“Nature and Adrenaline”
Is adrenaline your thing? Are you someone that would go crazy at the mention of adventure? Does adventure in a forest tickle your fancy? and am not talking about adrenaline from hugging a tree here. I am talking about zip-lining on the longest zip line in East Africa, archery, mountain biking, paint balling, fly fishing, nature walks all in one location. I bet the word “budget travel” puts icing on the cake? Then I have the perfect location for you, Kereita Forest.
Kereita (the forest not the village) is a forest bordering the Aberdares Mountain range in Kenya to the south and is actually part of the Aberdare Ecosystem. The forest is maintained by kijabe Environment Volunteers, a local community forest association. I had heard about Kereita Forest for a while so when the opportunity to do some “tree hugging” arose, I did not even think twice about it.
WHY IT STANDS OUT
Kereita offers lots of adventure based activities in the most beautiful of landscapes and scenic views that you will ever experience in your lifetime. However, one activity stands out, zip lining. The forest has the LONGEST zip lines in East Africa stretching over more than two kilometers. It has 6 zip lines, all offering picturesque views of the Aberdares forest. A speed of 60km/h, 100 meters above the trees is what you get. Apart from this there is archery, nature walks, tree planting and amazing food from a well-designed restaurant. The design of the restaurant matches the surrounding and this includes a grass roof.
The Forest center
HOW TO GET THERE
Kereita forest is located just an hour away from Nairobi in Kimende Town that is along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. If driving, on the Nairobi – Nakuru highway, branch off at Total Petrol Station in Kimende. The directions to Kereita are very well indicated all through from there to the location. You can choose to stop by the ViewPoint on your way there and witness the magnificent view of the Rift Valley.
If using public transport, you can take a matatu heading to Kijabe at the Globe Roundabout in Nairobi. Alight at Kimende and take a taxi to the forest.
Tip: make sure you pass an underpass tunnel after branching off at Total Petrol Station. After the tunnel, then you are assured you can’t get lost.
WHERE TO EAT AND SLEEP
Kereita forest has a huge restaurant on site that offers a buffet and a la carte meals over the beautiful and serene views of the forest. There is also a bar that offers alcoholic drinks and cocktails at a reasonable price.
Side view of the restaurant
Unfortunately there are no nearby eco-labeled accommodation facilities.
OPENING HOURS AND CHARGES
The Forest is open every day except Mondays, unless the Monday in question is a public holiday.
Entry to The Forest is free of charge. However, you pay for the activities that you shall undertake at the location. All the activities are fairly charged with Zip lining costing only Ksh 1500 (for 2 zips) and Ksh 2500 (for 6 zips). Archery is Ksh 1000 only.
See here for prices on activities
WHAT TO DO AND SEE
If you are an adrenaline junkie, then Kereita Forest will be something short of a heaven for you. There are a myriad of activities to get you heart pacing like I mentioned before.
I was however drawn to the main activity of the mini destination, zip lining. Before you fly over the forest strapped to a metal wire, you first have to go through the assessment center. First thing that happens here is signing a waiver. You will then be provided with zip lining gear and briefed on safety. One thing I liked most about the establishment is their high emphasis on safety. I was briefed on how to position myself on the line and how to ‘brake’ when approaching the end of the line. The next step was to practice on the trial zip to ensure we understood our instructions – you can actually dislocate your shoulder if you don’t brake properly- or worse leave a patch of your hair on the zip line. It is incredibly easy though so no need for worry. The assessments and safety briefs will take at least 30 minutes.
The next step was to get on the actual zip. I had opted to do the two since it was my first time, but you can do all six if you want to. At first I was both scared and excited! My exact thoughts when I climbed the steps were, “wow! Am I really doing this?” The guide encouraged me to scream my heart (or is it lungs? Where did that phrase even come from, screaming your lungs out?) out as I zipped, which is exactly what I did till I got about halfway through.
The adrenaline rush I got when I started zipping was exhilarating. The view 100 meters above the forest and the speed I was flying at makes you want even more when you get to the end of the line. On the second zip line I was calmer and chose to just look over the serene environment and enjoy the blast of fresh air on my face. If you’re lucky you can even get to see elephants below you – I wasn’t.
Tip: Book first before going for the zip line to avoid delays.
If you have already zip lined, or are afraid of heights and not ready to face your fears, yet, there are a ton of other activities you can do while there.
You can participate in Archery, Paintballing (if you visit in a group of 10 or more), nature walks and see an amazing view of the waterfall, cycling, planting trees, fishing etc. There’s also a kids playing ground so it’s suitable for the entire family.
MY TOURISM PRODUCT EXPERIENCE
Kereita forest is a forest, this means you basically in a meadow surrounded by trees. It also one of the breeding areas for elephants.
The Forest meadow
The activities are absolutely overwhelming; you’d barely even manage to do all of them in one day. I will certainly be coming back next time for archery and paintballing.
One particular thing that caught my attention is the number of local tourists around. This means Kenyans are definitely opening up towards the support of domestic tourism.
The instructors that helped us do the zip line were extremely friendly. There was a high emphasis on safety and they encouraged all of us to be relaxed and enjoy the activity ahead of us.
MANAGEMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY
Kereita Forest management care for nature and they invest to protect it. One of the ways they give back to nature that you can also participate in is planting a tree as one of the activities. The Forest is well managed; even just the center itself gives you a feel of being one with nature.
They have incredibly high standards of safety, not once did I even think I could fall off on the zip as we had constant safety checks of our gears.
There was also barely any trash at the centre. They are clearly aware of the importance of practicing sustainable tourism and as you can see, even their trash bins are well labeled and color coded as they practice recycling. The staff was also really friendly.
I would give them a 10/10
Definitely a 10/10
We had to wait for about an hour for our zip tour, despite booking in advance. I’d advice the management to look into that to avoid giving clients a bad customer experience with having to wait. Other than that, The Forest in Kereita was absolutely a great spend of money and would definitely get a second and third visit.
Visit Kereita Forest with Uniglobe Let’s Go Travel. Uniglobe Let’s Go Travel is a Travelife Partner and an eco award winning tour operator.