I have had this post in my drafts for ages. I went back to the swamp over the Easter weekend so I decided I need to share. The last time I had been at the swamp was slightly more than one year ago.
Ondiri wetland is located within close proximity to Kikuyu town (Central Kenya). It is an important wetland since it forms the headwaters of Nairobi River within the Athi drainage basin.
The Ondiri wetland is oval in shape and local legend has it that it used to be an open lake in the early part of the last century and indeed the name itself is Gikuyu corruption of old lake (Ondiri).
However as deforestation and subsequent erosion accelerated, the lake came to be covered with floating reeds on peat such that now it has an extensive reed mat that covers more than 95 percent of the wetland to form a quaking bog, the only one in the country.
A quaking bog is made up of a layer of vegetation floating over water. This is wet spongy ground that is poorly drained, made up of a layer of accumulated plant material floating over water. You can walk on the vegetation, but if you jump up and down the whole bog quakes .I took a video of the movement. You can watch it on our YouTube channel here
This time I went I was a bit confused because with the bypass almost complete everything looked really different. In order to get to the swamp before, there was only a small and steep narrow path.
There is a wider path these days but I chose to go down to the swamp by walking down the drainage channels.
The view from the top is also very different. The area is a lot less forested now.
For comparison here is the photo I had taken before the construction of the bypass had started
And this is how it looks now after the construction of the road
You can actually walk across the swamp. There is a narrow path made out of logs (to the left of the picture above), it kind of feels like walking on a tightrope (or so I would imagine)
The last time I went to the swamp, construction of the bypass had only just begun. In order to allow water to flow from the swamp, a culvert was built under the road.
I took this picture when the construction of the Southern Bypass had just begun. The bypass spans 28.6km from Likoni Road on Mombasa Road at Ole Sereni Hotel to Kikuyu.
This is how the culvert looks now.
There is also a small river that was not there before
Thankfully, the rest of the swamp looks pretty much the same.
How to get there..
The swamp is easily accessible. Once you get to Kikuyu town drive/walk past the railway bridge then take a turn right after the second bump. Just follow the road and once you get to the bypass, the swamp is on the opposite side of the road
You can read more about the swamp here