Kihuri forest lies in Othaya Nyeri County. About 125km north of Nairobi city. Kihuri is part of the southern Aberdare National Park block. The hiking track commences at the Othaya treatment plant, the Kihuri water treatment plant.
The Forest is an integral part of the water cycle. Kihuri, Zuti, and Njigari forests comprise a larger Aberdares Southern block with Gura Forest; all five form crucial “water towers” for Kenya’s population needs. Mt Elgon Mau Complex, with its abundant rainfall, supplies much-needed drinking water. At the same time, Cherangani Hills helps collect resources around Nakuru.
Management & Conservation
Conservation is a collaborative effort. The Forest has several formations that make conservation efforts a reality. They include; the Scout forest guard, community forest Association, Kenya Forest Service, and Kenya Wildlife Service. The Forest covers about 4,894 acres.
Things to do in Kihuri Forest
Activities & Attractions in Kihuri
Wildlife in Kihuri forest
Kihuri forest is home to wildlife species: Elephants, Buffalo, Hyenas, etc. It is ideal for avid tourists, ornithology persons, or generally bird lovers. Coming to contact with an elephant would not be a surprise. However, there are always two rangers to ensure the safety of tourists. The rangers’ reaction depends on the elephants’ actions. Over 150 species of birds call the Kihuri forest home. Some bird species include Laughing Dove, Golden Weaver, Common Starling, and Pin-tailed Whydah.
Hiking & Trekking in Kihuri forest
Hiking is the main activity in Kihuri. If you love Hiking, I would recommend Kihuri over and over. The trail is wide and moderate. You can cover about 18 km of the Forest, within walking range from start to finish. So, it would be best to equip yourself with the proper attire and equipment for Hiking. Snacking through giant tall indigenous trees, overgrown forest vegetation, and bumpy footpaths will have you witness nature’s most refined scenes. There are a few stops for resting, refreshing, and viewing nature along the trek. Scenic views of green rolling tea zones bordering the forest. On a clear visitor’s View of Mt Kinangop spots and along the trail. Kihuri hike is for all ages. The hiking trail is approximately 18 kilometers. With beautiful rivers, including the Golden Gura River. Tourists can enjoy a jungle swim known as ‘Duff Mpararo.’
Swimming in the cold natural rivers of Kihuri
The Forest has natural springs from where the waters come to life. After trekking for a while, you will proceed down to the icy natural waters of the valley. Here, you can have a cold refreshing bath in River Gikira. The rivers have several spots where you can swim. Depending on your preference, you can swim anywhere along the waters. The waters are fresh and drinkable. You can have a refill if your packed water runs out. You can enjoy yourself in the frosty waters as you take pictures for memories.
Kihuri Forest Weather seasons
The terrain of Kihuri depends on the weather at the time of the visit. Therefore, it’s essential to know the seasons of the area. January, February, and half of March are dry with occasional rain. April, May, and part of June, there are lots of rain with just less than 5hrs breaks in a day. The other part of June, July, and part of August intense mist and extreme cold. September, the rains start in December. However, in November and December, the rain showers are pretty heavy.
Cost per person
- Entrance fee
- Guide fee
- Tips and Gratuities
- Anything else not mentioned in the inclusions
WHAT TO CARRY
The weather can be unpredictable at some point, so it’s advisable to carry all the essentials for Hiking. They include:
- Comfortable hiking shoes with an excellent Grip
- Hiking Cargo pants or Fleece
- Hiking Synthetic or Polyester Top/T-shirt
- Binoculars if you are keen on Birdlife
- Drinking water (Not less than 2 Liters)
- Sunscreen lotion
- Heavy snack or packed Lunch
- Energy Bars for a quick bite
- Hard Shell rain Jacket and a Poncho
- Accessories: Sunglasses, Sunhat
- Equipment; Trekking Pole, Hiking Backpack,
Camelback to carry water
- Safety Essentials: a headlamp or Hand Portable Spotlight, Lighter matchbox or usual matchbox, and whistle
Challenges affecting conservation in Kihuri
The Forest has some challenges and others faced by people around it. They include;
The Forest is under 24 hours clock surveillance. However, poachers still manage to sneak in and kill elephants for their tasks. Most conservation areas hosting wildlife are experiencing. It is a menace that the necessary bodies fight to reduce, if not eradicate. Arresting lawbreakers ensures they serve as an example to all poachers and future poachers.
The Kihuri Forest has some of the best indigenous trees for wood. The timber industry generates money. It is tempting for some loggers to cut down trees without permission from the government or owners of that land. Illegally cutting down trees is not only dangerous but also illegal. The government protects our forests by implementing a sustainable conservation policy. The policy dictates loggers buy trees for damaged areas and plant new ones. In addition, if they don’t meet the rules the consequences of serving a jail term.
Conflicts of Parastatals
Unfortunately, the parastatals that govern the Forest don’t cooperate. As a result, people on the ground, such as tour guides, end up suffering. For instance, 15 guides completed tour guiding training last year. Currently, only three are working in the Forest. The reason is that they only wait until they have visitors to receive a payment. The parastatals don’t agree on who to pay them.
Tour Guides Safety
Maintaining a trail is part of making the hiking experience. The scouts pre-visit trails and clear them from time to time. Community guides and scouts face the risk of meeting with illegal loggers or poachers. Who, with no hesitation, would harm them.
When the neighboring communities would receive a monthly allowance, they got only a few months of it. Then this stopped. motivating the communities to offer watch care services to the Forest is generally a sustainable conservation effort. Importantly, it develops a sense of ownership.
Loss of wildlife and even endangering lives of the neighboring communities by the wildlife animal that break from the park.
However, the Forest also has some advantages.
The community benefits from the Forest at a lower price. They pay KES100 monthly for the collection of firewood. They also pay another KES 100 Bob monthly to feed their livestock.
- During pick up Pick-up location & time can change. That is if a private group with a different Pickup location.
- Charges can change if the number of participants changes.