Hidden Gems in Kenya: 5 Places to Visit in Kirinyaga

  • A collage of Kathiri falls (left) and castle forest lodge (right) in Kiriyanga county
    A collage of Kathiri falls (left) and castle forest lodge (right) in Kiriyanga county
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  • Outside the noisy streets of Nairobi and its environs, Kenyans can travel to Kirinyaga county for a weekend getaway with friends or family. 

    Only about three hours away from Nairobi Central Business District (CBD), the county around Mt Kenya is home to many breathtaking sceneries.

    In 2017, it was reported that the county earned at least Ksh300 million from tourism alone. The earnings were projected to increase after major development projects were completed.

    Anyway, away from the numbers and intrigues of county operations, Kirinyaga is perfect for adrenaline junkies who can enjoy bungee jumping in river Sagana.

    A collage of the exterior (left) and interior before renovation (right) of the Castle forest lodge in Kirinyaga county
    A collage of the exterior (left) and interior before renovation (right) of the Castle forest lodge in Kirinyaga county
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    Let's look at other sites in Kirinyaga guaranteed to take your breath away.

    The Castle Lodge in Mt Kenya forest
    This breathtaking castle is located deep in the thick forest on the slopes to the south of Mt Kenya.

    It provides a fabulous view of the valley on one side of the lodge and the snowy peak of the mountain.

    If you are up for a walk across the forest, the lodge offers trained guides who may let you in on the secrets of the forest.

    The lodge is home to about 175 species of birds, so carry your binoculars and get ready to capture some rare and colorful birds.

    Other activities at the lodge include horseback riding, swimming, trout fishing, and a glance at the great African Elephant among other mammals.

    Another interesting fact about the lodge is the legend that the late Queen Elizabeth and President Jomo Kenyatta visited the lodge while they were still students.

    The main house was built in 1910 with river stones before it was renovated in 2,000 to accommodate at least 30 guests.

    A collage of the Kathiri waterfall (left) and a cabin (right) at the Outdoorsman cabins in Kirinyaga county
    A collage of the Kathiri waterfall (left) and a cabin (right) at the Outdoorsman cabins in Kirinyaga county
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    Outdoorsman Cabins- Kathiri waterfalls 
    Have you dreamt of enjoying a nice meal while your feet soak in cold water next to a waterfall or is it just me?

    Well at the Outdoorsman cabins, you can make this dream come true.

    Next to the Kathiri waterfalls, you will get picnic seats of four mounted that allow your feet to get a feel of the water.

    Besides the obvious swimming, other activities include rustic swings, volleyball, swimming, football, or a waterfall chase through the tea farm.

    Boot camps are also ideal at the Outdoorsman cabins. You can enjoy a relaxing afternoon on one of the hammocks at the site.

    For camping, you will part with about Ksh5,500 while for hiking will be Ksh1,500 per person and 2,500 for couples.

    On the other hand, the facility charges Ksh1,000 for adults and Ksh500 for kids.

    A person bungee jumping in Sagana
    A person bungee jumping in Sagana
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    Bungee jumping in Sagana
    Now, this is not for everyone, if you have experienced that fake falling in your sleep you have an idea of how bungee jumping feels like.

    One of the true adrenalin-pumping ground activities in Kirinyaga is bungee jumping which involves a dive from a structure 60 metres tall with an elastic cord connected to your back so that you enjoy the sensation of free falling but you do not fall to the ground.

    The screaming and uncertainty of whether the elastic cord will hold your weight is part of the fun of bungee jumping.

    Anyone seeking to indulge in the heartstopping activity will part with a minimum of Ksh5,000.

    A collage of Ndaraca ya Ngai (God’s Bridge) in Kiriyanga county
    A collage of Ndaraca ya Ngai (God’s Bridge) in Kiriyanga county
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    Ndaraca ya Ngai (God’s Bridge)
    The Mau Mau warriors appear to have made homes in different parts of the country to hide from the colonialists.

    In Kirinyaga, you will find the Ndaraca ya Ngai (God's Bridge). It is a 15-foot thick natural bridge that was used as a hideaway joint for more than fifty Mau Mau men and women.

    It is mesmerising 'mystical architectural marvel' as no one knows how it came into existence.

    Located along the Nairobi-Embu highway, the cave has two openings. It also straddles River Nyamindi at Mururi.

    Thingira Cultural Village
    This village comprised of clusters of thatched mud huts was created to provide a cultural experience of Mount Kenya residents to tourists.

    From the food to the dressing and accommodation you will experience how people from Mt Kenya lived before the colonial era.

    It also offers a game drive to the Mwea National Park, nature walk and trailing, boat riding, agro tours, and bird watching among many more activities.

    Mud huts at the Thingira Cultural Village in Kirinyaga county
    Mud huts at the Thingira Cultural Village in Kirinyaga county
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    Some of the delicacies served include mukimo, muthokoi and fermented porridge among others.

    Conclusively, Kenya is a beautiful country, brush through every corner and enjoy the beautiful scenery