I love hiking. For me hiking is a great source of recreation. The idea of venturing long distances in the wilderness on foot for knowledge, adventure or just sheer pleasure appeals to me. I love the allure of nature – being surrounded by the earthly smell of the forest, hearing the crunching of leaves, the twittering of birds, the view of trees, bushes, streams and that rare encounter with (not the dangerous) wildlife. I love getting away from the congestion, the uproar and tumult, the intolerable noise of traffic or the monotonous daily routine of the city.
The beauty of living in Nairobi, is that you are always a stone throw away for a quick getaway from the maddening bustle of the city. In July last year I visited Lukenya – a not so sequestered location that one usually views when travelling along the Nairobi Mombasa highway. The Picturesque rocky terrain of Lukenya dominate the landscape with travelers occasionally stopping to marvel at the spectacular views.
I was captivated by the beauty of this place and was back again this year.
Approximately an hour’s drive from Nairobi, this maze of savanna scrubland interspersed with rocks dotting the hilly terrain offers a unique blend of hiking, sightseeing and wildlife viewing. The surrounding Athi plains are home to giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, elands and a variety of other animals. The wildlife though, are notoriously elusive, as they tend to run away at the slightest view of people. I spotted the odd antelope and zebra and that was it.
Can you spot some wildlife in the background?
The hike consisted of a gentle ascent through the bushes and boulders. Once in a while the trail would break through the bushes to reveal distant views of traffic along the Nairobi – Mombasa highway. Gingerly stepping over the rocks, occasionally getting my feet caught in the winding not so clear trails, I steadily made my way up. With scattered dry land thorny bushes providing the only cover from the blistering sun an expansive rock section finally came into view.
Boulders of all sizes are a salient feature in Lukenya. These formidable edifice, meticulously sculptured by elements of nature are disseminated across the terrain.
The dry and wet seasons provide an interesting contrast. A hue of browns and tans of dried vegetation prevail in the dry season.
The rainy season might make for slower progress and some slippery treks, but provide a contrasting scenario with the dust-free air and revitalized lush verdant surrounding.
Once at the top, the boulders extend to the edge of a precipice serving as a view point replete with magnificent views of the surrounding Machakos countryside. It is said on a lucky day you can see Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro. The panoramic view from up here gives you an overall lay of the land, with the trees looking like small dots from afar and planes that stretch into the horizon. From up here I truly got to appreciate how incredible Lukenya is, savoring the beauty of untamed wilderness stretching for miles.
A hike at Lukenya hills is reasonably short not so strenuous task and can be done in a morning or afternoon. Below is a checklist of things to consider when going for a hike.
– Wear sturdy shoes and perhaps take a walking stick to assist you
– Carry some water and snacks
– Be environmentally conscious avoid littering
– Walk at a comfortable pace and rest as you feel the need to
– Make sure to carry your camera for the excellent photographic opportunities.
Additional activities that can be done while at Lukenya:
Rock Climbing: The massive rocks that dot Lukenya make it a climber’s paradise. There are institutions nearby that organize rock climbing for both amateur and professional climbers.
Recreational Facilities/ Activities: A number of hotels nearby provide an array of facilities and activities for corporate groups, families and walk in guests can indulge in.
Lukenya is a gem of a place – don’t hesitate to visit, especially if you like hiking! An ideal choice for families, children, youth groups and those still new to hiking. The perfect getaway from the hustles and bustles of day to day city life.
Been to Lukenya for a hike? Share your experience in the comment section below.