it beats some bottled offers on supermarket shelves. Its caves, which date back hundreds of years, offer momentary warmth from the biting cold outside, yet the true nature hunter still feels wasted to sit inside them and do nothing but soak in the marvels of the forest.

And that hunter would be right to set off into the wild, for then he or she would happen at the spectacular (excuse us, we might be exaggerating these things) 60-feet Kereita Waterfall; or be the pervert and sneak on elephants having a bath at the Elephant Pool.

The Kikuyu meaning of the word kereita, spelled in the language as kere-ita, is “armed people”, and so local history has it that the place was once teeming with warriors. It is also claimed to be the final resting place for some 5,000 people killed during the British colonial rule.

So, pack your lunch and visit this jungle on the edge of the city, and then compare it with your excursions into the Menengai Crater, up Mt Longonot and down Hyrax Hills, all in Nakuru County.

You said you are a nature hunter, right?