This trip has been a long time coming, originally I had planned to go out of town but that will have to wait.
I’m off to the Nairobi suburb of Karen where I get to visit a hidden gem– the Oloolua nature trail. The nature trail is part of the indigenous Oloolua forest that is also home to the Institute of Primate Research (IPR). The institute is run by the National Museums of Kenya which established the Oloolua Nature Trail in part of the forest, providing a refreshing environment away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Once you get to the entrance it is not too much of a walk before you get to the nature trail.
Our first stop was the water falls. There is a proper path with steps that lead to the falls but we took the difficult way down which was rather steep because we heard the falls before we got to the path and assumed that it is the only way down.
We had taken a picture of the map at the entrance but it was not very useful.
For the most part we just walked along the river and the next stop was the bamboo. This time we found the right path down.
We then walked a bit and got to the cave. I was wishing I had carried a flashlight. We did go into the cave but I stayed close to the entrance. I kept imagining that a Smaug-like creature would come to chase us out of its lair.
The caves are reputed to have once been a hiding place for the Mau Mau freedom fighters during the colonial period of Kenya’s History. There was also an acrid smell in the air (probably as a result of an existing bat colony) and that didn’t encourage us to stay either.
We consulted the map again and it gave us a vague idea of where we were. We had wondered away from the river and I was hoping that somehow we would end up at the quarry but instead we found ourselves at the picnic site.
By this time it was about half past 5 in the afternoon and the trail closes at 6 so we decided to take the path most likely to lead us back to the entrance.
We guessed right and we ended up back at the bridge where there was a troop of monkeys feeding in the trees above us.
If you do decide to visit the trail, get ready to get lost, they haven’t stuffed the paths with sign boards so it is natural and adventurous.
Oloolua Nature Trail is large enough to accommodate loads of people at the same time without crowding, you practically feel like you are alone in the middle of a forest – a nice escape from the busy noisy city life. Best of all it is easily accessible and open daily.
How to get there;
Oloolua Nature Trail is situated 20km from the city centre in the Karen suburb. If using public means, take matatu or bus number 24 from the city centre, and alight at the junction of Bogani Road and Karen Road near Karen Blixen Museum. Oloolua Nature Trail is 600 meters to your left.
If driving, take Uhuru Highway till Nyayo Stadium, then turn right onto Langata Road and drive past Bomas of Kenya till the junction to Hardy. Turn left onto Langata South Road, then right onto Bogani Road. Drive till the junction between Bogani and Karen Road, then turn left. Oloolua Nature Trail is 600 meters from this junction.