Kilimambogo hike and Camping at 14 Falls Campsite

Back on the road again with CampYetu, and this time we set out for Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park , otherwise known as Kilimambogo, in Thika, for a hike. We assembled in the Nairobi CBD at our usual meeting point, Bata, next to Hilton Hotel. After exchanging pleasantries and grabbing snacks for the road, we commenced our 85 km journey at 10:15 a.m.

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Le van

One hour later, we arrived at Thika town, and made our first stopover at Ananas Mall. This place has everything you need, especially if you are traveling and you do not want to carry too much luggage from home. There is a Tuskys supermarket where you can shop for household items and foodstuffs. There are boutiques, restaurants such as Galitos, a chemist and ATM machines as well. Very convenient if you ask me.

Soon, we were back in the van and on our way to Kilimambogo. We still had 5 more kilometers to cover from Thika town. The road changed from tarmac to all-weather murram. There were plenty of signs stragetically positioned by the roadside, courtesy of KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service), so it was very easy to locate the park.

On arrival, we were met by a ranger at the gate, who received us warmly and issued us with our tickets to theΒ  park, after which she directed us to our guide. The park entry fees areas follows:

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

Citizen

Resident

Non – Resident

Adults

KSH

Child

KSH

Adults

KSH

Child

KSH

Adults

USD

Child

USD

350

250

700

350

30

20

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Our guide, Nyakundi

We met yet another group that had come to hike as well. Nyakundi briefed us together, and soon after counted us all just to make sure that nobody would be left behind, on our way up the mountain.

It is necessary to go with a guide for the hike,for safety purposes, since there are buffaloes that roam the park. If you are not a fan of hiking, you can opt to drive instead, using the designated road within the park.

We used some man-made footpaths to make our way to the top. Most of the climb was VERY STEEP! I kid you not.

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Foot Path

Let me just give a disclaimer at this point… EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE!! Make sure you do some running or jogging at home,before you to decide that you want to conquer Kilimambogo. Otherwise, like myself, you will wail, weep ,make a stop after every step, want to give up and detest your life altogether. Trust me, you do not want to experience this.

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Glucose comes in handy when you fill like you have no more energy left.
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Some of the CampYetu guys on the hike

I had lost count of the time we had taken and the distance we had covered by now. All I knew was it seemed like we were not getting to the summit area :-(. But all hope was not lost…

Thank God for view points :-).

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View points are always so rewarding. From the cool breeze that meets you as soon as you get there, to the scenic views which will leave you in awe. All so relaxing.

For some minutes I had forgotten the struggle I had just experienced, until I was back at it again *resumes hating self*.

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Trying to make the best out of the hike on the never ending road

Just as God had promised Jacob and Israel, He too did not forget me :-D. A warden happened to be making his usual daily rounds in the park, in the company of his colleague. He stopped by the road and asked myself and three other friends if we were okay, and if we wanted a lift to the top. At that point, I did not even hesitate for one second and right away jumped into the 4-wheel drive before, he even thought about withdrawing the offer.

PRAISE THE LORD!!!! My struggle was over :-D.

We managed to catch up with the rest of the team who were almost at the top. They were not very amused that we cheated our way to the top. HEHEHEHE. But such is life, every man for himself and God for us all :-D.

The summit area turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, as there was no jaw-dropping view waiting for us. It was all grass and several masts spanning the area. That however, did not stop us from finding our own views :-D. We met Moses, one of the people who mans the area, who was kind enough to take us to greater heights (literally). Coincidence, I think not :-D!

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Moses

Even my fear for heights could not stop me from enjoying the view. Especially not after what we had gone through to get there.

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We climbed
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And climbed some more
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Until we could climb no more
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Needless to say, it was all so worth it πŸ™‚

After exploring the place and re-energizing, we made our way back down (This time without a car :-(, bummer).

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Safiri Salama meaning, Safe Travels

On our way down we passed by the graveyard where Lord William N. MacMillan, who owned all of Kilimambogo back in the colonial era, and his wife, were buried. Legend has it that Lord MacMillan was a quite the hefty man. Before he died, he had asked to be buried at the summit area. On the day of his burial, his servants fulfilled his last wish and made their way to the top with his body. But because of the steep climb and Lord MacMillan being a bit on the heavy side, where they stopped and felt they could no longer go on, is where he was buried, together with his wife and their dog.

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Louise, who used to work for the MacMillan family until she met her death.

After a steep descend we were happy to be back at the van. Fatigued and famished, we were glad to find late lunch waiting for us.

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Ham sandwich, fruit juice and a banana

By the time we were done eating, the sun had already set. We made one more stop in Donyo town ,where we bought some charcoal, and then made our way to 14 Falls Campsite, where we would be spending the night.

We had no choice but to pitch our tents in the dark, otherwise we would have nowhere to rest our heads. Tents are usually provided but you need to carry your own sleeping bags. However, if you do not have one, they are provided as well, together with mattresses, but at an additional cost.

After the tents were up, we began to prepare dinner. Contrary to popular belief, we do eat really well during our camping trips, especially dinner time. Tonight’s menu was nyamachoma, pilau, kachumbari, beef and potato stew, and ugali. Quite the feast if I may say so myself :-D.

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Keeping warm by the camp fire
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Good morning πŸ™‚

We were too exhausted to catch the sunrise the next morning, despite the sun rising at 6:40 a.m.

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Our campsite

We decided to explore the area, to try find some exciting things to do. You can bet we struck gold.

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We found this makeshift swing at our campsite.
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Found this pathway with some gorgeous light <3. The place is also perfect for morning walks or jogs.
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We found this bridge up in a tree. Pretty cool if you ask me and very stable if I may add. If you are lucky you’ll meet some monkeys up in there, swinging by :-D.
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We found a zip line YIPEEEEEEEEE!!!! πŸ˜€

There was a bit of everything for everyone. If you were not feeling all that adventurous, there was a wooden bench next to a pond, where you could go and just meditate on life. It was very peaceful.

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Peeeeeerfect for a lovely group shot πŸ™‚
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Or you could just play around with your reflection in the water . Whatever floats your boat (pun intended) ;-).

All in a all, we had such a ball on both days. Great way to spend Valentine’s Day :-D.

Feel free to check out a video I made on the same here —> https://youtu.be/pgZRjB1pS6Y

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12 thoughts on “Kilimambogo hike and Camping at 14 Falls Campsite

  1. Good read with useful information. Nice pics too, though not quite to your standards.

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  2. Awesome story telling + pictures takes me to Kilimambogo from the comfort of my seat:-) Good work. Ireally like the climb up the mast, you guys are brave!

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  3. I like the story and the additional bonus video.. Got to ask though, they charge different for citizens and residents? πŸ™‚ I liked the shots from up on high πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks Mary.
      Citizens are the people who were born in Kenya, while residents are people of other citizenship, but, are living in Kenya. The former enjoy benefits such as cheaper park fees because of that bit :).

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  4. You’ve told the story well Nimu, with lots of helpful information. Lakini picha sio kali sana kama vile umetuzoesha. Kwani ulichokeshwa na hike?

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